andy uba

? By Chiedu Moses

Ahead the Peoples? Democratic Party?s (PDP) scheduled Congress on
August 12, 2013 to elected a 3-man delegate in Anambra state from the
state?s 326 electoral for the governorship primary slated for Aug 24,
a comprehensive details of the officials and venues for the exercise
was published in national newspapers and widely displayed by the
party.

And in order to instill sanity and decorum in the entire governorship
process this time in contrast to what happened in the Feb 6, 2010
contest, the Alh Bamanga Tukur-led national executive charged all the stakeholders to shape up or ship out. They all acceded, especially the
nearly three dozen aspirants who picked the application forms. This
include our distinguished Senator Andy Uba (Anambra South).

Apparently sensing the possibility of a repeat of the party?s ugly
experience of the 2010 sell-out when its key members in the state who
felt intimidated and afraid they may not likely have their way with a
Prof Chukwuma Soludo governorship collected money to sabotage PDP at
the poll, the Wadata chiefs called out a closed door meeting.

After a painstaking deliberation, the meeting unanimously agreed to
work with the Ken Emeakayi-led Anambra state executive of the party
for cohesion, focus and to avoid
a repeat of the 2010 scandal. All the aspirants were in attendance and
had expressed satisfaction with the decision, vouching their
individual and collective preparedness to work closely with Emeakayi
to succeed. Everything proceeded well until the Expression of
Interest/Nomination forms were put on sale by the party. That was when
allegations started flying around that some aspirants including Dr.
Andy Uba mass-purchased the forms for some others. The allegation went
further to point out that the likely reason was in preparation for a
consensus candidature. That they intended to get the party to organize
an in-house voting by the ?aspirants? to choose among themselves who
would become the party?s flag bearer. They had reasoned that the votes
of their harem of sponsored ?aspirants? would naturally sway their
victory with ease.

But when the plot became exposed and the party suddenly reviewed the
initial free access to the nomination forms for women, it hit them
below the belt, without warning. The women now made to pay 50% of the
cost of the nomination forms paid by their menfolk. The effect of the
new policy was quick, automatic and unbelievable. The ?aspirants?,
including a female Awka-based hairdresser, instantly dropped from 27
that picked the Expression of Interest forms for N1million each down
to just 17.

Whereas each of the men paid N10million for the Nomination form, the
women for the first time paid something-a princely N5million for the
form each. Only about two women were able to make it eventually.

But that is not even the news. The news is that the Independent
National Electoral Commission (INEC) and a segment of the PDP
leadership have since 2011 displayed a side that frightens citizens.
Their actions as it concerns the PDP in Anambra state show them to be
nothing but willing interlopers. They were accused of constantly
willing to serve personal and private interests once you are
well-connected. That is very very dangerous to the nation?s fragile
but growing democracy. How? Why? Why not? The questions kept pouring
in unanswered.

One such question was whether being the chairman of the Senate
Committee on INEC means using the Commission as one?s kitchen? As we
ponder this, news just reaching the state have it that Oguebego has
secured another ?victory? vide a Portharcourt Federal High court that
he is now the authentic state chairman. They have even
fixed their own governorship primary where our dear Uba shall win. He
detests competition. Yes, we know.

In 2011, ahead the general elections, the PDP had appointed and sent
the Senator Joseph Waku committee to come down to the state to
organise primaries for the forthcoming general elections then. On
arrival, the team wisely and ideally organized a stakeholders? meeting
at the Queen?s Suites/Hotels, Iyiagu Estate in Awka, to fashion out
way to smooth and acceptable primaries. The meeting agreed, all the
aspirants inclusive, to have three nominees from each of the power
blocs/quasi groups who were then loyal to the dozen political gods and
god-fathers that abound in the state, to help them in the execution of
the primaries.

While others complied, the Uba brothers simply went home and organized
their own private primaries. They also used their contacts in INEC to
have that list of aspirants generated from their own primaries
submitted. When the list from the party eventually arrived, the
roulette began. The PDP list then suddenly became like a copyright
infringement. The crises has remained unresolved till date, making the
state become the first to successfully submit two different nomination
lists-one from the party, the other from a private source. The party
lost its voice, even when lambasted by eminent jurists in court who
had insisted that they make their stand clear on the two contrasting
lists which was the official one. Instead the party withdrew its
initial submission and chose to absorb the sharp tongues of the angry
jurists to decide the matter based on the age-long maxim of ?the facts
before the court?. Anambra state therefore entered the Guinness Book
of PDP shocking records as the first to successfully submit two
parallel nomination lists in one election!

So, having succeeded in this with relative ease then, they decided to
walk the same road again this time in the on-going run up congress to
the forthcoming 2014 governorship primary. That?s why Mr Ejike
Oguebego who investigations show just exists passively in name,
without followers, now held its own brand of ?congress? a week before
the PDP?s Senator Adolphus Wabara supervised congress which was
chaired by the Abia state Speaker-Udo Ogochukwu was sent to organise
one on Aug 12, 2013.

