It is becoming glaring that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has not learnt its lessons in its failure to heed strictly to constitutionalism and democratic ethos while conducting its affairs, particularly primary elections.
The charade spewing out from Anambra State, where a governorship primary election is supposed to take place to produce a candidate for the forthcoming November 6 governorship election, is reminiscent of what happened in Zamfara State on the eve of the 2019 general election.
There is no gainsaying the fact that the ruling party, under the caretaker leadership of Governor Mai Mala Buni, is dangerously transmuting into the Comrade Adams Oshiomhole-led APC, baring its venomous fangs on the party’s internal democracy and rule of law.
The chairman of the Anambra State APC Primary Elections Committee, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, on Saturday, presided over the most wicked and callous imposition of a candidate on the party and the good people of Anambra State, thereby railroading Anambra into the Zamfara way.
It is clear that both Governors Buni and Abiodun have successfully cherry-picked Oshiomhole’s draconian-style party primaries to impose their chosen candidate, carefully feigning ignorance of the aftermath of that singular self-destructive action.
Let Buni and Abiodun be reminded that the script they are clandestinely playing in Anambra today was once played in Zamfara and resulted in the sacking of all the 34 APC candidates, comprising a governor, deputy governor, three senators, House of Representatives and House of Assembly members, who contested and won the elections only to be thrown out by the Supreme Court in a case instituted by by G-9, a coalition of APC aspirants, who were shortchanged and denied level playing ground at the primates.
The Supreme Court had, on May 24, ruled that the APC did not conduct valid primaries in the build-up to the 2019 general election in Zamfara.
The apex court validated the judgement of the Court of Appeal, Sokoto Division, which ruled that no valid primaries were conducted by the APC in Zamfara State.
The highest court in the country, in a unanimous judgement by a five-member panel, had decided that APC that had no valid candidate cannot be said to have emerged winner of the elections.
The Zamfara scenario is playing out today with 11 of the 14 governorship aspirants of APC in Anambra saying that the June 26 governorship primary in the state did not hold.
Managing director of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Dr. George Moghalu, who is the spokesperson for the G-11 aspirants, told a press conference on Saturday in Awka, the Anambra State capital, that no primaries were held.
Moghalu said, in all the 326 electoral wards of the state, people came out but were disappointed, saying that none of the APC team saddled with the responsibility to conduct the primary and the Independent National Electoral Commission’s officials were seen.
Two other aspirants, Mr. Paul Orajiaka and Mr. Edozie Madu, corroborated Moghalu’s position, warning that the era when one man would come up with fake figures to claim victory was gone for good.
Other aspirants at the press conference were Johnbosco Onunkwo, Ben Etiaba, Amobi Nwaokafor, Chidozie Nwankwo, Geoffo Onyjegbu and Azuka Okwuosa, among others.
The Anambra G-11 position was corroborated by the leader of the APC in Anambra State and Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Chris Ngige, in a statement on Saturday.
Ngige said that, as of 4:25pm on Saturday, there was no sign of any primary going on at his native Alor, which had two electoral wards.
“My inquiries and investigation show that the story is the same all around the 326 wards of the 21 local government areas in the state,” the minister said.
“As a result, most party members left for home, having waited since 8am. I discussed with your member, Distinguished Senator Ken Nnamani, and I’ll advise you call the panel members to shift the exercise to Tuesday, June 29, to also enable you tidy up some issues raised by aspirants,” Ngige said.
It was clear that Governor Abiodun came to Anambra to execute a hatchet job. Many stakeholders were circumvented when he promised to conduct a free and fair primaries during the stakeholders’ meeting at Hilton Leisure Hotel, Awka.
Many observers who have been following his antecedents refused to accept his statement as the whole truth, having known him politically. They argued that a leopard never changes its spots. Integrity is what he lacks. And it is obvious.
They were vindicated when, on Saturday, party delegates were allowed to stay under the sun across the 326 electoral wards with no election materials or election panel officials to conduct the primary. Starved and disappointed, the delegates dispersed.
Surprisingly, Abiodun later appeared under the cover of Golden Tulip and arbitrarily awarded scores to each aspirant and announced his anointed candidate, Mr. Andy Ubah, as winner.
Unlike the practice where journalists are allowed to cover all the processes of the primary election, Abiodun didn’t allow that. He simply barred journalists from covering his premeditated illegality.
But all these are never surprising. Those who know Abiodun say he never abides by the book. Thus, expecting him to go by the book in Anambra is an impossibility. It is like squashing water from the rock of Gibraltar. Those who picked him for the job know that well. His selection for Anambra was not an accident. He was picked to perpetrate a hatchet job.
When he ran as the APC senatorial candidate (Ogun East) in 2015, he claimed to have attended the University of Ife, Ile-Ife, graduating in 1986, and Kennesaw State University, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. (1989) in his INEC form CF001, backed by an affidavit he swore to at the high court, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
In another claim, Abiodun told Seun Okinbaloye in a Channels Television interview in December 2018 that he never claimed to have gotten a degree from Obafemi Awolowo University. He claimed to have been a student of the institution but didn’t graduate from the school.
It is hoped that voices of wisdom from the party would see reason and end this Abiodun-manufactured charade to save the party from apparent destruction.
•Obi, public affairs analyst, sent this piece from Onitsha, Anambra State