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Published On: Mon, Oct 26th, 2015

APGA’S RESORT TO JUDICIAL FELONY

By UCHE NWOSU  |  

One of major anomalies in Nigeria’s political system is the refusal of a loser to accept defeat. If democracy is agame where the majority
holds the mandate of the people in trust for a specific period, there is no way the very essence of the spirit and tenets of democracy as
recognized and practiced worldwide should be reversed in Nigeria.

Indeed, it is only in Nigeria that apolitical neophyte with no structure on ground and without a strong political antecedent would jump into an election with the mindset of becoming a winner.And when the result turns out to be the opposite of what his belief is, he goesto bring down the heavens. Why is it that Nigerian politicians are bad losers?Election is the time for stocktaking. It is a period when an individual or a political party or both brings to the fore his or their previous achievements and make bare the programmes of action (otherwise called the manifesto) for the coming governing period if elected.

Then the electorate, the one who enjoys the sacred privilege of exercising his franchise at that auspicious time would therefore make his choice.
Why should an individual with no political antecedent except the fact that he was a player in boardroom politics of some top banking
institutions across the country deliberately come to heat up the Abia political space in the fathom claim of winning the Abia governorship
election?

Is it not a mockery of modern day democracy that a party that is skeletal in existence in Abia state before the 2015 general elections would claim it won the governorship seat of the state, including majority ofthe seats in the State House of Assembly? The fact remains that the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Dr Alex Otti, its candidate in the Abia Governorship poll of 2015, were before the elections inconsequential. APGA in Abia state was in existence only by name. it will be recalled that up till late November 2014 when Alex Otti joined it, (after he failed to secure the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP), the All Progressive Grand Alliance was a disproportionate assemblage and the followers of its factional gubernatorial candidate, Chief Reagan Ufomba   Without contradictions, I equivocally state that it was in November 2014 when Alex Otti joined the party that APGA came alive.

It should be noted that many of the people now parading themselves as APGA members and claiming to have won the 2015 elections are rejects of PDP. Majority of them were not able to secure tickets in PDP;reasons being their failure to meet the template set by the party for those vying the election under it.Consequently, having failed to get the PDP’s tickets, they raced to APGA and outwitted Ufomba and became candidates without his blessing.

They became flag bearers of APGA for various constituencies, not withstanding their inadequacies that made them lose primaries in PDP.
Their thinking was that the people’s admiration of late Biafran leader in Abia state would see them through the elections. But they forget
that elections these days are not won sentiments. Otti himself was throwing moneyaround at campaign grounds and elsewhere to sway the
electorate to his side,while other candidates of APGA in the national and state assemblies, were manipulatingthe vulnerability of our people
and likeness for Ojukwu to drop the names of Odumegwu Ojukwu’s family (wife or son) as their backers and possible guests at their rallies;
hence the sea of heads that was witnessed during some of the party’s rallies in the last general elections.

Conversely, it was this game of political hallucination that prompted to believe that they were popular and could win both the governorship and other elections.

However, when the results were declared, it became clear that the people spoke on who they wanted to represent and govern them. The PDP,
the party with the support of the grassroot coasted home to victory by securing the three Senatorial seats, seven ofthe eight of the House of
Representatives seats and 13 of the 24 house of assembly seats. The three elections of March 28 (forNational Assembly election), April 11
(for Governorship poll), as well as the governorship re-run on April 26, proved one thing: PDPs unshakable taproot in Abia. But despite
that, APGA claimed that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC compromised their position by inflating some figures in favour of
PDP.

However, when the three election petitions tribunals (one for governorship and two for National Assembly/House of Assembly) were
inaugurated in July, 2015 they were given ample opportunity to prove the allegations beyond all reasonable doubts, since it is the
purpose for setting up the tribunals.

Indeed, APGA and its candidates had quantum opportunities to prove the allegations of inflating figures in favour of PDP and other irregularities in the elections, but they failed because those allegations were mare fabrications and concoctions.It is on record that APGA had since last year when it began the dangerous move to capture Abia state by either hook or crook been employing propaganda, lies and false accusation as its weapon to achieve electoral success. When it is not accusing PDP of running down its billboards, burning INEC office at Obingwa, hatching plots to eliminate Alex Otti, it is reproving INEC officials for compromising the election.Now, it is the turn of the honourable judges at the tribunals assigned to the state.

Through various publications in the print and social media, these judges have had their characters maligned by members of the All Progressive Grand Alliance. The sins of the judges are that they (the judges) decided matters in their tribunals based on the facts before them. Without holding brief for the honourable justices, I wish to state categorically that the learned justices made their decisions based on the facts before them
simplicita.  APGA’s allegation that Alex Otti was coasting home to victory before INEC declared Gov Okezie Ikpeazu, PhD the rightful
winner of the governorship poll was as insidious as it is uncharitable.

Obingwa, Ugwunagbo and Isiala Ngwa North LGAs whose results they are contesting have been the stronghold of PDP since 1999 and by extension
the political strength of Okezie Ikpeazu.Interestingly, he (Okezie Ikpeazu)hails from Obingwa which returned substantial votes of over
82,000 to him. Obingwa with other Ngwas, saw it as an opportunity during the election to have  a shot at the highest office in the state,
having clamoured for it from 1979.

It will therefore be foolhardy for the people to vote against their son in a major election as the governorship. Alex Otti himself has his stronghold of Arochukwu LGA. Therefore, the resort to the media by Alex Otti and APGA to blackmail the tribunal members, particularly the governorship tribunal is to say the least criminal, undemocratic, unacceptable and condemnable, because it is against the law of this nation to use blackmail to achieve what one could not get in either the electoral field or the tribunal/court. Election petitions are not decided on the pages of newspapers or in the social media but in a court or tribunal properly constituted by the laws of the land. The argument that PDP’s petitionsuffered a setback on September this year at the Court of Appeal in Owerri when the court dismissed two separate but related appeals it fired against Otti and APGA was nonsensical and idiotic.

Has APGA forgotten that PDP roundly routed out the Interlocutory Appeal filed by Alex Otti, asking for permission for more time at the
tribunal? The Court of Appeal in its unanimous decision ruled in Appeal no. CA/OW/EPT/5/205 by Justice J O Bada that, “on thepeculiar facts of
this case, the Appellants would not be entitled to the benefit from their indiligence of mischief”. Indeed, APGA antics should be ignored.

Uche Nwosu, a political Affairs Commentator, contributed this piece from Umuahia, Abia State

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