The yet-to-be-explained refusal of All Progressives Congress, APC to submit the name and details of the member representing Ikwuano/Umuahia Federal Constituency of Abia State, Rep. Sam Onuigbo as the duly elected candidate of the party for Abia Central Senatorial district may cost the party the senatorial seat.
Nigeria is heading to a major election early next year which will usher in new states and National Assembly members. A new president is also expected to emerge as the tenure of the incumbent president Muhammadu Buhari GCFR expires May 29, 2023.
This position was given a boost when President Buhari restated it during his farewell speech at UNGA77 where he declared that the august body will see a new President of Nigeria this next year during UNGA78
Nigeria’s electoral umpire, the INEC had on Tuesday published the list of successful candidates for National Assembly race without APC having a candidate for Abia Central.
Emeka Atuma’s name was submitted by APC to INEC, even though he never took part in the primary election of the party for Abia Central which took place on 28th of June, 2022 at Chidiebere Park, Umuahia. Atuma bought form for Gubernatorial Election and contested with High Chief Ikechi Emenike. High Chief Emenike won the election while Atuma came second. How Atuma who contested for the Gubernatorial Primary and lost to High Chief Emenike miraculously jumped from the Gubernatorial contest to seize the ticket of a Senatorial Primary which we all witnessed and which he never participated in is still mystery to us.
The Abia Central Senatorial Primary Election was duly monitored by INEC officials. After a former Senator of the district, Sen. Nkechi Nwaogu withdrew from the race in her letter dated May 27, 2022 and addressed to the National Chairman of the APC and copied to the Director of Elections and Political Party Monitoring of the Independent National Elections Commission (INEC), the contest was between Chief Henry Ikoh and Hon Sam Onuigbo as Chief KC Ugboaja was ill and could not make it to the venue. The illness eventually claimed his (Ugboaja’s) life.
Chief Henry Ikechukwu Iko, now a federal Minister had tried his popularity among the delegates during the primary election, but was defeated by Hon. Onuigbo.
Under unexplained circumstances bordering on impunity, instead of the party, APC to submit the name of Hon. Onuigbo who duly won the election to INEC as its candidate for Abia Central, the party forwarded the name of Emeka Atuma who never purchased nomination form for the race and never participated in the election.
The federal lawmaker who says he has the pieces of evidence of materials used in conducting the June 28 primary election had challenged Chief Emeka Atuma to provide his evidence if he claims to have contested the election.
Atuma has instead said he won at a primary election conducted on the 7th of June, a claim that Onuigbo has said is false as such primary election never took place. Curiously, our investigation has revealed that the date claimed by Atuma coincided with the date Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was elected as the Presidential Candidate of the APC during its National Convention in Abuja.
Onuigbo had approached the Umuahia division of the Federal High Court presided over by Justice Evelyn Anyadike to bar INEC from publishing the name of Atuma as APC candidate for Abia Central.
Political watchers believe this was a missed opportunity for the APC which has not won Abia Central senatorial district election since it came into existence.
Sam Onuigbo enjoys a humongous support among the people of the constituency, having represented Ikwuano and Umuahia, a component of Abia Central at the House of Representatives for two terms. In fact, since 1999, he was the first House of Representatives Member to be re-elected in this powerful federal Constituency.
He is praised for offering quality leadership to the Constituency, a microcosm of what he could offer if elected into the senate.
The case is already before the court where Onuigbo is expected to reclaim his mandate. During the last court sitting, Honourable Justice Anyadike set Sept 30, 2022 as the date for definite hearing of the case.