After a bruising primary process marked by controversy and bickering, Senator Nnamdi (Andy) Uba, who represents Anambra South, has lost his desperate bid to be the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the November 2017 governorship tussle in Anambra State. Some months ago, Mr. Uba, a former special assistant on domestic affairs to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, had decamped from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the APC in order to seek the running party’s governorship ticket in Anambra. His loss in yesterday’s primaries marks a major political blow.
The winner, Mr. Tony Nwonye a current member of the House of Representatives and former President of National Association of Nigerian Students, secured the most votes in the primaries to beat out a field of candidates that also included a Port Harcourt-based businessman, Bart Nwibe, George Muoghalu, Obinna Uzo, Paul Chukwuma, Chike Obidigbo, and Donatus Okonkwo.
Mr. Uba had spent money lavishly in hopes of getting the ticket, hinging his campaign on the boast that he was the candidate with the financial muscle, organizational structure, and political skills to unseat incumbent Governor Willie Obiano, who earlier received the ticket of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) to seek reelection.
However, several candidates dismissed him. SaharaReporters had reported earlier about a face-off between Mr. Uba and Mr. Nwibe at the country home of former Governor Chris Ngige, with Mr. Nwibe accusing Senator Uba of lacking the intellectual credentials to carry the APC to victory. Our source at the meeting disclosed that Mr. Nwibe reminded the senator that his secondary school education was questionable.
In a series of investigative reports, SaharaReporters had revealed that Mr. Uba, who claims to have earned a Ph.D., never obtained a first degree, having flunked out both at Concordia University in Canada as well as a university in California where he attempted to get a Bachelors degree. In addition, our investigative team found that British authorities had barred Mr. Uba from entry into the UK after they discovered that the senator falsified his West African School Certificate results, awarding himself credits that the official results issued by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) clearly showed that he never earned.
As an aide to Mr. Obasanjo, Senator Uba had smuggled more than $170,000 into the US aboard a presidential jet during one of the former president’s trips. US officials later impounded a Mercedes Benz car that a friend of his, Loretta Mabinton, had purchased for him with some of the cash he had smuggled into the US. The car was later released to Mr. Uba after he agreed to pay a fine of more than $20,000.
In the last few days, the APC primaries were marked by high drama and intrigues. A source in the party claimed that former Governor Ngige obtained a form to run as a candidate for the party’s ticket, but backed down after he failed to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari to receive clearance to be in the race. Mr. Ngige, who is Nigeria’s Minister of Labor and Productivity, would have had to resign from the cabinet in order to pursue his ambition to be the APC’s flag bearer.
If Mr. Uba had clinched the APC’s governorship ticket, he would have faced an uphill task as some of the candidates who ran against him, including Mr. Nwoye, Mr. Obidigbo and Mr. Nwibe, had reportedly vowed never to work for his success in the election, accusing him of using a slush of illicitly acquired cash in his failed bid to snatch the ticket.
Besides, Mr. Uba’s younger brother, Chris Uba, has been at loggerheads with him politically. A source close to Chris Uba told SaharaReporters that the younger Uba, who is addressed as Eselu, would never have backed the senator’s bid to become governor. “Chief Chris Uba is a chieftain of the PDP [Peoples Democratic Party],” said the source. He added, “So why should he help somebody who belongs to another party to emerge victorious in the gubernatorial election?”