The stalemated All Progressives Congress (APC) Governorship primary in Ekiti State, which was earlier in the day marred with violence over alleged fraud being perpetrated by one of the leading aspirants, has been postponed indefinitely.
The News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN) reports that before the decision was taken, there was a serious violence at the Oluyemi Kayode Stadium, venue of the exercise, as agents of some strong contenders accused some security agencies of allegedly compromising the process in favour of former Governor Kayode Fayemi.
The Chairman of the APC Primary and Nasarawa State Governor, Alhaji Tanko Al-Makura hurriedly entered his vehicle and left the venue after an emergency meeting with all the 33 aspirants, failed to yield result.
Though Almakura did not officially brief the press on the pact reached with the aspirants, NAN learnt the the need to extract commitments from them for a peaceful conduct in future topped their discussions.
Confirming the postponement, two of the aspirants, Mr.Bimbo Daramola and former Speaker, Mr.Femi Bamisile, said it was a unanimous verdict at the meeting that the process should be suspended indefinitely.
“There was an issue somewhere about the exercise and they raised observation about sharp practices that had compromised the process which led to protest and the feeling was that the process should be suspended to avoid bloodshed”, he said.
He dismissed insinuation that it was because Fayemi was leading with a wide margin in about five, out of the 16 local governments that caused the violence.
“I don’t believe that is correct. The results have not been counted , so that was an assumption .
“Ekiti APC is not in any way fractured, we are one big family. If Fayemi defeats us, we are all going to back him, because the party is supreme. But this must come through a free, fair and credible process”, he said.
NAN reports that only delegates from four local governments had concluded their voting and delegates of the fifth council were about to vote when the violence erupted .
Trouble started at about 5.30pm when some agents raised observations about how the process was being allegedly compromised , accusing the men of the Department of State Services(DSS) of dictating to delegates who they should vote for.
Police and other security agencies shot sporadically into the air when the situation was escalating into a full scale war among the camps.
When the violence broke out at Oluyemi Kayode Stadium , venue of the exercise, many of the delegates scampered out to seek refuge in the nearby buildings, They never returned.
It was learnt all efforts made by by the Al-Makura -led committee that supervised the failed primary, to calm down frayed nerves were rebuffed.
NAN reports that protesters , most of whom were agents of the other 32 aspirants accused an agent to Fayemi , Mr. Samuel Abejide of dictating to delegates who to vote for and also writing the serial numbers of their ballot papers to authenticate who they actually voted for, probably for pecuniary gains after the poll..
The protest attracted their principals and other interested parties, who joined the fray and made spirited efforts to grab the ballot boxes to stall the entire process.
They threw sachet water indiscriminately while also chanting derisive songs against the former governor
The Director General of Babafemi Ojudu Campaign Organisation, Chief Ranti Adebisi complained that the process had been heavily compromised
“The guideline stipulated that each aspirant can only bring in four supporters, but Fayemi brought many. His agents, including DSS were issuing cards to delegates to fill when they vote for him , so that they can later come for the money he promised them
“I contested against Fayemi in 2007 and I knew what I am talking about. The process has been compromised. Even, Fayemi has been bragging around that he is a friend to Alhaji Tanko Al –Makura, so we are disappointed that this could happen”, he said.
But reacting, Fayemi’s agent said it was gang up against the Minister that led to the spurious allegation, accusing those peddling rumour as enemies of APC.
“It was a proviso that if you are a delegate who can’t read and write, you can call any of the agents. When they saw that I was the one being called, they started feeling the heat and they were determined to disrupt it”
There was widespread violence in the ward congress of the All Progressives Congress (APC) which held across the country on Saturday.
From killings to the outbreak of violence to allegations and counter-allegations on the process being hijacked, the exercise left the party more divided than it was before the ward congress.
John Oyegun, national chairman of the party, did not partake in the exercise. While the congress held across the 192 wards in Edo state, Oyegun was not seen in ward 2, Oredo local government where he registered.
Oyegun’s non-participation could be as a result of the move to replace him with Adams Oshiomhole, former governor of Edo. At a south-south stakeholders’ meeting which held two weeks ago, the Edo chapter of the APC pledged support for Oshiomhole as Oyegun’s successor.
