The Oasis Reporters
September 19, 2017
The Uba brothers in the politics of Anambra State is not a phenomen that can be ignored with a wave of the hand.
Just let the player be named Uba, and know that he can make and also unmake if you crossed his path. Not only do they have influence, their pockets are deep and very bulky.
The first time that the name Uba came into the political lexicon of Nigeria was in 2003.
“Anambra is a very hot place, a place where everyone has to be very careful” – PDP “Godfather” and Board of Trustees Member, Chris Uba, had said this in Enugu on February 12, 2007.
Through a systemic abuse, Chris Uba had installed almost every political office holder in Anambra State but far-reaching reforms by the federal government tamed this.
Human Rights Watch described Chris Uba as “a wealthy member of the powerful Uba political family”, and an iconic example of the godfather phenomenon in Nigeria.
In the 2003 elections, he “sponsored” PDP candidates and rigged their election to office across Anambra.
After that election he publicly declared himself “the greatest godfather in Nigeria,” noting that “this is the first time an individual single-handedly put in position every politician in the state.”
Among the politicians Chris Uba “sponsored” in 2003 was PDP gubernatorial candidate, Chris Ngige. The terms of their relationship were spelled out in remarkably explicit fashion in a written “contract” and “declaration of loyalty” that Ngige signed prior to the election.
Ngige who is now a federal minister and ex senator did not deny that Chris Uba rigged his election into office but claims that he tried to break away from Uba’s control immediately after the 2003 election and that shortly before his inauguration, armed men broke into his home and forced him, at gunpoint, to sign a pledge that he would pay Chris Uba the sum of N3 billion immediately after assuming office.
In July 2003 Governor Ngige was kidnapped by armed policemen and forced at gunpoint to sign a “letter of resignation”.
Ngige alleged that Uba was responsible for this and cites the episode as illustrative of why, even as governor, he could not turn to the police for help against Uba’s attempts at extortion. Chris Uba however denied this.
Ngige successfully petitioned to have his “resignation” thrown out by the federal courts and remained in office but quickly found himself under siege yet again. In 2004 thugs armed with firearms and crude explosives attacked Government House in Awka and burned part of it to the ground while policemen stood aside and watched, according to a report by Human Rights Watch.
In March 2006 a Federal Court of Appeal ruled that Ngige’s 2003 election victory was fraudulent and therefore null and void. The result was Ngige’s replacement with his 2003 electoral opponent from the opposition All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Peter Obi.
Barely Seven months after Obi assumed office, a group of legislators in the PDP-dominated State House of Assembly voted to impeach him. The events leading up to that purported “impeachment” provide a clear illustration of the ways in which state and federal government institutions and law enforcement agencies were manipulated, misused, and influenced by corruption under Obasanjo’s stewardship.
Then PDP Chairman Tony Nwoye, who today is the All progressives Congress, APC gubernatorial flag bearer and Chris Uba’s brother Andy Uba, ( who recently lost the primary election to Tony Nwoye),then serving as President Obasanjo’s Special Advisor on Domestic Affairs are back in search of the Anambra State Government House to occupy.
The legislators said they were repeatedly urged to impeach Governor Obi by giving them funds not only to cover their considerable expenses at the Grand Resort, Asaba in Delta State but were frequently infused with “pocket money” ranging from N50,000 to N200,000 with funds that had arrived from Abuja and offered them the promise of an “automatic ticket” in the 2007 elections—that is, that their victory in the PDP primaries would be assured regardless of who might choose to run against them. Those who refused would be placed on the EFCC’s controversial list of politicians to be disallowed from contesting the 2007 elections due to alleged evidence of corruption.
On November 2, 2006, Peter Obi was deposed as governor but reinstated in February 2007 by the Federal Court of Appeal.
The 2007 polls saw Andy Uba as the PDP candidate for governor.
Obasanjo was alleged to have “wanted to award Andy Uba the governorship of Anambra for having served him well for 7 ½ years” whether the people of Anambra wanted him or not.
Andy Uba is the brother of Chris Uba, and his designs on the governor’s office caused a rift between the two. Andy Uba took over the Anambra State PDP in a move Chris Uba described as a “coup” and installed Tony Nwoye, a former student union leader, as state chairman of the party, says Human Rights Watch.
In interviews with Human Rights Watch, numerous sources including police officials, a spokesman for Governor Peter Obi, opposition politicians and cult members claimed that Nwoye was a prominent member of a “group” though the Oasis Reporters could not confirm the information before going to press.
According to press reports, opposition complaints and police sources in Anambra, Andy Uba’s campaign appeared to be unusually well-funded, and “Nwoye immediately set about mobilizing funds to recruit thugs to ensure Andy Uba’s victory in the PDP primaries in December 2006”, says HRW.
Uba won the PDP nomination after being awarded 97 percent of all votes cast.
Opposition figures, community leaders, and even members of the PDP alleged to Human Rights Watch that Andy Uba’s campaign used its capacity to mobilize violence to stifle any opposition to Uba’s eventual election.
By the time Election Day arrived, Andy Uba was facing only weak and fragmented opposition. INEC had eliminated his two most prominent opponents, Governor Peter Obi and Chris Ngige from the ballot.
Nonetheless the elections were meticulously rigged in Uba’s favor.
Andy Uba was awarded 1,093,004 votes as against 71,296 for Virgy Etiaba of APGA, in second-place, whereas voting did not even take place across much of Anambra State
Uba’s celebration was short-lived. Governor Peter Obi had filed a lawsuit arguing that he had been robbed of his term in office because of the years-long delay in declaring him the winner of the 2003 election. Days after Uba was sworn in as governor, Nigeria’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of Obi in that case, granting Obi the right to serve a full four years in office. Uba’s election was null and void, and gubernatorial elections will not be held in Anambra State until 2010.
Chris Uba no longer has the same political influence as previously, but this was largely the result of his brother Andy’s actions.
Today, Andy Uba is hardly on speaking terms with Tony Nwoye who he alleged used “students” to rig the APC primary election. Students may be a euphemism for cultists.
There’s another Uba in the Anambra governorship election mix. While Andy Uba and his brother Chris are from Uga , another political gladiator, Ifeanyi Uba hails from Nnewi.
He lost in the PDP primaries to Oseloka Obaze and the billionaire oil magnate is cutting short the
jubilation in the Obaze camp by heading to court. He says the process that produced Obaze was fraught with irregularities and he is proving difficult to appease.
Apart from Ifeanyi Uba, others include Sen. Stella Oduah, former Minister of Aviation, Mr John Emeka and a member of the House of Representatives and Lynda Ikpeazu.
Oduah, who withdrew from the primary election cited imposition of candidates on the party for her action.
In Anambra State, elections are made to look like the battle of the Titans.
But who knows if the people would shun the warriors and choose a man without a terrible record or an appalling pedigree?
November 18, 2017 beckons.
Credit : https://googleweblight.com/i?u=https://www.hrw.org/reports/2007/nigeria1007/8.htm&grqid=y3e-HWeU&hl=en-NG