State Congresses Further Tear APC Apart


For the All Progressives Congress (APC), the prospects for resolving its internal crises are far from being over as the state congresses held on Saturday in some states were marred and mired in factionalisation and tension.

In Kwara state, Senate President Dr Bukola Saraki and Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed were engaged in serious battle for the soul of APC in Kwara, with both participating in parallel state congress in Ilorin on Saturday, to elect state executives.

Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, the APC National Publicity Secretary, Bolaji Abdullahi, Senator Shaaba Lafiaji and lawmakers representing the state at the National Assembly and state House of Assembly were present at the congress which had Saraki in attendance.

Saraki, while speaking at the congress commended members of the party for the peaceful conduct of the ward and local government congresses.

He said most of the executive members at the wards and local government level were youths, adding that “this was a sign of good things to come in 2019”.

The Senate President said: “In 2019, it will be a test for the youths to demonstrate their ability to take charge in the state,” he said.

Saraki, however, appealed to the delegates to comport themselves in an orderly and peaceful manner.

The Party’s Chairman, Alhaji Ishola Balogun-Fulani, commended members for their conduct during the last two congresses of the party.

The congress held at Arca Santa Hall had Moshood Mustapha, a former Special Assistant to the Senate President on Special Duties and Inter-Parliamentary Affairs in attendance.

Alhaji Raheem Adedoyin, a former Commissioner for Information under the Saraki administration, was also in attendance.

Also present was a former Secretary to the State Government under the Saraki administration, Alhaji Ganiyu Cook-Olododo.

NAN reports that executive members of the two factions emerged through consensus arrangement.

While delegates at the Banquet Hall still cast their votes in spite of the fact that the candidates had no opponents, those at the Arca Santa Hall only affirmed the return of candidates.

Alhaji Moshood Bolarinwa emerged the State Chairman of the faction loyal to the minister, while Malam Abdullahi Samari was elected as the Deputy Chairman.

Others were Alhaji Abdulganiyu Saka (Secretary); Abegunde Goge (Assistant Secretary); Rahmat Abolaji (Women leader) and Samuel Isaac (Youth Leader).

Also included were Mr Olayemi Olabanji, Kwara South Senatorial Chairman; Sulyman Yahaya, Kwara Central Senatorial Chairman; and Raheem Usman, Kwara North Senatorial Chairman.

Kayode Oyin-Zubair emerged Publicity Secretary of the faction, while Abiola Nasir was elected as Financial Secretary. Wahila Sakariyah emerged as the Organising Secretary.

In Oyo State, the state congress of the party also held in two locations in Ibadan metropolis on Saturday. While Governor Abiola Ajimobi attended the congress held at the Lekan Salami Stadium, the Unity Forum of the party held its own at the Liberty Stadium.

NAN also reports that apart from Ajimobi, also present at the Lekan Salami Stadium were former Gov. Adebayo Alao-Akala, Sen. Abdulfatai Buhari (APC-Oyo North), Hon. Olagunju Ojo, Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly, and Sen. Teslim Folarin, a former Senate Leader.

Chief Moses Adeyemo, the Deputy Governor, and his predecessor, Amb. Taofeek Arapaja were, however, absent at the congress.

Chief Akin Oke, the APC Chairman in the state and several others were returned through consensus for another four-year term as party executives.

The exercise was conducted by the National Congress Committee led by Alhaji Abdullahi Gwarzo, a former deputy governor of Kano State, while INEC officials were present. Gwarzo, who read the guidelines for the congress to members, urged them to imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship.

He also stated that he was unaware of a parallel congress, urging aggrieved members to channel their petition through the party’s Appeal Committee.

Among those returned were Hon. Lekan Adeyemo(Deputy Chairman), Hon. Mojeed Olaoya(Secretary), Dr Azeez Olatunde(Publicity Secretary) and Mrs Mabel Williams, Women Leader.

But at the congress of the Unity Forum held at Liberty Stadium, the Minister of Communications, Chief Adebayo Shittu, said members must check the impunity that had characterised the running of the party’s affairs in the state.

He expressed concern over what he called the dictatorial attitude of a few persons running the party without any consideration for those that had worked for its success.

“It is in the course of our efforts to liberate the party from these individuals that we have brought this congress and we will continue to do the wishes of the people so as to bring sanity into the system,’’ he said.

The minister assured all party faithful to remain focused and steadfast, saying the interest of all members would prevail.

Among prominent members of the group apart from Shittu are Sen. Monsurat Sumonu representing Oyo Central and Adedapo Lam-Adesina as well as some federal and state lawmakers.

No fewer than 26 candidates for the state executive positions were elected unopposed by the 2,840 delegates across the 33 local government areas.

Chief Isiaka Alimi emerged as the State chairman while Remi Olalekan was elected the State Secretary.

Others were Olawale Osadare, Publicity Secretary; Victoria Adegbuyi, Women Leader and Babajide Alabi, Youth Leader.

In his acceptance speech, Alimi pledged to ensure internal democracy prevailed in the conduct of the party’s activities.

In Lagos state, a faction of the party appears to be challenging the dominance of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in dictating the political direction of the state.

