Gunshots rock APC, PDP state congresses

GUNSHOTS and violence reigned supreme as the two major parties in the country, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the major opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) held state congresses across the country. 

The congresses in APC and PDP saw the amplification of the divisions that had dogged preparations for congresses in the parties. Consequently, the exercises were held at different venues by factions within the two parties, producing two sets of state officers in many of the states, just as party officers emerged in a few states through affirmation and consensus arrangements. 

Many injured at Osun congresses 

In Osun State, two separate congresses were held by the feuding factions APC, even as gunshots rocked the exercise, leaving many injured. 

Pandemonium broke out at the venue congress organised by followers of the Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, who are known as The Osun Progress (TOP) in Ogo-Oluwa area of Osogbo, the state capital, when gunmen invaded the venue of the event and shot sporadically into the air. 

The invasion of the venue by armed thugs created panic and fear among assembled delegates who fled for the fear of being attacked. The gun-wielding thugs descended on the delegates before being resisted by another set of thugs who engaged them in a fierce battle. 

Many of the delegates were injured in the melee. The faction loyal to the incumbent governor of the state, Mr Gboyega Oyetola, held its own congress at the state township stadium in Osogbo. 

At the congress attended by Governor Oyetola, 1, 840 delegates from all the local government areas of the state, voted to elect state party officers. Mr Gboyega Famodun was returned as state chairman of the party for another term of four years. 

Mr Tajudeen Lawal emerged as the party’s deputy chairman, while Alhaja Kudirat Fakokunde returned as women leader, just as 35-year-old Akinwemimo Adegoke emerged as the youth leader and Mr Alao Kamar Olabisi, as secretary. 

Governor Oyetola charged the party executives to ensure a reconciliatory process that will guarantee unity and strengthen the party. 

The Aregbesola faction, however, elected a former secretary of the party, Honourable Rasaq Salinsile, as APC chairman, while a former Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Adelani Baderinwa, was elected state secretary. 

In his acceptance speech, Salinsile said “in the last two years, our dear party, the APC, has witnessed a reprehensible retrogression in party management, membership drive and political activities.” 

APC holds parallel congress in Ogun 

The APC in Ogun State, on Saturday, held parallel state congress. The mainstream of the party, which had the governor of the state, Prince Dapo Abiodun, as leader, former governors Olusegun Osoba and Otunba Gbenga Daniel; the former deputy governor of the state, Senator Adegbenga Kaka, produced Chief Yemi Sanusi as the state chairman of the party. 

The congress was conducted under the supervision of a seven-member committee led by Chief Wale Ohu at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abeokuta, the state capital. Ohu, while addressing the gathering, said any congress held outside the MKO Abiola Stadium was nothing but “exercise in futility.” 

Other key officers elected into different positions were Aderibigbe Tella as secretary, Tunde Oladunjoye as publicity secretary. 

According to him, 1,730 delegates participated in the congress conducted in a peaceful atmosphere. Ohu said the congress monitored by the officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which included the state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Olusegun Agbaje, was in line with Article 12.7 of the party’s constitution. 

But the Amosun faction held its state congress at the Ake Palace Ground and had in attendance, the Minister for Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olalekan Adegbite; the Senators representing Ogun East and West in the National Assembly, Lekan Mustapha and Tolu Odebiyi; the governorship candidate of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), Honourable Abdulkabir Akinlade, elected Chief Derin Adebiyi, as the state chairman of the party. 

While Chief Jide Ojuko and Mr Toyin Adesiyan were elected as state deputy chairman and state secretary respectively. The congress was equally monitored by Mr Gbenga Opaleye as the chairman, State Congress Committee. 

Earlier, there was pandemonium at the Ake venue of the congress as hoodlums suspected to be political thugs attacked loyalists of Amosun. 

The venue was reported to have been locked but later reopened for the conduct of the exercise. 

Many vehicles were destroyed by the thugs before the situation was brought under control by the police and other security agencies on the ground. 

In his acceptance speech, the new state chairman, Sanusi, urged all members of the party to close ranks in the interest of the party. Abiodun, in his address, commended the party members for the peaceful conduct of the congress. 

