Tuesday, November 23, 2021 3:12 pm
By C. Don Adinuba
A number of Anambra people, including people from his hometown of Uga in Aguata Local Government Area, have been warning Senator Andy Uba of the All Progressives Congress (APC) against carrying out his threat of going to the Election Petitions Tribunal following the November 6 gubernatorial election in Anambra State in which he took a distant third position, despite the APC being the national government party. The warning is hinged on two considerations: the need to build on the culture of social harmony which the state has created since 2017 when the candidates of the major parties congratulated Governor Willie Obiano on his massive reelection and the need to maintain judicial integrity, since most Nigerians do not regard Uba as someone who plays by rules in political games.
Much as the concerns of these people are legitimate and much as it is acknowledged that Uba can ordinarily sue in a democracy if he is genuinely dissatisfied with the process or outcome of an electoral exercise, Anambra people need not worry about any likely antics by the controversial former senator. He has no locus standi to approach the Election Petitions Tribunal. He was never the APC candidate in the November 6 election. Uba himself knows this to be the fact in his heart. Hence, he instructed his lawyer, Abubakar Magaji Mahmud (SAN), to do everything within his power to stop Mr Justice Inyang Eden Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja from delivering judgment on November 4, 2021, on a case brought by Chief George Moghalu, Managing Director of the National Inland Waterways Authority, and a founding APC member who sought the party’s ticket to contest in the governorship election. Chief Moghalu is suing the party for forwarding Uba’s name to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as its nominee in the election. The reason given by Uba and his lawyer for seeking to stop the judgment was that the outcome of the judicial decision would have severe consequences for them since the election would take place two days later. Justice Ekwo, out of pity, decided to postpone the judgment. From all indications, Uba knows how the judgment will turn out. After all, INEC has written a report showing that no primary election took place.
Every APC leader believes there was no primary election on June 26, 2021, which Senator Uba or any other person could have won and, therefore, qualified to be the party’s standard bearer. Senator Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment and the party’s leader in Anambra State who is also a former Anambra State governor, has repeatedly stated in public that there was no primary election on June 26.
It is, therefore, not surprising that on two occasions the Andy Uba Gubernatorial Council announced that President Muhammadu Buhari would grace the flag-off of its electioneering campaign and on two occasions the president ignored the council. The council later announced that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo would attend its flag-off in Onitsha on September 25, only for the respected Vice President, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and evangelical pastor, to ignore them for fear of soiling his image. No APC governor or minister or senator attended any function by Uba. Hence, Uba entered the history book as the only APC member to participate in a governorship race without the President or Vice President or even a representative in attendance. Senator Uba also made history as the only APC membership to take part in a gubernatorial election without ever having a campaign flag-off anywhere.
All this owes to the fact that Andy Uba was never the APC candidate in the November 6 election in Anambra State. His purported candidature will be nullified formally once Justice Ekwo delivers judgment on the suit brought by Chief Moghalu, one of the other 13 APC governorship aspirants swindled by certain party operatives who came to Anambra State to conduct the party’s congress and primary election after they had paid a whopping 23 million naira each for the Expression of Interest/Governorship Nomination Form.
Andy Uba and his group took dubiousness too far when it was claimed that he received 230,201 out of a phantom 348,490 votes cast in the so-called primary election. No journalist saw any APC member vote anywhere. No observer witnessed any party congress. No party member in the state participated in either the congress or the alleged primary election. Of course, there are not up to 20,000 APC members in Anambra State where the party had its worst result in the 2019 general election. Hence, Uba could not garner more than 43,285 votes in the November governorship election, as opposed to Professor Chukwuma Soludo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) who got 112,229 votes and Mr Valentine Ozigbo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who scored 53,807 votes.
The Anambra people are satisfied that the party which took second in the election has congratulated the winner, just as the APC which came third. President Buhari says he is looking forward to working closely with Professor Soludo, a former Central Bank governor and a member of Buhari’s Committee of Economic Advisers, for the development of not just Anambra State but the Southeast. It is, indeed, a mark of gross indiscipline that after President Buhari, the APC leader, has congratulated Professor Soludo on his massive victory in 19 out of the 21 local government areas in Anambra State, Uba, who could not win in even one state, is threatening the Anambra people with fire and brimstone as well as the so-called Imo Formula which, in his fanciful world, could make a person who took a very pathetic third position occupy Anambra Government House.
Anambra people and all Nigerians are enjoined to disregard the threat from Uba and his so-called supporters who want to milk so much from him in the belief that he is just what Nigerians call “money miss road”. All local and international observers have confirmed that the November 6 election was free and fair and transparent. Local and international journalists who covered the historic election are of the same view. The massive rejoicing in Anambra State and beyond over the outcome shows the profound legitimacy of INEC’s declaration of Professor Soludo as the winner of the November 6 vote. It is time to ignore Uba, a bad loser who was never the APC candidate in the first place.
God bless Anambra State, the Light of the Nation.
*C. Don Adinuba, Director, Media and Communication, Soludo Campaign.