Members of the two factions of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta State on Saturday nearly disrupted the party’s convention holding in Abuja over which of the factions was the authentic representative of the state.
The factions, loyal to Ovie Omo-Agege, the senator representing Delta Central and the party’s governorship candidate in the 2015 election, O’tega Emerho, clashed while President Muhammadu Buhari was delivering his speech at the convention holding at Eagles Square.
Our reporter noticed several plastic chairs scattered at the state stand following the fisticuff between the members of the two factions.
Calm was however restored by the police and officials of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) who quickly intervened.
Speaking to journalists later, Mr Emerho said the incident occurred when his group went to the state stand because its members were the authentic delegates to the convention.
He said the rival group was headed by Mr Omo-Agege, who is the secretary of the party’s convention accreditation committee.
He accused the senator of removing the original list of delegates which contained the names of members of his faction and replaced them with members of his (senator) faction.
“The delegates that are here are the authentic ones and they were sent to the accreditation committee but unfortunately, the secretary to the accreditation committee is from Delta, Senator Omo-Agege, you will remember him from the mace incident at the National Assembly,” he said.
“He carried the same attitude to this place. He went and ensured that his people who are not qualified to be delegates are the people he put in the list. When it came to accreditation, he made sure that the materials didn’t get to us.
“He did something we don’t understand and got those people to occupy Delta authentic delegate stand but we complained to the convention chairman of the party Governor Badaru of Jigawa State and the convention secretary, Victor Ndoma-Egba and they assisted us to come in as the proper delegates.
“When we got here we decided to go to Delta stand because that is where we are supposed to be and we found out that they had already occupied it. We asked them to understand the right thing and the started throwing chairs at us and that is how the disorderliness and fight started.”
This act, according to Mr Emerho, was unforgivable because the incident occurred while Mr Buhari was delivering his address.
He said, “They didn’t care to even ensure that they do not cause a distraction.
“They created that scene and because we are people who don’t want trouble. When the police came we decided to leave them and relocate to another place.”
The former governorship candidate said the convention committee was aware of the incident and that he believed it would take action on the matter.
“The national convention has taken due notice that we are the authentic delegates even though we are not seated at our stand and I am sure they will do something about it.”
Mr Omo-Agege could not be reached immediately to respond to the allegation.
However, the senator’s aide, Efe Duku, in a telephone interview with PREMIUM TIMES, denied Mr Emerho’s allegation, saying it was his (Emerho) group that was on the offensive.
“How can it be true? He and Great Ogboru and other APC leaders were seated when all of a sudden Honourable Emerho and other persons came in and some persons started picking plastic chairs and were throwing themplastic chairs. They were taken unawares. And it was within the precinct of Eagles Square. Who would have thought that anybody would beat security to that extent? And it happened when the president was making a speech.
“For us, it is unthinkable that any reasonable or responsible leader would lead a group of persons who would undertake such a breach of security around the president.
“He (Omo-Agege) did not and he could not (be behind the incident) because he was seated like other persons and they were taken unawares.”