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APC goes to war in states

THE All Progressives Congress (APC) holds its state congresses today factionalised in several states.

It is almost certain that parallel congresses will be held in several states to produce parallel executive committees.

 

Lagos

Two state chairmen of the party are billed to emerge today in Lagos State, Saturday Tribune has learnt.

Already, the consensus list from Senator Bola Tinubu’s faction has been released showing a former commissioner in the state, 68-year-old Chief Tunde Balogun as the chairman.

Another former commissioner, Wale Hammed, is the secretary.

The list also contained names of some officers in the immediate past state executive headed by long-serving, now-former chairman, Mr Henry Ajomale.

They were said to have been exempted from the proclamation by Tinubu, refusing re-election for long-serving party executive members.

Those in the exclusion category are deputy chairman, women leader who is the wife of Senator Adefuye, legal adviser, financial secretary, organising secretary and publicity secretary, Joe Igbokwe.

The faction’s congress will hold at the party secretariat on Acme road, Ikeja.

The Fouad Oki faction has a coalition list containing its set of state officers of the party.

As of Friday, the list was not yet out.

A leading light of the faction told Saturday Tribune it was wiser releasing the list today (Saturday).

Oki, a vice chairman representing Lagos Central Senatorial District in the Ajomale team, has been majorly tipped to emerge the factional chairman of his group.

The two factions conducted parallel ward and local government congresses.

The parallel exercise for the Oki faction will today hold at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja.

Meanwhile, the three-man appeal panel for ward and local government congresses, sent to the state from the national headquarters on Friday submitted its report in Abuja.

The panel was headed by a lawyer, Murtala Abdulrasheed, with two other members from Nasarawa and Gombe states.

From the report, Saturday Tribune gathered that an incident reportedly took place between the panel and a top shot of the party during a sitting at the party secretariat on Acme road.

It was recorded in the report that at exactly 1.30 p.m. on Tuesday, a top shot in the party (name withheld) stormed the secretariat to stop the panel from further attending to petitions and complaints over the local government congress.

The attempt by the same panel to sit penultimate Wednesday at the same venue, to entertain complaints over the conduct of the ward congress, ended in a fiasco, with everyone having to run for their lives.

Thugs reportedly stormed the venue and began to attack those appearing before the appeal panel as well as the panel members, leading to a bloodbath when others fought back.

Party officials called it little skirmishes and disturbance.

The appeal panel alleged that the top shot in the party scolded them for conducting another sitting despite the disruption of the earlier one.

The panel members claimed that he told them, he would not guarantee their safety if they didn’t leave immediately.

He was quoted to have told them that he had discussed with President Muhammadu Buhari that he wanted no appeal panel as there was no crisis in the state.

 

Imo

The congress will not hold in Imo state.

Certain aggrieved chieftains of the party have obtained an injunction restraining the party from going ahead with the process.

Justice Lewis Allagoa of the Federal High Court, Owerri, on Friday issued an interim order stopping the party from conducting the exercise.

Five chieftains of the ruling party had approached the court seeking an interim order to stop the party from going ahead with the congress pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.

The plaintiff in the case are  Barrister Manchu Augustine, Anumhinu China Jude, Akudinobi Umunna, Ekwebelum Sammy Kelechi and Joseph Ilechukwu, while the respondents are the APC, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the National Organising Secretary of the party; the state chairman of the party, Chief Hilary Eke; chairman of the ward and local government congress committee and six others.

Justice Allagoa said “the respondents are hereby ordered to appear in court on the next adjourned date to show cause why the order should not be granted.

“That time is hereby abridged to order that the return date shall be provided that the respondents are served 48hours before then ad that all parties stands adjourned should maintain status quo anti bellium.”

The court adjourned the matter to Tuesday, 22 May, for further hearing.

 

Kogi

The Kogi State chapter of the party remains enmeshed in crisis and may produce parallel executive committees from today’s exercise.

The state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, said on Friday that the party would conduct the congress according to an existing zoning arrangement.

He told party stakeholders ahead of the congress, slated for Lokoja Confluence Stadium, that the state chairman of the party would come from Adavi Local Government Area, in Kogi Central Senatorial District.

The governor said leaders and members of the party had met and agreed to the arrangement.

He said the state was ready for a hitch-free exercise today.

The ward and local government congresses earlier conducted produced two lists of executives for the 239 wards and the 21 local government areas of the state.

The party is polarised between the state chairman, Haddy Ametuo, who is enjoying the backing of the Abubakar Audu/James Faleke political group and the acting chairman, Ahovi Ibrahim, who has the support of the state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

No appeal has been filed before the appeal committee on the congresses as each party insists that its exercise was the authentic one.

