The Soludo Solidarity Group, one of the 34 groups campaigning for the victory of Professor Chukwuma Charles Soludo, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate in the November 6 gubernatorial election in Anambra State, has excoriated Senator Andy Uba, the supposed candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the election, for launching a propaganda war against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with a view to removing the commission’s chairman, Professor Yakubu Mahmood, and the Electoral Commissioner in charge of Logistics, Professor Okechukwu Ibeanu, a few days to the election.
“Only a power maniac can advocate that the two top INEC officials be removed with the election only 11 days away”, the Soludo group stated in a statement signed by its president, Comrade Michael Egwuatu, while reacting to the call for the resignation of the INEC chairman and commissioner by a pro-Uba organization last week in Abuja.
The Save Nigeria Movement (SNM), an emergency nongovernment organization (NGO) believed to be sponsored by Uba, a controversial former senator, asked that both Mahmood and Ibeanu resign forthwith based on a newspaper report which the Soludo group said was planted by Uba’s agents alleging that the commission has been compromised. The SNM produced no evidence to support its allegation.
The move to remove both the INEC chairman and its commissioner, according to the Soludo group, is the latest in a series of plots by the supposed APC candidate to frustrate the election.
Remarked the Soludo Campaign: “With a resounding defeat staring him in the face, Uba, a former chairman of the Senate Committee on INEC, is frustrated that he cannot manipulate the electoral commission, as he did when Maurice Iwu was its chairman during the President Obasanjo administration and Uba the most powerful presidential aide.
“It has taken Uba this long to come to terms that Mahmood and Ibeanu are not just solid political science scholars but also men of unimpeachable integrity who, among other things, have insisted on electronic voting, a development election riggers find very frustrating”.
The purported APC candidate, it stated, has failed in the bid to get the INEC leadership to do Uba’s bidding.
The Soludo group also accused Uba of attempting to use the Jigawa State High Court at Birnin Kudu to stop the APGA candidate from participating in the election, “only to meet his waterloo at the appellate courts in Nigeria which have proved once again that the judiciary is the bulwark of democracy.
“He even tried to use a customary court, of all courts in the land, to issue criminal summons to Soludo, a former Central Bank governor well reputed for far-reaching reforms.
“Chief Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed was thus forced to come out openly to query the customary court for gross misconduct capable of bringing the judiciary into odium”.
The Soludo Group statement alleged that Uba was the brain behind the failed attempt by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to get President Muhammadu Buhari to declare emergency rule in Anambra ostensibly over insecurity in the state.
It regretted that the country’s chief law officer allowed his deep personal relationship to “goad him to contemplate a state of emergency in Anambra when states with more profound security crises like Katsina, Zamfara, Yobe, Adamawa, Benue, Plateau, Kebbi, Kaduna, Niger and Borno where military planes have been brought down by terrorists and bandits and almost a countless number of schoolchildren, students and teachers abducted for months and years are without emergency rule”.
The Soludo group charged Uba with an acute obsession with power for its own sake, arguing that he has always sought power through the back door.
“That’s why”, it noted, “he masterminded the unlawful impeachment of Governor Peter Obi and the arson against the House of Assembly, the legislature and the executive arm in Anambra State in 2003 so that he would be appointed the sole administrator by Obasanjo in the event of a state of emergency.
“No-one is surprised the controversial former senator is now rooting for the removal of the INEC chairman and commissioner just 11 days to the election, hoping he will benefit from the ensuing profound crisis should they be forced to resign right now”.