By Gabriel Yough
Jalingo – The Taraba State Congress of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the election of the state officials of the party has been suspended, following crisis that rocked the exercise in the state on Saturday.
Chairman of the Congress Committee, Rtd. Maj Gen Danjuma Dambazau while announcing the suspension of the State Congress said the committee would sit and look at the issues that led to the protest with a view to resolving them.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that at about 4:45pm when the exercise was about to commence at the Jolly Nyame Stadium in Jalingo, some chieftains of the party stormed the venue demanding the committee to use the list earlier sent to the National Headquarters of the party in Abuja.
The protesters were led by the former Acting governor of the state, Alhaji Abubakar Danladi, a former Governorship candidate in the state, Chief David Kente and the National President of Trade Union Congress, (TUC), Mr Bala Kaigama.
They accused the Committee of tampering with the delegates list duly signed by returning officers during the ward and local government Congresses.
As they were engaging the Electoral Committee sent from Abuja on how to resolve the issue of delegate list, one of the supporters seized the materials for the election, while others dismantled some items on the high table, causing pandemonium in the hall.
One of the protesters, Kaigama told journalists that the team from Abuja was acting a script in favour of the Minister of Women Affairs, Hajiya Aisha Alhassan to shortchange other chieftains of the party ahead of 2019 elections.
According to him the time of manipulation in the party was over.
“We are in the game to correct the rot in the system.
“Tarabans are now wiser and we will not take the manipulation of the five man committee sent to conduct the election in the state in favour of a particular candidate,” he said.
On his part, Kente who noted that they had asked the committee to paste the delegates list at the party secretariat in Jalingo for verification before the delegate election said the committee members were not fair to all.
“Three of the five man committee agreed that the list they were using was not from Abuja but from the INEC office in Jalingo and that is where the problem lies.
“The State Congress will not hold here unless we sit down and resolve the issues involved,” he said.
Minister of Women Affairs, Alhassan refused to comment on the issue, saying “I don’t know what is happening, I am just coming into the hall.”
Answering questions from journalists, the Chairman of the committee, Gen. Dambazau described the action of the protesters as a show of shame.
He explained that the committee discovered that the list sent to Abuja was tampered with and decided to use the list validated by INEC on the directive of the national Secretariat of the party.
According to him the action was aimed at ensuring fairness, since INEC were part of the ward and local government Congresses that were held across the country.
“The list that was sent to Abuja was discovered to have been tempered with and the National Secretariat issued a directive for the withdrawal of the list and mandated this committee to use the list from INEC for the conduct of the state congress.
“However, since these people felt disgruntled and prevented us from using the list to screen delegates for the state Congress we will act accordingly.” he said.