The registration and revalidation exercise of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta State reportedly degenerated into chaos on Wednesday.
Party members threw plastic tables and chairs at one another after a free-for-all broke out at the venue of the event, reports say.
There were also frenetic exchanges of punches. The security officers mandated to keep the peace reportedly stood by and watched without interfering.
The fracas reportedly occurred at the party’s state secretariat along Anwai Road, Asaba.
The Deputy Chief of Staff to the Deputy Senate President, Alex Onwuadimu; the APC chairman of Oshimili South, Ben Onwuka and scores of party members were reportedly beaten and injured.
Trouble, according to Sahara Reporters, started when the state APC caretaker committee chairman, Jones Erue, in alleged connivance with the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, abandoned what party members called “consent judgement list” from the party’s National Secretariat, Abuja, removed the names of some party ward chairmen across the state and replaced them with the names of loyalists of Omo-Agege.
Sensing that they might be schemed out of the game, loyalists of the party’s 2019 governorship candidate, Great Ogboru, who were visibly angry with Erue for abandoning the “consent judgement list”, challenged him.
Apart from that, they also called for his removal to avoid what they called “killing of the APC in Delta State”.
All efforts by Omo-Agege to get the party members to calm down proved abortive as the clash continued between the loyalists of Omo-Agege and Ogboru, thereby bringing the registration exercise to an abrupt end.
As things became more aggressive, Omo-Agege, Erue, and some others ran away.
In the chaos that followed, some of the party members had their shirts torn and had to leave the secretariat almost naked.
Before now, Ogboru, who is believed to be interested in contesting the governorship election in 2023, had reportedly petitioned the national body of the party, calling for the immediate removal of the Erie-led executive in the state.
A certain Ownuka, the APC chairman in Oshimili South local government area who was beaten up during the fracas, blamed the problem on the removal of the names of party chairmen from the consented lists, which was described as illegal and fraudulent.
“What happened at our party secretariat was a fight against illegality,” he told Sahara Reporters.
“It was an illegality in the sense that the state chairman, Jones Erue, and his cohorts removed the names of chairmen who were duly elected and replaced them with his boys who are not part faithful.
“I was constitutionally elected but now they are putting the names of those who never attended congress at all. Some of us see it as illegal and we had to revolt. And that was what caused the fight. They should do the right thing; this is a political party and not a personal party. I couldn’t bear it, so I had to fight it out with them.
“All the people calling themselves leaders do not have any background. Instead of showing what makes them leaders and canvassing our people to join in the registration, they are only there to shortchange people.”
Reacting to the fracas, the embattled APC state caretaker committee chairman, Erue, denied that he was ever involved in any problem at the party’s secretariat in Asaba on Wednesday.
“May the God I serve judge me whether I ever got into any conflict before, during and or after the meeting yesterday. How can gold rust?” Erue said.