The journey to the low season governorship election in Anambra State exposes the three peculiar components that make elections within the state very intriguing and exasperating. Affluence, affect, and godfathering represent the underlying elements that propel gubernatorial contests within the state.
Anambra fell out of the nationwide normal elections loop in 2006, when Mr. Peter Obi of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), went via the courts to retrieve his mandate from Dr. Chris Nwabueze Ngige and his then Peoples Democratic Celebration (PDP).
Owing to the fledgling nature of APGA at the moment, the inner contradictions and silent contest for prominence amongst a few of its leaders launched a brand new dimension to Anambra State politics. As an example, in what was seen as a palace coup throughout the then-new ruling occasion, APGA’s former nationwide treasurer, Chief Victor Umeh, supplanted the founding nationwide chairman, Chief Chekwas Okorie. Within the persevering with efforts to maintain the riot, particularly the suspension of Okorie, many court docket circumstances have been instituted by the events to maintain the management disputation.
Inside sources disclosed how extremely positioned judicial officers have been invited to neighbouring international locations, particularly Benin Republic, Cameroun, Ghana and United Kingdom, to succeed in understanding on how the course of ‘justice’ ought to circulation within the varied litigations.
It was in opposition to the background of such negotiations and concerns that within the about 16 years that APGA held sway in Anambra State, each governorship election within the state threw up its personal peculiar actors, troubling processes, and outcomes.
How It All Started
IT was not as if APGA created the three-sided interaction of cash, affect and godfathering in Anambra politics. Cash and energy have all the time performed decisive roles within the dedication of who governs the state.
Previous to its creation as a separate entity from the outdated Anambra State, aspect by aspect with the politics of dichotomy between the Wawa and Ijek’ebe, cash and affect have been outstanding. As an example, throughout the defunct Nationwide Celebration of Nigeria (NPN) and Nigeria Peoples Celebration (NPP), the seek for governorship candidates revolved round males of how and means.
Whereas Chief Christian Chukwuma Onoh and Dr. Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme threw their monetary weights round as they competed for the NPN ticket, throughout the NPP, which had the Rt. Hon. Nnamdi Azikiwe as its chief, Chief Jim Ifeanyichukwu Nwobodo’s deep pockets helped him to dislodge his brother, John Nwobodo and Moses Obiekwe. That was within the second republic.
In 1998, seven years after Anambra State was created with Awka as capital, the nomination course of throughout the PDP raised the concept of cash politics to a different dimension. Dr. Ekwueme agreed with Chief Joseph Okonkwo (Ofiadiulu Enugwukwu), who was state chairman of PDP at hand over the governorship ticket to Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju after Chief A. B. C. Orjiako effortlessly paid the N2.1million as the price of expression of curiosity and nomination types.
Thereafter Chief Emeka Offor was invited to reinforce the marketing campaign funding for Mbadinuju, who was by then practising regulation from a dingy workplace in Onitsha. With Ekwueme’s affect, it didn’t take time earlier than different cash luggage and contractors joined the queue.
The previous second republic Vice President, Ekwueme, was later to elucidate that the N2.1million slated for the governorship types was to restrict the variety of aspirants for the governorship seat. Annoyed by the flip of occasions, one of many aspirants, Chief Ifeanyichukwu Okonkwo, took PDP to court docket.
Not solely did Okonkwo protest in opposition to the excessive price of nomination types, however he additionally charged the occasion for a breach of covenant’, alleging that the occasion went in opposition to its regulation and promise to conduct a governorship main by embarking on consensus giveaway.
The cycle continued with the injection of impunity and indiscipline in the direction of the build-up to the 2003 election. PDP had promised computerized second-term tickets to state governors elected on its platform in a bid to avert the deliberate mass defection of Southeast governors to the newly registered APGA.
However the occasion couldn’t maintain true to its promise in Anambra State, as political godfathers that ganged as much as impose Mbadinuju on the PDP accused him of non-performance and indifference to the struggling of scholars, who have been out of faculty for one tutorial 12 months as a consequence of strike motion by lecturers.
Within the claims and counterclaim concerning the occasion’s efficiency within the state, Governor Mbadinuju’s supporters blamed the ISPO (Irrevocable Standing Cost Order) he (Mbadinuju) signed with a few of the political godfathers that propelled him to workplace. The ISPO, they defined, entailed the withdrawal of cash from the supply on the Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), thereby making it unimaginable for the governor to pay staff’ salaries, together with lecturers.
Out of the injustice in opposition to Mbadinuju got here the drafting of Ngige from his senatorial ambition into the 2003 Anambra State governorship contest. Having misplaced the PDP ticket Mbadinuju and his loyalists moved over to the Alliance for Democracy (AD) in quest of a second time period mandate. With the mass defection that hit PDP, particularly the approaching of APGA, analysts mentioned it grew to become unimaginable for PDP to win on the first poll.