He urged the 37 elected members to work for the progress of the party in the state. 

Shooting at Kogi APC state congress 

Some aggrieved members of APC on Saturday went on the rampage as they started shooting before the arrival of the governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello to the venue. 

The party had on Friday decided to adopt affirmation to elect its state executives and party’s zonal leaders. 

In a stakeholders meeting held on Friday in preparation for the Saturday congress, party members agreed to retain the interim state chairman, Alhaji Abdullahi Bello and most of his state and zonal party executives. 

Governor Bello, who was represented at the event by his Chief of Staff, Abdulkareem Jamiu, expressed that the APC in the state had its ways of conducting its affairs. 

However, trouble started on Saturday at the state confluence stadium when some aggrieved members from Ofu and Dekina stormed the venue following the replacement of the party zonal vice chairman with another person. 

It took the intervention of the security agents to bring the situation under control. 

Meanwhile, Honourable Abdullahi Bello has been reelected as state chairman as the party adopted the affirmation. 

Shekarau, Jibril, 4 House of members absent at Kano APC congress election 

Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, has said that only disgruntled politicians will hold a parallel state congress in Kano state, just as former governor and Senator representing Kano Central Senatorial District, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, Senator Barau Jibril and others were absent at the congress. 

It will be recalled that Shekarau, alongside Senator Barau Jibril, representing Kano North Senatorial District and others had, after a meeting in Abuja, filed a petition before Governor Mala Buni-led national leadership of the party, demanding urgent intervention to save the APC from disintegration in the state. 

Speaking at the congress venue on Saturday, Ganduje said “here at Indoor Stadium of Sani Abacha Stadium is where 3,320 delegates are assembled to participate in the APC congress to elect their officials of the party that will run the affairs of the party. 

“This is an authentic gathering where members gathered to elect state officers of the party,” noting that anything anywhere in the state must be regarded as illegal. 

Lagos holds parallel congresses 

Lagos State mainstream All Progressives Congress (APC) led by Honourbale Tunde Balogun and a faction of the party, Lagos4Lagos led by Dr AbdulAzeez Adediran, held separate congresses in the state on Saturday. 

The Balogun-led APC held its congress at the Onikan Stadium, while Lagos4Lagos congress was held at the Airport Hotel in Ikeja. 

The Onikan Stadium congress, which started after the arrival of the state governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu around 11am, had in attendance state congress officials and delegates from the local government areas, including past governors of the state, 20 local government chairmen, 40 lawmakers, 24 House of Representatives, three Senators from the state, ward delegates, former House of Representatives and former House of Assembly members. 

No fewer than 1,615 delegates, through voice votes, elected state officials for the Lagos State mainstream APC on Saturday. 

Speaking on the conduct of the congress, chairman of the state congress committee, Mr Adebayo Adelabu assured delegates and members of the party of a free and transparent process. 

He said, “We have harmonised the list of delegates from Abuja with what we have here in Lagos and accreditation has also been carried out. 

“The total number of delegates that are to participate in the congress is 1,615. We received 37 forms for the congress. All the aspirants screened are cleared and 35 of them are returned unopposed. 

“For the chairmanship position, we received two forms from two aspirants. Both aspirants were screened and one was disqualified while the other was returned unopposed. 

“Therefore, since we don’t have more than one contestant in each of the positions, we are adopting a voice vote,” he said. 

Former member of the House of Representatives and former commissioner in Lagos State, Hon Cornelius Ojelabi was elected as the new party chairman, while Honourable Sumi Odesanya was elected as the state secretary. 

Lagos State APC spokesman, Hon Seye Oladejo was returned as the state publicity secretary with 34 others. 

A faction of the party, Lagos4Lagos State, held its congress at the Lagos Airport Hotel in Ikeja, Lagos, while a group led by former governor of the state, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode had its congress at the Baptist Academy, Obanikoro, Lagos.

Edo APC averts parallel congress 

Last-minute horse-trading, on Saturday, prevented a parallel state congress from being held in the state, even as a majority of the caretaker committee members of the party were returned. The late Friday meeting presided over by the immediate national chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, staved off the anticipated parallel congress, which would have worsened the schism in the party. 

