A candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta state in the last elections, Christopher Anirah has alleged that the party’s governorship candidate in the state, Otega Emerhor, and the National Secretary, John Oyegun conspired to fake his death to substitute his name with another candidate’s.
Anirah said the APC chieftains claimed he was dead, and in the span of 24 hours made available a death certificate and a court affidavit to substantiate his death.
The leaders were said to have dispatched a letter to the Independent National Electoral Commission immediately to effect Anirah’s substitution – they presented another party member’s name as Gibson Akporehe.
Anirah won the APC primary election on December 7, 2014 to represent the Sapele/Okpe/Uwvie Federal Constituency.
He said when he asked INEC to reinstate his name; the Commission required a letter from Oyegun to invalidate Akporehe’s, the letter which, he said, was never dispatched.
According to Premium Times, when Oyegun was contacted for reaction on the allegation, he refused to comment, stating he is too busy to be responding to “allegations of somebody I have never seen in my life”.
The newspaper however reported that going by a document it obtained, and the comments from some APC officials that were interviewed, Anirah’s side of the story adds up.
It said it paints ‘a troubling picture of a shocking fraud.’
The documents Premium Times obtained are;
1. A copy of the March 27 INEC letter, where the Commission directed the resident electoral commission that Anirah’s name be replaced with Akporehe based on the former’s purported death. It carried reference number INEC/LEG/LM/27T/10/87 and signed by Ibrahim Bawa, acting Director of INEC’s Legal unit.
2. A letter dated January 20 with reference number APC/NHDQ/INEC/19/015/108 bearing Oyegun’s name and signature, which was received by INEC on January 23, informing the electoral body of the purported death of Anirah, thereby asking the commission to replace his name with Akporehe’s.
Attached to the January 20 letter were a “death certificate” of Anirah; and a January 15 letter bearing the name and alleged signature of Delta APC Secretary stating Anirah’s death and that he be replaced with Akporehe.
3. Other attachments included a notification of death letter to the Delta APC chairman bearing the name and signature of Odibo Anirah, purportedly the head of the Anirah family; and an affidavit of death bearing Chidi Okonji as deponent.
However, even though the APC did not win the election in his constituency, Anirah said all he wants his justice so that such fraud does not happen again.
“What I want is justice because if these people succeed it could be another person’s turn tomorrow. The world should know that I’m not dead, I am alive. It’s just some people in APC that want me dead, and if anything happens to me and my family, they should be held responsible,” he said.
Apparent attempts have been made to arrest Oyegun in connection to the allegation, but Anirah said police efforts to arrest him has been unsuccessful, adding that people like Oyegun are above the law in a country like Nigeria.