John Adams, Minna
The congress to elect the Niger State Working Committee of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on Saturday turned violent as thugs suspected to be loyal to the two top contenders for the office of the Chairman engaged each other in a free for all fight.
Former House of Representatives Deputy Majority Leader Hon Baba Shehu Agaie was reportedly manhandled and had to be whisked away from the venue of the congress by heavily armed security men.
A pointer to potential violence was noticed as early as 7:00 am when the entire vicinity of the party’s secretariat along easter bypass was taken over by supporters of the two contenders for the State Chairman, incumbent Tanko Beji and former House of Representatives Member Mallam Ahmed Murktar.
Although there was a heavy security presence at the venue, it could not prevent the former House of Representatives member, Shehu Agaie, from being beaten by some party supporters suspected to be from his own Local Government Area of Agaie.
They had accused him of sabotaging their collective interest by aligning with a group led by the former Governor Babangida Aliyu.
However, when the atmosphere became tensed and unconducive for any congress, the electoral committee led by Mohammed Iman from the national headquarters of the party had to be whisked away by security agents.
In a statement, the electoral committee chairman announced the suspension of the entire exercise, sighting insecurity as his reason.
According to the statement: ‘Due to uncertain security situation at the PDP state Secretariat, Venue of the rescheduled State Congress, the Congress stated for today, 12th day of September 2020 has been postponed.’
The Chairman of the congress committee pointed out that the decision to suspend the exercise became necessary after unsuccessful attempts were made to get the thousands of party supporters and other persons gathered at the precinct of the venue to disperse before the commencement of the voting process.
The Chairman of the committee, however, disclosed that the committee will report back to the National Working Committee which would determine the next line of action in accordance with the constitution of the party.