INEC rejects primary that produces Uba as candidateAt a time when Anambra people are expressing surprise at the emergence of two rival candidates on the platforms of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has shocked the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The electoral umpire, in a report by its Election and Party Monitoring (EPM) Department, testified that contrary to the results announced by the Governor Dapo Abiodun-led Anambra Governorship Election Committee, no primary held in the state on Saturday, June 26.
In the document, signed by Ibe U. Ibe (Head); Nkechi Abuh, (Assistant Director) and Modibo Bellel (Principal Executive Officer), the EPM stated that the purported primary, which produced Senator Andy Uba as its winner, was non-existent.
The report, which was submitted by the commission’s monitoring team dispatched for the APC primary, stopped short of invalidating the exercise.
Thirteen aspirants, led by Dr. George Moghalu, alongside the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, had cried out that materials for the primary were not seen at any of the 326 wards in the 21 local councils of the state as at 4:35p.m. on the said date.
Going by INEC timetable for the November 6, 2021 gubernatorial contest, today is final day for conduct of primaries by parties wishing to participate in the poll.
None of the officers of APC at the party’s secretariat could speak on the development, which came barely 24 hours after the Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) set up the Anambra State Governorship Primary Appeal Committee.
It is also not known whether the party would stick with the disputed primary result by upholding Uba as its standard-bearer, but how far the INEC report would go to affect APC’s fortunes in the election proper remains a matter of conjecture.
Contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, declared: “As of today (yesterday), INEC has not disqualified any political party/candidate for the November 6 Anambra governorship election.
“INEC deployed officials for the primary and the monitoring team was expected to write a report on what they saw and send to the headquarters. The commission will then consider the report and take a decision on that. So far, the commission has not disqualified any political party for the Anambra governorship election.”
Similarly, the National Commissioner in charge of Publicity and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, clarified that the timetable stipulated that political parties were obligated to conduct their primaries and resolve disputes between June 10 and July 1.
Uba had reportedly scored 230,201 out of 348,490 accredited voters. One of the aggrieved contestants, Moghalu, had told reporters in Abuja last Tuesday that he would “do everything within my ability and the law to ensure that the travesty orchestrated by Prince Dapo Abiodun and his team did not stand.”
He said he expected the APC national leadership and “all those in our party, who still believe in the promise of democracy, good governance and committed to protecting respect for electoral processes and the rule of law to act now, by ensuring that a properly conducted primary was held.”