The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should have rejected Sen. Andy Uba as the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the Nov. 6 gubernatorial election in Anambra State long before the Oct. 7 deadline for the change of candidates in the vote, according to the Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CCSOs) in the state.
The early rejection, explained the coalition, would have enabled the APC to validly nominate a candidate who could participate in the election.
“As things stand today, the APC has no candidate in the election because Uba’s candidature is built on nothing and nothing built on anything can stand,’’ the CCSOs argued in a statement in Awka by its President, Mr Obiora Ezechukwu, and the Public Affairs and Social Mobilisation Director, Dr Vincent Obiatuegwu.
The coalition was reacting to a statement by the Soludo Solidarity Group, one of the 34 groups supporting the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate, Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo, which had a few days ago praised INEC for maintaining what it called absolute neutrality in the Anambra election in spite of spirited efforts by Uba to compromise its leadership.
“A more neutral and independent electoral commission would have declined Uba’s candidature,’’ they declared.
The civil society organisations in Anambra State insisted that INEC should not have accepted the controversial former senator in the first place since it is convinced that there was no congress or primary election which any person, including Uba, could have won.
INEC has avowed in its official report that no congress or primary election took place on June 26, contrary to the Electoral Act which provides that INEC attend, monitor and report the proceedings.
The coalition described as bizarre the purported 320,405 votes attributed to Uba in the primary election because “there are not up to 20,000 APC members in Anambra State where President Muhammadu Buhari scored a mere five per cent in 2019, his poorest showing in any state of the federation during the last general election’’.
On the suggestion that INEC could not have rejected Uba’s candidacy because the judiciary has ruled that it has no power to disqualify a candidate in an election, the coalition argued that the commission should have gone to court to demand a rejection of Uba’s candidature the moment the APC leadership submitted his name as the nominee for the Nov. 6 election.
The civil society organisations described as very unintelligent the argument by the Andy Uba Gubernatorial Campaign Council that the nomination of a candidate for an election is the exclusive preserve of each party which does not require INEC’s involvement in any way, querying “why does the Electoral Act provide for a key role for the electoral commission in the first place?’’
The civil societies considered APC’s predicament in Anambra State “more catastrophic’’ than the party’s situation in Rivers and Zamfara states during the 2019 general election which resulted in the courts declaring that the APC had no candidates in these states.
Chief George Moghalu, the National Inland Waterways Authority chief executive and one of the 14 aspirants who sought the APC gubernatorial ticket last June 26, is in court asking it to disqualify it from the Anambra gubernatorial race on the ground that it has no validly nominated candidate.
The civil societies re-emphasized its adoption of Prof. Soludo as their candidate because “he is by far the very best in the race’’. (MOI)