By Emeka Okafor
The Delta State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been thrown into another rounds of crisis as leadership tussle between leaders of the party has forced the secretary of the membership registration and revalidation, Sanusi Musa, resigned from the ongoing exercise.
Musa was said to have resigned on Tuesday, a day the ongoing nationwide membership registration and revalidation exercise of the party officially commenced following disagreement among leaders of the party in the state.
This is coming barely days after leaders of the party including the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege; Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Olorogun Festus Keyamo (SAN); founding leader of the party, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor; Chief Great Ogboru and other leaders of the party commenced peace talks.
But at the moment, the exercise is not going on in Delta State, even though a new secretary, Aloysius Ezenwa has been deployed to the state, apparently as a result of disagreement over nominees for the exercise across local government areas.
Musa was said to have walked out of the meeting on Monday held to fine-tune plans for the take-off of the exercise, over alleged plans by supporters of the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, to hijack the process.
In his message to other members of the committee, Musa, a lawyer, did not however give specific reasons for decision to resign.
“I have found myself in a position that I did not envisage and I don’t think I am able to discharge my duties for personal reasons,” he was said to have told his colleagues in a WhatsApp message.
Reacting to the resignation, secretary of the state caretaker committee of the party, Chidi Okonji said the chairman of the registration panel, Wilson Anyaegbu has allegedly been compromised to do the bidding of a certain leader of the party in the state.
Okonji alleged that the state chairman of the caretaker committee, Jones Erue influenced Anyaegbu to the extent that names of nominees as registration officers came from only Omo-Agege.
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He said other party leaders including the Minister of State for Labour, Festus Keyamo; NIMASA Director, Victor Ochei; founding leader, O’tega Emerhor; 2019 governorship candidate, Great Ogboru, among others, were schemed out in the process to nominate registration officers.
“As we speak now, the exercise has not started in any part of Delta State because of 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 bias 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.
In a swift reaction, a party source close to the state chairman of the party, Jones Erue, denied the allegations of compromise and hijack of the process, describing them as lies.
“These are all lies. All stakeholders’ names of nominees were adequately reflected including Olorogun O’tega Emerhor and others. There’s no crisis whatsoever,” the source who pleaded not to be named said.
According to the source, the former secretary, Musa resigned because of “pressures from his legal clients whose cases are suffering across various courts in Nigeria including the Supreme Court and a new secretary was appointed by the national chairman as his replacement who has long assumed duties and carrying on with all the stakeholders.”
Meanwhile, a chieftain of the party and a member of the now dissolved interim management committee of the NDDC, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh has appealed to party faithful in his local government area, Ika South, to participate in the exercise irrespective of whoever is sent in as registration officers.
Ojougboh also appealed to other leaders of the party in the state to close rank, explaining that the registration and revalidation exercise would be the turning point for the APC in Delta State if the party is able to get it right.
“APC is the most popular party in Delta State for a very long but we have not be able to utilise that God given advantage. So now is the opportunity to exploit that advantage.
“Our prospect for 2023 depends on the cooperation of the leaders starting from now. Once we are able to put our house in order, and leaders begin to be less cantakerous and do not match their ambition with hostility with other party members, then we will move forward,” he stated.