A former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof Charles Soludo, has insisted that he is still in the Anambra State governorship race despite his exclusion from the list of candidates for the November 6 election published by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Soludo emerged as the candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) in a primary election conducted by the mainstream members of the party on July 23.
INEC has now published Chuma Umeoji as the authentic candidate of APGA in the poll based on court order.
Umeorji had emerged as the candidate of the party in a primary election conducted by a factional national chairman of the party, Jude Okeke.
Reacting to the INEC publication, Soludo in a statement by his media aide, Joe Anatune, said he would contest the November 6 election despite his exclunion by INEC.
The statement read, “The Chukwuma Soludo Campaign has been briefed on a publication by the Independent National Electoral Commission where Honourable Chukwuma Umeoji has been published as the candidate of the APGA in the November 6, 2021, gubernatorial election in Anambra State.
“The INEC publication is based on a judgment by a High Court in Jigawa State, and the electoral body sensibly wrote that its inclusion of Umeoji as a candidate in the election is “By Judgment.
“Our millions of supporters in Anambra State and elsewhere in the world are advised not to be dispirited by the publication seriously.
“Prof Chukwuma Charles Soludo will participate in the governorship election as the APGA candidate. His nomination was strictly in line with the Electoral Law and INEC guidelines. INEC observed the APGA Congress on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, where he was nominated after winning 93.4 percent of the valid votes cast in a free, fair and transparent manner which was broadcast live on national television networks as part of deepening the democratic process in Nigeria.
“Our team of dedicated and competent legal experts have studied the judgment and are confident of overturning it effortlessly. The party is at liberty to nominate the right candidate so long as due process is followed. Soludo’s nomination followed due process religiously.”
The statement told supporters to wait patiently for Soludo’s leadership of the state, advising them not to be deterred by the Jigawa State Court order.
INEC had dropped the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ,Valentine Ozigbo and that of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) , Charles Soludo, ahead of the November 6, 2021 governorship election in Anambra State in obedience to orders of the court.
The names of the duo were absent in a publication of Personal Particulars of Candidates for the Anambra Governorship Election, made available to LEADERSHIP yesterday in Abuja, and signed by the national commissioner and chairman, Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye.
LEADERSHIP recalls that Ozigbo and Ugochukwu Uba had emerged the PDP’s governorship candidate from parallel primary elections, adding that both are laying claim to the party’s ticket.
Also, it would be recalled that INEC had said there were no factions in the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), recognising Dr. Victor Ikechukwu Oye-led APGA on its official website.
With the publication, the hope of Soludo and the ex-TransCorp Hilton Hotel boss, Chief Valentine Ozigbo, to become Anambra State governor may be fading as their names are conspicuously missing from the list.
The nation’s electoral body said the omission of some names was sequel to the order of the Nigerian courts.
The statement reads in part, “The commission also considered and took cognizance of the Judgments/Court Orders served on it in relation to the primaries of the political parties and other processes leading to the election.
“The commission will continue to act in consonance with the Constitution and the law and will continue to obey the judgments and orders of courts served on it.”
Meanwhile, candidates of 15 other political parties made the list, including Sen Emmanuel Nnamdi Uba (Andy Uba) of the opposition All Progressive Congress (APC).and his 53-year-old deputy governorship candidate, Johnbosco Okechukwu Anaedobe.
Others whose names are on the cleared list are Sen Ifeanyi Ubah and his deputy, Dr. Aloysius Ekee of Young Progressive Party (YPP), among others.
Interestingly, Senator Ubah of YPP has cleverly listed National Examination Council (NECO) as his highest qualification apparently to avoid the backlash that some candidates in Nigeria have suffered over the years when the Supreme Court of Nigeria had to overturn some elections on the grounds of educational qualifications of the candidates.
Anambra Guber: APGA accepts INEC’s decision to publish Umeoji’s name
The leadership of APGA has accepted the decision of INEC to recognise Hon Chuma Umeoji as the party’s candidate in the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra State.
With Umeoji’s recognition as the party’s flag bearer, APGA said INEC has again proven its independence and its ability to conduct credible election without fear or favour.
A statement by the spokesman of the party, Ikechukwu Chukwunyere, also viewed this recognition as victory for democracy and the good people of Anambra State who are trusting the party for a credible candidate capable of moving the state forward after winning the November election.
“We urge our teeming party faithful and supporters to keep faith with APGA in the party’s desire to win the election and go ahead to deliver dividends of democracy to the people.
“While calling on all party leaders and members to support and campaign for our candidate, we also urge Hon Umeoji to be magnanimous in victory by bringing all stakeholders on board.
“The task of winning the forthcoming election is one that we must pursue and achieve collectively, ” he said .