To say the All Progressives Congress (APC) ward congresses in Rivers state did not go as planned is an understatement.

It was a failure even by Nigerian standards, considering the unnecessary violence that greeted the exercise.

The party’s problem is not unconnected with the enmity between the leading members of the party in the state – Senator Magnus Abe and former governor, Rotimi Amaechi.

During an interview on TV, Abe blamed the crisis on those he said were determined to impose their desires on others by shutting them out of the planning process.

“We had all known that there were issues in the party and if we had made even the slightest of efforts, we could easily have managed the situation and conducted our congresses peacefully.

“But it was deliberately designed to be that way.

“We had the South-south caucus meeting where it was agreed that when the committee comes from national (body) they must first address the congress.

“It was also agreed that before the committee would arrive, we the stakeholders, regardless of our leaning in the party, should meet and have an understanding about how the congress is to be conducted.

“None of these happened. There was effort or measure to build trust in the process from the beginning.

“What we were told was that everybody should go to their ward and follow the guidelines,” he said.

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He went on to explain how cumbersome the guidelines were for contestants in the congress and the failure of the party to communicate the plans of the committee for the congress.

For him, clearly there was an atmosphere of distrust that was deliberately built into the process.

The climax of the crisis was on Friday when police swooped in on some members of the party at the party office.

The police said that they were hoodlums, but Senator Abe argued that these were party members and some contestants who had waited all day to purchase forms without a word from the party.

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, had alleged that the whole drama was about Magnus Abe’s ambition to become the next governor of the state.

He said that those people supposedly attacked by police were thugs hired by Abe to disrupt the process and the police only had to force their way into the secretariat to allow the sale of forms commence.

Senator Abe dismissed the allegation, arguing that he was not a contestant in the congress but was simply concerned about the lack of transparency in the process.

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