 

Kwara

The party’s stakeholders in Kwara State are awaiting today’s congress with bated breaths.

The hitherto silent friction between two factions of the party in Kwara State had blown open on Thursday with allegations of arrest, intimidation and witch-hunt of members following the recent congresses in the state.

The faction loyal to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, claimed that seven of its members from Kwara South senatorial district were arrested this week by the police on trumped-up charges.

But the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who was fingered for the arrests, denied having a hand in the development.

 

Oyo

The two factions in the Oyo State APC are set to hold parallel congress in Ibadan, the state capital, today.

The two groups in the party, the SENACO faction peopled by loyalists of Governor Abiola Ajimobi and the Unity Forum, which is the camp of various other interests in the party, have been at war over the control of the structure of the party.

For today’s state congress, meant to elect the executive that will steer the ship of the party for the next four years, the SENACO faction has scheduled the exercise for Lekan Salami Sports Complex at Adamasingba.

But the Unity Forum, Saturday Tribune was told, will hold its own congress at the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium in Oke-Ado.

Last week’s local government congress was also held at different venues. While the Unity group congregated at the APC secretariats in the 33 local councils, the SENACO group held theirs at the council secretariats.

Minister of Communications, Alhaji Adebayo Shittu; two serving senators; nine out of the 14 House of Representatives members from the state, some state lawmakers, seven governorship aspirants; former appointees are among members of the Unity Forum.

 

Bauchi

Uncertainty still beclouds the conduct of the party’s congress in Bauchi State following a suit instituted in a Federal High Court by the faction loyal to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, seeking to stop the conduct of the exercise.

Dogara was joined in instituting the suit by nine others who are against the conduct of the ward and local government congresses of the party had earlier held due to what they described as irreconcilable political differences.

An inside source of the faction told Saturday Tribune that the group had to approach the court in Abuja to challenge the conduct of the ward and local government congresses held in the state when the party machinery refused to listen and treat their petition on merit.

The source disclosed that the faction was also seeking interim and interlocutory injunctions retraining the defendants (APC) from proceeding with today’s state congress of the party in the state.

Findings at the Federal High Court Abuja on Friday, however, could not show that the suit was filed there.

Dogara and other party chieftains loyal to him had, in a letter addressed to the APC chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, dated May 17, 2018, notified him of the pendency of the suit challenging the result of the already conducted wards and local government congresses of the party, held on May 5 and 12, 2018 for “being in violation” of the party’s constitution.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Kamal Datti Abubakar, said the command was ready to ensure the conduct of a hitch-free state congress of the party today.

 

Borno

There is apprehension over today’s congress of the party in Borno State.

A stalwart of the party, Alhaji Adamu Yaro, had said that the recent ward congresses might lead to the collapse of the party in the state if care was not taken.

Adamu Yaro described the congresses, conducted under the watch of the party’s chairman, Adamu Chilare, as a scam that could not stand because of the use of “affirmation and gross imposition” of candidates.

He told Saturday Tribune that a petition had been filed to the appeal committee against what he described as a faulty process.

An official of the party in the state, who craved anonymity, said there was nothing wrong with “affirmation,” especially when the APC believed that it was the dominant party in the state.

 

Ondo

All is set for the congress holding today in Ondo State at the International Events Centre in Akure as the party has reconciled most of the differences which emanated from the last local government congress.

The state chairman of the party, Ade Adetimehin, said there was no division within the party in the state to warrant any parallel congress today.

He gave the assurance that the exercise would be peaceful “because this is a family affair.”

A group of aggrieved members had petitioned the national leadership of the party, demanding the cancellation of the results presented by Adetimehin to the national secretariat, blaming the party officials from Abuja for the violence and parallel congresses in the state.

Speaking on behalf of the aggrieved members, the factional party chairman in Akure South, Chief Deji Fanibuyan, said the congresses did not follow due process.

But the party chairman, Adetimehin, said he had no knowledge of any parallel congress but “what I just know is that we have one congress committee set up by the national body of our party.”

 

Kaduna

Today’s congress in Kaduna State is expected to follow the trend of the unified congresses that were held in wards and local governments in that state under the watch of Governor Nasir el-Rufai.

Although Senators Shehu Sani and Suleiman Hunkuyi had repeatedly claimed that the congresses did not take place, it is still unknown whether they took up the matter officially as Kaduna is not among the states where an appeal panel will be sitting.

The governor seems to be in control of the party, having succeeded in getting only those loyal to him elected during the two congresses.

He has technically edged the likes of Sani and Hunkuyi and their supporters out of the party because none of them now has any of their loyalists holding any party’s position.

Today’s congress in the state is not expected to be different as it is anticipated that the governor’s loyalists will fill all the vacant positions.

