Details have just emerged as to how the Anambra State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party was sold to Chris Uba and Clement Ibeto by the National Working Committee of the party and the ignoble role played by the Benue State governor, Gabriel Suswan and the deputy national chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, Dr. Mohammed Halliru Bello.
When the horde of stakeholders congregated in Awka to witness the result after the Anambra ward congress, many were surprised at the conspicuous absence of Chris Uba, ‘the enfant terrible’ of Anambra politics. Some mused that Chris must have kept his distance because of a burning determination on the part of all to conduct a free and fair primary knowing he cannot win a fair contest. Little did they know that the “little boy” has done his deal and was simply waiting in his house to savour his victory.
The financial deal to sell the Anambra PDP to Chris Uba and Ibeto, the Nnewi-born businessman was hatched early this year. One knowledgeable source said a fighting fund of N5 billion was budgeted for the whole deal. Out of this amount, N1.5 billion was paid to members of the PDP’s National Working Committee (NWC) to perfect the deal to hand over the state chapter. Of this amount, Alhaji Bello was said to have pocketed N1billion.
Informed sources say it was the perceived coldness on the part of the national chairman, Chief Vincent Ogbulafor to the whole saga that was at the root of incessant rift in the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) and the earlier plan to get him out of the way before the Anambra PDP Primaries.
The role of President Yar’Adua
Elombah.com could not immediately verify the role of President Yar’adua in this shameful course; but his perceived weakness and the inability to stand by his word; added to the weak position of Ogbulafor has enabled Dr. Mohammed Bello to sideline Ogbulafor and take over the running of Wadata Plaza.
There are three evil forces fighting for the soul of Anambra State: 1. The Andy Uba/Olusegun Obasanjo faction; 2. The Charles Soludo/Tony Anenih/Alhaji Mangal faction and; 3. the Chris Uba/Ibeto/Alhaji Bello faction. This third group, working in concert with the dominant faction of the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) was behind the Uche Emordi led PDP Executive Committee in Anambra State until President Yar’Adua intervened two weeks ago to sack them.
It would be recalled that The Chairman, Chief Ogbulafor was nearly dethroned last week because of his opposition to Uche Emordi and his gang. President Yar’Adua was said not to be particularly enamoured of either group. Sources say he was persuaded to avoid Obasanjo type entanglement in Anambra State by the sensible forces in PDP represented by the elected PDP legislators from Anambra State led by Senators Ikechukwu Obiorah and Annie Okonkwo.
Moreover, Yar’Adua was sold the idea that only by holding a primary perceived to be free and fair would the PDP wrest control of the state from Governor Peter Obi and the looming influence of Dr Chris Ngige.
However, the National Working Committee of the PDP were said to be working on the assumption that Yar’Adua would not lift a finger if presented with a fait a’compli.
The report that the duo of Chris Uba and Clement Ibeto raised N1billion with clear specification that more than half of the amount should be handed to Yar’adua and his wife, Hajia Turai Yar’adua could not be immediately verified.
Chris Uba’s boast that the Attorney General, Michael Aondoakaa, Abba Ruma, Yar’Adua’s Minister of Agriculture, and hence Yar’Adua are all in his pocket was dismissed by a source.
Another source was insistent however, that Governor Gabriel Suswan, who was said to have pocketed at least N1 billion for his cooperation, would not have gone ahead with the deal without the blessing of President Yar’Adua.
What happened at Awka?
Elombah.com investigations show the Chairman of the Ward Congress election Committee, Governor Gabriel Suswan of Benue State had a prepared result that bore no semblance to the actual result from the PDP Wards Congress held Tuesday.
However, just like the perfect murder where something must go wrong, the originators of the list failed to notice that one of the names on the list died two weeks ago from a road accident!
Apart from the violence that marred the ward congress of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Anambra State for the election of the party’s gubernatorial candidate in the state for the 2010 elections, with supporters of rival governorship aspirants engaging one another in physical combat; the Congress was eventually conducted reasonably devoid of major infractions.
The result of the Ward Congress was still being collated around the state when governor Suswan released his prepared result to journalists while refusing to give a duplicate to the contestants. The aspirants request for a copy – which is normally distributed to them – of Governor Suswan’s list was rebuffed.
