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Andy Uba's

July 19, 2007

Emmanuel Nnamdi Uba, the former special assistant on domestic issues to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, suffered another political embarrassment today when an electoral tribunal nullified his so-called election as governor of Anambra State in the April 14 polls. On June 14, the Supreme Court had invalidated Uba's seizure of power in the state, ruling that Governor Peter Obi's tenure will expire in 2010.


Obi had assumed office last March after spending more than two years in court to challenge the electoral commission's verdict that Dr. Chris Ngige was the winner of the 2003 gubernatorial election.


"Uba's latest reversal means that he can no longer parade himself as an ex-governor of Anambra," said Dr. Frank Ibezim, a political scientist. Since his removal by the Supreme Court, Uba had taken to addressing himself as "His Excellency."


The gubernatorial election tribunal headed by Justice Abiriya of the Kaduna High Court ruled that Uba's election was fundamentally defective.


Uba's alleged election provided one of the most visible instances of fraud in the April elections. Exploiting his closeness to the former president as well as top officials of the electoral commission, Uba had influenced the commission to exclude several top candidates of the major opposing parties including Ngige, Governor Peter Obi and Ukachukwu.


Uba, who is steeped in a certificate fraud--he uses the prefix of "Dr." even though he does not have any college degrees--has become one of the public faces of corruption in Nigeria.


"The tribunal's verdict also amounted to a ringing rebuke of the Independent Electoral Commission," said Dr. Ibezim. The commission's officials, especially its chairman, Maurice Iwu, colluded in rigging Uba into office.


It was well known that Uba helped secure Iwu's job as head of INEC. In return, Iwu, a pharmacist who is dogged by a certificate scandal, worked to facilitate Uba's illegitimate mandate.


Justice Abiriya indicated that the tribunal had reached its verdict after reviewing massive evidence of electoral irregularities. The tribunal also took a cue from the recent Supreme Court ruling that indicated the electoral commission should not have conducted a governorship election in the first place.


With this defeat, Uba is now cast in political limbo. Worse, his political troubles are far from over. A foreign monitoring group is about to release a scathing report detailing how Uba ran a violence-prone campaign. The report documents how Uba's decision to hire members of university cult groups led to a bloody in-fighting in which many of the students died.

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