From David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
Former Majority Leader of the Anambra House of Assembly, Sir Humphrey Nsofor, has given an insight into how former Anambra State governor, Mr Peter Obi, was impeached, as well as how Dr Chris Ngige was kidnapped as governor, saying that Senator Andy Uba did not have a hand in them as erroneously believed in some quarters.
In this encounter with Sunday Sun, Nsofor speaks on the candidacy of Senator Uba and the chances of the APC in the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State. According to him, the APC has no opposition for now in the upcoming election. Excerpts:
The APC primary election has been in controversy. What is your take?
The primary election of a political party is an internal business of the party and the party decision is always supreme at all times. I am aware that some aspiants in our party are complaining, but it goes to no issue. The appeal panel of the party in its wisdom has taken a position on the matter and the decision stands. You don’t expect what happened in Zamfara and Rivers states to take place here in Anambra. All that I can advise is for all and sundry to support the candidate of the party to the Government House, Awka.
Are there not possibilities of the aggrieved aspiants working against the party during the election?
That is anti-party and the party will not take kindly to that, but I don’t see that happening. The party is one family and the victory of the party is the victory of all. This is the greatest opportunity for the APC to produce the next governor of Anambra State and the party is as determined as ever and this time we will be coasting to victory.
Don’t you think your candidate appears to have several unanswered questions about the political crisis in Anambra State ?
What kind of question? You see if you are not a strong contender people will not attack you. If you are not a football star nobody will tackle you in the field. It is because Senator Andy Uba is the man to beat and other candidates are apprehensive about his profile and track record of achievements since he joined active politics. But we are not afraid of those attacks on our candidate because it is part of politics and it is expected during such games. There is no incident about Anambra political crisis that Senator Andy Uba had a hand in.
What about the kidnap of a sitting governor in July 2003 and the mayhem of 2004?
I was the Majority Leader of the Anambra State House of Assembly when it all happened and we were key players in that game. Andy did not order the abduction of the then governor, Chris Ngige and on that fateful day he was not at the Government House, Awka. The mayhem that took place when government and public offices were burnt down, Andy Uba was not there. I remember that there was a panel of enquiry set up by the then governor headed by Hon. Justice Keazor to look into what happened. At the end of the panel’s assignment it presented its report and in that report Andy Uba was not indicted and there is no page or paragraph where his name was mentioned. So, at what point did Andy Uba come into the picture?
It was also alleged that he and his brothers used Justice Stanley Nnaji and Justice Egbo Egbo to do some dirty jobs at the court which ruined their carrier?
The two judges discharged their duties as judges and there was no prompter or prompters that told them what to do. How can Senator Andy Uba who is neither a lawyer or a judge dictate for the judges what to do? As it were they made pronouncements which was wrong and the National Judicial Council, NJC, said that they did not discharge their duties in line with the ethics of their profession and they were sanctioned by the regulatory body. So, bringing Andy Uba or the Uba family is out of the point and you know very well that this is a case of the witch cried at night and the child died in the morning, so blame the witch.
Within the short time Andy Uba was governor he was accused of selling the Ikenga hotels?
This is laughable. How can that happen within seventeen days as a governor? Has he settled and found his feet as it were? All those things are lies just to blackmail him. Today, what has happened to the Ikenga hotels? The same people that accused him of selling the hotel are those that finally sold the hotel. Ikenga hotels was built during the Second Republic and no right thinking Anambra man would want to sell it and besides the funny aspect of the entire allegation was that it was sold for N15 million. Is it the massive land or the building that was sold for N15 million? The land alone cannot be sold at N200 million let alone the buildings there in.
When he was Domestic Assistant to the President what was he able to do for Anambra State?
