APGA delegate congress concluded in Abia despite initial attempts to hijack process
By Steve Oko
Despite reported attempts by a desperate governorship aspirant to hijack the process, the opposition All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, in Abia State, Thursday morning, successfully concluded its three-man delegate congress amid tension and tight security.
The exercise which began on Tuesday was almost marred by the alleged attempts by the said aspirant to hijack the process, but continued till about 12:00am Thursday following protest by party faithful.
The attempted hijack was firmly resisted by party faithful who later besieged the party secretariat in Umuahia on Wednesday, insisting that due process must be followed.
APGA faithful including Ward and Local Government Area Chairmen who had successfully held the delegate election on Tuesday in their respective wards and LGAs, later stormed Hotel Damgrate Umuahia where the three-man panel led by the Commissioner of Petroleum, Anambra State, Mr. Tony Ezeanya was lodged.
It took the Intervention of the party Leader in the state, Hon. Obinna Ichita, to calm the aggrieved party faithful who vowed never to allow any manipulation.
They said they would not allow impunity and malpractice common among other parties to creep into APGA “that the state is looking up to for deliverance”.
After appeals by Ichita, and the state Chairman of the party, Rev. Ehiemere, the party faithful later moved over to APGA state secretariat where the contentious issues were later resolved.
Each ward and LGA Chairman who were returning officers in their respective wards and LGAs presented the result of the exercise to the panel Ezeanya-led panel sent to conduct the congress.
The presentation and endorsement were witnessed by security agencies including the police, and the Department of State Services DSS.
The exercise dragged late into the early hours of this morning amid tight security as party faithful and officials kept vigil to ensure the right things were done.
APGA Chairman, Rev. Ehiemere, described the exercise as very successful.
” It was successful. The committee signed all the results as returned by the Ward Chairmen. Attempt to hijack process was also stopped. We are happy it ended in praise. Everybody is happy except the aspirant that wanted to hijack the exercise but he was stopped”.
A fake returning officer allegedly engaged by one of the governorship aspirants ( name withheld), was Tuesday, arrested in Bende Local Government Area with fake unfilled result sheets, unauthorized APGA stamp and stamp pad.
The suspect handed over to the police was later detained at the Central Police Station Umuahia, according to party sources.
Confirming the incident, APGA Leader in the state and member representing Aba South state constituency, Hon. Ichita, said the suspect and others were allegedly engaged by a desperate governorship aspirant who wanted to hijack the congress.
The lawmaker said “APGA believes in internal democracy that guarantees equal opportunity to all and cannot tolerate any form of impunity”.
His words: ” An incident occurred in Bende LGA where somebody was caught and he claimed that he was engaged by one of the governorship aspirants.
” He was arrested and handed over to the police. The situation would have caused serious crisis but for my intervention as aggrieved party members wanted to lynch the suspect.
” You know the security situation in the land now particularly South East is such that no room should be given for escalation. People are growing impatient with undemocratic process”.
Hon Ichita said that the congress was successful and generally peaceful across the state “except in few wards where sponsorsed hoodlums attempted to hijack the process but were stoutly resisted by party faithful”.
” I wonder how somebody can think that APGA which we nurtured and defended with our blood till this time when the party is about taking over power in the state can be hijacked? It’s not possible!”
The APGA Leader who said that impunity and other undemocratic tendencies common in other political parties would not be tolerated in APGA, warned desperate politicians in the party to have a rethink “as nobody will be allowed to convert APGA into personal estate”.
When contacted, the State Secretary of the party, Elder Sunday Onukwubiri, said that the name of the said suspect was not among the returning officers sent to conduct the exercise.
According to him, ward Chairmen and LGA party Chairmen are to server as Returning officers in their wards and councils respectively, while the three-man Congress Committee from Abuja will serve as the Returning officers for the state.
He said that similar attempts were reported in few wards but party members resisted the hired thugs and they fled.
The Scribe said that “APGA which has become the beautiful bride in Abia now cannot be allowed to be pocketed by any desperado”.
Onukwubiri said the party would ensure due process and internal democracy in the process that would produce its candidates for the 2023 elections.
Reacting to the incident, one of the governorship aspirants, Gen. Ijioma N. Ijioma (retd.) who confirmed he saw the arrested suspect , said the incident was a signal that the era of impunity and illegalities was gone.
” The incident tells you that things are not going to be the way it used to be before. People are now more aware. So, people are no longer going to get away with illegalities they used to engage in before”.
Meanwhile, some sources have accused some highly-placed chieftains of the party at the centre of conniving with the said aspirant to manipulate the congress in his favour but said they had failed.
The aggrieved party members warned that nobody should be allowed to parade as the owner of APGA in the state, vowing to ensure that all those seeking the party’s ticket for the actualisation of their political ambition receive equal treatment.
According to them, APGA does not belong to any serial contestant but free to accommodate all genuine persons willing to join the party.
They said the party’s ticket will be given to competent aspirants with capacity and vision, and not those who will use it to enrich their pockets.
Steve Oko, Publisher/C.E.O, WaWa News Global. For more information on advert placement and news coverage, contact us on: 08038725600, or via email [email protected]; [email protected] Always read WaWa News Global - Your most dependable online news platform for the latest breaking news in Nigeria.