The Organising Secretary of the party, Alh Abubakar Yusuf had few days
to the congress published in some national newspapers the list of
venues and supervisors of the congress. Curiously, while the few
aspirants who had earlier gone round the state?s 326 wards to market
themselves and manifestos tidied up preparations for the congress,
others stayed back in Abuja working hard on ways to torpedo the
party?s plans.

Earlier during the mega rally to unveil the aspirants in Awka, only Dr
Uba, Chief Partick Sule Ugboma and one other aspirant failed to show
up. Uba?s absence was so glaring because of the razzmatazz that
greeted the rally. It was also the first time the APGA?s Obi-run state
government allowed the PDP access to the Dr Alex Ekwueme Square. It
was reported that while the general rally was going on at Ekwueme
Square, the Uba faction was busy with theirs at the Emmaus House
premises. At the rally, the aspirants-Nicholas Ukachukwu, Charles
Odunukwe, Walter Ubaka Okeke, Sylvester Okonkwo, Tony Nwoye, Ugochukwu
Okeke, Josephine Anenih, Alex Obiogbolu and Emma Anosike had
opportunity to speak to the mammoth crowd on their plans for the
state.

Then came the morning of Aug 12, 2013, the combined
Ogochukwu/Wabara/Emeakayi leadership organised the much-expected
congress. However, according to the National Vice chairman, Col
Akobundu, ?it was not without serious challenges?. The congress
appeared to have been turned into a stock market where many of the
supervisors openly hawked the results/result sheets for between as
little as N20,000 per ward to as high as N1million per council within
the premises of the Marble Arch Hotels, Awka which served as the
secretariat of the committee. One of them made an impressive
proposition to this reporter. It was revealed the supervisors acting
on the promptings of one of the governorship aspirants allegedly
caused the delays and the non-appearance of the materials at some
centres, while some arrived at about 7pm. That was when the potential
delegates had waited and gone home bitter. And to tidy up matters one
of the aspirants ran down to Umuahia to meet with Ogochukwu who was
literally goaded into the weekend?s make-believe Abuja press
conference which classified the congress as ?smooth and transparent?.

Again, the Ubas stayed away, having had their own Oguebego ?congress?
a week earlier. But some political goons allegedly from their camp
made frantic efforts on Aug 12, 2013 to pass off the real supervisors
and tried to forcefully relocate the official venues. It was met with
stiff opposition.

The last gambit was manifest in Abuja last Friday when Dr Uba realised
he may be expelled for disobeying the party yet again. His eyes were
perhaps also opened to the deluge of political undercurrents that had
been sweeping in and out of the party secretariat to his disfavour.
More so, his name was not being considered at all, instead he was
intensely being considered for expulsion from the party along with his
other co-travellers. This rattled him immeasurably. At last the party
egg heads and Aso Rock came in, but to no avail. The Ministry of
Justice was brought in, which strangely fired a letter directing INEC
on which among the contending forces to recognize in Anambra state
PDP.

A former INEC?s Commissioner in the state expressed serious concern
that the commission could dabble into such matter. He pointed out that
the commission has no business with state chapters of any party.
Instead that it was the national headquarters of parties that informs
INEC of their state executives.

Sensing the game was up on his guber bid, having been caught on the
wrong side of the fence yet again, Uba?s resolve thawed irretrievably.

Presently, Dr Uba may no longer be in the Anambra 2014 guber political
equation, but new challenges have arisen. Chief Akachukwu Sullivan
Nwankpo and Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu are in hot supremacy contest.
Unfortunately they have betrayed parts of their jokers at the just
concluded congress, where they tried to run roughshod of all the other
aspirants in a manner that had never been seen before. What with
invading an aspirant?s domain to claim victory. Such things were not
allowed in politics because each aspirant needed to be given the
benefit of doubt in their council area. Things were so badly managed
that about 68 wards results of the congress written in the bedroom of
one of the aspirants were cut off hanging. Others stood their grounds
thereby preventing it from submission. Has politicians really reformed
at all? Will Nigerians really trust them?

That is why the fear among political watchers was whether the rat race
that the law officers at the Ministry just started with the
surreptitious letter on Anambra was just a one off thing, or would
continue. Because there are issues with the All Progressives Congress
(APC) in the state, same with the Labour Party (LP), Accord Party
(AP), All Progressives Grand
Alliance (APGA) and even the Mega Progressives Peoples Party (MPPP) in
the state. It has now become a pattern among parties in the state to
engage in executive sabotage and horse-trading whenever election comes
in the horizon. Whereas the Accord Party had a palace coup, a similar
thing appeared to be playing out in MPPP in the state.

Everyone is therefore anxiously waiting for Prof Attahiru Jega?s INEC,
or the Federal Ministry of Justice to generate an explanatory letter
to the nation to inform the world of which is the authentic executive
in Anambra should be. The rat race has just begun and the world is
actively watching.

Chiedu Moses, Awka

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