The All Progressives Congress, APC, congress ended dramatically in Eke ward, Enugu State on Saturday.
DAILY POST reports that Eke ward is the home of the foreign affairs minister, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama and the Director-General of Voice of Nigeria, Mr. Osita Okechukwu.
Our correspondent who monitored the exercise reports that while the congress panel was rounding off the exercise, Onyeama arrived the APC secretariat in Eke.
During the exercise, which held under a very peaceful atmosphere and observed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), all the ward executives and the delegates to the state and local government congresses were elected.
Among those elected were Philip Eze (Chairman), Cletus Chikelu (Vice Chairman), Ikemefuna Theophilus (Secretary) and Udeh Ifeanyi Secretary (Financial Secretary).
Although the congress commenced by 9 a.m. as scheduled, the Minister arrived at the venue around 1 p.m. with a large entourage of heavily armed policemen.
The entrance of the Minister who was rooting for the re-election of the former party chairman, Ozo Austin Umeh, led to a faceoff between a few of his supporters and the majority who refused to be cowed by the presence of armed security operatives.
Amidst the growing tension at the party office, Mr. Charles Buolu, the chairman of the electoral panel, announced that the election was over.
Following the announcement by the chairman of the electoral panel, majority of the party faithful, walked out of the party office, leaving the Minister and a few of his supporters behind.
Meanwhile, notable chieftains of APC in Enugu State have applauded the peaceful and hitch-free conduct of ward congress of the party in the 260 political wards in the state.
They expressed deep appreciation as APC party members in their thousands defied the continuous showers of rain to turn-out en mass for the exercise in their various localities.
Chief Jim Nwobodo, former Governor of Old Anambra State, noted that the enthusiasm and commitment showed by the party members was an indication that Ndi Igbo had understand the need to join a progressive party at the national level.
Nwobodo, who spoke at his Amechi East Ward 1 in Enugu South LGA, said that the large turn out in his ward and elsewhere shows that more people in the South-East are identifying with the party.
Nwobodo noted that it was clear that party members were willing to make the necessary sacrifice for the party to take over the entire zone.
“The large number of people you see here at this ward congress implies that APC is the party to be reckoned with and we are already having massive followership in the South-East and Enugu State,’’ he said.
On the ward congress in his ward, Nwobodo, who is an elder statesman, said that the exercise was very peaceful and conducted in an orderly manner; while party members displayed comportment during the exercise.
Sen. Ken Nnamani, former Senate President, lauded the party for adopting the open and transparent option A4 for its voting system at the ward congress, adding that “Option A4 and the friendly atmosphere the ward congress election was conducted guaranteed its success.”
Nnamani, who spoke at his APC Ward 2 in Amechi-Uwani near Eke-Out Market in Enugu South LGA, noted that the tap root of politics is at the ward level.
He added that APC had got it right by putting its house in order from the ward level of politics.
Chief Emma Eneukwu, National Vice Chairman of APC South-East, adjudged the entire exercise as “very peaceful and orderly’’; while the turn-out was “unprecedented in the history of political ward congresses in Enugu’’.
Eneukwu, who spoke at his Obinagu Ward in Udi LGA, said that the large turn-out and general comport of all show the importance the party members attach to the exercise.
On the congress, he noted that the ward executives were returned opposed as the people wish “they continue their good work for the party.’’
Efforts made to obtain reaction from the minister was still unsuccessful as at the time of filing this report, but one of his aides who spoke under anonymity said he was ready to ensure that peace reigned in the area.