The faction, led by Fuad Oki, defied the party’s juggernauts in the state, including Governor Akinwunmi Ambode by holding a separate state congress at Ikeja Airport Hotel, different from the one held at the party’s secretariat on Acme Road, also in Ikeja.

Oki returned himself as the chairman of the APC in the state, while the main congress at the State Secretariat produced Alhaji Tunde Balogun, a former commissioner.

It was not clear whether Oki’s congress was supervised by officials sent by the National secretariat of the APC. The congress conducted at the party secretariat on ACME Road, was witnessed by the State Congress Committee headed by Senator Uche Ekwunife.

At the congress, Chief Sunny Ajose became the Deputy Chairman, Chief Funsho Ologunde (vice-chairman, West), Mr Kayode Olusanya (vice-chairman, East), Mr Hakeem Bamigbala (vice-chaiman, Central), Dr. Wale Ahmed (secretary), Ms Olasunmbo (treasurer), Barrister Joana Adebobuyi (assistant treasurer), Mr Joe Igbokwe (publicity secretary), Hon. Abiodun Salami (assistant publicity secretary), Ademola Sadiq (legal adviser).

They were all elected by affirmation, as all of them were consensus candidates.

However, at the parallel congress held at Lagos Hotel, Ikeja, Mr, Fuad Oki, a former Campaign Director for Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Raji Fashola and Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, emerged as the chairman, while Mr. Sanni Oloye and Mr Wole Oshodi became deputy chairman and secretary respectively.

Oki was also a past vice-chairman (Central) of APC in the state.

In separate interviews, the new chairman of APC, Alhaji Balogun; spokesman Mr Joe Igbokwe and member of the House of Representatives, Abiodun Faleke dismissed the Oki congress. The trio said whichever congress held outside the party office was null and void.

Oki, however, said that the congress held by his group was authentic, declaring that the exercise that took place at the Airport Hotel could not be described as parallel in whatever way.

According to him, the congress held at Airport Hotel was the only legitimate one, saying he was not aware of any parallel congress.

‘What we did here was the election of one party, the APC. This is a coalition of different groups, namely; Justice Forum, the Mandate and United Group,” he said.

In Kogi state, the crisis rocking the APC in the state has worsened, following the emergence of two different state executive on Saturday after a parallel congress.

While the faction loyal to the state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, held its own Congress at the Confluence Stadium, the Audu/Faleke faction held its own at St Peters Primary School, Felele, Lokoja.

At the Congress held at the Confluence Stadium, Mr Abdulahi Bello emerged as the state Chairman of the party, Mr Ibrahim Abdulrahman, Deputy Chairman and Mr Josiah Onoja, Secretary.

Bello was until now, a Senior Special Assistant on political affairs to the state governor. Aside from Bello, Abdulrahman and Onoja, 34 other persons were elected by affirmation into various positions to make the state executive council of the party.

The congress was attended by Governor Bello, his deputy Mr Simon Achuba, the Speaker of the state house of assembly, Mr Mathew Kolawole, the Secretary to the state government, Mrs Folashade Ayoade, Commissioners, some members of the House of Representatives and members of the State House of Assembly.

Alhaji Maman Ali Magaji , the Chairman of the state Congress Committee from the headquarters of the party conducted the Congress while the state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof. James Apam led other officials of the Independent National Electoral Commissioner to supervise it.

However, the Audu/Faleke faction at the congress held at St Peter Primary School Felele, re-elected Alhaji Haddy Ametuo, as Chairman. He and 34 other outgoing executive members were elected by affirmation by all delegates that attended the congress.

The Returning Officer for the congress, Mr. Theman Saurara, announced the results of the congress.

“Having successfully conducted the state congress, I announced the return of all but two of the former state officers,” Saurara stated.

In his acceptance speech, Ametuo expressed gratitude to the delegates for the confidence reposed in him, promising not to let them down.

He also assured them that their sufferings for the party over the years will not go unrewarded, urging them to remain steadfast.

“We suffer for this party together and we will all reap the fruits of our labour together.

“This same set of APC executives from ward to the state congress we just conducted, worked hard to give President Muhammadu Buhari Victory in 2015 and it is us again that will deliver Kogi State come 2019,” he said.

In Kebbi state, the Haliru Abdu Stadium, Birnin Kebbi, venue for the state congress of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was deserted today by both contestants and delegates today.

Anxious journalists waited in vain between 9a.m and 4pm for both the contestants and delegates and the officials from the APC headquarters.

The whereabouts of all were unknown. As at the time of filing this report, the venue of the congress was virtually empty, except for the presence of policemen and journalists.

Police presence was also visible at race course, another venue, apparently for fear of an aggrieved group holding a parallel congress in the state.

According to a delegate, who pleaded anonymity, “They just dumped us here for hours since morning. Nobody, including party officials, has said anything to us.”

In Kaduna state, parallel state congresses were held, with Air Commodore Emmanuel Jekada emerging as Chairman to the faction loyal to Governor Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai, while Col Gora Dauda Albehu loyal to the faction opposed to el-Rufai’s group.
Source: NAN, with other agency reports

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