Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues
October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007
How Anambra Governorship Poll Was Rigged
culled from VANGUARD, Sunday, December 26, 2004
Nigerians were again stunned last Tuesday when the Anambra political godfather, Chief Chris Uba, opened up on circumstances surrounding the “election” of Dr. Chris Nwabueze Ngige as Governor of Anambra State. Before now, majority of Anambra people both at home and in diaspora, believed that the April 19, 2003 Governorship election that produced Dr. Ngige was massively rigged, but both the Governor and the sole sponsor of the election, Chief Uba, continued to claim that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) obtained a legal mandate from Anambrarians to rule the state for four years, no matter what happened during the “fraudulent” poll. The political godfather and members of his group had barely settled down to celebrate their “victory” when crisis began to rock the camp, which united behind the governor in the election.
Prior to the election, as Chief Uba revealed with documentary evidence, Dr. Ngige had signed several agreements and undertakings pledging that he would ever remain loyal to his sponsor. In one of the documents published recently, “Oaths of Allegiance and Convenants”, Ngige solemnly swore in the presence of God of Abraham, Isaac and Isreal and before his Ordained Servants, that “I recognize the fact that God is using Chief Christian C. Uba to prepare me for this great task ahead through his sponsorship; that I will never pick a quarrel with him unduly; that I will never tell him lies but the truth at all times even if I am at fault; that I will take keen interest in Christian’s welfare and the welfare of the family as long as the interest is not against the welfare of the state; that I will always accept and abide by those pieces of advice aimed at peace and progress of the state from Chief Uba as well as other counsel from elders of the state and beyond; that
Spiritual and traditional way
If I later go contrary to these promises, may the wrath of God who says that vengeance is his, take action against me in the name of God the Father and God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. Amen”. Ngige later confessed that he was dragged to the now destroyed Okija Shrine, Ogwugwu Akpu, to seal the oath in a “spiritual and traditional” way, even though he claimed that he was dragged to the shrine by close allies of Uba.
In another document entitled “Declaration of Loyalty” Ngige declared that “whereas I am financially incapacitated and unable to fund myself for the said election; whereas I have approached, belief (sic) Chief Chris Uba (Eselu Uga) and requested him to sponsor me financially and also support my campaign by handing over to me his teeming followers and political structure in Anambra State; whereas Chief Chris Uba (Eselu Uga) has accepted to sponsor me in consideration of my exercise and manifestation of absolute loyalty to him: Now therefore I hereby declare as follows:
The 2003 Guber Election
Having obtained the assurance of loyalty from Ngige, Uba went all out to see that the opportunity to install a governor that he could use as front for the development of the impoverished state does not elude him. First, he deployed his resources and utilized effectively his connections at Abuja, to see to the stoppage of the former Governor, Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju from running for a second term. President Olusegun Obasanjo was to confirm this in his controversial reply to the PDP National Chairman, Chief Audu Ogbeh’s letter, even though he did not give the credit to Uba. Mbadinuju was stopped leaving a vacuum to be filled. At this point, Uba had become so powerful having succeeded in taking over the structure of PDP in the state. He also cornered the structure built by Mbadinuju to himself. He became the Kingmaker and all the governorship aspirants on the platform of PDP worshipped him. Even those from other political parties lobbied for his endorsement because of the general notion then that whomever he endorsed would be the governor.
There were over 12 governorship aspirants in PDP but Uba succeeded in convincing all of them to step down and support the candidacy of Ngige, whom he single-handedly nominated and was subsequently endorsed at the gubernatorial primary of the party in Awka. Ngige had before then been nominated as Senatorial candidate of the party for Anambra Central. He abandoned the senatorial contest after emerging gubernatorial candidate. Uba was able to carry other gubernatorial contestants along in the campaign for the election proper with the understanding that they would be compensated should the party win.
One of them, Dr. Okey Odunze was appointed Special Adviser on Special Duties on the day Ngige was sworn in, but he was dropped after the “Abduction Saga” along with others nominated by Uba after contributing their quota towards the party’s victory in that controversial election. The governor accused most of them of being loyal to the godfather than himself and as such he could not work with them after the failed attempt to unseat him.