To the relief of the 1,080 delegates who gathered at the Sports Centre of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) venue of the congress, reason prevailed and the party finally had a consensus arrangement that returned majority members of the old party executives to their positions. 

Addressing party delegates earlier, the chairman of the congress committee‎, Alhaji Ahmed Tijani Ramalan, urged the delegates and contestants to put the party first, stressing that the primary task was to return the party to power in Edo State. 

In his remark, Chief Francis Inegbeniki, vice chairman of the party for Edo Central Senatorial‎ district, who earlier sought to contest for the state chairmanship, said that after a series of meetings he decided to drop his ambition in the interest of the unity of the party. 

Also speaking in the same reconciliatory tone, the Caretaker Committee Chairman of the party, Colonel David Imuse (retd), who‎ was returned with majority of his executive members, thanked the delegates for confidence reposed in them and for their support. 

Also speaking, a former governor of the state under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Professor Oserheimen Osunbor, said the party would continue to wax strong and was prepared to win the next election. 

Oshiomhole, while speaking on behalf of party leaders in the state, commended the congress committee for the manner it conducted the exercise, just he appreciated Chief Inegbeniki and those who stepped down as well as those elected. 

Agballah emerges Enugu APC chairman 

The APC congress in Enugu State produced Ugochukwu Agballah who won by a large margin. Agballah, who won through the option A4, beat two other contestants to emerge the state chairman. 

Walter Oji, one of the contestants, stepped down for Agballah, while Group Captain Orji was absent the venue. 

Chief Paul Omeje was a cross contestant, who came from a zone that the chairmanship was not zoned to. 

Confusion as Oyo APC state congress is suspended 

The state congress of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State failed to hold on Saturday as scheduled. 

Confusion about the conduct or otherwise of the congress set in few hours after members converged on the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium, Liberty road, Ibadan, venue of the congress. 

At about 10.30am, the news of a suspension of the congress filtered through, but some party members gathered at the congress venue remained optimistic that the suspension news was only a ruse. 

However, majority of party members began to leave the congress venue at about 11.30am when some members of the party announced that the national secretariat of the party had called off the exercise. Information had come that the party’s national secretary, John Akpanudoedehe had announced suspension of the congress on Saturday morning, saying it became necessary to ensure credibility of the process leading to the emergence of new leaders in Oyo State. 

The party said it became necessary to suspend the ongoing State Congress exercise in Oyo State due to information regarding the forging of documents meant to conduct this exercise. 

The party further ordered the Congress Committee to return to the national secretariat for further briefing. 

Also speaking on the development, personal assistant to the caretaker chairman of the Oyo APC, Mr Olawale Shadare, said the suspension of the congress was to allow state chapters opportunity to sort out issues on harmonisation of list of state executives. 

Akwa Ibom State

Two sets of state executives of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are expected to emerge in Akwa Ibom state. 

This followed the conduct of separate state congresses by the feuding factions loyal to the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Godswill Akpabio, on one hand and that of Senator John Udoedehe, the national caretaker secretary in charge of the Congress Planning Committee. 

Udoedehe’s faction led by the outgoing state caretaker chairman, Dr Ita Udosen and his executive members held their congress at the Sheergrace Event Centre along Edet Akpan avenue (two Lanes), Uyo, the state capital. But the faction led by Akpabio, which had the likes of the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to President Muhammadu Buhari on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Enang; former Military Administrator of Rivers and Ogun States, Group Capt Sam Ewang and others, held its own at Kara Event centre at Nnung Oku area of Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area of the state. At the end of the exercise, the former state youth leader, Stephen Udo Ntukekpo, from Mkpat Enin Local Government Area, emerged as the state chairman of Akpabio’s faction, while the poll was yet to be concluded at the Sheergrace Event centre, venue of Udoedehe’s faction, at the time of this report. 

Faction re-elects chairman in Kwara 

A faction of the Kwara State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) loyal to the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Saturday, reelected Honourable Bashir Omolaja Bolarinwa as its chairman. Bolarinwa, alongside other new members of executive, emerged through an affirmative process at the congress held at the party’s secretariat located along Government Reservation road in Ilorin. 

