•Uba wins APC ticket, party elders insist no primary held
•PDP parades two candidates, Ozigbo, Ugochukwu Uba
•INEC keeps mum, awaits report
•Soludo, Ozigbo, Uba brothers, Agbasimelo, others square up for poll
By Clifford Ndujihe, Vincent Ujumadu, Olayinka Ajayi & James Ogunnaike
THE Anambra political atmosphere was astir, Sunday, as high-wire intrigues, controversies and drama hallmarked the governorship primaries of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Two of the three Uba brothers – Senators Andy Uba and Ugochukwu Uba, emerged as candidates. While Ugochukwu became a parallel candidate of the PDP, Andy picked the ticket of the APC as party elders claimed no primary was held in the state and called for a repeat exercise.
Ugochukwu Uba won the primary organised by the Chukwudi Umeaba-led faction of the PDP held at Paul University Complex, Awka. He scored 275 votes of the 665 votes cast to emerge as winner of the faction as announced by Obidi Ebede, chairman of the electoral panel.
Another aspirant, Godwin Ezeemo, polled 114 votes to emerge second, while Senator Uche Ekwunife was third with 56 votes and Obiora Okonkwo got 44 votes.
Others aspirants were Godwin Maduka 22, Jonny Maduafokwa 27, Chris Azubogu, Valentine Ozigbo, and Ifedi Okwenna got two votes each, while Walter Okeke had 42 votes.
However, Chief Valentine Ozigbo, the immediate past President and former Group CEO of Transcorp Plc, won the PDP ticket in another primary held at the Women Development Centre, Awka.
With the emergence of the candidates, the shape of the November 6 governorship election is taking form.
Former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, CBN, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, had on Thursday won the ticket of the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA. And Obiora Emmanuel Agbasimelo also picked the Labour Party, LP, ticket, last week.
INEC awaits report
Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, declined comments on the controversial primaries and candidates, saying it was still waiting for the reports of the various exercises.
INEC Commissioner/Chairman Information and Voter Education, Dr Festus Okoye, speaking on Channels Television said: ”We have to wait to get the report of the priamries in Anambra.
“I am not in the position to talk on the process followed because the constitution of the party determines the guidelines. Conduct of primaries is within the party’s constitution.”
How Andy Ubah won APC ticket
The former Senator who represented Anambra South Senatorial District, Andy Ubah, was declared winner of the APC governorship primary contested by 13 other aspirants.
Declaring the results of the exercise, yesterday morning, at the Golden Tulips Hotel, Agulu, Anambra State, the Chairman of the Anambra State Primary Election Committee and Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, said Senator Ubah polled 230,201 votes out of the 348,490 ballots, to defeat his closest rival, Onunkwo Johnbosco who got 28,746 votes.
Abiodun said election took place in 20 of the 21 local councils of the state, noting that election could not hold in Onitsha South due to the failure of the returning officers to conduct the election after collecting election materials from the Committee’s Secretariat.
The governor further disclosed that an Option A-4 method was adopted in the election, and blamed the delay in the conduct of the election as scheduled on the failure of the contestants to supply 30 of their representatives as directed by the Committee.
According to him, only nine aspirants supplied their representatives to the Committee as of 9a.m on Saturday.
Abiodun explained that despite the minor hiccups, returning officers, backed by security escorts were posted to all the 326 Wards in the state, declaring that “the process was free, fair, transparent and in line with the party’s guidelines, as promised by this Committee”.
The election committee chairman, however, debunked insinuations from some of the contestants that the exercise was deliberately delayed, pointing out that his committee only needed to be thorough and transparent.
He added that the minor delay was not the fault of the Committee or that of the party members but that of logistics.
Abiodun thanked party members and all stakeholders, especially the Committee members, who according to him, were carefully chosen for the task, and urged on all hands to be on deck to ensure victory for the party in the coming governorship election.
APC elders’ forum seek cancellation of result, insist no primary election held
However, the APC Elders Forum in the state, led by Chief Innocent Obi, said that general reports from all over the state indicated that no primary took place, that there were no election officials and materials at any of the designated locations for the primary election.
In a statement issued and signed by the Director of Media and Publicity of the Forum, Chief Joe Offorkansi tiled “Re-Towards a credible APC Primary Election in Anambra state”, the elders noted that reports all over the media and complaints by virtually all the governorship aspirants over the June 26,2021 primary election which didn’t hold anywhere because “till 6pm on June 26,2021, no official or materials had come even till date.
“The picture of the general complain depicts the existence of undemocratic practices in the said primary election, as numerous reports indicated that election was not held in any of the 326 wards in the state.
“The charade could least be described by anyone as fair, credible or acceptable by any of the thousands of our party members who trooped our to cast their votes for any of the 14 aspirants.
“This therefore painted any reported outcome of the primary election as dubious because in actual fact there was no primary election.
‘’We, the members of the APC Elders Forum in the state call on the National and state executives to urgently review the primary election and create a medium for appropriate measures to be taken in ensuring that all aspirants re-align their commitment to the party for unity of purpose.
Chief Bona Oraekwe, a former member of the Anambra State House of Assembly saw the primary election as “an attempt to destabilize the party to lose the November 6, 2021 governorship election in the state.”
Labour and Employment Minister, Senator Chris Ngige, weekend, made a similar complaint, saying that as of 7pm on Saturday, no primary had been held in any of the 326 wards and urged the APC hierarchy to fix another date for the exercise.