The Enugu chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been hit with a major crisis after reports emerged on Friday that the APC national vice chairman in the southeast, Emma Eneukwu, allegedly slapped the party’s governorship candidate, Okey Ezea, following an argument over a ministerial slot in the forthcoming Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
The alleged incident took place on Thursday during a meeting of southeast APC leaders at the Imo State Governor’s Lodge in Abuja.
It is understood that the closed-door meeting was chaired by the Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha, and had Senator Chris Ngige, Senator Osita Izunaso, Gen. J.O.J.Okoloagu (retd.), and others in attendance.
Ezea disclosed the development in a text message that was forwarded to journalists in Enugu on Friday.
Apparently, the meeting discussed the sharing of key appointments. Ezea wrote in the SMS that Eneukwu slapped him because he (Ezea) told the southeast leaders that Nsukka zone, where he hailed from, should produce the minister.
He accused Eneukwu, who is from Udi, Enugu West Senatorial Zone, of wanting the ministerial slot for himself and trying to achieve his ambition through violence.
The text message read, “Emma Eneukwu slapped me today because I told South-East leaders that Nsukka has not been minister since 1999.
“He did this before Rochas, Ngige, Izunaso, J. O. J, Gen. Eze, Ucha etc.
“I just said the truth and requested justice and equity in the affairs of our party and Enugu State.
“Emma (Eneukwu) wants to be minister by violence. Emma is from Udi Local Government Area which has been producing minister since 2007, including the incumbent, Chinedu Nebo.”
When The Punch contacted him on the telephone afterwards, Ezea confirmed that the text message came from him.
However, Eneukwu denied slapping Ezea, saying that such an incident never happened.
He said, “I am surprised about that, nothing like that happened, I am very surprised. That story is alien to me; I don’t know anything about it.”
“Maybe it is a calculated attempt to mar my image. I didn’t attack anybody, I am not a thug. I don’t fight.”
Asked what transpired at the meeting, he said, “We went to see Buhari, that was all I knew. “Nobody was talking about appointment.
“We will not be talking about appointment when the party has not decided on the positions that should come to the zone. We have not known the positions allocated to the zone.”
The alleged incident has reportedly thrown the Enugu state chapter of the party into confusion.
Meanwhile, members of the APC who are of Igbo origin are divided over who becomes the next secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), as the fight for the post has split them into three bitterly divided camps.