ENUGU – The 2019 general elections has come and gone. As the dust of the general elections is settling, it is obvious that Anambra South senatorial zone witnessed one of the most contested senatorial seats in the February 23, 2019 senatorial election.
The keenly contested Anambra South Senatorial election had pitched two of the controversial Uba brothers-Andy Uba and Chris Uba against Chief Nicolas Ukachukwu and oil magnate, Dr. Ifeanyi Patrick Ubah.
According to the results declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the election was won by Dr. Ifeanyi Patrick Ubah, the Chief Executive Officer of Capital Oil and Gas Limited.
In that election, Ifeanyi Ubah of the Young Progressive Party (YPP) polled 87,081 votes to defeat all other three candidates. Chief Chris Uba of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who polled a total of 62,462 votes, Chief Nicolas Ukachukwu of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) who scored 51,269 votes and the incumbent Senator, Andy Uba who garnered a total of 13,245 votes to come a distant fourth.
However, the outcome of the election is now a subject of controversy at the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Awka, Anambra State Capital.
This is not the first time that the outcome of Anambra South senatorial election would be subjected to legal scrutiny. It is on record that Senator Ugochukwu Uba, one of the Uba brothers ,in 2003 returned as the winner of the same senatorial election against Chief Nicolas Ukachukwu of the then All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP). That election ended in a tragic judicial scandal at the Court of Appeal, Enugu Judicial Division, following a petition by Chief Ukachukwu.
A bribery scandal that trailed the case, consumed the judicial careers of two eminent jurists, Justice Okwuchukwu Opene and Justice Adeniji. The tenure of Senator Ugochukwu Uba ended in 2007.
In the same 2007, Senator Ikechukwu Obiora was elected into the red chamber in a contest between him and Chief Ukachukwu and one Mr. Chukwuma. Obiorah’s tenure ended in 2011.
In 2011, Senator Andy Uba, the 17-day governor of Anambra State under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was returned elected in the contest between him, the same Chief Nicholas Ukachukwu and Hon. Chuma Nzeribe.
Andy Uba was returned for a second term in 2015 under PDP platform but he later defected to APC.
In the epic battle of 2019 senatorial election, the gladiators were the two Uba brothers-Senator Andy Uba and Chief Chris Uba- who were the flag bearers of the APC and PDP respectively, the serial contestant, Chief Nicholas Ukachukwu of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and political maverick, Senator Ifeanyi Patrick Ubah who eventually won the election, recording a landslide victory, on the platform of relatively unknown YPP.
Political pundits saw the victory of the oil magnate as expected, considering the fact that Anambra South Senatorial zone will not forget in a hurry his antecedents, especially in human capital development, unlike other professional politicians who were at the Senate before him.
The incumbent Senator Andy Uba, was a former domestic Assistant to the former President Olusegun Obasanjo. He was sacked by the Supreme Court in the purported 2007 Anambra governorship election, after spending 17 days in power.
He contested for the 2010 governorship election against Peter Obi under the Labour Party (LP). He subsequently went back to PDP after he lost that election and in 2011 he contested for the Anambra South Senatorial Seat and won. In 2015 he was re-elected under the same PDP platform.
Senator Uba escaped by whiskers in the petition of Chris Uba’s faction. The same grounds in Chris Uba’s petition consumed Senator Lilian Uche Ekwunife in the petition by Senator Victor Umeh.
Andy Uba however, defected to the ruling APC where he contested the 2017 governorship primaries. He lost to Chief Tony Nwoye. In 2019 he re-contested the Anambra South senatorial election and lost.
He is presently before the National Assembly election tribunal sitting in Awka, trying to overturn Dr. Patrick Ubah’s victory. Curiously, Senator Uba came fourth in the election which he is challenging its result in court.
Chief Ukachukwu, a businessman based in Abuja and strong politician has moved from ANPP, to Hope Democratic Party (HDP), and back to PDP, and now in APGA. Remarkably, it was in HDP that for the first time, his Deputy Governorship candidate when he contested governorship in 2011, Barrister Mike Okoye, went to court without the flag bearer.
However, Ukachukwu did not go to the tribunal to challenge the election of Dr. Ubah. Observers said he might have felt that since his political foes (the controversial Ubas) had been dismantled by the new giant killer, Dr Ifeanyi Patrick Ubah, there was no point wasting his time at the tribunal.
It would be re called that Ubah was defeated in the APGA primary which forced him to join YPP where he became the flag bearer of the party and eventually won.
Chris Uba, known all over the state as a king maker, has many political exploits to his credit. For instance, he single handedly installed Dr. Chris Ngige Governor of Anambra State in 2003 in a controversial election that denied the incumbent, Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju re-election. Accusing fingers were pointed at him in a kidnap saga of a sitting governor with the support of AIG Raphael Ige, now late.
He was also alleged to be involved in the burning of Anambra State government Lodge. The then Governor of Anambra State, Dr Chris Ngige had set up a commission of inquiry, but its findings never saw the light of the day.
During the 2019 election, there were unconfirmed rumors of movement of mega US currency involving him. The investigation never saw the light of the day. Rumors had it that the money was returned to him after the election, which he lost.
Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports alleged that he influenced the posting of a returning officer from Nnamdi Azikiwe University and there were allegations of millions of Naira changing hands, leading to approbation and reprobation by the University Professor who was the returning officer of that election.
It was further gathered that he is at home in gymnastic of election petition of who knows who in the judiciary circle.
Ifeanyi Ubah, the candidate of the YPP and the eventual winner of the senatorial election may not be as old as his opponents in the political stage, but our checks show that he is a man with a large heart.
He is one of the foremost Igbo investor in oil and gas industry. He has capacity for controversy. He loves his people. He single-handedly in his Nnewi Community, built a Cathedral for the Catholic Church. He is the first private individual that built a FIFA approved stadium in his Nnewi community.
He setup The Authority Newspaper and Authority Radio station in the same Nnewi. He is a philanthropist of immeasurable capacity. He has a youth academy which he promotes through FC Ifeanyi Ubah.
His greatest asset is his investment in youths of Anambra state. Uba metamorphosed from the Labour Party (LP) in Anambra State and ran against the now incumbent Governor, Willie Obiano of APGA and came second in a most contentious election in the history of the state.
He later joined PDP where he promoted President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election bid under a non-political organization called Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN).
He later ran for 2017 governorship primary under the PDP and became their nemesis and was later suspended, only for him to surface in APGA to promote re-election of Governor Obiano in a controversial agreement for the Anambra South Senatorial ticket under APGA.