By Ifeanyi Nwoko
The Police on Saturday disrupted the election of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) and asked all the delegates from 27 states to vacate the premises.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that at the time of filing this report, all the delegates were standing outside the Merit House venue of the planned convention.
There was heavy presence of armed men of the Police Force while some of the delegates were already entering their vehicles to leave.
Some of the delegates who spoke to NAN alleged that the Ministry of Youth and Sports was responsible for disrupting the convention.
Mr Lamir Amir, a delegate from Sokoto State said that it was unfortunate that the ministry would be interfering with the activities of the NYSC which is supposed to be independent.
He said that although the ministry was overseeing the council, its powers did not extend to determining when to hold an election or how to hold it.
He said that when it became obvious that the convention would not be allowed to hold, the delegates appointed a caretaker committee with a one year mandate.
“We heard rumours that there were a lot of problems with the Ministry and with the security agencies and that congress would not hold.
“Constitutionally, it is only the congress of delegates, as long as they converge that should decide whether or not to have an election.
“They are the supervising ministry, whatever the council is doing the ministry should be involved, they are the ones that would brief the Presidency on the outcome of the election.
“We converged, we took charge but with the brewing issues, we appointed a caretaker committee and gave them one year mandate to plan for another election.
“I blame the ministry because it knows it was not going to allow this election take place, they wouldn’t have allowed us to converge from our states,” he said.
He denied allegations of factions in the NYCN stressing that 27 states councils were represented at the council and that was the majority.
He said that the Board of Trustees of the Council had resolved the issues in Benin when it called for a non elective congress and collapsed all the bodies and created the caretaker committee.
He added that it was the caretaker committee that was supposed to conduct the botched election of Saturday.
Also speaking, Mr Kabiru Lakwaya, Chairman, Youth Council of Kano state alleged that the Caretaker Committee was responsible for scuttling the election.
Lakwaya insisted that the committee had asked for tenure elongation and the refusal of the delegates to grant that had led them to adopting the alternative means.
He said that the CTC did not show them any circular adding that the Police also refused to tell them why they were being asked to leave the premises.
“Fundamentally as you can see, we came to conduct our congress but we observed some connivance from the National Caretaker Committee, the Electoral Committee and even the Convention Planning Committee.
“They are manipulating the process, hiding under the ministry and the police and did not conduct the election, that is our observation.
“They wanted tenure elongation but we went ahead and coaxed them that election must be in August, we were all ready but the CTC wanted to extend its term.
“There are some evils among us who don’t want the future of the council, all they want is their own selfish interest and they can go to any length to destroy the youth council,” he said.
He said that there were no more factions in the council and as such the disruption of the convention had nothing to do with any faction.
“We have resolved that since the CTC is not ready for the election, they want tenure elongation, based on the power bestowed on us as a congress, we have dissolved them,” he said.
Attempts by NAN to speak to the policemen proved abortive as they would not respond to the questions while officials of the ministry could not be reached. (NAN)