 

Plateau

From all indications, today’s congress in Plateau State will not be different from the manner in which the ward and local government congresses were conducted.

Investigations revealed that the present state executives of the party will be returned intact through affirmation.

A source close to the party disclosed that nobody outside the party officials obtained nomination form to contest for the election.

At a gathering, some APC youths had endorsed the state chairman of the party, Latep Dabang, and presented with a nomination form.

Party officials had emerged through affirmations in the ward and local government congresses.

 

Ogun

Going by the success recorded in its ward and local government congresses, today’s congress of the party in Ogun State is expected to be a smooth exercise.

Feelers have it that the state officers of the party will be elected based on a consensus arrangement.

The resolve by a former governor of the state, Chief Olusegun Osoba and his political associates to work with Governor Ibikunle Amosun has put an end to a purported crisis in the party.

 

Gombe

Today’s congress in Gombe State will be held amidst protest by a faction of the party known as the ‘APC Adalci Advocacy Forum’ which described the wards and local government congresses earlier conducted as efforts in futility.

Ahead of today’s exercise, the group had called on the national secretariat of the party as well as President Muhammadu Buhari to, as a matter of necessity, intervene and nullify the ward and local government congresses in order to save the party from further division.

It said it was studying the situation of things before taking a definite decision on today’s congress.

 

Enugu

There are two major factions in the party in Enugu State with the Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama and Juliet Ibekaku, the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Judicial Reforms, leading one and the other led by Dr Ben Nwonye, the founding state chairman of the party.

The polarisation of the party in the state was said to have led to parallel ward and local government congresses the state on May 5 and 12, respectively.

There are indications that Dr Nwonye is likely to clinch the party’s chairmanship position in the state in today’s congress.

Already, the major party stakeholders, including the Director-General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Osita Okechukwu; former Senate President, Ken Nnamani; former Governor Jim Nwobodo and other heavyweights are said to be behind the incumbent chairman.

However, sources from the camp of the Foreign Affairs Minister, Onyeama, said that they would turn the table today by installing a fresh leadership by electing one Deacon Okey Ogbodo as chairman of the party.

 

Rivers

The party in Rivers State is carrying on with its activities, today’s state congress inclusive, despite clear divisions arising from the last ward and local government congresses.

Efforts to confirm from the party’s hierarchy and Senator Magnus Abe’s faction whether there were ongoing efforts to calm frayed nerves did not yield any result.

Neither Abe nor Chris Finebone, the spokesman of the party, responded to calls and text messages sent to them by our correspondent.

But media adviser to the state chairman of the party, Chief Davies Ikanya, Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, told Saturday Tribune that there was no need for such efforts as the party in the state remained one.

He said there were credible and transparent ward and local government congresses of the party in the state.

 

Delta

Ahead of today’s congress of the party in Delta State, the appeal panel in charge of the ward and local government congresses in the state had upheld a “Unity List” as the authentic and only recognised list of delegates for the exercise.

Following the crisis that trailed the May 5 ward congress, leaders of the party at all levels had arrived at an agreement for a harmonised list to avert fresh squabble during last week’s local government congress in the state.

The decision was said to have been reached in Abuja at a meeting attended by all prominent stakeholders, including seven governorship aspirants of the party in the state.

Based on the decision, it was gathered that the endorsed ‘unity list’ would serve as a basis for the conduct of today’s congress to elect state officials of the party.

 

Edo

The chairman of the party in Edo State, Anslem Ojezua, has expressed the party’s readiness to hold the congress today in Benin City.

Ojezua, in a chat with Saturday Tribune on Friday, said all measures had been taken to ensure a peaceful exercise.

“The party is putting finishing touches to the congress as it holds today. The committee is on ground and they are doing well as I am talking to you. The venue is in place and will be adequately secured,” he said.

 

Ebonyi

Reports from Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, on Friday, had it that all was set for the state congress of the party today.

The acting chairman of the party in the state, Eze Nwachukwu, said the party was ready for the exercise.

Nwachukwu said all arrangements had been concluded to ensure a hitch-free, credible and successful exercise, stressing that attempts to stop the congress through the court by “enemies of the party” had failed.

 

Anambra

No fewer than 1,810 delegates across the 21 local government areas have been cleared to participate in the exercise today in Anambra State.

The state chairman of the party, Emeka Ibe, gave the figure in an interview with Saturday Tribune in Awka.

Ibe said security operatives were on ground to ensure a hitch-free congress.

The congress is scheduled to take place at Professor Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre, Awka.

 

FCT, Abuja

The party in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, said it was prepared for the congress as all machinery has been put in place for a successful exercise.

The FCT APC Public Relations Officer, Mr Adadi Usman said: “We are fully prepared for tomorrow (today’s) congress and it will go very smoothly.”

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