Saturday 9 January 2016

Dismissed Anambra PDP Senator Ekwunife Seeks Defects And Seek Nomination From APC

The Anambra State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is gripped by grumbling after former Senator Uche Ekwunife ditched her political party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), defected to the APC, and blanketed the state with her campaign posters seeking nomination to represent the APC in a forthcoming senatorial race.

Ms. Ekwunife contested the 2015 senatorial election on the ticket of the PDP, and was declared the winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission. However, on December 7, 2015, a panel of the Court of Appeal in Enugu nullified her election, ruling that her selection as the PDP’s senatorial candidate was irregular. The appellate court ordered INEC to conduct fresh electionswithin 90 days.

In a dramatic move yesterday, Ms. Ekwunife announced her resignation from the PDP. Her campaign then unveiled campaign posters depicting her as seeking nomination to represent the APC in the forthcoming rerun.

“The manner in which Chief Mrs. Uche Ekwunife is trying to buy the APC nomination is a recipe for disaster for the party,” one APC official told SaharaReporters. He described Ms. Ekwunife as “an unprincipled politician who is using everything at her disposal to contest the [senatorial] election as the APC flag bearer now that it is clear that Dr. [Chris] Ngige will not run.”

Another APC member complained that the rusticated senator was using her ties to some APC top shots in Abuja to bulldoze her way to a nomination. “How can she resign from PDP yesterday and by today her [campaign] posters as a so-called APC member are all over the place?” He accused Ms. Ekwunife of spreading false rumors that President Muhammadu Buhari was backing her ambition to be the party’s candidate in the senatorial contest. “Her minions have been claiming that her move to APC has been approved by President Buhari. And that her election will be funded by Governors Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and Tambuwal [of Enugu and Sokoto states respectively],” he stated.

A top APC official in Anambra State however allayed the fears of party members who have expressed disenchantment over what he called Ms. Ekwunife’s “political antics.” “I can assure party members and all APC members that President Buhari has nothing to do with this political cesspool of corruption and immorality,” said the official. According to him, “the time for substitution of candidates has since closed under the Electoral Act. So if she’s seeking the ticket of the APC or any other party, she is just wasting her time and money.”

Another party member, a lawyer, echoed the sentiment. He stated that both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court had long decided that a fresh election was only for persons who were qualified to contest the nullified election, and under the same political parties they had contested.

“The courts have held on several occasions that there is no room for substitution of new candidates or introduction of more political parties,” said the lawyer.

A PDP member in Anambra State described Ms. Ekwunife’s defection to the APC as good riddance. “Just a few months ago, this desperado used [former First Lady] Patience Jonathan to hijack the PDP senatorial ticket. She used the influence of Dame Jonathan and Prince Arthur Eze to rig her way to the Senate where she was until the court sacked her. Now, she has gone to fool the APC by dressing like an Alhaja,” he said.

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