In Rivers, violence began on the eve of the congress. One person was killed when some party supporters broke into the secretariat in Port Harcourt, alleging that Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, had hijacked the process and was plotting to sideline loyalists of Magnus Abe, senator representing Rivers south-east. The aggrieved party members said the leadership of the party conspired with Amaechi to make forms unavailable for some aspirants but the minister dismissed the allegation.
“When people said Amaechi has taken their materials, I laugh. Which materials. We did not come back with any material. What we have are forms which are out there for sale. We told interested candidates to go to the bank, pay some amount of money and use their tellers to pick their forms,” Amaechi told reporters.
“In Rivers state, we are not using materials. We adopted option A-4 where people will queue behind their candidates and the National Officials of the party are around to make sure we are doing the right thing.”
The exercise held amid rancour but Abe said congress did not hold in any of the 344 wards of the 23 local government areas of the state.
Amaechi and Abe
In a statement, the senator said some leaders of the party “deliberately” want to obstruct the ward, local government and state congresses and appealed for the intervention of the national leadership of the party.
In Delta, violence broke out in Ughelli south local government area of the state, resulting in the death of one Jeremiah Oghoveta, a chairmanship aspirant. Oghoveta was reportedly stabbed to death after a heated argument over allegations of hijack of electoral materials. Tete Pippah, the alleged suspect is said to be on the run. The police said that they are already investigating the incident.
A faction of the party in Bauchi said to be loyal to Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the house of representatives, alleged that guidelines for the ward congress was not followed. The faction alleged that the party in the state issued a directive that only forms that come through the party office in the state would be valid for the ward election in the state contrary to the national position.
“Everybody prepared for the elections. We were fully ready. We paid about N13m to purchase the forms but to our greatest surprise we haven’t got the forms,” Sulieman Nazif, senator representing Bauchi central, told journalists.
In Imo, some thugs reportedly attacked the party’s secretariat which made APC officials seek refuge at the state’s police command. The thugs were said to have also made away with electoral materials. Despite the violence, the congress reportedly held in some parts of the state.
Buhari’s arrival at the venue of the congress
There was also a case of violence in Oyo. Thugs invaded the congress at the party secretariat in Oke-Ado, leaving some people with injuries. After the disruption, party members converged on the secretariat under tight security but Dapo Lam-Adesina, a member of the house of representatives, was allegedly manhandled when he returned to the venue.
There were allegations that Abiola Ajimobi, the governor, was behind the attack on the party’s secretariat but he denied it. The congress was later postponed.
In Ondo state, the exercise was also marred by irregularities as many members of the party did not participate in the exercise.
In Kaduna, the congress did not in some parts of the state. TheCable observed that only few party supporters turned out for the exercise in Kaduna central senatorial district. The situation was not diffferent at Chickun and Kajuru local government areas in Kaduna north and Kaduna south senatorial districts.
Some ward chairmen of the party said congress did not hold because officials of the party and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not visit their areas. The exercise did not take place in the 12 wards of Kwarau, Turunku, Igabi, Fanshanu, Gwaraji, Zango Aya, Riga chukun, Afaka, Kirawa, Birnin Yero, Rigassa, Sabon Birni, it was only in Riga-Chuckun that party members voted and Umar Rigachukun, chairman of APC Awareness Forum in Riga Chukun, told reporters that only few people turned up for the exercise.
He said the person who won the chairmanship position emerged with 25 votes, defeating his closest opponent with 14 votes.
Also in 12 wards in Kaduna north and the 13 wards in Kaduna south Local government areas, there was no congress and no official could be reached for comments.
Efforts to reached Yahaha Pate, acting state secretary of the party, for comments was unsuccessful as his telephone was out of reach. Shehu Sani, senator representing Kaduna central, could also not be reached on phone.
In Kogi, the Audu/Faleke political organisation declared that majority of its candidates won in the congress across the state.
In a chat with reporters in Lokoja, Kogi state capital, Hadi Ametuo, chairman of the Faleke faction, said he was glad to announce that APC members came out in their thousands to elect the ward executives across the state, with members of the Audu/Faleke group “running away with victory”.
In Katsina, the congress was successful to a large extent. Accompanied by Bello Masari, the governor, President Muhammadu Buhari participated in the ward congress at Bayajjida Model Primary School in Daura, venue of the congress.
The president interacted with party members at the venue where he spoke of what made him join politics after forceful retirement from the military.
In Lagos, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo took part in the congress in Eti-Osa local government area, Akinwunmi Ambode, the governor was in Epe for the exercise, while Bola Tinubu, a former governor of the state, participated in the congress in Ikeja.
