BREAKING!! After Last Weekend’s LG Congresses, APC Sinks Deeper In Crises

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After Last Weekend’s LG Congresses, APC Sinks Deeper In Crises

 

The leadership crisis besetting the All Progressives Congress, took a plunge for the worse, after last weekend’s local government congresses of the party, which were characterised by protests, boycotts, and the election of parallel executives by the different factions in many states, writes Adedayo Akinwale

In the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the peace hitherto enjoyed in the party has become a thing of the past ever since the pronouncement of the Supreme Court on the Ondo Governorship election which affirmed the victory of Rotimi Akeredolu but questioned the legality of the the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Committee of the party led by the Governor of Yobe state, Mai Mala Buni.

As the dust raised by the legal status of Buni as the interim Chairman of the party is yet to settle, coupled with the ward congresses of the party that ended in crisis in some states still generating controversy, the APC has now entered another phase of crisis with the local government congresses held last weekend.

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Members of the party who were previously cowed, threatened with sanction and expulsion by the Caretaker Committee have now decided to take the party to court after they realised that their grievances were not addressed through the resolution mechanism in the party.

Prior to the local government congresses, a High Court sitting in Asaba had restrained Buni and other members from acting or parading themselves until the determination of a substantive suit before the court.

Nevertheless, Buni insisted that he was never restrained by the Delta Court Order, adding that the restriction of the congresses was limited to Delta state chairman of the party and does not affect other states.

Eventually, the crisis rocking the APC was deepened by the just concluded local government congresses which were characterised by protests, boycotts and the election of parallel executives by different factions of the ruling party in many states.

While the congresses were held in other states, it was not held in Zamfara and Anambra states due to the crisis in the state chapters of the party, while that of Kaduna State did not hold due to the LG elections that took place in the state.

Akwa Ibom State

The National Secretary of the APC Caretaker Committee, Senator John Akpanudoedehe and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio renewed their rivalry in the state.

Akpanudoedehe controls the state chapter of the party, being an older member of the party, but Akpabio is fighting tooth and nail to get hold of the party structure in the state.

The supremacy battles between the duo led to the holding of parallel congresses in the 31 LGAs of the state.

The supporters of the Akpabio and some members of the party who spoke to journalists on the condition of anonymity said materials for the congresses were hijacked and taken to unknown places where the congresses allegedly took place.

But the spokesperson of APC in the state, Nkereuwem Enyongekere, said the congresses were peaceful across the state.

Abia State

The story was not so different in Abia State which also witnessed parallel congresses between the faction loyal to the state Chairman of the party, Chief Donatus Nwankpa and Chief Ikechi Emenike. But the Local Government Congress Committee led by Hon. Israel Goli only supervised the congress conducted by the faction loyal to Emenike.

Adamawa State

The APC congresses were marred by the crisis in Adamawa State as aggrieved party members from Yola North and Yola South LGAs faulted the distribution of election materials to members who were not supposed to handle the materials.

The youths stormed the party’s secretariat in their numbers demanding election materials for their zones.

The senator representing Adamawa Central, Senator Aishatu Binani also stormed the party secretariat to kick against the process.

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In Mubi North and other local governments in the state, some APC stakeholders organised their own separate local government congresses in their preferred venues.

The Chairman of the Congress Committee, Prof. Umar Katsayal, and his committee members narrowly escaped an attack by irate youths when they were about to leave the party’s secretariat.

Bayelsa State

A faction of the party in Bayelsa State held congresses despite a court order that restrained the party from holding congresses in the state.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva was absent due to official commitment outside the country.

The Vice Chairman, South-south Zone of the APC Caretaker/Extra ordinary Convention Planning Committee, Chief David Lyon, was seen at party secretariat in Yenagoa at the end of the exercise.

However, a chieftain of the APC, Mr. Sunday Frank-Oputu, who is also a member of the faction led by Hon. Ebierien Fala, faulted the conduct of the congresses, describing it as a violation of a subsisting court order before the State High Court and Court of Appeal, sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

He therefore called on the party leadership to sanction Sylva and the caretaker State Secretary of the party, Alabo Martins over conduct of the congresses against subsisting court order.

