“Of all the primary elections organised by political parties in the past one week in Anambra state, that of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) for Anambra South Senatorial zone held at the Ekwulobia township stadium was the most keenly contested.”
That was how an observer who monitored the primary election summarised it. The election, because of some logistical delays stretched into the night, but all these participating political heavyweights patiently waited. Yes, they waited because they know that this primary election was the key determining point in their 2019 senatorial aspiration.
The screened and cleared aspirants included Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu, Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu, Dr. Okey Chidolue, Dr. Anslem Enyimba and Chief Ikenna Mbazulike-Amechi.
One by one, the delegates trickled in as they were called, council after council. They were also dutifully handed ballot papers and had to cast their votes in the full view of the aspirants.
It was so transparently organised that all the aspirants sat side-by-side and monitored live while intermittently throwing fraternal glances at each other, observers, party faithful/supporters, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials, security agents, and the print/broadcast/social media. The contest was adjudged free and fair, and keenly contested, even by contestants themselves, until a curious court ruling in far away Abuja.
When the results were collated and announced, Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu topped the pack with 211 popular votes, followed by Ambassador Ojukwu with 177 votes. Dr. Enyimba and Mbazulike-Amechi scored only 2 votes each, while Dr. Chidolue polled one vote, which apparently must have been the one cast by himself.
These contestants, like good sportsmen, instantly shared warm handshake with Ukachukwu. Mbazulike-Amechi and Chidolue led in this display of open comradeship as they embraced Ukachukwu in the full view of all.
Chidolue reportedly followed up this with a telephone message to him and had to personally lead a delegation to Ukachukwu’s Orsumenyi countryhome to commend him, saying ‘a better man won’
It was, therefore, shocking to hear of the Abuja High court verdict, which was said to have been initiated by the same Chidolue.
It is, however, not in the corridor of anyone to question his right of litigation or disagreement as it is his inalienable right as a human being to approach the court at any moment in life for any issue he was not clear or satisfied with.
But must this be made to throw mud on the face of justice and fair play? Of all that participated in the primary election, Iyom Ojukwu came closest to the winner. She raised other issues, which did not question the validity of the contest. Thank God the immediate past National Secretary of the party, and the incumbent governorship standard bearer in Zamfara State, Alhaji Sanni Shinkafi has publicly acknowledged that her grouse had been resolved.
So where is this Chidolue issue emanating from? Despite not being a popular face or name in the politics of the state, many politicians have started casting unfriendly aspersions at his direction. Whose interest is he serving? Why does he suddenly want to destroy the cohesion of the party in the zone?
What purpose has the judgment served him, for his friends outside APGA or the ardent APGA followers who are bent on rallying round Ukachukwu to give the zone a worthwhile representation in the next senate session? Could he be acting extraneously or is he acting out a script by forces within and outside of the party who are threatened by Ukachukwu’s enormous political goodwill Ukachukwu? Is he truly a patriot? Could anyone who intends to throw spanner in the works
of his family be considered a true family member? Or has the senatorial zone enjoyed bumper representation in the last eight years? What does he really want to achieve?
Who is this Chidolue representing, himself or the people? Is this a mere bruised ego trip, or one angling for any sort of settlement or cheap recognition?
Like the famous reggae artist sings, ‘There are more questions than answers.” That he elected to go beyond Anambra for the suit raises another question as to whether it is part of forum shopping, especially when the court verdict suggested it acted outside the ambit of the aim of the litigant. The presiding Judge, Hon. Justice Valentine Ashi left no one in doubt when he amazingly refused to compel INEC to recognise the plaintiff or to order for a fresh primary election in the senatorial zone.
From investigation, no one so far, other than the sponsors were humoured by the judgment, with APGA’s Director of Publicity, Ifeanacho Oguejiofor speaking on behalf of the party urged party faithful to remain resolute and strong as the matter was not over yet. “It is imperative that the FCT Court did not declare the plaintiff Dr. Okey Chidolue as the winner of the Anambra South Senatorial District primary election of APGA. Rather, and in a most bizarre manner, the Court after nullifying the primary election directed parties to go to INEC and sort themselves out,” he added.
Ukachukwu, a diligent evangelist and businessman built his natural, global and political goodwill over the ages and Nigerians know it. We have no doubt that any effort by some persons to stall his march towards using the platform of the senate to give abundant life, more houses, healthcare, employment, poverty alleviation, scholarships, good roads, electricity and water to the citizens would fall flat before a superior court of records.
The world is keenly watching to see how the Court of Appeal would handle this bizarre judgment which many believed was positioned to play a spoiler’s game and nothing more.
As one observer has noted, the court action was a yeoman’s job designed to setback Anambra South senatorial zone and stop APGA’s Ukachukwu’s political tornado at whatever cost.
• Chimex Collins, a political analyst wrote from Awka, Anambra State