Hundreds of members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Ebonyi State chapter, on Friday protested against the visit of the national chairman of the party, John Oyegun, calling for his removal over his role in the leadership crisis rocking the state chapter of the party.
The protesters are supporters of a factional Chairman, Ben Nwobasi.
Mr. Oyegun visited the state on Friday during which he received decampees from Labour Party to the APC. He was received by the the Eze Nwachukwu led faction of the party in the state.
Messrs. Nwachukwu and Nwobasi have been embroiled in a lingering battle for the chairmanship seat of the state chapter of the party which began shortly after the state congress of the APC in 2014.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how President Muhammadu Buhari, during his two-day visit to the state during the week, could also not resolve the crisis.
Those received by Mr. Oyegun included the immediate past Governor of Ebonyi State, Martin Elechi, and former caretaker committee chairman of Ebonyi Local Government Area, Anselem Enigwe and over 100 others.
The protesters lamented that in spite of the court injunction restraining the national chairman from tampering with the state congress which elected Mr. Nwobasi as the state chairman of the party, Mr. Oyegun appointed the state deputy chairman, Mr. Nwachukwu as acting chairman of the party in the state.
The protesters, including women and youth of the party carried placards with diverse inscriptions registering their anger.
The protesters, who marched through the major streets of Abakaliki were seen chanting anti-Oyegun slogans with a call for his immediate removal for alleged highhandedness and acts inconsistent with his office.
Speaking during the protest, the spokesperson of the group and leader of Ebonyi APC Youth Vanguard, Frank Ngwu, said Mr. Oyegun was behind the leadership crisis in the party.
“We make bold to state categorically that our national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun is behind the leadership crisis in Ebonyi state chapter of the APC through inconsistent issuance of directive.
”When some moneybags visited him, he authored a letter on February 23, 2017 appointing one Eze Nwachukwu as the state Acting Chairman. When contempt proceeding was served on him, he quickly authorised another letter on April 25 withdrawing his initial letter.
“And despite his letter of withdrawal, he is still relating with Nwachukwu Eze as the state chairman. For instance, during the courtesy visit to the Vice President, Yemi Osibanjo by all the state chairmen of the party, Oyegun cleared Nwachukwu instead of Ben Nwobasi who is the authentic chairman of the party.
“We cannot allow such a character to come and cause mayhem in the state because of his double standard. We warned him to resolve the crisis before coming to Ebonyi State otherwise we will resist him from stepping his foot into Ebonyi soil. His leadership incompetence has further exacerbated the crisis in our state chapter of APC and this has endangered the strength of our party in the state.
”Rather than dissipating his energy to visit Ebonyi, he should expedite action to see that the cases still pending in the court are resolved to its logical conclusion. We cannot receive him when he has not done anything meaningful to resolve the court case.”
Mr. Oyegun’s reaction could not be immediately sought at the time of filing report.
However, Mr. Oyegun, while addressing the party members from the Nwachukwu Eze faction in Abakaliki during his visit urged them to remain resolute.
He said the party was set to win the elections in 2019.