It was further gathered that the vast majority of the aspirants were alarmed over how the Governor Gabriel Suswam Ward Congress Committee came about the list of 928 elected delegates and threatened to pull out of the race en masse. A source revealed to Elombah.com that the names in the “fake” result are all Chris Uba’s delegates.
Some delegates were infuriated at the turn of events and moved to capture Suswan. But the governor abandoned Awka and fled to Abuja into the waiting arms of the NWC of the PDP.
An aspirant, Senator Obiorah said he is disappointed that the Governor and those he is working for would play on the intelligence of Anambra people by forcing the contestants at the ward level to fork out their hard earned money to buy the Delegates Form when the Governor and his cohorts have already made up their minds on their preferred choice.
“It is cruel to have a villager earning N30, 000 a month to buy a N10, 000 Form and then disenfranchise him” He said. These people paid this high fee simply because they were made to believe the system will work this time”, he added.
One of the contestants openly voiced their intention to take their case to the Appeal Tribunal. However, he lamented that they were frustrated because Governor Suswan “ran away” with the result without giving them the duplicate.
“It is this duplicate that we need to lodge our appeal”, One aspirant said. “And if we could not lodge the appeal today, the whole process is lost as the Appeal Members will announce the result tomorrow”, he added.
Chris Ubah’s Agenda
Chris Uba, a Secondary School drop-out and younger brother to Emmanuel Andy Nnamdi Uba (former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s domestic aide) was said to have purchased gubernatorial forms for 23 Aspirants in the Party. However, his preferred candidate is said to be Damian Okoli. Okoli is Chris Uba’s in-law.
His original candidate was Uchenna Emordi, but Uche failed to pass PDP screening. Asked what happens to other aspirants following Chris Uba around, our source says “of course at the end of the day Chris will “explain to them”, they’ve got nothing to lose. “Obviously, among them one will be made deputy governor, others might land commissioner”, he added.
Like the Uba/Ngige episode of 2003, an agreement is said to have been drawn between Uba and Okoli– sealed with “blood oath”, to pay N4billion into the account of Uba and Ibeto from the state coffers next year when the election has been won according to our source.
Chris Uba rose to notoriety in 2003 when he resorted to hiring thugs to destroy public infrastructure after he fell out with Chris Ngige, his anointed candidate in the 2003 governorship elections.
As soon as Dr. Ngige reneged on an arrangement to hand the resources of Anambra State to Uba, the enfant terrible conspired with Obasanjo and former Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun, to abduct the former governor. But the plot to dethrone Ngige proved more difficult than Uba and Obasanjo expected. It was only in March of 2005 that a Court of Appeal removed Ngige from office, replacing him with Peter Obi of APGA, the rightful winner of the 2003 gubernatorial election.
The Press Conference
Senators Ikechukwu Obiorah and Annie Okonkwo, both governorship aspirants addressed a crowded press conference in Awka and urged President Umaru Yar’Adua to intervene on the issue in Anambra PDP immediately,
According to Senator Obiorah said, ” the congress was marred by violence. A list was purportedly given to the appeal committee by Suswam before he left.
There were areas where elections were held and some people courageously got duplicates of the result sheets and what was released did not totally with what happened in the field.
“I can therefore not be a party to this charade. A lot of money had gone into this exercise, given the number of people that bought forms to participate, only for a prepared list to be pasted. I therefore mourn for our people for the loss of their money when a list had already been prepared beforehand.
“It is wrong to say people should be ashamed of the situation in Anambra state. Rather, the organisers of the charade should be ashamed of themselves. Up till now, no result has been released. What is available is the list of the so-called delegates and there is nothing for the appeal committee to rely on. I keep saying it that marginalization can only cease when people are allowed to elect their leaders. A fair process must be adopted; otherwise we are heading back to the era of destruction of property.
“For now, I suspend further participation in the governorship race. Let those who want to control the affairs of our state from outside continue for now. I have not backed our completely. I only suspended my participation in the process. I will keep the receipt of the money I paid because that is what I will use to challenge them later,” he said.
Reminded of Governor Suswan’s statement that Anambra people should be ashamed of their conduct at the Ward Congresses, Senator Obiorah retorted that it is the organisers that will be ashamed of themselves for deceiving the people. “Why should they organise the election when they have made up their mind as to the results”, He asked.
