Having succeeded in the judiciary turf where he had a sterling career in adjudicating disputes, Justice Peter Umeadi, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), hopes to be victorious in the 2023 general elections.
Justice Umeadi, alongside 17 other candidates of other political parties, who is contesting for the highest office in the land, believes he is the best qualified for the job.
Umeadi, on Wednesday, June 1, 2022, emerged as APGA’s presidential candidate at a special convention of the party in the FCT.
Following his nomination, which a faction of the party challenged in court, Umeadi laid out his programmes for “sound education, affordable healthcare, food, security of life and property and ability to achieve life ambitions in a setting presenting a level playing field and predetermined standards” if elected president.
Early life, career
Born in Uruoji, Agukwu-Nri in Anaocha LGA of Anambra State. He attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Enugu Campus, and graduated with LL.B (Hons) in 1979. He was at the Nigerian Law School, Lagos, and was called to the bar in 1980. He was then appointed a judge of the High Court of Anambra State in 1997. In 2011, he was sworn in as the Chief Judge (CJ) of Anambra State. He was also a member of the National Judicial Council (NJC) and the National Judicial Institute (NJI). He retired from the judiciary in 2019 after eight years as CJ. In March, 2019, he was appointed a visiting professor at the UNN.
Following his retirement, in March 2019, he joined APGA and declared intention to run for the presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. On June 1, 2022, he became the presidential candidate of APGA after a primary election, with Comrade Abdullahi Koli Mohammed as his running mate.
It would be recalled that the NJC in May, 2018, absolved Justice Umeadi of any wrongdoing in a petition of misconduct brought against him over a matter before his court.
Umeadi has been honoured as the Sardauna of Nasaru and Dan Amar of Ningi in Bauchi State.
Plan for Nigeria
Justice Umeadi said he planned to reconcile the length and breadth of the country and reposition it by institutionalising the rule of law, separation of power and due process.
He further said that equity and justice demanded that the South East be allowed to produce the president of Nigeria since it was the only zone that was yet to do so since the dawn of the present democratic dispensation in 1999, adding that he was the most competent and qualified candidate among the presidential candidates for the 2023 polls.
He is also advocating against the winner-takes-it-all kind of politics in Nigeria for the survival of the Nigerian nation beyond 2023.
He said, “The overall goal of my manifesto is to ensure that no one will be left behind. You should also include health, education, agriculture, and energy, and also paramount in my mind are the issues of women, youth, children, and the disabled. I am going to abide by all of that. That is why I have always said that, apart from history, the next thing I am going to champion is the implementation of the Child Rights Acts because the child is the nation, and it is the child that is the basis of all development.”
Umeadi said, “The issue is that we have to be up and running in terms of security. We have to look at our security application generally; not just for the elections, but also to feel safe and freely move about our normal businesses. We have to be honest with ourselves: why are those security issues not being resolved, and if they are not, should we not be talking about sanctions?”
Analysts weigh Umeadi
Political analysts in Anambra State and elsewhere have cast doubts on the possibility of the APGA presidential candidate winning majority votes in the state in 2023.
During a reception in his honour by the Igbo Elders and Leaders in the South West in June, 2022, the group described him in a communique as a jurist who had “displayed the highest level of professionalism, courage and incorruptibility expected of a president.”
In his view, Michael Udoka said that the influence of the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, as a former governor of the state would dim the chances of Umeadi winning the election in the state, even as he belonged to ruling APGA in the state.
He noted that the only person with a chance of winning the election in the state was Obi because Umeadi was only “a former chief judge of the state and nothing more.
“Honestly, the Peter Obi ‘Obidient’ movement will not allow him to win election in the state.”
He said if one was talking about the party/person that could win an election in the state, it was Peter Obi or Abubakar Atiku.
He explained that, “Anambra State from inception was a PDP state until Obi became governor in 2006 through APGA. Anambra State has sympathy for PDP for now and most of the big men in the state belong to PDP.
“I don’t think Umeadi has the chance of winning election in the state and not to talk of Nigeria.”
Similarly, Cyril Obiora said that Umeadi could not win up to 10 per cent of votes in the state, noting that anybody voting for Umeadi knew he/she was wasting his/her vote.
He said, “Why would any person vote for him when he knows he cannot win in the state? Any vote for him is a waste. He cannot win the election? His principal, the governor, has said that he cannot win.”
For his part, an Abuja-based lawyer, Obinna Onya, said Umeadi was one of the most competent persons seeking the office of the president in 2023, but questioned APGA’s preparedness for the campaigns and the elections.
He said, “Politics is beyond publishing a candidate in line with the Electoral Act, but you have to go a step further by engaging other states.
“APGA’s stronghold is Anambra, so if they are sponsoring a presidential candidate, the question is, do they really intend to go the full length or they are just marking time? I don’t think they are ready to go the full length.
“What I would have expected from APGA, since this is not a parliamentary system and APGA has its stronghold in the South East, is to reach out to liaise with other political parties that have good structures in other regions in exchange for relevance in the centre to support their candidates.
“For me, I don’t think APGA is serious about the presidential election, I think what they are playing is a spoiler’s game.”