The State Congress of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Niger, scheduled for Saturday, was postponed due to violence that paralyzed the exercise.
The thugs who were suspected of being loyal to two of the leading candidates for the state presidency had been involved in a confrontation that led to the cancellation of congress.
The Nigerian News Agency (NAN) reports that the problems started when the former Deputy Leader of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Baba Agaie, was abused and driven from the congress headquarters by heavily armed security men.
NAN noted that as early as 7 a.m., the PDP secretary of state at Western Bypass in Minna had been taken over by supporters of the two contenders despite the heavy security presence.
It emerged that Agaie was beaten up by some party members suspected of being from their own local government area of Agaie.
Party supporters accused Agaie of sabotaging their collective interest, claiming that he aligned himself with the former governor and party leader, the group led by Dr. Babangida Aliyu.
However, when the atmosphere tensed for any congress to take place, security agents had to quickly remove the electoral committee, led by Malam Mohammed Imam, from the party’s National Headquarters.
NAN reports that after the confusion, the election committee issued a statement in Minna on Saturday signed by Imam.
According to Imam, due to the uncertain security situation at the PDP state secretariat, the seat of the rescheduled state congress, scheduled for today, September 12, the congress has been postponed.
He said the congress was postponed after unsuccessful attempts were made to get the thousands of party supporters and others gathered in the venue to disperse before the voting process began.
He said the committee would report to the National Labor Committee (NEC) which would determine the next course of action in accordance with the party’s constitution.
NAN reports that the two main contenders were Tanko Benji, outgoing chairman of the party seeking a second term, and Alhaji Mukhtar Ahmed. (YAYA)