There was pandemonium in Delta State at the venue of the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) primary to elect a candidate for Isoko Federal Constituency for the 2019 election.
The primary election held on Wednesday at Oleh, headquarters of Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State.
The process was, however, hijacked by armed thugs said to be working for one of the aspirants, Regina Oke.
Narrating the scenario to our correspondent, members of the party in the area, said trouble started when the state chairman of the party, Fred Obi, connived with Mrs. Oke, his supposedly preferred candidate and the party representative from Abuja, one Engr. T.J., who refused to give Oke's rival, Batholomew Urude, the delegates list for the primary election.
According to the members, all efforts to access the delegates list by Urude proved unsuccessful, and on discovery that some of the delegates on the list were rooting for Urude, Mrs. Oke was said to have connived with the state party chairman and the party representative from Abuja to doctor the list.
It was gathered that at this point, an argument ensued between the two aspirants, the party chairman and the PPA representative, and Oke left the venue, only to return with armed thugs stationed outside the premises. The thugs were said to have invaded the venue, thereby disrupting the process as delegates and party members scampered for safety.
"The process was peaceful until one Engr. T.J., the party representative from Abuja, became biased. Mrs. Regina Oke, an aspirant who connived with the state chairman, held tight onto the delegates list, saying that the list was given to her from the party's state headquarters and vehemently refused Hon. Barth Urude access to the list of delegates.
"But when she discovered that Hon. Urude is more popular and acceptable by the delegates on ground for the primary, Mrs. Regina Oke, connived and conspired with Engr. T.J. and the state chairman to change the names on the list, which they replaced with strange names. Based on this, a heated argument began and before we knew it, Mrs. Oke left and brought her armed thugs and invaded the venue," an official of the party said.
It was also learnt that on arrival at the venue for the primary, there was a crisis relating to two persons who claimed to be the authentic South-South representatives of the party sent from Abuja, This went on until Urude intervened and brought the situation under control.
Speaking with our correspondent on phone, one of the aspirants, Mr. Bartholomew Urude, described the situation as unfortunate and an embarrassment to the party, adding that any attempt to submit Mrs. Regina Oke as the winner of the primary that never held, "will be tantamount to illegality, fraud, and shall be resisted".
"PPA is not known in Isoko nation, but, I Hon. Bartholomew Urude, brought this party (PPA) to Isoko and have contested an election under the umbrella of the party in 2015 for House of Representatives. I want to make it loud and clear again that there was no primary," Urude said.
Calls to the state chairman of PPA, Mr. Fred Obi, were not successful as his mobile phone line was not available, while efforts to reach Mrs. Regina Oke were also not successful as at the time of filing this report.