One of the aspirants in the disputed June 26 primary election of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr George Moghalu, has dragged his party before the Abuja division of the Federal High Court, over what he called the ‘inconclusive process’ which produced another candidate, Senator Andy Uba as winner ahead of the November 6 Governorship poll in Anambra State.
Moghalu claimed the APC failed to conduct a valid primary election for the selection\nomination of the party’s candidate in the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State, describing the process as ‘inconclusive.’
Moghalu, who is also Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), had acted as spokesman for the 14 aspirants who contested for the ticket of the APC during its controversial June 26 primary where he had carpeted the party for conducting a sham election, as he insisted that no election took place or was conducted.
It would be recalled that Andy Uba clinched the ticket of the party for the November 6 governorship election during the primary overseen by the Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, who announced that Uba polled 230,201 votes to beat 13 other aspirants and emerge the party’s governorship candidate.
However, spokesman for the other aspirants and Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Dr George Moghalu, lamented that the June 26 governorship primary in the state did not hold.
Moghalu, in the suit dated and filed July 8, 2021 by his lawyer, Mr. Chris Uche, SAN, further asked the court to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to delist the name of Uba and the APC from among the list of political parties and gubernatorial candidates for the November 6 election or any subsequent postponement.
According to him, in a suit marked FHC\ABJ\CS\648\2021, the court should declare that the APC failed to conduct a valid primary election in line with the provisions of the 1999 constitution as amended, the Electoral Act and the APC’s constitution and guidelines for election, while further demanding the sum of N122.5 million from the party being damages from losses incurred and also representing the refund of payment for the expression of interest form and nomination form obtained from the political platform.
In the suit, Moghalu is also praying the court to order the APC to pay him N100 million as ‘exemplary and general damages for the breach of contract to commence and conclude primary election and or breach of Section 87 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) and the regulations and guidelines of the political party.’
Parts of the relief sought included a declaration by the court that the APC has no candidate to field in the November 6 governorship poll in Anambra State having failed to conduct a valid primary in line with the law.
Also that the court should declare that Mr. Andy Uba is not a candidate in the forthcoming election because the said primary that produced him as candidate of the APC did not comply with the provisions of the law.
The Plaintiff, in the motion exparte dated and filed July 13, 2021, also prayed the court to make an order for the expeditious hearing of the suit so as not to deny him justice.
Defendants in the suit are the All Progressives Congress, the Independent National Electoral Commission and Mr. Andy Uba.
In a 40-page paragraph affidavit, he deposed to back the suit, the plaintiff (Moghalu) amongst others is claiming that the APC failed to conclude the selection and nomination process for its candidate in the November 6 governorship poll, which it started with the sale of expression of interest and nomination forms.
According to him, the APC had chosen to adopt the direct mode of electing its candidate for the Anambra governorship poll hence the publishing of a list of designated venues in each of the 326 wards in the state for holding of the primary election slated for June 26, 2021.
Moghalu stated that after his submissions of the forms and subsequent clearance by the screening committee that was led by Mr. Ikechi Emenike, he went on to vigorously campaign in all the 326 wards in the state where party members are expected to vote for the candidate of their choice.
He added that on June 25, 2021, a day to the conclusion of the primary election, he heard that an electoral committee led by the Ogun State Governor, Mr. Dapo Abiodun, would address all aspirants and stakeholders in Anambra at the Hilton Leisure Hotel, Awka.
Moghalu said in his affidavit that the committee promised to conduct a free and fair election, adding that the process would commence with accreditation of voters, actual voting and collation of votes, then announcement of results.
“Shockingly, on June 26, 2021, the said election committee was not seen anywhere in Anambra; no accreditation of voters took place; no voting and collation of votes occurred in all the 326 wards of Anambra State.
“The committee only re-appeared the next day in a hotel at Agulu, Anambra State and announced election results it did not conduct, and which fakery was credited to the third defendant as the winner of the primary election scheduled for emergence as APC’s candidate in the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State.”
The APC chieftain further claimed that the party did not invite the INEC in line with the law to attend and monitor the election.
He also stated that in line with party regulations he filed an appeal against the conduct of the primary, and the Appeal Panel led by Gombe State Governor, Mr. Inuwa Yahaya, came to the conclusion that there was no valid election and that the panel would void the result announced by the electoral committee.
“That from the foregoing facts, I have suffered loss and damage and I pray this court to grant the reliefs sought by me as per the originating summons,” Moghalu said.
It would also be recalled that during a press conference called by Muoghalu, Saturday in Awka, same day as the controversial primary held, the APC chieftain asserted that ‘in the 326 electoral Wards of the state, people came out, but were disappointed.’
“None of the APC team saddled with the responsibility to conduct the primary and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials were seen. Anybody who claimed that there was primary is fraudulent and did not wish APC well in the November 6 election,”Muoghalu said.
Paul Orajiaka and Edozie Madu, both aspirants, corroborated the position of Muoghalu and warned that the era when one man would come up with fake figure to claim victory is over.
The aspirants, however, appealed to the party leadership to come up with a fresh date for the Anambra primary to ensure that the party beat the deadline in the Electoral Act.
Other aspirants at the event include; Azuka Okwuosa, Ben Etiaba, Ojifor Onyjegbu, Johnbosco Onunkwo, Amobi Nwaokafor, Chidozie Nwankwo, and others.
Corroborating the position of the 14 aspirants, the APC Anambra State Publicity Secretary, Okelo Madukaife, said the party chapter has nothing to do with the primary purportedly conducted on Saturday, as it further disassociated itself from the outcome of the poll.
In a statement, Sunday, Madukaife, confirmed that there was no primary election in the state, even as he expressed the hope that the national body of the party consider the proposal by Minister of Labor and Employment, Chief Chris Ngige, for a June 28 appropriate primary.
“Our attention has been drawn to a set of figures circulating on the internet without signature or attribution and purported to be Anambra APC primaries results.
“The figures do not owe to Anambra State APC Primaries which did not hold and for which we look forward to the Caretaker National Executive of our great party to choose a new date within INEC timetable.
“The leader of our great party in Anambra State and Minister of Labour & Employment, Sen (Dr.) Chris Nwabueze Ngige has proposed Tuesday, June 29, 2021, for the primary to hold, and we recommend that it should be considered.
“In the time being, the figures should be discarded and discountenanced as they are figments of fertile imagination, with the potential of being fatal.”
Of the three political parties with a strong chance of winning the November 6 Governorship election in Anambra, only the APC had until now remained the party without court litigation trailing its own primary poll, as both the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are embroiled in multiple court suits and counter-suits.
Meanwhile, the APC only last Sunday, constituted a reconciliatory committee headed by the governor of Lagos, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his Kwara State counterpart, Alhaji AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq to intervene in the contentious June 26 primary.
A statement by Sen. John Akpanudoedehe, National Secretary APC Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), last Sunday, July 11, in Abuja, said Sanwo-Olu and AbdulRahman will be tasked with unifying the party ahead of the November 6 election following the recently concluded party primary.
“The CECPC has appointed the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-olu and the Governor of Kwara, Alhaji AbdulRasaq AbdulRahman to unify and strengthen the party in the state ahead of the elections.
“The two party leaders are charged with the responsibility of bringing together all the erstwhile aspirants and their supporters to join the campaign organisation of the party and achieve victory for it in the state,” he said.