Saturday, May 5, 2018 4:12 pm
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
The Rivers State chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC, went ahead with its wards’ congress on Saturday, despite the violence that characterized attempt to kick off the process on Friday.
The violence which led to destruction of property by hoodlums at APC secretariat in Port Harcourt was attributed to delay in issuance of forms for the party members interested in contesting for party positions in the congress on Friday.
Former governor and transport minister, Rotimi Amaechi who is also the leader of the party said contrary to the allegation that he and other party leaders hijacked the party materials for the ward congress, there was no materials needed because the party agreed that option A4 model would be adopted.
Under option A4, party members are expected to queue behind candidates who they want to be their leaders at ward levels and be physically counted by party officials from the national secretariat.
Amaechi also denied that there was a court injunction to stop the state congress of the party: “We have not received any injunction. Let them show us the copies of the so-called injunction. I am not aware and the party executive has not informed me of any. And if there were as alleged, I thought that before an injunction, you must put the other party on notice.”
The former governor accused ‘those’ who, according to him, had all along insisted that they wanted internal democracy in the party, but ‘are now afraid to test their popularity in a transparent Option A4 model’ as being behind the speculation about the injunction and the allegation that he hijacked materials for the congress.
But Senator Magnus Abe representing Rivers South East had earlier said the congress had been hijacked by the leadership of the party as critical stakeholders had been shut out of the process.
He called on the national leadership to intervene and save the party from self-inflicted crisis by those who don’t want the people to freely elect their leaders.
Also speaking on the violence at the APC Secretariat yesterday an APC Chieftain Mr. Mfata Mfata said many available video evidences on the internet have so far showed that those who vandalized APC secretariat were thugs hired by the opposition to destabilize the party.
But he said they have failed because the party will come out stronger and the congress will go ahead as planned.
It is interesting to note that APC state secretariat is located directly opposite the Old GRA Police station in Port Harcourt.
While reacting to condolences issued by the Rivers State Government on alleged deaths arising from the fracas at APC secretariat, Dr Dakuku Peterside, the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Safety Agency, NIMASA described it as ‘self-serving’.
The NIMASA DG claimed that no death was recorded at the party secretariat.
However, one person died from an injury sustained when a tree fell on the Toyota Hilux owned by Mr. Emeka Beke, State Secretary of APC.
Beke, who was inside the vehicle narrowly escaped death in the incident which happened along the Forces Avenue, Old GRA Club, Port Harcourt on Thursday Morning during a heavy rainfall.
He and others were rushed to the nearby Braithwaite Memorial Hospital where he is still receiving treatment as at the time of filing in this story.
Meanwhile, Rivers Police Command has arrested some hoodlums who vandalized the Rivers APC Secretariat on Friday, during the protest over the delay in issuance of forms for the party ward congresses.
Rivers Police spokesman, Nnamdi Omoni DSP who confirmed the arrests said investigation of the incident was still going on.
It was also learnt that Mr. Chidi Wihioka, a member representing Ikwerre/Emohua federal constituency who was arrested by the Police on his way to the party Secretariat was released after about four hours.
Wihioka who is supporting the governorship bid of Senator Magnus Abe.