Anambra Central Senate: Consider Ekwunife gone – Umeh

Immediate past national chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, and the candidate of the party in the March 2014 National assembly election for Anambra Central senatorial district, Chief Victor Umeh recently granted interview to some journalists where he spoke about his recent victory at the Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu.
Umeh said with the nullification of the election of his opponent, Uche Ekwunife and calling for fresh election, he is confident that she will never return to the senate. He added that he is not going to the senate to fight for juicy committees, but to provide clear representation for his zone and the entire Igboland. IKEUGONNA ELEKE was there for FIDES.
Congratulations on your recent court victory.
Thank you. I can only say it is an act of God not man.
Your opponent said the judges played father Christmas by giving you what you did not ask for in your petition, can you react to this?
I don’t think I need to join issues with Uche Ekwunife, on the Court of Appeal judgment. That judgment is the final judgment and there is no point reacting to what she has said.
For the purpose of not misleading the public, let me say that in my petition, of all the prayers, I asked the court to make any order it deemed fit in the circumstance of going through the petition,
That is an omnibus prayer and if the court feels unsatisfied, with what has been showcased at pretrial that nullified the election, if the court is satisfied that neither the people who conducted the election nor the respondents and the petitioners were able to show that the election was conducted in full compliance with the electoral act, the court can now invoke its inherent powers particularly as I asked the court to make any order it deemed fit in the circumstance of the petition.
I don’t want to join issues with her because she doesn’t know law, she does not understand the litigation and the processes there of.
What is your advice to her then?
Let us leave it at that, the court has ordered for reelection and we have to concentrate on issues surrounding the election. The Court of Appeal is the final court vested with the powers to determine issues, bothering on national and state house of assembly elections, so there is nothing like going beyond there, If I were her, I won’t say anything.
How do you feel with this judgment?
I am very happy. The court of appeal cancelled the election and asked us to go back. I went to the tribunal and said one thing, the day I served the petition that I have come to the tribunal to challenge election banditry and impunity.  And that any time there will be an election in Anambra, It is my utmost desire that the people should be allowed to cast their votes without intimidation and molestation, and the votes will be counted and recorded for every candidate and let the winner emerge from there.
The process where people will use the Army and federal authority and powers to overrun the people of our state, I said I will never accept it anymore, and that is the point I have proved.
The election has been cancelled for the obvious reasons of the brigandage associated with that election. So those who have celebrated that they won before now have to come back to face the people, and I am very happy that there is a new regime in Nigeria, a regime that is intolerant to brigandage and impunity. The era is past where people will be muscled down through federal might, my opponent will no longer have undue advantage over me and over other candidates because of federal might. INEC must be independent and neutral, in the rerun.
The Nigerian Army must be neutral and there will be nothing like the first lady in Nigeria calling businessmen to deliver a particular candidate, it can no longer happen. There will be nothing like a president saying that a party must win, like it happened on 28 March. And these I think I have been able to achieve in this election.
So if anyone who say she is popular should come to the people again, lets see how many votes they will get. If she get the votes like she is now saying and she wins, so be it. So what I want is a clean process, and I can stand here and tell you authoritatively that she is already out of the race, and she has nothing to gain in this election.
Did you attempt feeling the pulse of the people on the day of the delivery of judgment?
Yes, People of anambra state and particularly Anambra central jubilated when that Anambra Central election was cancelled. If the mandate she enjoyed was given to her, they won’t be celebration. As the candidate that ran for APGA, as the candidate that went to the Court of Appeal to get that election nullified, my phones, have beenjammed with congratulatory messages and calls, cheering to be part of the process to  ensure that the right candidate emerges to represent them since after that judgment.
What is your next line of action?
We will humbly go back to the electorates, with the achievement of APGA in the state and my proven track record and resilience to fighting for justice and the right of my people and Igbo people in general. I will tell them I am not going to the senate to bandy words with anyone, the bible said that by their activities we shall now them, I am not someone that is not known by the people in Anambra State and Igboland.
They know what I can do. She has been there for six months and even at the trying moments and she did not raise her voice. The wave of protest that ravaged the South East would have necessitated that one senator from the South Est should have stood up and using the role of the senate to bring to the notice of Nigerians a matter of urgent national importance. None of them did it, we need someone who will go there and stand for his people, and that is the difference I will make.
 Anything that affects my people, Nigerians will hear about it, and I will invite the senate to take action that will preserve and protect my people. I am not going there to look for juicy committee where you can make money. We want people that can go for quality, bold and courageous representation.
If I go there the committee I will prefer is that committee on federal character where I will know how my people are represented. When we start the campaign the issues that I will bring forward will make them see the things that will separate us.

By Ifeizu Joe

Ifeizu is a seasoned journalist and Managing Editor of TheRazor. He has wide knowledge of Anambra State and has reported the state objectively for over a decade.

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