Ekwunife and co did not win by popular votes

Hon. Uche Ekwunife

Hon. Uche Ekwunife

By Ifeanyi Afuba

Uche Ekwunife is entitled to her gloating over her INEC victory in the March 28, 2015 Anambra Central Senatorial Election as reported in This Day of Friday, April 10, 2015 with the caption: ‘I beat Umeh silly, he is crying like a baby’. But while her triumphalism gets the better of her, the contest for the Anambra Central Senatorial seat is about to enter a new phase as the people of Anambra State are resolved on taking their destiny in their hands.

There are different forms of electoral victory. There is the popular and credible victory which can be defended any day; there is also the appropriated victory procured through coercion and connections. The latter obviously cannot stand the test of objective scrutiny.

Only Ekwunife and her fellow PDP travelers believe in their pyrrhic victory. That is why they have to resort to massive propaganda to launder their controversial mandates. But the day of reckoning is gradually dawning. Those who were purportedly mandated by the Anambra electorate to represent them at the National Assembly could not deliver any of their constituencies in the House of Assembly election held on April 11, 2015. The APGA won 26 of the seats whose results have been declared and is poised to win the remaining four. Nothing could be more revealing and damning of the PDP’s self rating.

The nightmarish experience of March 28, 2015 had roused Ndi Anambra to vigilance and solidarity to defend their votes in the April 11, 2015 election. After casting their ballots in the national assembly elections in the same way they voted on April 11, 2015, Ndi Anambra were horrified to see Abuja – based PDP chieftains from the state invade the collation centres with heavily armed security personnel and thugs to have a field day to themselves.

A cross section of Anambra’s elite has spoken out in condemnation of the brazen manipulation of results of the senatorial and House of Representatives poll. Thousands of youths demonstrated against this subversion of the people’s will in the major cities of the state just before the House of Assembly election last week. Furthermore, Vanguard of Thursday, April 9, 2015 had this interesting headline: ‘Election Observers allege discrepancies in Anambra polls’.

The story read: ‘The Coalition of INEC accredited election observers for 2015 general elections in Anambra State yesterday released the reports for the March 28, 2015 general elections, saying there were noticeable discrepancies between results declared at the polling units and the collation centres.

Due to the observed irregularities and malpractices culminating in the mutilation of recorded result and outright falsification of figures thereby awarding fictitious ballots to the wrong person, we call for immediate review of the declared results and subsequent declaration of the authentic winners.’ It is pertinent to note that a week after this stinging report was made public, not a word of it has been refuted by anybody.

Nothing further needs be said except to put in proper perspective Ekwunife’s claim that the ‘truth is that the people reposed confidence in me and elected me because I rendered account of my stewardship which met their expectation.’ Does this stewardship include the inferior and unserviceable street lights brandished as constituency project in the same federal constituency where this writer hails from?

Political goodwill is a function of three variables, namely, the appeal of the candidate’s party; antecedents of the candidate; and the manifesto/perceived readiness of the candidate to tackle present challenges. The PDP on which platform Ekwunife ran for election has a tattered image especially in Anambra State where the party has at least three factions and been enmeshed in election rigging controversies since 2003. In demonstration of its characteristic disorderliness and penchant for impunity, PDP went into the Anambra Central Senatorial election with four aspirants each claiming to be the authentic candidate of the party. Contrastingly, APGA has struck a fine chord with the people as the vehicle for the state’s development since 2006 as well as the voice of the Igbo, minorities and other marginalized elements in Nigeria’s power structure.

Ndi Anambra would not freely choose Ekwunife as one of their senators knowing her views on the inept and failed Chinwoke Mbadinuju administration. The mismanagement of the state’s resources in those years of the locusts and the role of some bank managers who are indigenes of the State in its near bankruptcy still leaves sad memories.

Ekwunife’s circuitous membership of the PDP, PPA, APGA and PDP again projects her as a playful politician who may be trusted more with cosmetic and beautician matters rather than the serious issue of governance. She is easily remembered for the self – serving suit she filed seeking the disqualification of her party’s candidate Chief Willie Obiano in the November 2013 governorship election on trumped up multiple registration allegation.

Victor Umeh, who independent sources say received massive votes in the senatorial election, has been the face of APGA for the past ten years. He ranks as one of the foremost brains behind APGA’s electoral victories since the formation of the party in 2002. Without Victor Umeh’s leadership, APGA as we know it today would not exist. A courageous fighter for equity, Umeh has both the vision and passion to pursue renegotiation of the Nigerian federation at the Senate. Ndi Anambra are only too aware that Umeh’s collaboration with the action –driven Governor Willie Obiano will reap many benefits to the State; hence their endorsement of his candidature.

The battle for the National Assembly mandates the Anambra electorate bestowed on their leaders has just started.

Afuba wrote from Nimo, Anambra State.

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