Daniel Onjeh, the Board Chairman, Project Development Institute, PRODA, has accused the Benue State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Abba Yaro of hijacking the party’s congresses across the state.
Onjeh alleged that the state party chairman alongside his sponsors hijacked officials at a hotel in Makurdi, the state capital, where he was dictating names of his prefered candidates for onward submission to the national committee of the party.
In a statement, the former Senatorial candidate said the congress never took place in some parts of the state.
He claimed that those about to be declared winners of the congresses never purchased nomination forms but were anointed candidates, who never followed the laid down rules of the party.
According to Onjeh, the congresses across the state were a “scam.”
Onjeh wrote: “Benue APC Congress of Sham !
“Just to give you an idea of what transpired in Benue over the weekend. At the three Council Wards of my district, Orokam 1, 2, and 3, popular aspirants complied with the party guidelines for the Wards Congress. They individually deposited money in the APC official bank accounts, collected their tellers and subsequently, presented same to the congress committee and obtained their Nomination Forms within the time stipulated by law. In spite of this, they were shortchanged.
“On the day slated for the congress, May 5, 2018, the aspirants who are mainly farmers, palm wine tappers, Okada riders and artisans, who relentlessly devoted their time, energy and hard earned resources to build the party at the grassroots, abandoned their trades and waited endlessly from morning to night without a glimpse of the congress officials nor materials at their respective wards.
“The congress committee members who obviously, have been compromised, stayed behind in Makurdi instead, at the Trust Royal Suits Makurdi, where they are being accommodated by the same people who plotted and scuttled the congress, and they have since been doing their bid.
“The desperate state party chairman, re-contesting his position, who, but for the waiver granted all current party executive by APC NEC, ought to have resigned his current position a month before the congress, together with his sponsors, hijacked the entire process of the congress. The committee are right at the said hotel writing and dictating names at will for the congress committee which was constituted from Abuja.
“The names of people who neither deposited money in APC account nor obtained NOMINATION Forms are been prepared for onward announcement as winners and consequently, issued with Certificates of Return, against the aspirants who complied with the law and ought to have been declared unopposed.
“This scenario is ubiquitous in the entire Benue State. As I type, majority of the people who are about to be declared winners do not know the colour or texture of the nomination form. Even if an endorsement for the return of the entire party executive in the state is collectively agreed, there are procedures which must be followed. It’s the provision of the law that anyone aspiring a position in the party must pay and present his or her bank Teller to obtain Nomination Form, and his or her return in such circumstance is subject to an affirmation at the ward level. There is no shortcut to this.
“The big names sponsoring this charade are only laying templates to cheat popular candidates in the primary elections ahead of 2019 general elections.
“While we prepare to forward our petition to the Appeal Panel which is expected to resume today, we hope that the party machinery as structured in place will step up to the plate to effectively address and redress this injustice, so we don’t resort to litigations.”
When DAILY POST contacted the former Students’ union leader, he lamented the sharp practices at the state arm of the party.
He also alleged that some high ranking officers within the party had teamed up and were all out for him simply because he had refused to keep quiet in the face of injustice against his people.
He said, ”They are now after me because of my vocal stance against the corrupt practices in the party. But they can’t stop me from speaking out. They can’t stop me from standing against all forms of oppression and injustice. I will never be on the side of injustice.
” They have started using their cronies and allies to defame my name, they won’t stop us. Those involved in any form of character assassination will definitely hear from us. We may be slow in acting, but we will act at the right time.
” What they have done at the ward level is a sign of what they have planned to do the local government and state level. We won’t allow them. We will expose them,” Onjeh said.