Otega Emerhor, a leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta state, was prevented from entering the presidential villa in Abuja on Monday.
Security operatives at the pilot gate of Nigeria’s seat of power refused to allow Emerhor to join the delegation of the Urhobo stakeholders who paid a courtesy call on President Muhammadu Buhari.
Buhari hosted the visitors at the council chamber of the villa but Emerhor who put the event together was not part of it.
A presidential source said he was denied access to the villa because of the clash between his supporters and those of Ovie Omo-Agege, senator representing Delta central.
Emerhor, an APC governorship candidate in the 2015 election, and Omo-Agege lead two different factions of APC in Delta.
The rivalry in the state played up at Eagle Square, Abuja, while Buhari was delivering his speech on Saturday.
Trouble started when loyalists of Emerhor reportedly teamed up with supporters of Victor Ochei, a former speaker of the Delta state house of assembly, to attack those in the camp of Omo-Agege.
They dislodged the senator’s supporters from the pavilion allocated to delegates from Delta and some of Omo-Agege’s loyalists who initially put up resistance, sustained injuries in the process.
Security agents including soldiers, policemen and members of the civil defence corps deployed in the venue quickly moved in to prevent the fight from escalating.
When he visited Abba Kyari, chief of staff to Buhari, three weeks ago, Emerhor boasted that the president will secure two million votes from Delta in 2019.
In 2015, Buhari got 418,519 votes from the entire six south-south states, 48,910 from Delta.
But Emerhor had told state house correspondents that Buhari’s performance would boost his chances in the coming presidential election.
He was accompanied by Ima Niboro, ex-spokesman of former President Goodluck Jonathan, who defected to the APC from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).