With whatever doubts left as to whom is the authentic governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Enugu State laid to rest following the presentation of the party’s flag to Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi by President Goodluck Jonathan at the kick-off of the party’s presidential campaign in Lagos and also by the party Chairman, Alh. Adamu Mu’azu, when the party’s campaign train stopped over at the Enugu mega rally, political discourse in Enugu have inevitably shifted to whether or not Senator Ayogu Eze forged the PDP result sheet with which he returned himself as the “winner” of a supposed parallel primary election on 8th December 2014.
It would be recalled that the Enugu State Chapter of the PDP petitioned the Police on 17th December asking the agency to “arrest and prosecute Senator Ayogu Eze for the uttering (legal term) and forgery of PDP Result sheet in accordance with the dictates of the law.”
Perhaps a little backgrounder would do. The PDP conducted a governorship primary election on 8th December last year where it elected a Member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi as its candidate for the 28th February, 2015 governorship election. Ugwuanyi was declared winner by the PDP national electoral panel led by King Asara Asara having polled 937 out of the 983 votes. The primary election had since been upheld by the party’s national headquarters and the INEC and capped with the aforementioned presentation of flag to Ugwuanyi by the President and PDP National Chairman as the party’s standard bearer in the State.
On the other hand, Senator Ayogu Eze had rebelled against Ugwuanyi’s emergence, insisting that delegates deemed to be loyal to him had also conducted a parallel primary election where they supposedly elected him candidate with 530 votes, while Dr. Samuel Onyishi supposedly got 30, Anayo Onwuegbu 10, Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi 15, Hon Eugene Odoh 25, Prof. Onyeke Onyeke 20, and Chinedu Onu 31. However, unlike the official primary of the party that produced Ugwuanyi, no member of the PDP national electoral panel, party’s state or local government executive, and INEC observation team was in attendance in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Act. This leaves a lot of gaping legal punctures in his claim.
Consequently, an Enugu High Court restrained Senator Eze from parading himself as the gubernatorial candidate. On the other hand, the Senator and Sam Onyishi are already in an Abuja Federal High Court to slug it out with the PDP and Ugwuanyi. But contrary to some obviously sponsored media reports, the Federal High Court presided over by Justice Eboh Chukwu declined his prayers to restrain the PDP from submitting any name and INEC from accepting name of candidate other than Ayogu’s. It instead fixed 14th January for hearing of both Senator Eze and Sam Onyishi’s litigations. Although senior lawyers have listed many grounds upon which the Court would readily dismiss the suits, both litigants would nevertheless have to wait a little longer to hear their fate from the Court as judicial workers remain on strike.
For now, all eyes are now fully on the Police as Nigerians, especially Enugu residents and PDP faithful are waiting to see what becomes of the allegation of forgery against Senator Eze. The petition signed by the State Chairman, Chief Ikeje Asogwa, reads in part: “The party, from the National headquarters, appointed a five-man electoral committee to conduct the primaries for the election of the Governorship candidate for Enugu State. The members of the panel were King Asara A. Asara (Chairman), Barrister Ukpai Ukairo (Secretary), Barrister Saratu Umar, Engr. Alamu Adeyemi and myself as the State Chairman of the party.
“The members came with the official result sheets from the party headquarters, as well as the ballot papers and other materials required to conduct the primary election. At the end of the electoral exercise, the members issued a result of the election wherein they returned Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi as having won the election.
“Surprisingly, Senator Ayogu Eze who was a candidate at the said primary election has now uttered (legal term) a result purporting same to be the result of the said primary election of 8th December, 2014. The said result was produced on a forged result sheet purporting same to be the result sheet of the Peoples Democratic Party”.
“I hereby enclose the original result sheet of the party, which has the name of the party, the logo of the party, the address of the national Secretariat and the serial number of the result sheet issued out to the panel, the signatures of the National Chairman, the National Secretary, the National Organizing Secretary, the returning officer and the Electoral Officer. I mark same as Annexure I.
“I also annex as Annexure 2, the purported result of the primary election written on the forged result sheet purporting same to be the result sheet of the party. A look at this Annexure 2 will show that it does not contain the essentials of the authentic result sheet of the party as enumerated above”.
The details are too compelling and the differentiations quite elaborate. It is not for me to say who is lying, but one thing is sure- there can only be one genuine PDP result sheet. The question then is “How did Ayogu Eze come about the result sheet he used”? And if the PDP, which is in the best position to know which are its genuine electoral materials and which are forged/altered says Ayogu’s result sheets were not genuine, and provides such marked differences, then the onus is on the Senator to clear his name. This, Ayogu Eze has not done. Apart from his expression of anger, he is yet to explain why his result sheet should be regarded as the authentic and the party’s result sheet forged.
Section 465 of the Criminal Code Act CAP C38 LFN provides that “A person who makes a false document or writing knowing it to be false, and with the intent that it may in any way be used or acted upon as genuine, whether in the State or elsewhere, to the prejudice of any person, or with intent that any person, may in the belief that it is genuine be included to do or refrain from doing any act, whether in the state or elsewhere, is said to forge the document or writing”
On punishment for forgery, Section 467 provides that “Any person who forges any document, writing or seal is guilty of an offence, which unless otherwise stated, is a
felony, and he is liable, if no other punishment is provided, to an imprisonment for three years.”
It therefore follows that the issue of making a false result sheet of the PDP raises serious issues of forgery contrary to Section 465 of the Criminal Code Act and such puts the Nigerian Police and the judiciary on the spot to urgently follow the matter to a conclusive end. This is no PDP family affair either. The Police must get down to business immediately. Perhaps, this would help to halt the gale of “parallel” primaries, which now threatens our parties and indeed our democracy.