However, being accountable for the federal authorities, PDP deployed the legendary federal would possibly to put in writing outcomes for its governorship candidate, Ngige. But, the APGA governorship, Obi, himself a beneficiary of imposition on the brand new platform, introduced his monetary muscle and bulldog tenacity to bear within the rigorous election petition in opposition to Ngige and PDP.
Owing to the truth that Ngige, like Mbadinuju earlier than him had fallen out of favour together with his godfathers, it was simple for the ministers within the temple of justice to dispense justice with out concern or favour. Not even Ngige’s reminder to the then President Olusegun Obasanjo that “your Excellency, do not forget that our outcomes have been written on the identical desk,” may save him from the upcoming judicial assessment of his electoral ‘victory.’
Three years after the governorship ballot, the Courtroom of Attraction, Enugu Division, upheld Obi and APGA’s rivalry that they gained nearly all of lawful votes forged within the 2003 governorship election. Peter Obi was sworn into workplace on March 17, 2006, because the rightful governor of Anambra State. And with that, his journey to finish his 4 years in workplace reset the governorship election calendar for the state.
Repeat Of Historical past
MUCH like PDP, which 16 years’ perch on the high echelon of federal politics ended on a contentious be aware in 2015, APGA in Anambra State goes spherical a vicious circle of intriguing divisions, subterfuge and conflicting judicial pronouncements.
It seems historical past is in a rush to repeat itself in Anambra State because the November 6 date for the governorship ballot attracts nearer. Alongside the infamous PDP, the 2 different mega events, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and APGA, are all enmeshed in candidate choice uncertainty and conflicting judicial rulings.
Inside the governing APGA, three factions emerged to provide three completely different governorship standard-bearers. Whereas it’s apparent that the outgoing governor, Obiano and Victor Oye favour the previous Central Financial institution of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, the 2 different factions led by Jude Okeke and Chief Edozie Njoku, have beneficial court docket rulings that encourage them.
The Jude Okeke faction just lately secured a ruling from the Jigawa State Excessive Courtroom, which ordered the Unbiased Nationwide Electoral Fee (INEC) to listing its candidate, Hon. Chukwuma Umeoji as APGA candidate for the election.
Nonetheless, shocked by the judicial ambush, Oye accused Okeke as an impostor and usurper, declaring that the renegade travelled to Birnin Kudu in Jigawa State to sue themselves and acquire a judgment in error in opposition to APGA and its genuine candidate, Soludo.
The State Excessive Courtroom, Awka, after listening to Oye’s arguments, ordered INEC to switch Umeoji’s title with that of Soludo, including that Okeke and Umeoji ought to cease parading themselves as chairman and governorship candidate of APGA respectively.
On their half, the Njoku faction cried foul, contending that Okeke dedicated perjury, forgery, and impersonation at Jigawa Excessive Courtroom when he claimed to be Deputy Nationwide Chairman (South) of APGA, in addition to the declare that he (Njoku) was suspended by the Nationwide Government Committee of the occasion as APGA nationwide chairman.
Additional, the Edozie Njoku hit again at Oye and Soludo, saying that the Federal Excessive Courtroom Awka in its ruling of July 1, 2021 by Justice H. Nganjiwa didn’t ask INEC to just accept Soludo’s title because the candidate of APGA for the November 6 governorship ballot.
In an announcement, the faction disclosed: “It has come to the discover of Chief Edozie Njoku that Prof. Charles Soludo and Chief Victor Oye have been going about claiming that Justice Nganjiwa of the Federal Excessive Courtroom Awka ordered that Prof. Soludo’s title be forwarded to INEC. That’s removed from the reality. Justice Nganjiwa had on 1st July 2021 ordered that the title of Chief Edozie Njoku be forwarded to INEC.
“It’s complicated that Oye and his group having now develop into uninterested in submitting circumstances throughout the nation and looking for an order to validate their illegality have now resorted to claiming orders that have been granted in favour of different folks.”
The Njoku faction additionally accused Oye of discussion board looking for amenable courts in a bid to validate its place. A few of the myriad court docket orders obtained, the Njoku faction said, embody, “Ezeokenwa Sylvester filed Swimsuit A/201 on the Awka Excessive Courtroom. Ezeokenwa is the Nationwide Authorized Adviser to Chief Oye.
*Sir Pete Ibida Member Home of Meeting filed Swimsuit A/202 with precisely comparable prayers as A/201. Pete Ibida is a member of the Home of Meeting for the Oye faction.