Enugu State

The congresses held in Enugu state produced different leadership structures in all 17 council areas of the state. While one faction is loyal to the State Caretaker Committee chairman, Dr. Ben Nwoye, another group is with Senator Ken Nnamani.

Despite the emergence of two factions of the party in the State, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama has hailed what he described as the peaceful conduct of the local government congresses in the state.

The minister described the process as democracy-in-action, adding that the people were allowed to willingly choose their leaders.

Nnamani, who is also a member of the Buni-committee described as fake, a letter purportedly issued by the national leadership of the party, recognising Mr. Ben Nwoye as the state party chairman.

Delta State

Despite the High Court order restraining the conduct of the congresses in Delta state, a faction of the party led by the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, organised the exercise which the Deputy Senate President described as peaceful.

While the faction of the party in the state led by Omo-Agege, insisted that the congresses took place, the other faction of the party, which parades APC chieftains like Chief Great Ogboru, Festus Keyamo, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, Chief Victor Ochei, and Mrs. Mariam Alli insisted that the congresses did not hold because of the subsisting court order.

Meanwhile, a statement by the Chairman, Delta State Local Government Congress Committee, Mr. Matthew Omegara, said that the party was aware of the court ruling, but noted that the court order only barred the State Chairman of the party, Prophet Jones Erue, from conducting the congresses and not the party officials from the national headquarters.

Both Omo-Agege and Omegara have hailed the conduct of congresses in the state, saying they were peaceful and satisfactory.

Ekiti State

The State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi is leaving nothing to chance to stamp his authority as the leader of the party in the state.

The faction loyal to the governor said the congresses were undertaken without violating the constitution of the party and the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

This was in spite of the fact that a faction of the party called South-west Agenda for Tinubu 2023 presidential poll (SWAGA) had challenged the previous ward congresses,

But the Secretary of the Ekiti State APC Congress Committee, Mr. Jobi Akindele, said the unconfirmed report that SWAGA went to court to challenge the ward congress did not vitiate the outcome of the local government congresses.

He explained that there was no legal encumbrance to the party’s local government congresses, saying it followed the due process of the law. The Chairman appealed to members of the party to exhaust internal mechanisms before resorting to court action.

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Ogun State

The crisis in the Ogun State chapter of the party deepened further as the group loyal to Governor Dapo Abiodun and a faction of the party led by Senator Ibikunle Amosun held parallel congresses across the 20 local government areas of the state.

Before last weekend’s congresses, the two factions of the APC had sworn in the elected executives that emerged from the parallel ward congresses they held in July.

On the eve of the congresses, the seven-man congress committee led by Mr. Wale Osuh had cautioned the APC members in the state against holding parallel congresses.

He told journalists after the conduct of the congresses that any congress held outside the supervision of the committee was null and void.

Osun State

As expected, the two factions of the party in Osun State led by Governor Gboyega Oyetola and the Minister of Interior, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, also battled each other in the state.

While a parallel congress was held in Osogbo Local Government, suspected political thugs attacked some members of the party in Ede.

Members of the APC who belong to The Osun Progressives (TOP), a political movement loyal to Aregbesola held their congress at Comrade Ola-Oni Centre in Osogbo, while those who belong to the Ileri Oluwa group – the political movement of the governor held theirs at the Osogbo Federal Constituency Office.

The Congress conducted by Aregbesola’s faction elected new APC executives for Osogbo Local Government through Option A4. The results of the congresses were announced to the party members and were signed by an NSCDC officer.

For the Ileri Oluwa group, the party officials were chosen by consensus and witnessed by men of the Department of State Services, Police and officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The state Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mrs. Funke Egbemode, however, stated that the crisis rocking the state chapter of APC is an internal affair that would soon be settled amicably.

Lagos State

The two APC factions in Lagos State also held parallel congresses across the 245 wards of the 20 local government areas of the state. The two congresses were held without any violence as the factions comprising the Tunde Balogun-led group and the Lagos4Lagos group held their separate congresses at different venues.

On the side of the Balogun-led faction, a former member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Ahmed Omisore said the Lagos chapter is returning the party to the people at the grassroots.

