Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment on Tuesday has publicly declared not to contest the gubernatorial election in Anambra state in 2021.
Ngige who gave this position via a statement titled: Anambra APC ward congress; Setting the record straight,’ also responded to various allegations bothering on his involvement in the crisis that erupted during the botched All Progressive Congress (APC) ward congresses held last week.
Ngige via a statement issued by Head of his Media office, Chikwelugo Obidiwe, accused Tony Nwoye, former APC Governorship aspirant and member of House of Representatives of being violent and engaging swam of cultists, arsonists and deadly thugs.
“We have carefully reviewed all that took place at the last weekend’s All Progressives Congress (APC) Ward Congress in Anambra State and wish to clearly state that the interest of the Hon. Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige in the entire process as the leader of the Party in the State was to ensure that members of the party were not disenfranchised and that people freely elected their leaders.
“Therefore, the subsequent violence that marred the stakeholders meeting in Awka on Sunday, is not only condemnable but a weird and dangerous phenomenon, completely unknown to opposition politics in Anambra state.
“We wish to put on record that Sen. Ngige has been in the opposition politics since 2004 when he left the PDP and so are some other members of the APC in the State. He in fact started from ACD, AC to ACN and now the APC. We must add that thuggery, violence, wanton destruction of property and general threat to life are alien in their fold.
“They despise desperation, they play by the rules and unreservedly give in to the popular wish of the people. It is quite unfortunate therefore that a once calm and peaceful political party is being pushed down the cowardly route of cultism, thuggery, violence and threat to life.
“What transpired in Awka last Sunday was deliberate and well planned. It was a desperate determination by Hon. Tony Nwoye to rebrand the Anambra APC the violent way. It was a rehearse of a rogue ideology which has been a trademark from his former party, the PDP. Many were shocked by the swam of cultists, arsonists and deadly thugs that accompanied him to the venue of the meeting because they thought the aphorism of “behaving like the Romans while in Rome” had impacted some lessons on this political proselytes in the opposition fold. How erroneous they were!
“What happened? Four out of six members of the Anambra State Ward Congress Electoral Committee were swapped with another four from Imo State as a result of the problem in the Imo State chapter. Before the swap however, by Friday evening sale of forms had commenced and congress progressed effectively in two hundred and eighty-five out of three hundred and twenty –six electoral wards in Anambra state by night of Saturday even though the four persons billed to come from Imo that morning did not turn up, hence , leaving the two men from the previous committee to supervise.
“When they eventually turned up, it was for them to join the two remaining members of the former committee to bring their assignment to a fruitful conclusion since the exercise had advanced in most of the electoral wards.
“Hence, the four new persons including the Acting Chairman took brief from the State Chairman as well as from the two persons still left of the previous committee – that is, Engineer Musa Yunusa and Engineer Aloma Nzeocha.
“However, a quick stakeholders meeting was requested by Hon. Tony Nwoye and the party leadership obliged him for reasons. One was in the spirit of openness which democracy entails. The next was to avoid unbalancing his sense of self or offend his vanity. However, little did it occur to any that the forum was to afford an opportunity to cause commotion.
“A simple explanation by the Hon. Minister of Labour that Congress had successfully held in most wards before the arrival of the new team was all that provided Nwoye and his gang a trigger. That innocuous explanation was all that flipped the lid.
“Because “an angry man is always a stupid man”, Chinua Achebe would say, he couldn’t round off his position before his band of thugs were signaled to attack the high table. They took away Engineer Musa Yunusa, having broken two chairs on his head, dragging him in a pool of blood, stripped naked, and fiercely pushing to end him all!
“The Hon. Minister already taken to safety by his security, broke away from protection, had to intervene to rescue Engineer Yunusa, almost lifeless. The doctors as we speak battled to save his life at Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital, Nnewi from where he has been transferred to another hospital because of the JOHESU strike
“The interest of the Hon. Minister, we wish to state once more was to ensure a credible exercise as the leader of the party in Anambra state. He is neither contesting the ward chairmanship, local government, state nor even aspiring to be a national officer of the party.
“He does not also need to run for governorship in 2021 as the two of the persons fueling and stage managing the crisis are angling for. Only God makes Kings, not Ngige or any mortal.
“Ward Congress in Anambra ought to be peaceful and it has always been in our opposition fold. The electoral wards were delineated in such a manner that they seamlessly fuse with the villages, making it difficult for interlopers to have their way but easy for the villagers to decide their leaders.
“That was the reason the party urged all stakeholders to move to their respective villages and join efforts with the Local Government Exco for a peaceful exercise. It is unfortunate some leaders still hoped that muscling in an unpopular wish was the best way.
“All said, the Honourable Minister has appealed to appeal to all party members in the state to remain calm and resolute in our zero tolerance for thuggery, cultism, violence and blood.
“This imported dangerous culture with no sense of limits, totally strange to our people must not be allowed to germinate, much less bear fruit. But may we warn that there is no carcass, hence, the vulture should not think of perching. The APC in Anambra is not prepared to take a route contra to our established norm, the mores of decent society,” Ngige said in the statement.