Barely five days after the governorship and state assemblies elections, the Delta State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, is embroiled in crisis over funds remitted to execute the campaign of its presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari.
The party had on Tuesday announced the expulsion of three of its leaders, namely Temi Harriman, Alex Ideh and A.S Mene, for various offences.
In a statement jointly signed by the APC chairman in the state, Jones Erue and Assistant Secretary, Chris Onodjacha, the party accused Ms. Harriman, a member of the APC Presidential Campaign organisation, of diverting the election support funds remitted to Delta State.
It said Ms. Harriman misapplied the funds through persons unknown to the party thereby undermining its ability to win votes in the Delta South Senatorial District during the presidential election.
It did not disclose the amount allegedly diverted by Ms. Harriman, a former member of the House of Representatives.
The statement also said Messrs Ideh and Mene were expelled “as a result of evident anti-party activities committed during the presidential and National Assembly elections held on the 28th of March, 2015 and repeated in the just concluded gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections held on the 11th day of April, 2015, during which they actively worked for candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party.”
The party said as leaders, the two members caused gross misconduct, ridicule and contempt to the party and are in violation of the party’s constitution.
However, rising from a meeting on Wednesday in Warri, 23 senior members of the APC under the aegis of “Delta State APC Stakeholders” said they took exception to the “irresponsible, baseless and defamatory publication made against Ms. Harriman.”
They said in a communique issued after the meeting that but for the timely and strategic intervention of GMB Campaign Organisation, Delta State chapter headed by Ms. Harriman and others and their conscientious efforts geared towards same, “our president-elect wouldn’t have gotten the numbers of votes credited to him from Delta State.”
Among those who signed the communiqué are Charles Omadeli, Robert Omote, Matthew Omonade, Samuel Esharefasa and Henry Ukusare.
The members drawn from about 17 out of the 25 local government areas of the state said “the publication purporting to have expelled our erudite and one of the genuine pillars of APC in Delta State is colossally bereft of any atom of legality, as it clearly shows the dumb nature of those parading themselves as leaders and excos of our party.
“For the records, Hon. Temi Harriman was never at any time invited to face any panel or respond to any allegation with respect to misapplication of presidential election funds through persons not known to the party.
“No petition whatsoever was written by the ward chairmen of our party in Delta South Senatorial District against Hon. Temi Harriman with respect to misapplication of presidential election funds through persons not known to the party.
“We cannot reconcile the rationale for the expulsion of Hon. Temi Harriman…A contradiction which is clear show of shame desperation and confusion.”
The 23 members also accused the party’s candidate in the April 11 governorship election, O’tega Emerhor, of being behind the purported expulsion of Ms. Harriman.
Describing the governorship candidate as a mole in APC, the members said he is embarking on a “selfish and egocentric agenda which is detrimental to the survival of the APC in Delta State.”
The communiqué said, “The APC in Delta State is larger than O’tega Emerhor whose sole ambition lies in himself to the detriment of the overall well being the party as a whole. Mr. O’tega Emerhor is a mole in the APC and should be exposed for what he is.
“O’tega Emerhor, Prophet Jones Ode Erue and his cohorts parading themselves as excos of our great party in Delta State single-handedly organized his gubernatorial campaigns and personally coordinated the disbursement of funds through persons known to them and at the end of the elections he polled the total number of 67,852 votes in the whole of 25 LGA of Delta State.
“O’tega Emerhor is from Ughelli North LGA and could not at least win his own local government after having personally supervised the disbursement of funds through persons known to him and his stooges. O’tega Emerhor was only able to pull 5,939 votes in his local government (Ughelli North LGA) with a voting strength of 146,177 registered voters.”
The members said Mr. Erue could not win or get at least the total votes cast in his Isoko South council.
They also said it is on record, as was clearly broadcast in the social media by aggrieved members of the APC from the Delta Central Senatorial District, that Mr. Emerhor personally diverted funds for the presidential election for his personal aggrandizement.
They claimed this explains the reason why the party presidential campaign organisation agents who were properly trained were unable to send reports from their polling units to the party’s Situation Room in Abuja.
The members also noted that unlike in the Delta Central and Delta North Senatorial Districts funds for presidential elections were duly disbursed to members of the party in Delta South Senatorial District effectively.
They alleged that the rational behind the expulsion of Ms. Harriman was “basically due to the destructive quest of Mr. Emerhor in his desire of getting an appointment at the national level from a national party he never actively supported before and during the president elections.”
The members consequently passed a vote of no confidence on Mr. Emerhor and resolved that Ms. Harriman “is and still remains a bonafide and one of the recognised leaders of the APC in Delta State.”
They also said an extra-ordinary congress should be called for “elections of credible, committed, genuine and viable party excos who are to restructure, redirect and rebuild our great party, from its comatose state”