Members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Delta State chapter, have accused the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, and the state APC caretaker committee chairman, Jones Erue, of hijacking the party’s nationwide membership registration and revalidation exercise in the state.
A cross-section of the party members who spoke with SaharaReporters condemned the action of the deputy senate president, whom they said was allegedly interested in contesting in the 2023 governorship election in the state.
They also alleged that Omo-Agege, in connivance with the state APC caretaker committee chairman, Erue, sidelined some of the state’s top-ranking party leaders in the membership registration and revalidation exercise.
Our correspondent gathered the exercise, which formally commenced nationwide on Tuesday, failed to commence in the state due to the issues highlighted and the sudden resignation of the secretary of the registration panel, Sanusi Musa.
Musa allegedly staged a walkout during a meeting held on Monday at the party’s secretariat in the state to fine-tune plans for the take-off of the exercise when he noticed that Omo-Agege and Erue had allegedly hijacked the process.
It was learnt that though a new secretary, Aloysius Ezenwa, has been appointed to replace Musa, the exercise is still not going on in the state following the disagreement over the nominees for the exercise across the local government areas, a process alleged to have been hijacked by Omo-Agege and Erue.
Commenting on the resignation of secretary of the registration panel, Sanusi Musa, the state APC caretaker committee secretary, Chidi Okonji, accused the chairman of the registration panel, Wilson Anyaegbu of doing the bidding of a certain leader of the party in the state.
Okonji alleged that the state chairman of the caretaker committee,Erue influenced Anyaegbu to the extent that the names of nominees as registration officers came from only the deputy senate president, Omo-Agege.
According to Okonji, other party leaders such as the Minister of State for Labour, Festus Keyamo; Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency Director, Victor Ochei; founding leader of the party in the state, O’tega Emerhor; 2019 governorship candidate, Great Ogboru have been schemed out of the entire process as well as in the nomination of registration officers.
“As we speak now, the exercise has not started in any part of Delta State because the committee chairman is hoarding materials. He is working with the state caretaker committee chairman to produce the nominees as registration officers which are only coming from the Deputy Senate President. We are calling on the national leadership to change the chairman of the registration committee because he is biased and has been compromised.
“As executive members of the party in the state, we are supposed to be neutral and allow the independent registration panel to carry out a credible exercise but the chairman has been unduly influenced, that is why we want him out,” Okonji insisted.
Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, has raised the alarm over the hijacking of the entire process by a certain leader of the party in the state.
In a petition by the minister addressed to the Delta State Chairman of the APC membership, revalidation exercise, titled “A Note To Delta State Chairman Of The APC Membership, Revalidation And Update Committee: On No Account Must Two Coordinators From Any LGA Be Nominated By One Political Leader In Delta State,” he admonished the chairman to balance what he called all delicate interests within the APC in the state.
The petition copied the APC national caretaker committee chairman, Mai Mala Buni, National Secretary, Women’s Rep, South/South Registration Committee, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, Great Ogboru, Otega Emerhor, Victor Ochei and all members of the Delta State Registration Committee.
It warned against any act that could cause chaos in the party.
“As you are set to distribute your materials to the LGA coordinators on Wednesday, February 10, 2021, you must bear in mind the need to balance all the delicate interests within the APC in Delta State in such a way that you don’t put the entire materials meant for any LGA in the hands of two coordinators solely nominated by a particular political leader in the State, including myself.
“That will be unfair, unjust and unacceptable and will be a recipe for chaos in the state. My sources tell me that this is exactly what you plan to do. You need to stop. The evolution of APC in Delta State is unique to the extent that a clear party leader has not emerged under whom everyone has agreed to congregate. At least, no such decision has been taken by stakeholders in Delta state. I can say this confidently because I am a founding member and a leader of the party in the state.”
Reacting to the issue of hijacking the party’s registration and revalidation exercise in the state by the deputy senate president and the party’s chairman, the state publicity secretary of the party, Sylvester Imonima, denied the allegation, saying it was a rumour being peddled by people who do not wish the party well.
He said, “Why is the minister, Festus Keyamo, raising unnecessary alarm? Is he the only leader in the party? Why have other leaders like Emerhor, Ochei and others not raised the alarm? The minister was only being fed with tissue of lies.”