Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues
October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007
Anambra’s Multiple Legislators - 6 Senators Instead of 3
Mobolaji E. Aluko, Ph.D.
Mobolaji E. Aluko, Ph.D.
In Remembrance of June 12
Ten Years Later
June 12, 2003
The drama of six senators instead of three from Anambra State represents one of the many “funny” incidents that our nation’s election season has yielded.
INEC has once again shown itself again as a biased umpire in this case. It should let the world know four things: (i) what the deadline was that parties should submit the list of their candidates; (ii) what candidates were submitted by the parties when that deadline expired, (iii) on what authority were any substitutions made AFTER the deadline expired and (iv) what the date relation is between the deadline and April 12, 2003 when the National Assembly elections were held.
Simple. Period. This is issue is not more complicated than that, and any other considerations are just obfuscations.
Or maybe we should just “move on” by allowing all six senators to sit in the Senate?
Read on and enjoy the following compilation.
June 12, 2003
“Purported Expulsion from PDP of National
Assembly Members-Elect, Anambra State: We Cannot be Intimidated”
On Wednesday 22nd May, 2003 it was announced by one Mr. Ifatu Obi-Okoye and one Mr. Okpalaoka, who parade themselves as the Acting Chairman and Secretary respectively of PDP Anambra State, on NTA and Radio Nigeria, that we the undersigned, National Assembly members-elect from Anambra State have been expelled from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for “attacking the President.” The so-called expulsion letter was issued on Wednesday, 22nd May 2003 but fraudulently backdated to March 3, 2003.
2. The real reason for this unlawful and undemocratic announcement is to intimidate us and prevent us from seeking justice against the futile attempt to replace us with their minions who never contested any elections for the National Assembly. But let it be clear: We cannot be intimidated. We cannot be cowed. We cannot be subjugated.
3. To attempt to expel us from PDP for “attacking the President” smacks of the type of thing witnessed during the “Stalinist era”, where airing one’s views became a crime against the state. Our questions are: Has Nigeria descended to this level? When did it become an offence to protest injustice and abuse of power? When did it become an offence to exercise one’s fundamental human rights to free speech? Are we really still in a Democracy? Or are these early warning signals of things to come?
4. In any case, the announcement of our expulsion should be treated with the contempt it deserves, as the persons who made the announcement had no authority, whatsoever to make it. The PDP Constitution is clear on the procedure for expulsion of a member. This has not been followed. The purported expulsion is therefore of no moment. It is null and void, and of no effect. It does not affect or stop our cases in the courts. Neither would it affect our resolve to continue to fight injustice and abuse of power.
5. The so-called expulsion letter was not only backdated but contain false and fraudulent assertions and we are not surprised because of the well known unwholesome antecedents of the authors. For instance, one of the authors, Mr. Ifatu Obi-Okoye was last year tried, convicted and removed as a lawyer (disbarred) by the National Bar Association for false representation. The other, Mr. Okpalaoka, had earlier been dismissed from the PDP. His only qualification is that he is the maternal uncle of Mr. Andy Ubah, Special Assistant to the President; Chief Christine Ubah, a businessman in Anambra State; and Dr. Ugochukwu Ubah who was illegally awarded a senate seat without contesting for it. Anambra State is not the personal property of the Ubah family and we have a duty to the people of Anambra State to stop them from using their undue access and influence with the President to destroy the state.
6. We urge all our supporters and the people of Anambra State to remain calm and law-abiding as we will ensure that justice is done. In this matter, intimidation will not work. The purported annulment of our elections will never stand. Attempt to expel us from PDP is INFANTILE, FUTILE and of NO EFFECT, whatsoever. On our MANDATE we stand.
7. We call on Nigerians to join us in resisting this early sign of descent into dictatorship. We wish to bring to the notice of the Inspector-General of Police that our lives are currently threatened for demanding our democratic mandate, and so we request the Inspector-General of Police to provide us with Police protection against the designs of those who want to shut us out from the seat of justice.
