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Violence erupts at APC convention, Odigie-Oyegun emerges National Chairman

By News Express on 14/06/2014

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Violence erupted yesterday at the secretariat of the Convention Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Abuja – hours before former governor of Edo State, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, became the first substantive National Chairman of the party. Odigie-Oyegun emerged by consensus at the first APC National Convention held at Eagle Square in the Nigerian capital. APC had been run by an interim executive since its formation last year.

In the violent incident, two APC members were beaten up by some delegates of the party from Abia and Ebonyi states while policemen looked on. One of them who was labeled as “Ngige boy” was stripped naked near the secretariat along Emeka Anyaoku Street, Area 11 Abuja.

Fighting erupted between delegates of different factions of the party from Abia and Ebonyi states. Some of the aggrieved delegates from both states who spoke to Saturday Vanguard alleged that although they were democratically elected as delegates for the party’s convention, they had been denied accreditation by the Convention Committee headed by Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Aliyu Wammako with Senator Chris Ngige as secretary.

One of the delegates from Abia State who identified himself as Uche Emeka accused Ngige, Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha, former National Chairman of All Nigeria Peoples Party, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, and National Vice-Chairman of the party for the South-East, Mr. Nyerere, as being responsible for their plight.

“We were reliably informed that Ngige and Okorocha have instructed that our Chairman, who is Fabian Okonkwo, and the rest of us from Abia State should not be accredited,” he said. “We have been calling to inquire and we also have it on good authority that they are directly responsible for this. Our state chairman has been making calls to find out what is wrong, but no answer has been provided.”

Another delegate from Ebonyi State who identified himself as Christian Ali, told Saturday Vanguard he was the secretary of the party in Ishielu local government.

He said: “There are two factions of APC in Ebonyi. One is led by Chief Ogbonnaya Onu while the other is led by Senator Julius Ucha and because of that, there seems to be a power tussle between the two of them.

“We conducted the state congresses and elected Hon. Ben Nwobasi who belongs to Senator Ucha’s camp as chairman. Accreditation tags have not been handed over to us because the trio of Ngige, Ogbonnaya Onu and Okoroacha directed that the congress in Ebonyi be re-conducted.”

At Eagle Square, Chief Odigie-Oyegun late last night emerged as APC National Chairman despite initial stiff opposition from his kinsman, Tom Ikimi, who was not seen at the venue of the convention. This was after two other aspirants for the chairmanship position, Chief Sam Jaja and Timipire Sylva, agreed to back down, thus leaving Oyegun and Ikimi to do the contest.

Sylva while announcing his withdrawal from the contest said he took the decision in order to maintain party unity, adding that he would throw his weight behind the party’s choice.

Other officers who also emerged through the same process were Deputy Chairman, South, Segun Adebayo Oni; Deputy Chairman, North, Lawal Shuaibu; National Secretary, Alhaji Mai Mala Goni and National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Muhammed.

However, at about 1:40am, heavy rain and wind disrupted the voting process for the outstanding party offices for which voting was in process. Ballot boxes were scattered by the heavy wind, canopy and the public address system were destroyed by the rain, sending everybody scampering for shelter.

Earlier, Senator Chris Ngige announced that the APC would in November this year hold another national convention to elect its presidential candidate.

•Partly based on stories in Vanguard and Thisday. Photo, courtesy of Joe Igbokwe, shows a cross section of delegates at the APC National Convention . . . yesterday at the Eagle Square in Abuja.

Source News Express

Posted 14/06/2014 11:00:36 AM





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