By Ovie Okpare
Some leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta State including the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Chief Festus Keyamo and the party governorship candidate in 2019 elections, Chief Great Ogboru, have threatened to boycott the party’s congress in the state.
The threat is coming on the heels of allegation that materials sent to the state for the party’s ward congresses had been hijacked by some chieftain of the party in a bid to exclude members from participating in the congresses.
Other leaders of the party threatening to boycott the entire process are; former speakers of the Delta State House of Assembly, Victor Ochei and Monday Igbuya; former Executive Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Cairo Ojougboh; Mrs. Mariam Ali; and Air Vice Marshal Okorodudu.
This was contained in a letter dated to July 21, 2021 and addressed to National Organising Secretary of APC, Abuja.
They further alleged that the officials sent from Abuja for the exercise were also taken away with the materials.
The letter alleged that on arrival in Asaba, one Nick “who was acting at the behest of a particular leader of the party in the state, accosted the officials and with the active connivance of the security personnel that escalated them to the state, took away the entire materials to an undisclosed location under the guise of ‘protecting’ the materials.
“The leader of your officials is named George. We spoke with him earlier today and he narrated their ordeal to us.”
The letter to the National Organising Secretary, insisted that the state caretaker committee had been pocketed by a “so-called leader.”
They said the alleged hijack was a “sinister and reckless plot by some unscrupulous officials to hand over the entire fortunes of our great party in Delta State to one man, and freeze out other genuine leaders in the state
“That would be a recipe for total disaster for the party in a state where we are already struggling as opposition. We do not claim to be the only leaders in the state either. There are other leaders.
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“However, we cannot be denied the right to associate within the party to promote a common interest, like we have agreed to do.”
They therefore called for the immediate arrest and prosecution of the said Nick for alleged impersonation and confiscated of the materials.
Besides, they called for the “immediate release of the materials to the authorised officials, who are now stranded in Asaba, to perform their legitimate duties.
“We shall boycott the whole process and look at other legal options if genuine party members are denied access to the forms by these characters.”
But reacting to the allegation, Nick Ovuakporie described the allegation as spurious, saying that there was no time he took possession of congress materials to warrant the tarnishing of his reputation.
Also reacting in a statement, publicity secretary of the Delta APC caretaker committee, Sylvester Imonina said the materials were in the custody of the state chairman, Jones Erue, adding that they were not hijacked but very much intact.
Imonina said the statement by the seven leaders contained “complete lies and unfounded conspiracies by the authors in order to create a state a state of chaos and panic in Delta State in a bid to discredit the conduct of the forthcoming congresses.”