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APC Guber primaries: Two dead, 3 buses burnt in Imo, Bauchi

Guber primaries: Two dead, 3 buses burnt in Imo, Bauchi

Violence and logistics delays marred yesterday’s primary election of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Imo State.

One person was reportedly killed at Orodo ward while three buses were burnt in Amike, Mbieri all in Mbaitoli council area of the state. Trouble started in Amike, Mbieri when a progovernment politician, Sunny Onyegbula, believed to be in support of the candidature of Uche Nwosu, former Chief of Staff and son in-law to Governor Rochas Okorocha was confronted by his kinsmen and dissuaded from shortlisting delegates at the polling centre, who the locals believe may be induced with money to vote for Nwosu against the aspiration of their son, the Deputy Governor, Prince Eze Madumere, who is also from Mbieri. An eyewitness, who spoke to our correspondent, said:

“For challenging him, Onyegbula made a call and not long after three buses loaded with thugs stormed Amike, Mbieri ward voting centre where men, women and youths were lined up waiting for the commencement of the primaries.” According to the source, the thugs, on arrival, started shooting sporadically, harassing elderly men and women of the community and anybody else who was in sight. Apparently angered by the situation, the youth of the community mobilized themselves and resisted the invaders. In the exchanges that followed, three buses were set ablaze and two persons brutally stabbed.

One of the young men stabbed was simply identified as Maxwell. At Central School, Ubomiri where Ubomiri ward was used for their primaries, crowd of party men and women were seen loitering the venue waiting to vote when the recently deposed Deputy Governor designate, Mr. Callistus Ekenze, who is from the area arrived the ward. Attempt by Ekenze to ensure that only party members loyal to Governor Okorocha voted was resisted, which forced him to flee the venue and was booed out of the ward. At Orodo, some inmates from the School of the Deaf and Dumb were apparently conscripted for the exercises and before the primaries commenced, a misunderstanding over money ensued and, in the fight that followed, one person was beaten to the ground and was feared dead. Also, a loyalist of one of the APC governorship aspirants was killed in Boi district of Bogoro Local Government Area of Bauchi State while two others were severely injured in Bauchi metropolis during the primaries.

Two governorship aspirants – Prof. Ali Pate and Dr. Yakubu Lame, have called for the cancellation of the primaries in Bauchi State Addressing a press conference yesterday at the NUJ secretariat, Pate and Lame told reporters that one of their loyalists was killed during the exercise. They said: “The APC election did not take place in Bauchi.

Therefore, we call for cancellation of the outcome of the election.” Meanwhile, the crisis rocking the APC in Delta State yesterday assumed a new twist as two governorship candidates, Chief Great Ogboru and Prof. Pat Utomi, emerged as flag bearers of the party at parallel primary elections conducted by the warring factions of the party.

While Utomi scored 2,486 in the Olorogun O’tega Emerhor faction of the party, from the total accredited 3,758 voters to beat his closest rival, Rt. Hon. Victor Ochei, who polled 801, Ogboru clinched the ticket with 3,292 votes in the faction of Senator Ovie Omo- Agege after beating Ochei, who scored 116. The outcome of the primaries has further polarized the party as two warring state chairmen – Prophet Jones Ode-Erue and Chief Cyril Ogodo, laid claim to the soul of the party in the state since the wards, councils and state congresses were conducted four months ago. Prior to the emergence of Ogboru at the playground of the Federal College of Education (Technical) in Asaba, three delegates fainted when police fired tear gas on the rowdy delegates that attempted to force their ways into the venue. Former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, who arrived the venue about 10p.m. on Sunday, expressed shock that the exercise was being conducted in the dark.

Attempt by the Commissioner of Police in the state, Ibrahim Mustafa, to shift the exercise to yesterday (Monday) met with stiff opposition as delegates and Ogboru insisted that the exercise must hold overnight. Announcing the result about 4:32p.m yesterday, the Returning Officer of the primary election that produced Ogboru, Major General Lawrence Onoja (rtd) thanked God that his detractors were put to shame. Onoja said: “Thank God I did not die in Delta State contrary to what was highly speculated before I came from Abuja for this exercise. The people of the state have proven to me that they are law abiding citizens of this country. I will go back to Abuja and change their perception about the state.” Ogboru, who said ‘no victor, no vanquished’ urged co-contestants, including Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, to join forces with him to win the state. The Returning Officer of Utomi, Elder Favour Adibor, declared him winner with 2,486 valid votes.

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