SIGNED FOR AND ON BEHALF OF PDP NATIONAL
SENATORS ELECT [NOTE: LIST # 1]:
CHIEF (MRS.) JOY EMODI ANAMBRA NORTH
CHIEF BEN OBI
HON. C.N. UKACHUKWU ANAMBRA
HOUSE OF REPS MEMBERS-ELECT
NZE CHIDI DURU AGUATA
CHIEF O.C. EGWUATU AWKA
GOZIE AGBAKOBA ONITSHA NORTH/SOUTH
BEN NWANKWO ORUMBA
DR. C. C. OKEKE
MAY 23, 2003
THE VIEW ACCORDING TO DR. UGOCHUKWU UBA
This Day May 31, 2003
Q: You have won an election where the losers
say they are going to the tribunal. How are you preparing your defence?
UBA: It is a provision of the Electoral Act that once you feel short-changed you have recourse at the tribunal. I will encourage them to do that. We are also preparing for the tribunal. However, if you look at what they did in Anambra State, you will notice a clear case of falsification of events and how they occurred. Recently on May 9 for example, one of my opponents and others issued a report where they claimed to have been short-changed, but it will be unfortunate if they keep showing the public fraudulent documents. They cannot present these documents to the public. Take a look at these documents for example. This is Mrs. Joy Emordi’s result. You can see a tippex being used to alter PDP for the initials J. Emordi. INEC hardly uses initials to announce results.
This is a group that claims to belong to a political party that has taken a position on an issue. Rather than accept this, you are busy abusing the party leader – Mr. President, abusing INEC chairman, etc. If the party says these are the candidates, a good party man will say okay once this decision has been taken, I will go back and work for the party. The important thing is for my party to succeed. They will not forget them. Such will not happen in this country.
Q: But the group’s argument is that INEC
pronounced members in its list as winners and later withdrew this
pronouncement. And they say INEC cannot do that given the provisions of Section
59 of the Electoral Act. Does this suggest that you have a bad case?
UBA: In the first place, these people were not PDP candidates. For you to claim to have been declared a winner, you must be a candidate. Example: let’s say an individual who did not contest an election is declared a winner and this is brought to the notice of the judge and he corrects it but you the individual keep insisting that even a mad man could have been a winner because of the Electoral Law. Is that fair?
At the eve of the election, the true candidates were clearly stated. Not only that, if you look at that result which I have here, you will see a lot of falsification. It is easier to make noise on the pages of a newspaper and deceive people. Now look at the result of Honourable C.N. Ukachukwu who claimed that this result sheet was given to him by INEC. Now this is Ben Obi’s result. Ukachukwu’s serial number is 0000193. Look at the serial number of Ben Obi, it is the same 0000193. I don’t know how you can issue two results with the same serial numbers. This is Agbakoba aned this Nze Duru, a pen has been used to alter a document that is same as Agbakoba’s. The party wrote on the 6th of March to revalidate its candidates, signed by the chairman and secretary, the court also ruled that these are the authentic candidates. That is if you are looking at it from the court judgment. But beyond the court judgement, the party submitted a list to INEC on February 10 after the primaries. But they went ahead to procure another list containing a list of AD members as well. To counter this, the party wrote to INEC revalidating the list of February 10. They kicked against it and the party went to court to confirm the authentic list after Ukachukwu went to court asking INEC to accept its list. Of course constitutionally only the party can sponsor candidates. So after its initial delay as a result of the pending court cases, INEC had no option but to accept the party’s sponsored list. This is a settled issue that has the backing of the constitution. The party not INEC has the constitutional power to sponsor candidates. But what this group is trying to do was to force INEDC to play the role of the party, to accept them as the authentic candidates when the party had rejected them.
Now look at how ridiculous this is. Ukachukwu who wants to be senator does not live in Anambra State. Even now he is an honorable member representing a federal constitutency in Abuja where he lives. He should have resigned and returned to Anambra to fulfil the residency requirements. But he is still there and also wants to represent Anambra South Senatorial zone. This is a contradiction, an inordinate ambition that is backed by lack of discipline.