The arrow head of the group, Alhaji Mohammed, the Minister of Transportation, Senator Gbemi Saraki, and the reelected chairman, Bolarinwa were absent at the congress. But in attendance congress were a serving member of the Federal Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Shuaib Yaman Abdullahi; a member of the Federal House of Representatives, representing Ilorin East/ South constituency, Honourable Ganiyu Cook Olododo; and Honourable Saheed Popoola of the state House Assembly, among other party stalwarts.

Announcing the new executive, Dr Bolaji Afolabi, who served as the returning officer, said that the new executive emerged from support of majority in the party. 

Addressing journalists, the new vice chairman, Chief Theophilous Sunday, said, “as you can see, over 1,000 delegates affirmed the new executive and we are ready to move the party forward through activities that will attract more people to the party.” 

Ekiti APC elects new state exco amidst boycott by aggrieved leaders 

The APC in Ekiti state on Saturday elected officials that will pilot the affairs of the party for the next four years. 

But the event was boycotted by some aggrieved leaders. Among the new executives include, Mr Paul Omotosho (chairman); Mr Sola Eleshin (deputy chairman) ; Mr Segun Dipe (publicity secretary); Mr Arogundade Shola (secretary) and Wale Adeyeye(legal adviser). 

Sunday Tribune monitored the congress held at the state pavilion in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital and observed the heavy presence of security personnel around the venue of the exercise. 

The peaceful exercise was attended by the state governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi; the lawmaker representing Ekiti Central, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele; House of Representatives member, Femi Bamisile and other lawmakers from the state. 

The congress was an affirmation of the aspirants by the delegates who came from across the 16 council areas as there was no opposition to the 36 positions contested for in the state executive committee. 

The chairman of the state Congress Committee, Mr Yusuf Galambi, said that the affirmation became necessary as they were the only one who obtained nomination form in accordance with the guidelines of the party. 

The state governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi hailed the delegates and other stakeholders, especially the congress committee for the peaceful conduct of the congress. 

Fayemi explained that the affirmation of the aspirants by the entire delegates was a pointer to the fact that the ruling APC is associated with peace, progress and development of the society. 

Ahead of next year’s governorship poll, the governor expressed optimism that the new executives will guide the party to victory in the 2022 poll. 

He said, “In this congress, all the available positions were resolved consensually and this brought about this peace. That is what we are in Ekiti APC. We are about peace, unity and unanimity of purpose. I am happy that this goes without any disturbance. 

“The elected executive has a lot of work to do. INEC has announced the date of our governorship election. Our prayers, determination and commitment should be that the next governor of this state will come from APC. 

“What we need to do is to work with our executives, so that we can provide all interested parties a level playing field. Our prayer is that the primary will be peaceful and violence-free, just like we have witnessed today.” 

But, the leader of the aggrieved, Senator Tony Adeniyi noted that the foundation of the party›s congresses (ward congress) was faulty, alleging that the group loyal to the governor had hijacked the process. 

The former lawmaker who represented Ekiti South at the seventh National Assembly stated that the group had taken their grievances to the Federal High Court sitting in Ado-Ekiti, saying the judiciary would do justice on the Ekiti APC congresses. 

APC chieftains boycott congress in Delta 

A 35-man executive to run the affairs of the All Progressive Party (APC) in Delta state was on Saturday elected. 

The new executive which is chaired by a former chieftain of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Omeni Sobotie was elected unopposed, following affirmation of the accredited delegates from the 25 local government areas through voice votes. 

The election which held at the Federal College of Education, Asaba amidst tight security was observed by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). 

Addressing delegates, chairman of the Delta State APC Congress Committee, Senator Ajibola Bashiru said though the offices were unopposed, paragraph six of the guidelines for the congress provided that there should be affirmative voting. 

Present at the congress were the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege; Senate Committee chairman on Niger Delta, Peter Nwaoboshi; founding leader of the party in the state, O’tega Emerhor; Francis Waive representing Udu/Ughelli constituency at the House of Representatives; among others. 

