By Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin
Edo State members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), have yesterday held hostage, for over an hour, former governor of the state, Lucky Imasuen, the immediate past Attorney General of the state, Barrister Henry Idahagbon, the member, representing Egor Constituency in the State House of Assembly, Crosby Eribo and a Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Gentleman Amegor, at the party secretariat.
The quartet were held hostage over alleged imposition of Ms. Eghe Ogbemudia as the consensus Chairmanship Candidate at the APC party primaries in Egor Local Government Area, against the wishes of majority of leaders of the party who had declared their support for her only rival, Mr. Efe Stewart.
The aspirant, who is a daughter of former governor of the defunct Bendel state, late Samuel Ogbemudia, is speculated to be the state governor’s Candidate.
The primary election which held at the party secretariat, was marred by violence, started after several hours of brinkmanship on Wednesday afternoon, ahead of the Local Government polls slated for 3rd March 2018 by the state Independent National Electoral Commission (EDSIEC).
Trouble stated when the former Attoney General of the state, Barrister Henry Idahagbon publicly announced, on behalf of the party, the endorsement of Ms Ogbemudia; brushing aside the laid down guidelines for the party primaries.
Idahagbon’s declaration that the only known and qualified aspirant in the race was Ms. Eghe Ogbemudia, was protested by the second Chairmanship aspirant, Mr. Efe Stewart who appealed to the APC leaders to adopt open secret ballot, a development which heightened tension at the venue.
This was however followed by a purported resolution of APC Egor read by the former state governor, Lucky Imasuen and supported by Crosby Eribo, and Gentleman Amegor whose son had been shortlisted as the running mate to Ms. Eghe Ogbemudia.
Imasuen had also informed the gathering that the agreement to project Ms. Eghe Ogbemudia was reached on 23rd January 2018.
But the explanation of the APC leaders was rejected by Efe Stewart before the process degenerated into a free for all.
Efe clarified that the era of bricks and mortar were over, and that he will seek redress if authorities concern fails to address his concerns.
Lucky Imasuen and supported by Crosby Eribo, and Gentleman Amegor and other party leaders were whisked away through the back door of the secretariat, including Ogbemudia’s daughter, while Stewart was beaten by suspected thugs.
The table of negotiation among the leaders of party and the two chairmanship aspirants, Efe Stewart and Ms. Eghe Ogbemudia, collapsed after a brief meeting, some armed operatives of the Department of the state security service (DSS), stormed the venue and arrested Efe Stewart, while the armed Policemen deployed to the venue watched with glee.
A leader of APC who craved for anonymity, said the Chairmanship aspirant, was ordered by governor, Godwin Obaseki.
“Efe Stewart is still in the DSS custody and we are reliably informed that he is being detained on the order of the governor and he may not be release any time soon.
“We are aware that they want to cage Efe and his supporters to justify the atrocities.
“It is sad that the man who had worked for the defunct All Progressives Congress (ACN) and APC should be treated like a common criminal”, the source said.
Our Correspondent gathered that the APC Wednesday primary election was hitch-free in some Local Government Areas where consensus reined, while, the exercise, was either deferred indefinitely or sustained in some locality across the 18 Local Government Areas of the state.