In Agege Local Government Area, the Vice-Chairman, Apex Committee, Lagos4Lagos, Hon. Sunday Ajayi said his group remains the only faction of the Lagos APC that upholds the party’s constitution in the conduct of the congresses.

He said though there were two factions in Lagos, but added that the Lagos4Lagos faction was the only faction of the APC that conducted the ward congress.

Ajayi said, “The other side only paraded appointed candidates but we own the population of the party.

For instance, they held a local government election; Lagos APC registered 2.5 million members but less than 500,000 members voted as a result of our boycotting the election. We have over 2 million members in Lagos state and that is why the national body cannot close its eyes to us.”

Rivers State

The crisis in the Rivers State chapter of APC deepened further when the faction of the party led by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi also held what it described as peaceful local government congresses across the 23 LGAs of the state.

The congresses were however boycotted by the supporters of a former Senator representing Rivers East, Senator Magnus Abe.

The spokesman of the caretaker committee of the party in the state, Chief Ogbonna Nwuke, also claimed that the Congresses were peaceful and smooth, adding that the party was now positioned to take over power in the state.

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But a leader of Abe’s faction, who spoke off record, said they boycotted the exercise because it did not follow due process.

The faction had rejected the ward congresses of APC held in the state.

Imo State

In Imo State, the congresses were conducted by supporters of Governor Hope Uzodimma without the participation of Senator Rochas Okorocha and Senator Ifeanyi Araraume’s camps.

Imo State Chairman of the APC loyal to Uzodimma, Chief Marcillinus Nlemigbo, said the exercise was free and fair.

Kwara State

The two factions of the All Progressives Congress (APC) held separate local government congresses in Kwara to elect their executives.

The congresses were held at the LG secretariats of the two factions across the 16 local government areas of Kwara.

Both factions, the one loyal to the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed and the faction loyal to Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq adopted consensus arrangements for the congresses as encouraged by the national secretariat.

A chieftain of the party loyal to the Minister, Mr. Abdulrahoof Bello, said the exercise went smoothly in Omupo, Ifelodun Local Government Area of the state. He said all officers of the party in the local government were elected through consensus arrangement.

Sokoto State

The story was the same in Sokoto where the Congresses produced two LG executives. A leader of one faction and member of the House of Representatives representing Gwadabawa/Illela Federal Constituency, Hon. Balarabe Salame said the faction followed the party’s guidelines by obtaining the forms and electing its executives at wards and local governments’ levels.

He further disclosed that the other faction just stayed in somebody’s room and wrote the names of their executives..

According to him, “What they did in the other faction is undemocratic; you can’t deny people of their right to express their franchise.”

Salame and the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Muhammad Achida, belongs to one faction, while the former governor of the state, Senator Aliyu Wamakko, and the Minister of Police Affairs, Mr. Maigari Dingyadi belong to another faction led by Wamakko.

Niger State

In Niger State, the consensus option adopted by the APC to choose its local government officials hit the rocks in some parts of the state following the insistence by aspirants for election to be held.

The consensus arrangement was challenged in Chanchaga, Paikoro, Bida Lapai Agaie, among other LGAs.

Buni’s Reaction to the Congresses

Buni has congratulated the party faithful, stakeholders and congress officials on the peaceful and successful conduct of the party’s local government Congresses across the country.

He said: “Reports reaching my office indicate that the local government Congresses were conducted peacefully and successfully across the country.

I salute our members, stakeholders, the candidates and their supporters for the peaceful and rancour free exercise. You have done the party proud and remain a role model to other political parties” he said.

Buni, in a statement issued by his Director General of Press, Mr. Mamman Mohammed, assured that the party would be transparent, just and fair to anybody or groups of persons with complaints that are forwarded to the party. He said the party has instituted internal mechanisms to address differences and grievances arising from the Congress.

He added, “The doors of reconciliation are always open in the party to build a strong and united APC.

We should therefore explore and exploit the opportunities available to settle all differences. I am highly elated that we are progressing at every stage of the congress, l am optimistic that the party will at the end of the congresses produce a generally acceptable and credible leadership that will build on the successes recorded for a strong, united and a winning APC.”

Umaru Musa Reporting for Delta Restoration media Team

 

THISDAY

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