Anambra 2021: Moghalu asks Court to void APC primary
By Sunday Elom N
Miffed by the outcome of the primary election of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC in the November 6, 2021 Governorship election in Anambra State, an aggrieved aspirant, Mr George Moghalu, has dragged his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), before the Abuja division of the Federal High Court, over an alleged failure of the party to conduct a valid primary election for the selection and nomination of the Party’s candidate for the Governorship election.
In the suit dated and filed July 8, 2021 by his lawyer, Mr. Chris Uche, SAN, Moghalu asked the court to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to delist the name of Mr. Andy Uba and the APC from among the list of political parties and gubernatorial candidates for the November 6 election or any subsequent postponement.
Moghalu who is the Chairman of National Inland Waterways was among 14 aspirants who purchased forms to contest for the governorship election under the platform of the APC, specifically asked the court to declare that the APC failed to conduct a valid primary election in line with the provisions of the 1999 constitution as ammended, the Electoral Act and the APC’s constitution and guidelines for election and demanded the sum of N122.5 million damages from the APC.
He claimed that the sum of N22.5 million was meant for the refund of payment for the expression of interest form and nomination form.
The aspirant is also asking the court to order the APC to pay him another sum of N100 million as “exemplary and general damages for the breach of contract to commence and conclude primary election and or breach of Section 87 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) and the regulations and guidelines of the political party.”
Defendants in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/648/2021 are; the All Progressives Congress, the Independent National Electoral Commission and Senator. Andy Uba whose name has already been published by INEC.
In a 40-page paragraph affidavit, he deposed to, in support of the suit, the plaintiff amongst others is claiming that the APC failed to conclude the selection and nomination process for its candidate in the November 6 governorship poll, which started with the sale of expression of interest and nomination forms.
According to him, the APC had chosen to adopt the direct mode of electing its candidate for the Anambra governorship poll hence the publishing of a list of designated venues in each of the 326 wards in the state for holding of the primary election slated for June 26, 2021.
He disclosed further that the APC in preparation for the governorship poll “demanded and received from each of the aspirants seeking to fly its flag as a candidate, the whopping sum of N22. 5 million for expression of interest form and nomination form.
“That the plaintiff did pay the sum of N22, 500, 000 to the first defendant for the first defendant to allow him to participate in the primary election exercise”, adding that the APC’s acknowledgement of receipt of the said sum was attached as an exhibit to the suit.
Plaintiff stated that after his submissions of the forms and subsequent clearance by the screening committee that was led by Mr Ikechi Emenike, he went on to vigorously campaign in all the 326 wards in the state where party members are expected to vote for the candidate of their choice.
He added that on June 25, 2021, a day to the conclusion of the primary election, he heard that an electoral committee led by the Ogun State Governor, Mr. Dapo Abiodun, would address all aspirants and stakeholders in Anambra at the Hilton Leisure Hotel, Awka.
According to him, the committee promised to conduct a free and fair election, adding that the process would commence with accreditation of voters, actual voting and collation of votes, then the announcement of results.
However, Moghalu said that “shockingly, on June 26, 2021, the said election committee was not seen anywhere in Anambra; no accreditation of voters took place; no voting and collation of votes occurred in all the 326 wards of Anambra State.”
He added that the committee only re-appeared the next day in a hotel at Agulu, Anambra State and “announced election results it did not conduct, and which fakery was credited to the third defendant as the winner of the primary election scheduled for emergence as APC’s candidate in the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State.”
He also submitted that the APC apart from failing to conduct the said election did not invite the INEC in line with the law to attend and monitor the election.
He also stated that in line with party regulations he filed an appeal against the conduct of the primary, and the Appeal Panel led by Gombe State Governor, Mr Inuwa Yahaya, came to the conclusion that there was no valid election and that the panel would void the result announced by the electoral committee.
The plaintiff, however, said that the report of the panel was yet to be made available to him hence the legal action.
“That from the foregoing facts, I have suffered loss and damage and I pray this court to grant the reliefs sought by me as per the originating summons,” he said.
Parts of the reliefs sought included a declaration by the court that the APC has no candidate to field in the November 6 governorship poll in Anambra State has failed to conduct a valid primary in line with the law.
He also wanted the court to declare that Mr. Andy Uba is not a candidate in the forthcoming election because the said primary that produced him as candidate of the APC did not comply with the provisions of the law.
Plaintiff, in the motion exparte dated and filed July 13, 2021, also prayed the court to make an order for the expeditious hearing of the suit so as not to deny him justice.