14 September 2017

Nigeria: Anambra Primary - APC's NWC Under Suffocating Pressure to Upturn Nwoye's Victory

Bitter feud that has enveloped the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), following the alleged insistence by some powerful political forces within the party that the governorship primaries, which produced Tony Nwoye, as its candidate for the November governorship election, should be nullified, has taken a new dimension.

A top source in the party, who was part of the team that conducted the primary last month, told some journalists wednesday that the party had been infiltrated by some powerful politicians with alleged inducement to drop Nwoye in favour of a former governor of the state.

Although the source, who spoke with some journalists in Abuja in confidence, did not name the beneficiaries of the alleged financial inducement, he however accused a former chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who is now in APC, as being the arrowheads of the alleged bribe to impose Senator Andy Uba on the party.

The source accused the former PDP member, who was part of the team that conducted the election in Awka, of turning round to "discredit the exercise for pecuniary" reasons.

The source described the attempt to drop the winner of the primary for the person who lost, as "the height of injustice, which would also wreak its fortunes in the state during the main election, if allowed to stand."

"The Chairman of the election panel politely told those who approached him that he could not be bought with any price and would therefore conduct a free election by providing a level-playing field for all the candidates to test their popularity," the source said.

"In fact, when we arrived Awka for the primaries, all of us had expected that Uba was going to sweep the polls because of his position as a former governor and a sitting senator but when the results came out, he lost by a wide margin to Nwoye and we could not change the decision of the electorate for whatever reason."

The source dismissed the insinuations that the appeal panel was acting on the instruction of the presidency and security agencies to replace Nwoye with Uba, arguing that neither President Muhammadu Buhari nor the DSS had any hand in "the unholy bid" to change the winner of the election for the loser.

He added: "I can tell you that what is happening is that some powerful politicians in the PDP and the Senate, who are more comfortable with Uba want him to contest against Governor Willie Obiano with the hope that once he wins, he would return to the PDP, from where he crossed over to the APC early this year."

However, former Governor of the old Anambra State and a chieftain of the APC Chief Jim Nwobodo, has said the party has not contemplated to cancel the governorship primaries for the November 18 Anambra election which he described as "transparent and credible".

Speaking on the delay in upholding the primary election won by Nwoye, Nwobodo who is the Chairman of Anambra governorship election planning and strategy committee, said this would be the first time any political party would conduct such a transparent and rancour free primary in the state.

"That election was transparent, free and fair and everybody saw it on television from start to finish and hence no one should dare to nullify that election" Nwobodo said in a telephone interview.

The former governor's remark re-echoed his position which he made public the day the election result was announced by Governor Kassim Shettima on live television on August 27 in Awka, Anambra State.

Nwobodo had in a widely circulated message he personally signed, said he had monitored every process of the primary election and from his experience, the August 26 primaries was the most transparent in the history of Anambra State.

"I watched with keen interest the live transmission of the 2017 APC governorship primary for Anambra State, where Nwoye was declared as the winner with a total of 2,146 votes.

"I wish to congratulate the National Chairman and NWC for making this possible. I also congratulate the Governor of Borno State, Shettima, and his committee for conducting a free, credible and rancour-free primary in the state, making it the first time any political party would conduct such a transparent and rancour free primary in the state," Nwobodo said.

Nwobodo's concern came on the heels of tension trailing the submission of a report by an appeal committee set up by the APC national leadership in response to petition filed by some of the aspirants who lost out in he primary election."

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