Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The national secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was, on Monday, literally a battleground as state officers that emerged from the parallel state congresses conducted recently jostled for recognition during the ceremony to inaugurate the state chairmen.
As early as 10.00am, the security operatives, strategically positioned at both the main entrance gate and gate into the building, had their hands full trying to curtail the surging party members and their teeming supporters.
The situation was not only rowdy almost all through the duration of the event as factional chairmen and their supporters battled endlessly to gain entrance into the main hall for the event, but also two ministers were denied entry into the hall.
Despite the efforts by the security details attached to the Ministers of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, and that of the Women Affairs, Aisha Al-Hassan, gaining entrance into the hall was like a camel passing through the eye of the needle.
The situation later degenerated into a shouting match and threats by the supporters of the factions denied entry, resulting in the security agents releasing canister of teargas to disperse the protesters.
It was an ugly sight watching the two ministers struggled to gain entrance into the hall with their orderlies but it was double tragedy for the Communication Minister whose factional chairman was not only denied entry but the party national leadership opting for the faction loyal to Governor Abiola Ajumobi.
Defending the decision to deny the two ministers entrance, a secretariat staff said that they were not officially invited for the function, adding that they only came to ensure that their factional chairmen were among those inaugurated.
Reacting to denying her entry, Alhassan said that she was not disappointed with the decision of the National Working Committee (NWC) to restrict the entry into the hall to only the chairmen.
“I was not disappointed at all that I was denied entry into the hall because I was made to understand that the NWC restricted the entrance into the hall to only the chairmen for security reasons. As a politician I was not surprise over what happened,” she said.
However, normalcy was restored shortly after the inauguration as the vanquished stormed out of the secretariat, heaping all manner of abuses on the national leadership of the while the victor celebrate endlessly with music and dances.
Although the supporters loyal to the Communication Minister had threatened fire and brimstone including tearing the certificate of the sworn in chairman, they had however chickened out after the Minister angrily stormed out of the secretariat.
Outstanding among the victors were the Imo state delegation whose happiness knew no bound following the swearing in of Hilary Eke as the authentic chairman.
Speaking during the inauguration, National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, charged the state party chairmen to return the party to its lost glory by announcing to Nigerians the successes of the current APC-led Federal Government.
“You have the onerous task maturing APC. You have to work hard to return the party to its lost glory. Also make sure you work hard for the reelection of our President.
“We are aware of conflicts, disaffections and bad blood in the party. Put all these aside and work for the victory of our party at the 2019 general elections.
“Go and tell the people of the great achievements recorded by the APC Government. Your Government is on the right course. A firm foundation has been laid for the development of Nigeria in spite of lean resources, the APC has achieved much more in three years.
“Get acquainted with the achievements put together in a document which I will make available to you. Tell Nigerians the achievements of your government. In infrastructure; a lot of roads have been constructed, agriculture; much rice is produced, transport, rail is there and power we now have 7000 megawatts.
“There is serious need for quick reconciliation especially in Rivers, Taraba, Oyo, Delta, Lagos and others. Let the chairmen here wait and should not inaugurate their EXCOS like the others until the issues with the Congresses in such states are resolved.
“I am going to set up a committee headed by the Deputy National Chairman North to study the situations in such states for possible actions. There will be concessions and harmonisations after the exercise within this week,” he said.