The new state chairman, Mr Sobotie thanked the party and the delegates for the opportunity to serve, assuring that the party was set for victory in the 2023 general electons in Delta. 

However, the party’s leaders council and state working committee members headed by the Minister of State for Labour, Chief Festus Kayemo, boycotted the election. 

Kaduna APC chairman reelected 

Kaduna chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Air Commodore Emmanuel Jekada (retd) was on Saturday re-elected at state congress of the party. 

The election which was held at Murtala Muhammad Square saw the state governor, Nasir El-rufai, his deputy, Hajiya Hadiza Balarabe, Speaker, Yusuf Zailani, the Secretary to the State Government, Lawal Abbas as well as top government functionaries in attendance. 

Party delegates from the 23 local government areas filled the auditorium before the election was conducted in a peaceful atmosphere. In a congratulated message posted on his Facebook wall, el Rufai remarked: “Party members in Kaduna State have demonstrated admirable commitment to the interest of the APC by ensuring that the ward, local government and state congresses of our party went smoothly. 

“Special thanks to the APC members and leaders in Kaduna State for electing many women into the new state executive, including the first ever female deputy chairman.” 

Minister, Dogara in supremacy battle in Bauchi 

There was palpable tension among members of the ruling APC in Bauchi State as the state congress was alleged to be shrouded in secrecy and cover up. 

When Sunday Tribune visited the party secretariat along Maiduguri road, only heavily armed security personnel were seen as there were no outgoing officials or congress committee on the ground. 

A source confided in Sunday Tribune that the leadership of the party was meeting with stakeholders on the way forward behind closed doors due to some knotty issues that must be carefully handled in order not to plunge the party into another round of crisis. 

Feelers have it that the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu who is the leader of the party in the state, was insisting that his anointed candidate must emerge the party chairman. 

The development did not go down well with a majority of the members who said the minister’s candidate had never been an active member of the party. 

Another faction of the party was rooting for the incumbent caretaker chairman, Uba Nana to continue, but facing stiff opposition from those who are of the opinion that he was part of the problem that led to the defeat of the party in 2019 gubernatorial election. 

Earlier, the members had rejected a candidate brought by the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, an indication that the party is again heading towards another crisis as was the situation before the 2019 general election. 

Parallel congress in Kebbi PDP 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kebbi State, on Saturday, held parallel congresses as two factions of the party emerged in the state. 

One of the factions led by Alhaji Ibrahim Manzo Argungu told journalists that though two factions were holding separate congresses, there was the possibility of them coming to a roundtable to discuss areas of differences. 

The other faction has the likes of Alhaji Kabiru Tanimu (SAN), Major-General Bello SarkinYaki (retd), who contested and lost to incumbent governor in the 2015 governorship election in the state. 

However, the Tanimu faction seems to carry more weight than the other faction. 

The outgoing chairman of the party, Alhaji Bashir Haruna, who spoke to journalists, explained that their own faction was well recognised by the national headquarters in Abuja. 

Ondo APC members re-elect Adetimehin, others 

The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State, on Saturday, unanimously re-elected Honourable Ade Adetimehin as its chairman. 

Adetimehin, who was first elected as the APC Chairman in 2018, was returned alongside other officers of the party through a consensus arrangement. 

Others returned elected officers of the party include,Alex Kalejaiye as publicity secretary, Mrs Morenike Whitterspoon as state woman leader and Ali Adesina as state secretary. 

They were all elected through a voice vote even though arrangements were made for the APC members to cast their votes. 

The chairman of the Congress Committee, Honourable Komsol Longap, commended members of the party in the state for setting the pace in the conduct of peaceful congress. 

“This is one of the most peaceful congresses in the country. The confidence reposed in the executives and I believe it will continue. That is what we want in the APC,” he said. 

A chieftain of the party in the state, Chief Olusola Oke, moved the motion for the adoption of a consensus method, while Chief Jimoh Ekungba, a member of the APC Board of Trustees, moved the motion for the new executive members through to be adopted as elected party officers. 

In his speech, Adetimehin promised to work harder to ensure further cohesion within the party, assuring members that they would always be carried along in the ruling of the party.

 

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