By Leonard Vin Chukwuma
The governorship quest of Mr. Andy Uba appears to be an impossible dream. It may as well be an impossible dream going by the rules and guidelines of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), and the current direct legal challenges to Mr. Uba’s candidacy. Mr. Andy Uba, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate is facing insurmountable legal battles that border on legitimacy and fitness.
The Federal High Court in Abuja is set to deliver judgment on December 20, 2021 in a suit challenging the declaration of Andy Uba as the governorship candidate of the APC party for the forthcoming November 6, 2021 governorship election in Anambra State. Mr. Andy Uba was declared the APC governorship candidate on June 26, 2021 after a purported primary election. However, Mr. George Moghalu, a governorship aspirant running under the APC banner is challenging the outcome of said primary, and Mr. Uba’s candidacy. He claims that APC did not hold a valid primary in Anambra State. This has been confirmed by officials of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) who said that a primary election did not hold till 5.30pm when the INEC officials left the venue.
Under INEC’s regulation for the conduct of political party primaries, the regulation is that all primaries be direct or indirect primaries, and that all primaries of political parties must be held in the presence of officials of INEC who will make a determination that the primaries have been conducted in compliance of the Nigerian constitution, the Electoral Act 2010, and INEC regulation for the conduct of party primaries.
Clearly, the APC party primaries that supposedly produced Andy Uba as the party’s flag bearer was not held in the presence of INEC officials, and therefore was not in compliance with the Nigerian constitution, Electoral Act 2010, and INEC’s regulation. If the party primaries that produced a candidate was not held in the presence of INEC officials, that party’s primaries did not hold, and that makes the candidacy of Andy Uba illegitimate, and null and void.
The party is therefore taking a big risk by going full steam ahead while placing hopes on Mr. Andy Uba’s candidacy in the November 6 poll, when the Court is set to rule on the matter on December 20. All evidence suggests that APC party primaries did not take place, and when the court rules against him, and officially declares the candidacy null and void, it will throw the APC party and their chance to hold the governor’s office into total disarray.
Anambra state cannot afford to throw itself into the chaos experienced by Rivers State in 2007 when the Supreme Court ruled that Governor Celestine Omehia was illegitimate and that Mr. Rotimi Amaechi who never participated in the election, was the rightful winner of the elections. Coincidentally, Mr. George Moghalu is Mr. Amaechi’s candidate in the race, and Mr. Moghalu has legal standing to challenge Mr. Uba’s candidacy so there is a distinct possibility that the Federal High Court will rule in favour of Mr. George Moghalu, therefore invalidating Mr. Andy Uba’s candidacy. It is also a distinct possibility that Mr. Rotimi Amaechi is advising and guiding Mr. Moghalu, and there is a plan to implement the 2007 strategy Mr. Amaechi used to come into the governor’s office without contesting or even having his name on the ballot.
Apart from the challenge of the legitimacy of Mr. Andy Uba on the APC governorship ticket, he is also facing a legal challenge based on the claim that he submitted forged certificates to INEC. In 2017, a report was published that a document was obtained from West African Examinations Council (WAEC) which declared that Andy Uba forged his secondary school certificate, as well as his “confirmation result” which he had presented to British authorities. He also falsified the grades he earned in secondary school on his fake WAEC result.
In a letter dated February 12, 2014 and addressed to the attention of George Smith of Public Agencies, located at 57 Peel Road, Wembley Middlesex, HA9 7LY in the United Kingdom, WAEC stated, “Letter reference no. L/CR/CONF/05465089 dated 21st November, 2013 is fake.” WAEC further said regarding Mr. Uba’s purported certificate, “Mr. A.A. Okelezo, as you rightly observed, reported as the Controller of our branch office in Calabar on 7th October, 2013 having been deployed from the Ikeja Zonal Office. He was never the Head of National Office, as indicated at the foot of the letter under reference. The signature on the document is in no way similar to his signature.”
Mr. Uba’s real results, as certified by WAEC in its letter to Mr. Smith, showed that Mr. Uba performed woefully, scoring “credit” in only one subject, Chemistry. He failed Bible Knowledge, English Literature, and Economics. He earned grades of mere “pass,” which are one step to an outright “fail,” in the following subjects: English Language, Statistics, Mathematics, Physics, and Biology. By contrast, Mr. Uba’s falsified results claimed that he earned the following grades: English Literature 4, English Language 7, Christian Religious Knowledge 7, Economics 4, Statistics 6, Mathematics 6, Physics 4, and Chemistry 6. Reports say that Mr. Uba submitted his falsified WAEC result to INEC.
These legal challenges are insurmountable and make the candidacy of Mr. Uba a shaky affair that can throw Anambra into untold massive chaos with a constitutional crisis to boot if he is elected governor of the state.
Another legal/legality hurdle Mr. Andy Uba faces is that the national party chairman of APC who is currently a sitting governor is serving illegally in the role in the sense that a sitting governor of a state cannot hold another role such as the national party chair of a political party. This automatically invalidates him and disqualifies anyone he nominates to INEC, such as Mr. Andy Uba as governorship candidate of APC in Anambra State. A Supreme Court ruling in July, 2021 in the Ondo State Government race affirmed that according to section 183 of the Nigerian constitution, “the governor shall not, during the period when he holds office, hold any other executive office or paid employment in any capacity whatsoever”. It therefore implies that the current APC national chairman who is the current governor of Yobe state, Mr. Mai Mala Buni is holding the position of APC national chairman illegally, and so this illegality invalidates his role as chairman, and consequently invalidates his nomination of Mr. Andy Uba as the party’s flagbearer for the governorship race.
With a basket full of valid legal challenges to Mr. Uba’s candidacy at play, he is dreaming an impossible dream. To ensure that his impossible dream does not turn into a nightmare for the people of Anambra and its future, every Anambra voter needs to avoid voting for the APC ticket in the gubernatorial election of November 6, 2021.
Leonard Vin Chukwuka is a political analyst who writes from Abuja.