Prior to the April 19, 2003 governorship election, opinion polls conducted in Anambra State gave victory to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, who was highly favoured by the masses to occupy the Government House. With Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, the Presidential Candidate of the party coming from the state, APGA had every chance of clinching the number one seat. Again, many people hated the PDP owing to what they viewed as the “abysmal failure” of the Mbadinuju government. As Obasanjo put it: “It turned out that Governor Mbadinuju was an unmitigated failure in Anambra as PDP Governor in our first term……”
It was clear that PDP would find it very difficult to retain Anambra. Mindful of this, as learnt, Uba was given the mandate by the leadership of PDP at the national level, to come to the rescue. Uba thereafter deployed all arsenals, like a General in War, to “deliver” Anambra State to PDP. This he actually did. How he did it is now a subject of confession. There was no doubt that the election was manipulated. But since INEC announced the result and declared Ngige winner of the election, many kept calm. Even the electorate, whose massive votes for Peter Obi failed to count, kept mute. To them, election is “the more you look the less you see.” But the APGA candidate believed to have been robbed of his well-deserved victory continued to shout and he went ahead to challenge it at the Anambra Election Petition Tribunal which is yet to conclude proceedings.
How The Election Was Rigged
Although, Uba failed to give details of how he manipulated the result of the election in favour of Ngige, it was clear that both the police and INEC in Awka might have effectively collaborated with the godfather to pave way for the rigging. On the election day, all entrances to the INEC office along the Okpuno Road, Awka, were cordoned off by heavily armed mobile policemen who denied everybody except Chief Uba access to the commission’s office. Powerful politicians and contestants from other political parties who attempted to visit INEC to ensure the votes cast for their parties were accurately recorded never had access to the commission.
Even Governor Ngige who “won” the election had no guts to visit the Collation Centre inside INEC state headquarters because the only person known to the security men was Uba. Obi claimed that polling booth results brought from various local government collation centres showed that APGA swept the polls while Ngige (PDP) came second in most local government areas.
But the results were allegedly doctored at the INEC headquarters by the returning officers who were seriously compromised by the godfather. The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Anambra State, Alhaji Hassan Suleiman, who announced the governorship election result, ran out of the state shortly after through the Enugu Airport.
From then on, the people of Anambra State have not known peace and the general belief is that until justice is done and Obi’s stolen mandate is restored to him, Anambra would continue to wallow in chaos. But with Obasanjo’s revelation and Uba’s confession, Anambra people are expressing hope that justice is about to be done for a lasting peace to reign.
Chief Chris Uba, apparently to corroborate what the president said over Ngige’s admittance that he did not win the governorship election in Anambra State, issued a statement last Tuesday in which he apologized to Nigerians over his role in sponsoring the election of the governor and its consequences, and pleaded for the “understanding and forgiveness” of all Nigerians particularly the Anambra people who might have been “unduly affected and insulted by the Anambra issue”. “In the presence of the President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, I asked Dr. Ngige whether he actually won the Election, he confirmed he did not win the election. The president drove us out as from that point, he did not want to listen to our story again,” he said point-blank. Admitting his mistakes during the election generally believed to have been won by All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) governorship candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, Uba, however, said that “my mistakes for which I ask for understanding stemmed from my belief that election is like a battle and since all is fair in war, I believe that the end justifies the means in an election.”
The one-page statement duly signed by
Chief Uba himself reads:
“My mistake for which I ask for understanding stemmed from my belief that election is like a battle and since all is fair in war, I believe that the end justifies the means in an election.
We did everything possible, to put Ngige in power. In the presence of the President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, I asked Dr. Chris Ngige whether he actually won the Election; he confirmed he did not win the election. The President drove us out as from that point, he did not want to listen to our story again.
“At another occasion soon after that, I had the opportunity, when Chief Audu Ogbeh invited Dr. Chris Ngige and myself to his house to tell the same story. Again Dr. Chris Ngige confirmed before Chief Audu Ogbeh that he did not win the election, when I asked him the same question. Because he was more attentive than the President, I told him that even the certificate of return of the Governorship Election was in my custody and at the appropriate time I will make the copies available to the press. Chief Audu Ogbeh advised that we should all keep quiet on the issue of Governorship Election in Anambra. I obeyed.
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This page was last updated on 10/27/07.