A FRESH crisis has hit the All Progressives Congress (APC) over the party’s failure to win the Anambra governorship election.
A group of party stakeholders on November 11 demanded the immediate resignation of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) led by Yobe State governor Mai Mala Buni, which has been running the affairs of the APC in the absence of a National Working Committee (NWC).
APC candidate in the Anambra gubernatorial poll Andy Uba finished a distant third with 43,285 votes.
Candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) Chukwuma Soludo won the election with 112,229 votes while Valentine Ozigbo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) came second with 53,807 votes.
Uba, the APC candidate, did not win any local government area in the election.
Ozigbo of the PDP and candidate of the Young Progressives Party (YPP) Ifeanyi Ubah – who finished fourth – won one local government area each.
Some APC stakeholders are blaming the Buni-led caretaker committee for the party’s poor showing in the Anambra election.
Speaking for a group of APC stakeholders at a press conference in Abuja on November 11 a party member Ayo Oyalowo said the Buni-led caretaker committee was responsible for the party’s failure to ‘win an election it had every chance of winning’.
The stakeholders declared that the caretaker committee had failed and should therefore resign immediately.
“Another crystal clear evidence of the failure of the caretaker committee is the outcome of the Anambra gubernatorial election.
“While it is sad that the APC came a dismal third in an election it had every chance of winning, it would have been a magic if the party had performed better than it did, especially considering that the candidate of the party Senator Andy Uba emerged through a process that was completely strange to the ideals of the APC,” Oyawolo said.
The stakeholders also blamed the caretaker committee for the emergence of factions in several state chapters of the APC, a development which led to parallel ward, local government and state congresses.
The group said the caretaker committee “conducted what is arguably the worst ward, local government and state congresses since the formation of the party in 2013”.
Oyawole added that the congresses, rather than putting the party on strong footings has created further divisions and disenchantment among party members.
APC acting spokesman, National Secretary of the caretaker committee Akpan John Udoedeghe did not respond to The ICIR’s enquiries concerning the fresh crisis in the party.
Udoedeghe asked The ICIR’s correspondent to send an SMS when he was contacted on the telephone.
But he has not replied the SMS that was sent to him as of the time of filing this report.
* Imposition, impunity cost APC Anambra election… VON DG, party chieftain
However, an APC chieftain Director General of the Voice of Nigeria (VON) Osita Okechukwu told The ICIR that a combination of ‘imposition’ and ‘impunity’ led to the party’s loss in the Anambra gubernatorial poll.
Chairman of the APC primary election committee, Ogun State governor Dapo Abiodun had in Awka on June 26 announced Andy Uba as the party’s candidate for the Anambra governorship election.
Abiodun declared that Uba got 230, 201 out of 348, 490 votes cast in the Anambra APC governorship primary election at Tulip Hotel.
Votes for 13 other contestants in the primary election, as announced by Abiodun are: Johnbosco Onunkwo, 28, 746, Chidozie Nwankwo 21, 281, George Moghalu 18, 596, Paul Orajiaka 4, 348, Geoff Onyejeagbu 3, 414, Azuka Okwuosa 17, 189 Nwokafor Daniel 3, 335, Ikoobasi Mokelu 3, 727, Kwebuike Ifeanyi 1, 466, Godwin Okonkwo 5, 907, Ben Etiaba 4, 244, Edozie Madu 3, 636 and Maxwell Okoye 2,540.
Although it was declared that Uba scored 230, 201 votes in the APC primary election, he only got 43, 285 votes in the main governorship election.
VON DG Okechukwu, in an interview with The ICIR, observed that Uba was imposed on the Anambra State chapter of the party as the the APC governorship candidate.
Okechukwu, who spoke on the telephone, said the imposition was done with impunity.
Analysing the factors that led to the party’s poor showing in the election, the VON DG, a former spokesman of the APC in the South-East, said, “Imposition impunity. Imposition cost us the Anambra election. Not just the imposition but the impunity of the imposition. It was a very disastrous outing that we could not win even one local government. It was a very bad outing.”
But in the same breathe Okechukwu said the development was not enough to warrant calls for the resignation of the Buni-led caretaker committee.
“The imposition of Senator Andy Uba did not help matters but the caretaker committee has done some good work, we can’t throw away the baby with the bath water,” he said.
According to him, the party was in disarray when the caretaker committee came on board.
He said the committee was able to pick up the pieces and ‘stabilise’ the party.
Okechukwu noted that the caretaker committee has started a reconciliation process following the parallel congresses recorded in several states.
He added, “The Anambra misadventure does not mean that the Buni committee is a total failure. If they go and you bring another committee they will start afresh.”
“The committee should be allowed to finish the harmonisation and then call for a national convention.”
* Court to deliver judgment on Andy Uba’s APC ticket in December
Although the Anambra governorship election has already been decided, an Abuja Federal High Court would on December 20 deliver judgment in a suit filed to challenge Andy Uba’s emergence as the APC candidate in the poll.
One of the contestants in the June 26 APC primary election in Anambra State George Moghalu had asked the court to remove Uba and the APC from the list of gubernatorial candidates and political parties participating in the Anambra governorship election on the grounds that the party failed to conduct a valid primary election.
Moghalu also demanded N122.5 million as damages, which include a refund for the fee paid for expression of interest and nomination forms and N100 million “for the breach of contract to commence and conclude primary election”.
In the affidavit in support of the suit Moghalu said although the APC primary election committee received a total of N22.5 million for expression of interest and nomination forms from governorship aspirants, no primary election was conducted before Uba was declared winner.
“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,” he said in the suit.
Moghalu, a former national officer of the APC, added: “The committee announced election results it did not conduct, and which fakery was credited to the third defendant (Andy Uba) as the winner of the primary election scheduled for emergence as APC’s candidate in the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State.”
Moghalu also argued that the party did not invite the Independent National Electoral Commission in line with the law that required the commission to monitor the exercise.
Presiding judge of the Abuja Federal High Court Justice Inyang Ekwo had at a hearing on October 18, where he fixed the date for judgment, noted that what mattered was for the verdict to be delivered within the time prescribed by the constitution and not necessarily before the election.