*Alhaji Abubakar Adamu filed Swimsuit BA/KTG/103/21 filed on the Bauchi Excessive Courtroom. Abubakar Adamu is the Deputy Nationwide Chairman North to Chief Oye.
* Ogbueshi Anthony Ogugua Eboka filed go well with HOR/25/2021 on the Delta State Excessive Courtroom Orerokpe. Chief Eboka is the Vice-Chairman South-South to Chief Oye.
*Deacon Samson Olalere filed Swimsuit I/512/2019 on the Oyo State Excessive Courtroom in opposition to Oye the place each of them acquired a consent judgment and he was rewarded by being appointed because the Chairman of the unlawful primaries that produced Prof Soludo.
*APGA v INEC Swimsuit FHC/AWK/39/21 is on the Federal Excessive Courtroom Awka. P. I. N Ikwueto appeared for APGA on this case and has been showing for the Oye/Soludo faction.
Whereas urging “related and applicable authorities to name Chief Victor Oye to order to cease abusing the courts and its processes by submitting a number of fits,” Njoku declared that point has come to separate fraud from the ridiculous machinations of doubtful characters, particularly people who solid his signature to acquire the Jigawa Excessive Courtroom judgment.
IN APC, some governorship aspirants within the June 26 governorship main of the occasion, Chief Maxwell Okoye and Dr. George Muoghalu, approached the court docket asking for the annulment of INEC’s itemizing of Senator Andy Uba because the occasion’s candidate.
Moghalu, in a go well with he filed on the Federal Excessive Courtroom, Abuja, averred that APC didn’t conduct a governorship main election on June 26, 2021 because it introduced. He subsequently prayed the court docket to order INEC to not recognise or listing any individual as APC’s governorship standard-bearer for the November 6 ballot.
Moghalu’s go well with, which was filed on his behalf by Chris Uche (SAN) on July 8, 2021, additionally prayed the court docket to “compel INEC to delist the title of Uba and APC from among the many listing of political events and gubernatorial candidates for the November 6 election or any subsequent postponement.”
The plaintiff deposed to a 40-paragraph affidavit in help of the go well with, at the same time as he sustained his declare that the APC didn’t conclude the choice and nomination course of for its candidate, which it began with the sale of expression of curiosity and nomination types.
Moghalu adopted up with a movement exparte he filed on July 13, 2021, the place he requested the court docket for an order for expeditious listening to of the go well with, “in order to not deny him justice,” at the same time as he prayed the court docket to declare that Uba just isn’t a candidate within the forthcoming ballot, having didn’t emerge via a main as APC didn’t adjust to the provisions of the regulation.
FOR PDP, it’s again to a effectively travelled highway. The occasion is troubled by the conduct of a parallel main that produced two candidates, Mr. Valentine Ozigbo and Senator Ugochukwu Uba.
Each candidates procured court docket judgments asking INEC to recognise it because the bonafide standard-bearer of PDP for the forthcoming November 6 ballot. However a twist within the conflicting judgments, when PDP via its nationwide publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, accused the Justice O. A. Nwabunike of conniving with Uba to abort justice.
Within the assertion by Ologbondiyan, PDP demanded the Choose to launch the copy of his judgment to allow it attraction in opposition to it, stressing that the choose plots to “derail the course of justice by making away with the case file on the Senator Ugochukwu UBA Vs PDP & Ors go well with.”
The occasion remarked that earlier than continuing on annual trip, the choose took away the case file and the judgment “in a determined bid to frustrate an attraction in opposition to his judgment on PDP Anambra State governorship main election.”
A part of the assertion reads: “Barely 24 hours after Senator Uba instituted the go well with, Justice Nwabunike curiously granted an ex parte injunction restraining INEC from finishing up their constitutional responsibility and likewise abridged the time inside which the Defendants are legally obliged to file their defence from 42 days to solely 3 days in violation of Order 16 Rule 1(2) of the Anambra State Excessive Courtroom (Civil Process) Guidelines 2019.
“Regardless of the apparent hardship created by this unusual ex parte order, the choose, on the day of the listening to, being the sixteenth of July 2021, denied the defendants time to answer the processes served on them and proceeded with the listening to of the Plaintiff’s case.
“Whatever the 180 days offered by the structure for the listening to and dedication of pre-election issues, the Honorable Courtroom rapidly concluded proceedings and delivered judgment inside 14 days.”
The occasion subsequently urged Justice O.A Nwabunike to right away launch the case file, noting that “the compromises within the case are already recognized to the general public, particularly the folks of Anambra State.”
Though the affect of cash and inner occasion recriminations compound governorship elections in Anambra State, the judiciary has all the time had the ultimate say on who turns into governor. Will the 2021 train comply with the identical sample? Nigerians can solely wait and see.