Because Andy Uba choose not to make noise about what he has done, so people run away with the impression that he did nothing. To start with he was a Domestic Assistant to the President and that position is not an elective or executive position so you don’t expect him to perform the functions of a governor or president. All the same, his position impacted positively on Anambra State. The Oba- Nnewi-Amichi – Uga – Okigwe road was attracted by Andy Uba, but successive administrations could not complete the contract. The Greater Onitsha, Awka, and Nnewi Water Scheme was attracted by him and you know that government is a continuum, but other administrations could not follow it up and the governor of Anambra State as it were failed to continue from where he stopped. So, that question should be directed to the governor that was on the saddle when Andy Uba left Aso Rock. Even this second Niger bridge that is now a sing song was initiated by the regime of President Olusegun Obasanjo with the instrumentality of Andy Uba and when Obasanjo came on a state visit to Anambra he went to Onitsha to understudy the need for a second Niger bridge. When you talk about appointments in the Federal Government he did his best. For example, Prof Charles Soludo was appointed Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria through the help of Andy Uba, the same is the case with late Prof Dora Akunyili of NAFDAC, Oby Ezekwesili, Chairman Police Service Commission Chief S.N Okeke and Mrs Asika. Anambra houses the Southeast headquarters of NAFDAC, We now have the permanent building of CBN, and that was because our sons and daughters were at the helm of affairs through Andy Uba. Even as a Senator he provided employment opportunities for Anambra sons and daughters and attracted federal projects to his senatoral district and beyond. So, for people to say that he did nothing is being economical with the truth.
There is this allegation that your candidate frustrated some Igbo businessmen while in Aso Rock especially, Chief Cletus Ibeto cement factory?
It is no longer news about people accusing him of all manner of things and the public without verification were buying into it . How possible is that when the same person was instrumental to the appointment of key Igbo men and women into supper political positions? People do not even know the role Andy Uba played in the restoration of Ibeto cement factory. Our brother Chief Cletus Ibeto is still alive till date and he has never said that Andy Uba killed or wanted to kill his business and you can go and find out the true situation. The nature of Andy Uba is that he doesn’t make noise about what he has done for people and he doesn’t like celebrating those things and that is why people go about saying all kind of things against him and no one has come out to claim responsibility for those allegations. All that we hear is they said, they said. By my own findings no fewer than 200 businessmen and women were connected to multi-national companies, firms and conglomerates across the globe, yet you want me to believe that Igbo business community suffered under Andy Uba when he was Domestic Assistant to the President. Do you know how many commercial banks’ Chief Executive Officers of Igbo extraction that were helped through bailout ? Those banks would have crumbled long ago.
The impeachment of former governor Peter Obi is yet another odd against him where he is being fingered to have bankrolled the plot?
I was the Majority Leader of the Anambra State House of Assembly as at then and I can tell the story more than anyone else. Andy Uba was not a member of the state Assembly and had no vote in the hallowed Chambers of the Assembly and was working in Aso Rock Abuja. So, how could he have had the chance or time to begin to sponsor the impeachment? The impeachment was the duty of the Assembly when it found out that the governor committed an impeachable offence and the Assembly served notice of impeachment stating the offences. The then Chief Judge of Anambra State had to set up a seven man impeachment panel to find out if the governor actually committed those offences and as at that time the duties of the Assembly are over and all that the Assembly relied on was the report of the seven-man impeachment panel. Had it been that the panel said he did not commit those offences , the governor would have been spared, but the seven-man panel in its wisdom affirmed that he was guilty and what was left was for the legislature to complete the process and more than two- third of the members voted in favour of the impeachment and he was impeached. So, where does Andy Uba come into this process? The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria made it clear and we followed it to the letter and the Assembly did not need a sponsor or prompter to carry out its oversight functions.
Comparatively, how do you see Andy Uba and other candidates?
The point is that we do not even know who our opponents are going by all types of litigations and court rulings over the candidacy of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the People’s Democratic Party, PDP. So, one wonders who we are going to make the analysis with and until these two embattled political parties come up with who their real candidates are then we can begin to compare. Don’t forget that this confusion may lead to the two parties not fielding candidates for the November election because we cannot go back to conduct fresh primary election in those parties. It is my candid view that the Independent National Electoral Commission, IÑEC, state clearly who is the candidate of APGA and who is the candidate of the PDP or better still disqualify them from contesting in the forthcoming election.