THIS DAY EDITORIAL
May 28, 2003
Anambra’s Multiple Legislators
The controversy generated by the results of the National Assembly elections of April 12 may have abated in a number of states. But in Anambra State, the dust is yet to settle. The reason for this is that what transpired in Anambra is markedly different from what obtained in other states.
As was the case in other states, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) organized the elections with a particular set of candidates of the People Democratic Party (PDP) as well as those of other political parties on the ballot. After the elections, INEC announced the names of the PDP candidates as winners of the elections in Anambra. But soon afterwards, INEC reversed itself. It said that it was yet to make a final statement on the results of the elections and that the earlier announcement should be disregarded. A few days later, INEC released a new result which returned another set of PDP candidates as the winners of the elections.
The PDP has since upheld the latter result announced by INEC on the ground that only political parties have the right to name their candidates for any election. The original candidates with whom the party went for the senatorial and House of Representatives elections have, expectedly, rejected this incongruity. The result is that Anambra now has two sets of senators each laying claim to their senatorial seats. Some members of the House of Representatives in the state were equally affected by this untoward arrangement.
The essential ingredient of contention in this matter is that the list which the PDP sent to INEC for the National Assembly elections in the state was in dispute as at the time the elections held. This is the argument being put up by the latter group who have now been declared winners. In fact, to pull the rug off the feet of the former, the PDP had a few days ago expelled members of the other group from the party so that they would not have a basis to contend the issue further, yet this has not invalidated the discrepancy over the election. This point is that there is always a deadline provided by the electoral law for the submission of names of candidates for any elections to INEC. In the matter under dispute in Anambra State, INEC received a list on whose strength the PDP ran for elections in the state. To that extent, that list should remain the authentic list of candidates for the elections. If the list were considered invalid, then it would be right to say that PDP did not field candidates for the elections and ceased therefore to claim victory. The logical outcome of such a scenario would be that the party which came second in that election would carry the day.
But that was not what obtained. What is the case is that PDP had candidates for the elections who, accordin to INEC, won the elections. This being the case, neither INEC or the PDP has the right to substitute the original names after the elections would have been won and lost. To do so will amount to undermining the electoral law. It will also make nonsense of the oft-repeated position of INEC Chairman, Dr. Abel Guobadia, that only courts and tribunals can cancel elections.
The Anambra scenario casts a further slur on the 2003 general elections. It is a clear case of holding the electorate in contempt. When people go to the polls to vote, they usually have some candidates for the elections in mind before casting their votes. People do not vote in a vacuum. Both INEC and PDP are, by their actions, assuming that votes are cast in a vacuum. They are not. What Anambra is faced with in this matter is the inadequacies of a political party, in this case PDP. From the claims and counter-claims, it is evident that PDP was not prepared for the National Assembly elections in the state. The entire state should not be brought to a standstill on account of the gaps created by the party in its quest for electoral victory.
As a body charged with the responsibility of conducting elections, INEC should be responsible enough to know that it should not do the bidding of any political party. Its responsibility is to all the parties and to the entire electoral process. Where any one party fails to live up to expectations, INEC ought to leave it behind and proceed with those that are ready. Sadly, INEC has failed to do so in this matter. Rather, it has given itself away as a biased umpire.
In fact, the issue arising from the National Assembly elections in Anambra State is one of the biggest scandals of the 2003 elections. Both INEC and the PDP should recognize that they have erred in this matter. They should, therefore, come together with a view to resolving the matter in favour of those who stood for elections in the state on April 12.
Dr. Uba, if a Federal Representative for Abuja
cannot contest for an office in his home state, where else would he be able to?
What hope would there be for someone who comes from a Diaspora location? The
residency requirements of the Electoral Law and guidelines are quite liberal and
certainly do not disqualify Hon C.N. Ukachukwu, of recent of the Abuja Federal
Constituency, from contesting in his home state. The electorate should be left
to decide whether Abuja is too far from Anambra South for a candidate to contest
successfully, and not through “gofernment majic.”
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This page was last updated on 10/27/07.