INEC Moves To Scuttle  Jonathan’s Re-election

jega
Beti Onu, Anambra

As the general elections remains few weeks away, facts are beginning to emerge on the plans of insiders in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to scuttle President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election bid and frustrate the electoral fortunes of State and National Assembly candidates loyal to  him, including those from Anambra State.
It is important to point out that the heavy weights being schemed out at the instance of a group led by Ejike Oguebego, a loyalist of Chief Chris Uba in complicity with  INEC officials synchronized by  the duo of Ambassador Lawrence Nwuruku and Barrister Bawa are those who can swing votes in favour of the President and PDP in Anambra State.

Investigation by our reporter revealed that part of the moves to stop President Jonathan from coasting home to victory in the forthcoming Presidential election billed for February 14, this year  was the complicity of the electoral commission  with the  Oguebego-led  faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to botch a court order.
Recall that, in the run-up to the 2015 general elections, Mr. Oguebego faction of the PDP in Anambra State had obtained an order of the Federal High Court presided by Justice Chukwu in which the court recognized Oguebego-led PDP in the State and whatever list of candidates emanating from it.

Specifically, the Justice Chukwu’s Federal High Court judgment order in suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/854/2014  in Paragraph 5 states as follows:  That the 2nd defendant (INEC), its agents, servants,  privies, assigns, officials, whatsoever name they may be called, are restrained from accepting or receiving  any delegate list or nominated candidates that may emerge from the congresses or primaries conducted by the Caretaker Committee  set up by  the 1st defendant (PDP) for the PDP, Anambra  State Chapter, except those that  may emanate from  the plaintiff (Oguebego).

By this order, it means that if PDP sends any list to INEC that is not from  Oguebego, INEC is restrained from accepting the list.
However, in the process of nominating candidates for the general elections, an exparte  judgment was obtained at the FCT High Court of equal jurisdiction ordering   the PDP on one hand to submit to INEC  the names of Senator Andy Uba, Hon. Mrs Uche Ekwunife and Princes Stella Oduah as senatorial candidates for Anambra South, Central and North districts and on the other hand ordering INEC  to process and publish the said names.

INEC believed to have been compromised dilly-dallied and did not publish the names of senator Uba, Ekwunife and Oduah until the order expired.
Operationally, legal minds are of the opinion that the court judgment  earlier obtained by Oguebego did not give any specific or direct order to INEC and the electoral commission has no power or authority  to collect list of candidates from a State Chapter of the party contrary to  well-established position of the law of the land, the Electoral Act and Supreme Court of the land, that ruled that it  is only the National Chairman and National Secretary of a Party that  can submit list of its candidates  to INEC.

It is an accepted position in law  that any law that conflicts with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is rendered null and void and of no effect.
This position, may have informed the contention of those who stand by the decision of Senator Uba, Hon (Mrs) Ekwunife and Princess Oduah to go ahead with their campaigns, stressing that only the National leadership of the party represented by its  National  Chairman and National Secretary that should submit  names of its candidates for the election.

But Chief Chris Uba’s moles in INEC, particularly Ambassador Lawrence Nwuruku, the INEC’s Commissioner for the South East zone   and Barrister Bawa, the acting  Director of Legal Department think otherwise and are frustrating National Chairman of INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega’s desire to obey  the Supreme Court interpretation of the law to wit,  that the   National  Chairman and National Secretary of a party are the only officials of a political party mandated to submit names of its candidates to INEC .

Against the backdrop of the two conflicting  orders,  and desire of Professor Jega to  toe legal line to implement the Supreme Court order, the duo of Nwuruku and Bawa, according to sources,  asked Chief Chris Uba to file a contempt proceedings against the National Chairman of INEC to use it to deceive him and create the impression that  the commission is disobeying  a lawful court  order.

This gambit, it was gathered, was what prompted  Jega to remove his   hands from the matter and allow the Legal Department to have its way to interpret the Justice Chukwu’s court order to  allow the Oguebego group to favour Chief  Chris Uba, Senator Annie Okonkwo and John Emeka for the Senate seats, among others.

In addition, to the Legal Department, INEC has the Delta State-born Ire Miren as Head of the  Legal Services Committee which has five Commissioners including Nwuruku from Ebonyi  State who was asked to share the  ‘dirty money’ from the hatchet job running into about one hundred million  to other members for a job well  done, though some officials denied ever receiving the money. It was gathered that he collected close to N200 million from the political godfather gunning for elective post in Abuja from which he was able to put up one of the best mansions in the South-East geo-political zone.

Insiders in INEC, still make a jest of the situation that when Jega led INEC  chieftains to a wedding ceremony of Ambassador Nwuruku’s daughter at his country-homein December, last year, the INEC National Chairman was baffled to discovered the magnificent edifice put up by his junior officer the source of which is a subject of secret probe, according to an insider who leaded anonymity.

Ambassador Nwuruku’s  accomplice, Bawa is said to perpetrate sleaze with impunity especially in money laundering believable through the Alhaji Wase who operates Bureau de Change near Sheraton Hotel, Abuja.

The move to push the Oguebego list at the instance of Nwuruku and Bawa, according to a source, unsettled the Secretary to the Federal Government, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim who had preferred the former Aviation Minister, Princess Oduah to former Transport Minister of State,  Chief Emeka, a brother to former Deputy Governor, Chinedu Emeka.
According to information made available to our reporter, Senator Anyim contacted  his kinsman, Nwuruku on 12th January this year on his interest to have Princess Oduah to replace Chief Emeka as the Senatorial candidate of the PDP for Anambra North in Oguebego list, but Nwuruku pointedly told the SGF that he could only do so with the consent of Chief Chris  Ubah.

On account of this, a meeting between Senator Anyim and Chief Chris Uba, it was learnt, was  arranged by Nwuruku for the interested parties  and held at Chris Uba’s Asokoro  residence in Abuja,  but it could not achieve any  purpose because the deadline had elapsed for substitution and Chief Emeka refused any underground move to substitute his name.

The fear now, pundits observe, is that, given the fact that the Legal Department of INEC is the engine room  of the Commission and is involved in the intrigues and monumental sleeze,  the 2015 elections may be bungled and not be free and fair, if these characters are not sanitized.

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