The failure of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to publish the updated list of candidates for the Anambra State gubernatorial election billed for November 6, 2021 is causing confusion in the state. Different lists have been flying on social media.
Even when a Sunday Telegraph reporter searched on the commission’s website for the list of candidates, there was no publication and when this reporter contacted an INEC staff in Anambra, he asked the reporter to be patient as the list would be released when it is ready.
The confusion may not be unconnected with reports that the name of former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor Prof Charles Soludo of APGA and Mr Valentine Ozigbo of the PDP were not on the list, which is not out as at yesterday.
The confusion was made manifest when a certain letter to INEC signed by factional Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Jude Okeke, urging the commission to publish the name of Him Chukwuma Umeoji as candidate of the party was circulated on the social media.
Similarly, another report suspected to have been written and published by a faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) loyal to Chief Chris Uba, had claimed that the name of Mr Valentine Ozigbo was not on the list but that of Ugochukwu Uba as candidate.
In a release signed by the National Publicity Secretary of APGA, Bar Tex Okechukwu, he contended that the information was unfounded, adding that there were pending matters at the court, hence, the list of candidates cannot be published yet.
“We wish to state unequivocally that Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo remains the governorship candidate of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) for the November 6, 2021 Governorship Election.
“We also state that up till date, it was only Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo that meticulously fulfilled all the requirements enunciated by the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), the INEC Election Manual and the 2021 Electoral Guidelines of APGA for the 2021 Anambra State Governorship Election.
“It is also clear that the period permitted by law for the conduct of party primary for the election, downloading, uploading and submission of particulars of the governorship and deputy governorship candidates of political parties ended on July 16, 2021.
Anything done thereafter without final judgment of court is null and void and of no consequence.
“Going by the above, it is indisputable that APGA, under the able leadership of Dr Victor Ike Oye vigorously worked to meet the various timeliness outlined in the laws regulating the conduct of activities of political parties toward the November 6 Anambra State Governorship Election.
“We find it detestable that some disgruntled elements masquerading as officers of the party would indulge in brazen acts of illegality and fraud aimed at hoodwinking the unsuspecting members of the public.
“We have studied the socalled nomination form claimed by some persons to have been issued to one Chukwuma Umeoji as APGA candidate, which he purportedly filled and returned to INEC on August 5, 2021 and state without any grain of doubt that everything about it was inchoate, irregular and doubtful.
“There are three sets of forms issued to every registered political party by INEC for the Anambra State Governorship Election. These forms were EC 9, EC 9B and EC 13B. “But in the said fake letter in circulating they claimed to have submitted only Form EC 13B. This is curious!
These forms were issued to Dr. Victor Ike Oye by INEC as the national chairman of APGA and he subsequently issued the same to Professor Chukwuma Soludo and his deputy, Dr. Onyekachukwu Ibezim who completed them and returned. The forms were then uploaded to INEC using a special code.”
Also speaking, the Director General of PDP New Media, Mr Anthony Ezike, contended that there cannot be a list with the name of Senator Ugochukwu Uba as candidate when a recent judgement of the Appeal Court had restored the executive of Chief Ndubuisi Nwobu as the authentic leadership of the party in Anambra State.
“What that means by this judgement is that the purported primary election of the Chris Uba faction of the party is illegal and of no effect, hence, cannot produce the name of Senator Ugochukwu Uba as candidate of the party. Since that judgement was delivered, it has not been set aside by a higher court hence it subsists and that makes Valentine Ozigbo the candidate of the PDP in Anambra State.