Only In Anambra State
Fielding questions from Journalists after submitting his congress report to members of the NWC at the PDP National Secretariat, the Benue State Governor and Chairman Congress Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Anambra state, said the party was in serious shambles in the state, But Suswan should step forward and tell the Anambra people how much he was paid by Chris Ubah to mess up the PDP Ward Congress held Tuesday.
According to Governor Suswan; “I want to inform you that I have submitted the report of the congress to the National Working Committee (NWC) of our party and it has been accepted. I have finished my job, but I had expected that we would have a very difficult congress and actually, what we met on ground was not very encouraging. But, we did our best in terms of the conduct of the congress”.
He stressed that something was politically wrong with the PDP stakeholders in the state and said they should be ashamed for failing to conduct a simple ward congress in the state, but he is culpable. Suswan says the PDP ward Congress is in “shambles” but at the same time claims “that 90 per cent of the congress was successful.”
Suswan, who noted the crisis among party stakeholders in the state, urged the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) led by National Chairman, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, to, as a matter of urgency, nip in the bid the crisis in the state if it must clinch the governorship position in the February 6, 2010 governorship election.
“I have given them my advice and that is to say that I told them there is the need for the NWC to call all the major stakeholders in Anambra state, who are members of the PDP to sit down and discuss. In a situation where you have 30 members of the State House of Assembly from PDP and the Governor is from another party, means there is something fundamentally wrong among the political leadership in Anambra state.
If the NWC is serious about PDP winning Anambra state, then they must sit down with all the political stakeholders to encourage them to foster unity so that we can achieve success in election in Anambra state, otherwise, nothing can be achieved”, he said. “Where there are 47 people contesting for a single position, it means there is serious problem.
In a situation where people insist that they must be the person who will win, else nothing will happen, is not a good attitude”, he said. But it is amazing Suswan working in concert with Bello, with the consent of the president, would ask a notorious political gangster to once again be the face of the party in Anambra State.
After concluding the Delegate Congress of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra State the Chairman of the Committee Governor Gabriel Suswan has this to say about Anambra State. “Anambra people have no shame. I had to bring in 326 people from Benue State to come and conduct the congress, nowhere else in the federation would such a thing happen except in Anambra. It is a shame.
“Anambra is a different issue altogether. They don’t want sanity to prevail or anything genuine. The first ugly experience was that some aspirants would offer you anything. One even offered to give me one billion Naira cash that evening. I decided and even felt angry at such desperation. I can see why nothing seems to be working out here. Once it is 7pm everyone runs into their homes like fowls. There is no place of interest, sight-seeing or night life. It is unfortunate”
It is only in Anambra State that a well-known election riggers, Mr. Andy Ubah and cohorts will shamelessly stand up to challenge a Supreme Court decision on the mercilessly rigged 2007 guber elections in the State known by all and sundry.
Igbo’s still wonder why an Igala/Tiv man, Mr. Suswan should be allowed to deride and condemn Anambra people. “He is one of the PDP thieves hired by a corrupt Nigerian government to help wreck Igbo. The people he is insulting are fellow PDP. He was sent by a Northern controlled government to come and induce fighting among Igbo in Anambra state, and to turn around to make criminal utterances”, a prominent Anambra indigene fumed.
“The North has perfected their strategy of using their minions to disgrace the Igbo. Those Igbo who engage each other in deadly fight in Anambra are impressionable folks lured into PDP with looted oil money by a corrupt government and their Igbo accomplices. They are fighting over who should be rigged into governor’s office in Awka to loot the treasury”, Another added.
Meanwhile 26 gubernatorial aspirants have forwarded a protest letter to the PDP NWC, detailing the fraud that characterised the just concluded PDP Ward Congress As at the time of going to Press, the rattled PDP stalwarts appear to be having a rethink. An appeal have been allowed from disgruntled PDP gubernatorial aspirants and the Dimeji Bankole Committee appears willing to take a second look at the list submitted by Governor Suswan.
However, an insider informed Elombah.com; “this is a gimmick to allow tempers to cool. At the end of the day, Chris Uba will still have his way no matter what anybody might say”
Read also Update: Anambra PDP Congress; the ignoble role of Bankole
and How Chris Uba Conned Prof Soludo