The Abia Police Command said one person had died in violence that broke out during Wednesday’s chairmanship primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
The command’s spokesman, Ogbonnaya Nta, disclosed this in Umuahia on Thursday.
Nta said the deceased, who was identified as Onyemaechi and a member of staff of Isialangwa North Local Government, venue of the election, died in a fire at the Chairman’s office.
The deceased reportedly died when the office was allegedly set on fire by aggrieved delegates.
He said the command had also arrested four persons in connection with the mayhem.
Eye-witness account said that trouble broke out when some delegates who came for the poll at the council headquarters in Okpuala-Ngwa, rejected the list presented by the party’s officials that came to conduct the exercise.
It was learnt that the group, which threatened to disrupt the exercise, alleged that the list was “doctored” to favour a particular aspirant.
The agitation was said to have caused confusion and tension at the venue.
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The eye-witness said that in the midst of the crisis that ensued, “somebody sneaked into the chairman’s office with a jerry can of petrol and set the place ablaze”.
“The intention was to burn the disputed list,” the account said, adding that the fire escalated, killing one person on the spot.
Nta said that three other occupants of the office sustained serious burns and were rushed to hospital for treatment.
He said that the command had commenced investigation into the matter.
The primaries, which were organised to elect the party’s flag bearers for the Dec. 17 local government election in the state, was stalemated in most of the 17 council areas due to violence.
There were also allegations of attempts by some powerful politicians to impose their “anointed’’ candidates.
The Publicity Secretary of the party, Don Ubani, denied the allegations in a telephone interview, but admitted that there were “minor skirmishes during the exercise in some local government areas “.
Ubani said that the party’s leadership was still reviewing the reports of the election committees.