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Protests as Sowore claims ownership of AAC, rejects expulsion

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The two factions of African Action Congress (AAC) led by Omoyele Sowore and Leonard Ezenwa protesting against the leadership tussle in the party at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Headquarters, Abuja… yesterday PHOTO: LUCY LADIDI ATEKO

You are unknown to our party, says the chairman

Former presidential candidate of the African Alliance Congress (AAC) in the 2019 general election, Omoyele Sowore, yesterday, in Abuja, led a group to protest his expulsion from the party he claimed he registered in 2018.

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The protest was staged at the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) where Sowore and others submitted a letter to the commission, containing a seven-day ultimatum for the electoral body to restore the party to the “original owners” or risk more protests.

Sowore threatened that if he failed to get justice before next week Monday, his members would occupy all INEC offices nationwide.

In a counter-reaction, Chairman of AAC, Leonard Nzenwa, also besieged the INEC headquarters where he alleged that Sowore’s aim of mobilising his people to INEC was to vandalise the place in the name of a party that had expelled him.

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“Last week Wednesday, we alerted the nation to a mobilisation to hide under the name of our great party to cause havoc and burn down INEC offices nationwide. We also alleged an extended plot to attack other public infrastructure and cause mayhem across the nation by one Omoyele Stephen Sowore and some misdirected youths and miscreants from Monday, March 15, 2021, and onward.

“At the weekend, the mobilisation continued with greater intensity as some genuine members of our party were approached to partake in the plot, with money being offered to them which they turned down.

“Again, the leadership of the party has been inundated with calls from the intelligence community and various security outfits urging genuine members of the party to steer clear even as it was confirmed that Sowore and others had perfected plans to carry out the plot today (yesterday) and onward.

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“African Action Congress, as a legal, responsible, and law-abiding political party in Nigeria, does not have anything to do with Sowore. He is unknown to the party as he and 29 others were expelled on August 9, 2019, after he was suspended,” Nzenwa said.

But Sowore told newsmen that the party belonged to him, alleging that INEC was colluding with Nzenwa and others to forcefully take away the party from him because it is revolutionary in nature.

He said: “It is not true that I hijacked AAC. I formed the party in 2018 and we are the only political party in Nigeria that has explained how we spent money during the last presidential election. Nobody can remove the owner of the house. I registered for the party in 2018 and I received the certificate here. Government is using Ezenwa’s group to hijack the party.

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“By August 2019, they arrested me and when I was in detention, they went and did fraudulent convention and claimed that they had expelled me from the party that I created.”

“As they were doing that, INEC was funding them. They don’t want a revolutionary political party in Nigeria that will speak truth to power. The Ezenwa group works for the government. When we said that we were coming for the protest, they claimed that we were going to burn down the INEC office.

“We have been here for more than one hour and nobody is with a stick of match. The DSS and the police have arrested our people as they were arriving for the protest.”

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