A chairmanship aspirant in yesterday’s ward congresses of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta State was stabbed to death moment before the exercise got under way.
Pockets of violence were also recorded in Imo State, Oyo State, Ajegunle and Isolo both in Lagos.
The Ajegunle violence claimed one life.
Killed in Delta was Jeremiah Oghoveta ,who had declared his interest to lead the party in Jeremi 3, Ughelli South ward 10.
He was knifed to death allegedly by one Tete in the heat of an argument over the hijack of electoral materials by a side involved in the process.
The Nation gathered that Oghoveta had protested over the alleged hijack of the materials.
But as he made to leave the scene after making his point, his assailant pounced on him, stabbing him on the neck
Oghoveta died on the spot while the Tete fled.
The Police Public Relations Officer of the Delta State Police Command, Andrew Aniamaka (DSP), confirmed the incident.
He said investigation into the matter was in progress and the police were on the trail of the suspect.
The APC leader in Delta State, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor,said the exercise was generally peaceful in other parts of the state.
He said APC was poised to entrench the principle of internal democracy in order to have a stronger party that could take over the state in 2019.
Leader of the party in Ovu ward, Ethiope East local government area, Chief Frank Kokori said the process went well.
Kokori who said the party is waxing stronger in the state, explained that the congresses being held across the country is a preparation awaiting the main election coming up next year 2019.
The process was also generally peaceful in Aniocha South Local Government Area was peaceful, although there were few wards where parallel congresses were held.
Former Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly and chieftain of the APC, Mr. Victor Ochei said the congress was conducted without rancour, and praised the adoption of the option A4 adopted for the exercise.
Controversy trails APC congress in Imo
The ward congress in Imo State yesterday was marred by violence and other skirmishes.
Party faithful waited endlessly in their respective wards for the congress to commence.
Supporters of the different stakeholders, especially governorship aspirants clashed.
The state secretariat of the party where the Congress Committee was billed to address the party stakeholders before the commencement of the exercise was vandalized by thugs who invaded the premises with dangerous weapons.
Some of the party officials who were waiting at the secretariat, were beaten up by the rampaging hoodlums.
The attack was preceded by the redeployment of the Congress Committee for the state to Anambra State.
The APC National Organizing Secretary, Osita Izunaso, said the development was at the instance of the national secretariat of the party.
He said: “There is no problem whatsoever, the only thing is that the national secretariat has directed the Imo Committee to go to Anambra and Anambra Committee to go to Imo and it is an internal matter of the party.
“We are brothers and we don’t have any problem. The party can decide to do anything at any point in time so long as it is in the interest of the party.”
The Secretary of the APC Convention Committee and Senator representing Imo North, Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu, alleged that Governor Rochas Okorocha had wanted to stop the congress from taking place
“There is every attempt by the governor to stop the congress for fear of what will happen but we are going ahead to hold the primary,” Uwajumogu claimed.
A fresh round of confusion broke out when it was discovered that sensitive materials meant for the congress were missing.
Some of the party stakeholders loyal to the governor insisted that the congress would not continue without the sensitive materials.
Angry party members stormed the house of the National Organizing secretary in search of the sensitive materials.
Prior to that, the Convention Committee members were whisked to the State Police Headquarters from the Government House on the directive of the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Chris Ezike.
The congress eventually kicked off in the Wards across the state at about 3pm, while the Committee members and some of the major the stakeholders remained in the office of the Commissioner of Police up to press time.
Hoodlums kill APC member in Ajegunle congress
A man was yesterday killed during the ward congress of the APC at Ajegunle in Ifelodun Local Council Development Area.
The victim, who was injured on the head, died on the way to the hospital.
An eyewitness said he was attacked by thugs sponsored by a politician in the area.
A video recording of the incident showed the victim lying on ground in a pool of blood.
A man beckoned on the people around to take him to the hospital.
Another man brought his Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) to assist the victim.
The victim was carried into the vehicle, and he drove away.
Violence at Isolo
Similar confusion erupted at the ward in Isolo Local Council Development Area (LCDA).
Some party members alleged that ballot materials were in circulation.
Hoodlums, wielding guns, knives, cutlasses and other dangerous weapons, soon hijacked the exercise and descended on delegates many of whom were left injured.
The party secretariat situated at Onawale Street, Isolo was vandalized by the hoodlums and congress officials chased out of the building.