From Jefferson Ibiwale, Benin
The house of the interim treasurer of the All Progressive Congress in Edo State, Theophilus Okoh, located at Ibore, Esan Central local government area, was on Wednesday set ablaze unknown persons.
While the police is yet to fish out those behind the attack, it is suspected that it may be connected with the party’s ward congress held on Tuesday, which was marred by violence and which some aggrieved members have said should be cancelled
This is even as a Benin palace chief, the Eson of Benin Kingdom, Amos Osunbor, led thousands of the protesters in Benin City, warning that they may seek an alternative party if the exercise was not cancelled.
Osunbor who spoke on behalf of the aggrieved faction, said the call for cancellation became necessary because the conduct of the congress did not follow due process and was characterised by violence and thuggery.
“The committee members became invisible…and due to the absence of the congress committee members no material was on ground to record the results. Furthermore, some local government chairmen were seen sponsoring violence in their respective council areas,” he alleged.
The protesters, including Nosa Adams, Evelyn Igbafe and three members of the State House of Assembly, therefore, demanded that the national leadership of the party should immediately cancel ward congresses.
They also demanded for the immediate dissolution of the state congress committee and the constitution of credible members to form a new committee.
Reacting to the burning down of his house, Okoh said: “those who think they can achieve anything by violence, let’s see how far they can go.”
Also reacting, the party ward leader, Ololo Okoeki, who described the party congress in the ward as hitch-free, said he had earlier received phone calls from an unknown, threatening his life, just few minutes before he heard about the incident.
He said he also sighted two vehicles race down to Okoh’s residence shortly before he got a call that the building has been set ablaze
However, the state chairman of the party, Osaro Idah, who described the congress as a huge success, however alleged that the violence recorded during the congress was staged by opponents of the party in order to destabilize the process and create the impression that there was chaos.
“We have earlier received the information that some leaders of the opposition parties across the state mobilized thugs to destabilize our ward congress. I can say the ward congress was 99 per cent peaceful and it is the best congress we have ever done,” he said.