By; PAMELA EBOH, Awka
With primary elections for the November 6 governorship polls in Anambra State over, fresh facts have emerged on how an American based billionaire doctor was schemed out of the contest.
Maduka who had his gaze on the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) scored only five out of the total votes cast, pitching a tent at the back of the line up.
It was gathered that while Maduka who exhibited so much confidence that his dollar notes which summed up to N1.2m per delegate was going to pave way for his emergence as the party’s candidate, the first runner-up in the election, Dr. Obiora Okonkwo was sharing N2m each to the delegates.
Though it is not clear how much the srcond runner-up, Senator Uche Ekwunife shared, her clinging the third position out of the 16 aspirants that conrested relates her strenght and hold on the drlegates.
According to a source who spoke on condition of anonymity, Ekwunife had earlier before the primary election, given a total of N750,000 each to some key supporters for their businesses, with a proviso to ensure that they vote for her.
He said that there was another grade of people she gave N300,000 each. As for that election day.
While Obiora Okonkwo pulled up unexpected surprise with the amount of money he gave the delegates, the winner of the election, Val Ozigbo was allegedly saved from a great fall by the leader of the party in the state, who was said to have pulled his own stunt from a hide out within Awka.
Information has it that Ozigbo was the candidate of choice for the leader.
A source who is also a core party man said that billions of Naira was spent on votes buting by the aspirants, si much so that it became an ego thing, over who will pay more.
The source said, “Each of the 16 aspirants spent between N500, 000 and N2million on each of the 218 delegates, just to get their votes.
“What happened on 26th June is something that no single person can conclusively tell the story, but I will tell you the much that I know.
I was one of the delegates, and the best thing PDP did for some of us was the decision to use super delegates for the election.
Some delegates got as much as N10million from that single event that happened at Prof Akunyili Women’s Development Centre on 26th June. More than three lists were sent in on that day, and each of the list had people it was designed to favour, but in all, the lists that were brought in either favoured Ekwunife, Ozigbo or Obiora Okonkwo.
“People like Maduka were not in the game, they were only waiting for the final list to be announced, so that they will sway the minds of the people with money. He (Maduka) had so much confidence in his money that he believed that whichever list that was later used, he would buy them over.
“Meanwhile, the Edo deputy governor that came for the election was very mindful of stepping on anybody’s toes, so what he did was to try to harmonize the three lists sent down by the headquarters of PDP. That was what took most of the time that day. When it was now certain which of the lists was going to be used, the aspirants started giving out money to people.
“Maduka gave dollars, which was equivalence of N1.5million. his problem was that he thought he was giving so much that he didn’t even care to check what others were giving. He didn’t know Obiora Okonkwo was giving N2million each to all the people he had chosen to vote for him.
“Obiora was underrated by all. He had more money to spend and even bought governorship forms for most of his fellow aspirants. Does it not surprise you that even with all the argument about zoning, he got the most votes, despite coming from the central zone.
“As for Azubogu, I think he had a problem that day or he was merely trying to play a fast one of the delegates. He was always on the phone talking, and assuring everyone that a bullion van was on the way from Onitsha, but until the end of the Congress, no one saw any money.
He said many people believed Azubogu because he was greatly worried and was making efforts to pull his money in.
He added, I think the delegates didn’t trust his story, and that was the reason for the low vote he got.”
Another source said Ozigbo’s victory was not just because he gave out money, but because he had a powerful party leader in the state who did a lot of work on his behalf.
“The party leader was at Uzu Awka’s farm, close to Wonderland. That was where he dished out money to delegates, and made lots of phone call that changed the game.”
A party member who was also a delegate in the election said that most of the dealings on the election day were done codedly.
He said, “Most people collected money, and some camps didn’t know, still thinking that they were still being supported by such people.
“For example, I sat with a friend who told me that he was coming. I observed he just got a text message and he left immediately. When he came back later, he was full of smiles. People only spoke to delegates they were sure they could convince. That was why most journalists who stood in the election centre had eyes but could see anything.
“Ekwunife was another grassroots politician who would have carried the day. Long before the primary election, she had given some key supporters about N750,000 each for their businesses, with a caveat to ensure that they vote for her.
There was another grade of people she had also given N300,000 each. As for that election day, I didn’t know how much she shared, but she got lots of votes still.”
The primary election ended with Valentine Ozigbo scoring 62 votes, Obiora Okonkwo, 58 votes and Ekwunife, 44 votes, while Maduka and other top contenders scored less than 10 votes.
Though the party has started making effort to appease some aggrieved aspirants with juicy promises, Okonkwo has said he is consulting to know the next line of action to tow.
“I am not contesying for Anambra governorship election for what I will get. Its simply to make the state better. We should be mindful of the kind of people we elect into power. They should be credible people. That is the problem with Nigerian politics and until this anomaly is corrected, the country won’t get better. We should always think beyond primary and elections proper.
“Whoever has done this or initiated it must have gotten the message that they messes up with a wrong guy. am not desperate. I can go back to my profutable business. They have come to me with some offers, deputy governor, commissioners, etc in the spirit of reconciliation. We are consulting and at the end of the day, whatever the movement arrives at, I will anide by it.”