The tension generated by the just concluded congresses of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Enugu State heightened at the weekend with the factional chairman, Okey Ogbodo, forcefully breaking into the party’s secretariat.
As at the time of filing this report, Ogbodo, who leads the faction loyal to Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geofrey Onyeama, was holding a meeting of his faction at the secretariat in Park Avenue, GRA Enugu.
Ogbodo was said to have acted under the cover of suspected thugs and heavily armed operatives of Department of State Security (DSS), Enugu State Command, who were sighted by our correspondent at the secretariat while the faction was meeting.
Although the re-elected Enugu State APC Chairman, Dr. Ben Nwoye, had earlier scheduled a meeting of his executive at the party secretariat, he was advised to shelve the meeting to avert a total breakdown of law and order in the secretariat.
Ogbodo had petitioned against the re-election of Nwoye in the last state congress, demanding that he (Ogbodo) should be issued with certificate of return as the chairman of the party.
However, the three-man appeal panel from the APC national secretariat dismissed his petition for lacking in substance.
An insider source alleged that breaking into the party secretariat was a covert plot by the minister’s faction to provoke a clash with the party leadership and create an atmosphere of crises in Enugu State, ahead of the national convention, slated for June 23.
According to our source, the faction was irked that none of its members, including the minister, was named in the list of Enugu State delegates to the national convention released by the national secretariat.
Before claiming to be a contender for APC chairmanship early this year, Ogbodo contested for the state chairmanship of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and was defeated by the incumbent chairman, Augustine Nnamani.
Ogbodo’s foray into the state chairmanship of APC was viewed as an attempt by the ruling PDP in the state to destabilise APC, its main challenger in 2019.
Notable APC bigwigs in Enugu State narrowly escaped death during the state congress when Ogbodo’s faction stormed the venue of the party’s state congress in Enugu State with suspected political thugs.
Those who escaped by whiskers include former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, immediate past governor of Enugu State, Sullivan Chime, the Director-General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Osita Okechukwu, and the National Vice Chairman of APC, Southeast, Emma Eneukwu.
Others were former commissioner in Enugu State, Hon. Joe Mammel, and the state chairman of the party, Nwoye.
All the dignitaries were already seated at the Indoor Sports Hall of Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium Enugu, venue of the congress, while the delegates were being called in when the minister and members of his faction stormed the venue at about 2.pm.
The suspected thugs, who chanted praises for the minister, chased away the delegates to APC Enugu State Congress. – The Nation.