By Cyril Mbah, Abuja
The timely intervention of party elders has averted what would have degenerated into a bloody conflict among supporters of the All Progressives Congress [APC] in Gwagwalada Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory over complaints of marginalisation in the sharing of bags of rice donated by a senatorial candidate of the party.
The fracas started as a shouting argument between aggrieved party youths and the local leadership of the APC during the sharing of 100 foreign rice bags donated to the Gwagwalada branch by an aspirant snowballed into a violent confrontation.
An eye-witness stated that the brawl was created by members of the APC youth wing who were told pointblank by the executive that their group could not be accommodated in the sharing method conceived by the party secretariat. The youths were advised to return individually to their wards and partake in the bags allocated to the wards.
Gwagwalada, like each of the six area councils of the Federal Capital Territory, has ten wards and five bags of rice were allotted to each ward by the executive but the women wing got five bags to share as a group leaving out only the youth wing of the party.
The sharing formula allegedly infuriated the youths who bluntly refused the entreaties of the executive to return to their wards for their share.
A riotous situation allegedly ensued when many of the aggrieved youths were seen forcefully dragging bags of rice away while aggressively arguing that going by the membership of the party in the wards, each member would end up getting only half “mudu” of rice [about three cups] whereas the seven executive members allocated three bags each to themselves.
According to the eye-witness, the youths who openly brandished weapons such as clubs and daggers and drugs [weeds] before APC members at the secretariat, lamented that the executive usually sidelined them in the sharing of gift items from candidates but would push them ahead to fight whenever there were problems with rival political parties.
“Apart from dragging bags of rice allotted to executive members away, the enraged youths threatened to disrupt the gathering of APC supporters that assembled to receive the aspirant who was on follow-up visit to Gwagwalada,” the eye-witness who pleaded anonymity stated.
It was at this point, when the scene became very rowdy, that some elders intervened to pacify the youth and pleaded with them to calm down and accept only one bag of rice that the executive agreed to give them before the arrival of the candidate.