The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, on Sunday escaped a mob attack at a meeting of the All Progressives Congress in a hotel in Awka, Anambra State.
The meeting, it was gathered, was for the harmonisation of the results of the party’s ward congresses held on Saturday.
As gunshots pervaded the scene, Ngige was whisked away by security agents.
Security personnel repeatedly shot into the air to scare the mob who charged at the minister.
The protesters alleged that the minister was trying to rig the result of the ward congresses in his favour.
A member of the state’s ward congress committee, who was identified only as Ali was not that lucky to escape as he was beaten to a pulp and stripped naked on allegations that he was among those drafted to the state to work for Ngige.
The candidate of the APC in the November 18,2017 governorship election in Anambra, Dr. Tony Nwoye, had openly accused Ngige in the meeting of plotting to hijack the party in the state.
In the harmonisation meeting held to address the discrepancies in the party’s ward congresses, Nwoye told Ngige that he was usurping the functions of the congress committee by asserting that ward congresses took place on Saturday in the state while it did not.
Nwoye said he had been refraining from speaking about Ngige’s audacity and impunity over the affairs of the party in the state to avoid being accused of being bitter because he ran and lost election on the platform of the party.
He said, “Some of you here worked against me during that election, but my joy is that I lost the election and you lost too, because most of you have not risen beyond the falling point.
“We have failed as a party because we do not have any position in Anambra State but it will not work for people to put this party in their pocket so that they can write election results in their houses.
“I will not let Ngige take the function of the panel. We have a panel that is supposed to conduct that congress, and they just came here today (Sunday), whereas you are trying to tell us that elections were held yesterday. How can Ngige be the one to conduct the congress when there is a committee?
“As of 7pm on Saturday, people were being denied the forms because they wanted to contest positions, and what that means is that the forms have been given out to those they like. We will not let that happen.”
Ngige, who took offence over what he described as a personal attack on his person by Nwoye, said there was no trouble in the party, describing it as a brotherly affair.
He said, “We do not have trouble here and we are here to further the cause of the party. People were querying the guidelines given by the NEC of the party, and I said no. The issue was over zoning of positions. We said go to the ward and if anyone resigns, we replace him, because this is a brotherly contest.”
Some members of the party who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity said the attack on Ngige was premeditated.
“Nwoye and his people are still aggrieved over the role played by Ngige during the governorship election where Tony Nwoye lost.
“They also believe that he is still working to hijack the party and remain lord in the state. That is the main reason for the attack on Ngige,” a party member said.