As the curtain draws on the Anambra APC governorship primaries, I believe that it is time for those who are close to Senator Andy Uba to tell him some home truths.
Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State who is the chairman of the panel that conducted the primaries came back to the country from Mecca where he had gone for the Hajj and proceeded to submit his report in Abuja where he addressed the party chairman and other members of the executive. Shettima had stated that:
“The Committee particularly notes with satisfaction that before and during the election, all aspirants confirmed to have received the list of delegates. The committee also notes with satisfaction that before and during the election, none of the aspirants raised questions concerning the integrity of the list of delegates.
“The committee notes with satisfaction that all delegates were duly accredited and conveyed to the voting venue in the presence of agents of all aspirants and none of the agents raised questions about the integrity of the process before and during the election.
“The committee notes with satisfaction that none of the aspirants questioned procedures of voting, sorting, collation, and counting of results before, during and after the election. The committee notes with satisfaction that security agencies provided adequate personnel that guaranteed the integrity of the entire process and that none of the aspirants raised questions concerning the integrity of any security personnel.
“The committee notes with satisfaction that chairman of the election appeal panel, former Minister of Works, Dr Hassan Lawal was in Awka with the committee and he observed all election processes. Presidential Adviser to the President, Baba Femi Ojudu was also in Awka to observe the election at the instance of the National Secretariat and he has prepared his report. The committee also notes that the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) observed the conduct of the election in compliance with electoral laws”.
From the foregoing, there is little doubt that all is now set for the party to go ahead and submit Dr. Tony Nwoye’s name to INEC as its authentic flag bearer before the close of work today as required by the electoral act. It is the right and proper thing to do if the party sincerely wants to make inroads in the South East where it has continued to be viewed with scorn. We all witnessed a free and fair primary which was even broadcast live on TV.
I have no personal relationship with Andy but I have friends who have worked and still work with him. I have also met him on one or two occasions and I can say this about him. He is an articulate and business minded person. In 2007, I was among the organisers of the gubernatorial debate put together by the League of Anambra Professionals (LAP) which held at Parktonian hotels Awka. After much running around on the eve of the scheduled date we woke up a little late and proceeded to the venue just before 7: am as the debate was to commence by 9: am.
On arrival at the hotel, I was surprised to learn that Andy was already there and was even supervising the hotel staff who were arranging the hall. One member of staff revealed to me that he had been there for at least an hour. I was impressed. In the usual Nigerian manner, the debate started later than scheduled as aspirants and organisers alike arrived late. I recollect that when Andy’s name was announced as the first aspirant to mount the stage and deliver his manifesto there were shouts of Nooo!! from a section of the audience. But those of us who were there early insisted that he was there first and he was allowed to go on.
His speech was crisp and coherent and he left very few in doubt about his articulate ideas to move the state forward. My respect for him tripled on that day. He went on to emerge the winner of the debate and even after Maurice Iwu’s abracadabra propelled him to the government house I wasn’t too sour having supported and campaigned for Ngige because latently I somewhat believed Andy will actually perform beyond people’s expectations.
Unfortunately, his reign was cut short by the supreme court but not before rumours filtered in that his proposed cabinet list had leaked and many were shocked at the quality of little-known technocrats he had pencilled down for appointments at the expense of the usual carpet baggers and sycophants
Subsequent bids to get to Agu Awka even after he joined the red chamber as a Senator have all come to nothing. He has crisscrossed parties from PDP to Labour back to PDP and now in APC yet actualising his dream remains elusive.
Perhaps the most painful aspect for him this time around is that unlike the previous times he contested in the same primary election with his estranged political son and despite his bravado, he lost to him by a very wide margin. He was rejected by the same delegates who had promised him their votes only to cast them for Tony Nwoye. I sincerely feel his pain, but these things happen for a reason. He should realise by now if he hasn’t that he was deceived and perhaps ripped off by those he trusted. Whereas many will feel that the stigma of previous shenanigans in Anambra could have cost him the election the truth is that he had little chance of winning Tony Nwoye in a free and fair primary. I say this because I know that Tony has been rooted in Anambra since last year meeting with and mobilising various constituencies. The era of jetting in from Abuja to hijack a political process is long gone. All politics is local!
Tony Nwoye is his boy and will remain so, he served him once and even though things went awry later the young man has maintained publicly that Andy is his boss forever when he said that ““I have reached out to all of them. The only person I have not reached out to is my boss, Sen. Uba; you know when he is your boss, he remains your boss. I have called him on phone severally. I served him loyally when I was chairman of PDP, he was our governorship candidate and I leave the rest to God”.
For Andy, it is the end of the road for another bid to occupy the throne in Agu Awka. His allies and real friends are expected to summon the courage and advise him right this time around. Politicians are often quick to tell you that “it is God who makes the king” but when it’s time to show this by accepting defeat they try to play god.
It is time to make peace and move on. He should consider taking a sabbatical for studies or some humanitarian service. He should take a cue from Bankole and his ally Ekwunife. There are other ways of serving your people beside politics. Andy is 58, he still has active years ahead of him and can still return to politics after a well-deserved rest. He should not create further enmity which may haunt his future prospects in life. It is better for him to be the senior and display maturity in reconciling with his political son. It is the worthy and proper thing to do.