By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
There was tension, exacerbated by panic and confusion, at the National Secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday, as fierce looking security operatives, during the early hours of yesterday, stormed and took over the party in gestapo style, refusing staff, visitors and journalists from gaining access to the building, until orders came from above.
The development, which was reminiscent of the Adams Oshiomole era, forced car owners to park their vehicles far from the secretariat before trekking a reasonable distance to near the party building, even though the corps were not hostile to passersby and staff who wanted to gain access, but simply and politely turned them back.
A source, who please anonymity told our reporter that the development was sequel to information that some top party officials, who want the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), led by Mai Mala Buni, out of the party, had mobilised members and thugs, with the aim of to storm the secretariat yesterday morning, with the hope of taking over the party structures.
However, though no protesters or thugs were seen all through yesterday, the security operatives remained around the secretariat till the close of work on Monday.
Speaking to journalists after he resumed duty, the National Secretary of the APC Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), John James Akpanudoedehe, said it is normal to beef up security in the party.
Akpanudoedehe, who arrived at the party a little after 12:pm, said the heavy security presence noticed at the party’s national secretariat is nothing to be worried about.
“The police are here to strengthen the security for the leadership of the Gov. Mai Mala Buni-led APC CECPC. Whenever you have a security situation or report, you take precautions to protect lives and property.
“APC cannot be embarrassed because we are the national government; therefore we take measures to forestall any negative happenings. We have a security report, and you can’t expect us to call thugs to defend the national secretariat. The right thing to do is to inform the police and the State Security Service (SSS) and that is what we have done,” he said.
Akpanudoedehe said the APC could not underestimate the security report and could not play down on it.
He added that the party would continue to take measures to protect the lives and prosperity of its members and Nigerians generally.
He said the party would begin to observe full compliance to the COVID-19 protocols to prevent the infection of the Delta variant.
The APC secretary said it was the responsibility of the CECPC as managers of the party to put measures in place to protect lives and property.
He, however, advised that no one should take anything for granted, saying that every security report must be taken seriously.
“We just have to put everything in place, even the ones that are not verifiable. What we consider to be a threat is not what you consider to be a threat, a mere word that you passed by, we would heighten it because we don’t want to be embarrassed.
“This is APC that produced the national Government. We cannot embarrass the President, we cannot embarrass the government of APC and we cannot embarrass ourselves”, he said.
He assured party members that the Buni-led CECPC was not in any way threatened, as being reported in some quarters, adding that its chairman is as firm as ever.