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Opinion: Anambra 2021: The Insurmountable Legal Challenges of Andy Uba’s Governorship Quest

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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.

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Court Sentences Dismissed Sergeant to Death by Hanging for Killing Driver over N100

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A High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has sentenced a dismissed police sergeant, James Imhalu, to death by hanging for the murder of a commercial driver in 2015 over his refusal to pay a bribe of N100.

Justice Elsie Thompson, while delivering her judgment, said evidence before the court showed that the sacked sergeant intentionally fired a shot at the commercial driver, Legbara David, at Whimpey Junction, Port Harcourt.

Justice Thompson described Imhalu as a serial trigger-happy policeman who should not be allowed to remain in the society.

The prosecution counsel, Kingsley Briggs, said the judgement would serve as succour to the deceased’s family.

“Although the will of justice grinds slowly, surely justice will come.

“For the family of those that lost their breadwinner, it is quite unfortunate. But I believe this judgement will serve as succour to the family,” he stated.

On his part, a representative of the Legal Aid Council in Rivers State, who defended the sergeant, Mr Awaji, said his team would study the judgement to know the next line of action.

He said, “Today’s judgement I will say is justice for the people of Rivers State.

“Despite the fact that I represented the defendant, my analysis of the case when I came into the matter, I would say, I saw it coming.

“Having listened to the judgement, currently, there is no plan to go on appeal. But by the time we look at the judgement in-depth, perhaps we will find grounds for appeal. But as it is, there is no plan to go on appeal.”

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LASTMA Denies Involvement in Burning of Bus, Warns Against Attack on Personnel

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The Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) has denied reports making the rounds that its personnel were involved in the burning of a bus at the Obanikoro bus stop, Ikorodu Road. The Authority, while asking residents to desist from attacking LASTMA officials, stated that the report was the handiwork of an uninformed blogger.

Buttressing the facts of the matter in a statement signed by the Asst. Director, Public Affairs, Filade Olumide, and made available to the National Association of Online Security News Publishers (NAOSNP), the Authority hinted that “LASTMA Management after due diligence on the video, sympathise with the vehicle owner, but categorically deny complicity of any of its officers in the incidence portrayed on the video” while regretting that “…one of the LASTMA patrol officers offering helping hand with the burning vehicle was severely injured by uncalled-for mob action which seems to be occurring nowadays at the slightest alarm.”

The statement also condemned the shallow portrayal of the allegation as the picture evidence did not depict the allegation against its officials.

“The video report lacked pictorial evidence of LASTMA officers’ complicity; those interviewed were neither eye witnesses nor people directly involved in the incident, rather, they were people living within the inside street, close to the scene of the incidence on Ikorodu Road. Their evidences were hear-says’ and limited to after the arrival of security agencies officials to maintain law and order, after attacks on one of the LASTMA officials and also the Fire Fighters that were there to render assistance in putting out the fire in the vehicle,” the statement read.

It added that:

“LASTMA officials do not operate within side street and over time, the State Government has announced zero tolerance to attack on its officials while performing their duties as enshrined in the laws or as directed.

“We wish to reiterate that LASTMA personnel must not be attacked/assaulted while performing their duties or rendering service to the public.

“The LASTMA management also use this opportunity to advise reporters/bloggers to endeavour to conduct proper investigation and present facts rather than sentiments in their reportage for a peaceful and orderly society.”

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Ondo Amotekun Arrests Suspected Masterminds of Owo Church Massacre

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The Ondo State Security Network Agency, codenamed “Amotekun Corps” has confirmed that some suspects have been arrested in connection with the terrorist attack on St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo.

The suspected terrorists invaded the church on June 5, killing no fewer than 40 people and injuring many other worshippers.

The state Commander of Amotekun, Adetunji Adeleye, on Thursday said some suspects had been arrested in connection with the killing.

He stated this while parading some 71 men who were arrested for various criminal activities across the state.

He, however, did not give the actual figure of the suspected terrorists arrested, but expressed assurance that all the attackers of the worship centre would be apprehended.

The Amotekun boss said, “As regards the Owo incident, we have recovered the last vehicle they used for that operation and we made some arrests, and we have also recovered some vital things which we are working on.

“A number of people have been arrested concerning the Owo issue as well as a number of equipment. On that day, we pursued them to the point that we recovered the vehicle and we are still pursuing them. We have told you that until we get to the root, I can assure you that the perpetrators and their sponsors will be brought to book.”

On the 71 suspected criminals paraded at the headquarters of the command in Akure, the state capital, Adeleye explained that the suspects were arrested within the last one month for various offenses ranging from armed robbery, cattle rustling, kidnapping, raping, fraud and human trafficking.

“The 71 suspects were picked while committing offences and others were tracked to their hideouts in the forests. We have been able to get a cartel that specialises in stealing and dismantling motorbikes which we all know as okada. Also, we were able to recover over 50 bikes during the operation from these criminals.

“We also got reports from some herdsmen that their cattle were stolen. We went after them and brought the cows back to the Fulani herdsmen that owned the cow. We have a group of small boys who are under 18-year old that turned themselves into a cartel of criminals in a particular local government in Ondo State and armed themselves. They actually belong to a cult group called ‘Agbado’. We were able to arrest 12 out of the 17 members.

“We have about three to four suspected kidnappers and we intend to take most of these suspects, especially the ones we have concluded their investigations to the DPP and for their onward prosecution in court.”

He assured the people of the state that the corps would not rest on its oars until it rids the state of criminal elements, saying, “there is no hiding place for them. They turned the heat on us and we have also turned the heat on them.”

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