A mild drama ensued at the Electoral Institute in Abuja on Monday where two factions of the Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) clashed over who would speak in its behalf at the opening of the consultative quarterly meeting with the Independent National Electoral Commission.
As the elected IPAC chairman, Mr Peter Ameh rose to the podium to give the vote of thanks, a shouting match he is not Our Chairman, he is our chairman, we are in court rented the air in the capacity filled hall as the two factions clamoured for recognition.
While the other faction said to be led by the United Progressive Party (UPP) chairman, Chief Chekwas Okorie shouted Ameh down saying that he was not the IPAC chairman, Ameh’s supporters countered urging him to continue.
Trouble started immediately Ameh was handed over the microphone by the INEC official to make remarks on behalf of IPAC but the National Secretary APA, S.U. Sifawa kicked seeking to raise objection but sensing that trouble was looming, he denied.
The shouting by the two sides temporarily suspended proceedings as the INEC officials had to retrieve the microphone from Ameh who resorted to address the crowd as his supporters urged him on.
Since the Okorie led group could not be given the recognition they needed, most of them including Okorie left the hall.
Spokesman of IPAC, Ikenga Ugochinyere who briefed the press alleged that the crisis was sponsored by the recently appointed Chairman of the constituted National Collation center as a distraction to pave way for the “doctored guidelines” of the forthcoming election.
Ugochinyere alleged that Mahmood led INEC had included some undemocratic clauses in the electoral guidelines without consulting the party leaders, saying the plot was to allow the guidelines go unchallenged hence the crisis.
According to Ugochinyere, the leadership of Ameh is not being controverted but the confusion was a ploy to divert attention from the current issues relating to the appointment of Amina Zakari as Chairman National Collation Center.
He reiterated that despite her denials, it is proven that she is a relation of President Muhammadu Buhari adding that she was not qualified to retain the chairmanship of the committee with her portfolio as one in charge of Welfare in the Commission.
Ugochinyere said IPAC is miffed at the two Commissioners both from the same region in the north appointed to head the two committees, wondering why the Commissioner in charge of operations, Prof Okechukwu Ibeanu, cannot be appointed into one of the committees.
“The two committees that were composed by INEC, the two people are from the north, from the same region while we have the INEC commissioner in charge of operations. So you cant make him the chairman and you go and bring somebody who is in charge of health and welfare to come and head an operational area.
“Based on information, the chairman bowed to the influence of the cabal in the presidency to satisfy their interest and bring in a woman who will stay inside the collation centers. What are they planning to do so that they will be calling her to tell them what is happening in the field so that they can manipulate the election.
“There is no way we can agree for her, the committees has to reflect federal character. Go and look at the transport committee for the distribution of electoral materials, all the people there are from one region and all the security agencies that are controlled by the Minister of Interior Danbazzau who you know today is the Director of security for the APC Presidential Campaign.
“So what kind of nonsense is the INEC chairman trying to concoct for us to go into election. It is better to tell all Nigerians the truth that this is dimmed to fail. It is designed to return a man who has been politically and in course of leadership incapacitated back to office.
“When you try to subvert the will of the people and foist on them an unpopular candidate, we will not allow them and if they want to have their way, we will tell our people that they have declared war against them and they should defend themselves.