The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has decried the “poor conduct” of the ward congress of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Enugu State.
Addressing his loyalists in Enugu on Saturday, Mr Onyeama said he was sidelined alongside his loyalists in the ward congresses across the state.
Mr Onyema attributed the conduct of the parallel congresses to a flawed process that excluded a significant part of the party faithful in the state.
He said leaders of the party in the state including the Senior Special Adviser to the president on Justice Reform, Juliet Ibekaku, were also excluded from the process.
The minister alleged that nomination forms were not made available to a good number of contestants adding that there was a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise many.
“Our problem is that we were excluded from the process. I spoke to all the party leaders that this is what is happening.
“I do not want to accuse people in front of the media but I am just telling you what the situation was and what I did to contain it,” he said.
The minister said that when he noticed the flawed process and an attempt to disenfranchise many stakeholders, he immediately called a meeting as the leader of the party in the state.
There were a lot of complaints that forms were not made available to all the intending contestants and this was a major problem.
“So when I called this meeting, there was a large turnout and this point about lack of inclusion in the process was made by so many people.
“The understanding was that these forms had been given to only one or two people to distribute.
“There was a lot of agitation and I had a real fear that this election will be marred by violent. So I was very keen to avoid that at all costs,” he said.
Mr Onyeama said members of the party present at the meeting then decided to set up a monitoring mechanism in order not to disenfranchise a significant part of the party followership.
“I personally went to a number of wards to ensure there was a transparent process. So we carried out those elections and they were peaceful and transparent,” he said.
The minister alleged that the committee sent from the party headquarters to monitor the congresses never contacted any of the eminent members of the party in the state.
“None of us met with that committee. So we were totally excluded from the process.
“But we thank God that at the end of the day we managed to ensure that there was peace and we went ahead to have our election processes. I do not know whether the other people had theirs.
“We collated the results and will submit those results.
“I called all the major national party personalities and advised them that to avoid violence that the process should be cancelled and redone because it was flawed” he said.
Mr Onyeama, however, said that since there was no formal announcement on the cancellation of the process, they decided as to contain the situation to go ahead and conduct the election.
“The processes were totally flawed. We were forced to carry out those congresses under those circumstances merely to avoid violence and our own congress was transparent,” Mr Onyeama said.
Meanwhile, efforts to reach the state chairman of the party, Ben Nwoye, proved abortive as he failed to take calls but sent a text message that he would return the call but did not as of the time of filing the report.
However, former Senate President Ken Nnamani, Jim Nwobodo, and the Vice Chairman, South East, Emmanuel Eneukwu, described the congresses as “peaceful, free and fair”. (NAN)