UBA AND THE APC CONTENTIOUS PRIMARIES
There was no primary election in Anambra State on June 26, writes Chuks Collins
Perhaps, many citizens, including party leaders, governors and governors at heart, senators and other categories of political actors do not know the aim or purpose for party primaries. How can someone or a bunch of highly-placed citizens trifle with the governorship primary process of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that supposed to hold on June 26, 2021 in the entire 326 electoral wards of Anambra?
Person after person had returned same report, that no one visited any of the designated centres mapped out for the event on the said date. Yet, a sitting governor, who travelled many kilometres to Anambra (perhaps for the first time in his life) on the headship of the special panel constituted by the party to supervise the primary sat comfortably in his Golden Tulip Hotel room to read out what was prepared and handed over to him!
The experience rattled not just his other 13 opponents, including even those he allegedly purchased the nomination forms for. Their shock was simple and understandable. Just like one of them confided in his political associate, ‘I know it was going to happen, but no one imagined that party members would not be allowed to see the colour of the ballot papers. The man had revealed that he was invited to join on the team going to Imo State for the packaging of the result. The fear is that INEC is watching, the world is watching, and the opponents are also watching. Can APC afford to gamble a second time? The party experienced this in Bayelsa, Rivers and Zamfara States. But the most sweeping scenario occurred in Zamfara. The party went to the election, won but lost it because it had no candidate. And the runner-up suddenly became the winner and the greatest beneficiary of that internal administrative blunder. Funny enough the party is yet to recover from the problem till date.
Curiously, in the Anambra case, INEC has spoken. The Commission allied with the voice of the citizens, that there was no primary anywhere in the state on June 26. Was it true that Gov Abiodun was sent to Anambra to extinguish the fledgling light of the party some members like Chief George Moghalu, Sen Chris Ngige and others painstakingly worked to establish? Is it not shocking that having given the once non-existent party in the geopolitical zone two states in Imo and Ebonyi, and now rearing to add Anambra apparently in preparation for the 2023 presidential bid by the zone, someone would consciously erase all those hard work on the altar of party primary election?
The who is who in APC in the state have said in diverse ways that no primary election held in any of the 326 wards of the state on June 26, including Andy Uba’s Uga ward of Aguata Local Government Area of the state. Sen Ngige said it, Moghalu said it, Dr Chidozie Nwankwo said it and Chief Azuka Okwuosa said so too. The whole 13 other aspirants were firm on it. No election of any sort held in any part of the state that day. None till date could guess the colour or size of the ballot papers/boxes.
So, if that was the case, where did Gov Abiodun arrive at the figures he read out? Who are the officers that worked with him? Where and where did any of them operate that day? Who were the local staff that worked with them?
Who conducted or supervised the election in Nnewi without Moghalu knowing or being allowed to cast his vote? Where did the official visit in Alor that Ngige never cast his vote? Where did the voting point in Oraifite take place that Okwuosa didn’t know, and wasn’t allowed to cast his vote? Where in the entire Oko community did they perform the abracadabra called primary that Nwankwo, a son of the soil who had his primary and secondary life upbringing in the community, didn’t know?
Without any premonition of the whole drama, Moghalu, Ngige and Nwankwo sent out monitors who fed them minute by minute account of proceedings. And their individual situation rooms recorded a no election situation in all parts of the state.
Unfortunately, it’s doubtful if any of them forwarded those minute minding reports to the WhatsApp or any other social media network of the party at either the state or national headquarters. Because that would have greatly enhanced the ongoing appraisal of all that transpired on June 26, 2021. And from media reports, it would be nunc dimittis to APC in the state and the geopolitical zone if the fraud of June 26 is allowed to stand.
It’s funny that while the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in a report by its Election and Party Monitoring (EPM) department, testified that contrary to the results announced by the Abiodun-led Anambra Governorship Election Committee, no primary held in the state on June 26.
The INEC officials who signed the document included Ibe U. Ibe who led the team; Nkechi Abuh, (Assistant Director) and Modibo Bellel (Principal Executive Officer). The EPM stated that the purported primary, which produced Senator Andy Uba as its winner, was non-existent.
The report, which was submitted by the commission’s monitoring team who was officially sent to monitor the APC primary didn’t mince words in the report. So it’s now clear that someone is out to embarrass the Anambra State APC out of relevance in the Nov 6, 2021 governorship election.
Again, what manner of detergent would be used to wash off the mess that APC would find herself in if things are allowed to stand?
There are other observed constitutional personal encumbrances that are viewed as unpardonable issues to overlook. And any other party would simply go to court and get APC disqualified for the contentious primary.
Else, the Zamfara experience is vehemently staring Anambra APC in the face because of just one man. Abiodun need to apologize to the party, Anambra citizens and the nation for the mess.
However, acting a bit unfazed about the tension and discontent within the party over his purported triumph at the poll over all others, and some of his political honchos stormed the State Working Committee meeting of the party the next day, the chairman, Chief Basil Ejidike also acknowledged the existence of “some hitches in the primary election.” He went on to observe that the Gov Abiodun Committee has done its job for which they came, and left.
Consequently in his remarks to the SWC, Uba urged the party to assist reconciliation, so that all the remaining aspirants should comeback under the party so as to face the future, particularly the fast approaching November 6 election as a united political family.
He also extended the olive branch to all his opponents, to come along in the spirit of a true sportsman to join him to deliver the party in the main governorship election in the interest of the whole party. Unfortunately, the pronouncements from these aspirants since then were far from heeding his appeals. Any avid observer of Anambra politics actually knows there was ominous danger in the horizon. But a stitch in time, the elders say, saves nine!