Ruling party plunged into deeper crisis
Six states produce 12 factional chairmen
The state congress of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was marred by irregularities on Saturday with at least half a dozen states holding parallel congresses and electing two factional state chairmen each.
From violence to factional disputes, the exercise plunged the ruling party into a deeper crisis.
Newsheadline247 understands various factions staged their own congresses in Lagos, Delta, Kogi, Kwara, Ondo and Oyo.
The Imo state chapter of the party held its congress despite a court order against it. It was gathered that the Congress took place at an undisclosed venue – a process which was obviously against a court injunction.
According to a report monitored on TheCable NG, the Congress was organised by a faction of the party loyal to Hillary Eke, the party chairman in the state.
Among the officials elected at the Congress — which was reportedly witnessed by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are Eke (chairman), Ugochukwu Nzekwe (vice chairman), and Patrick Eze, secretary.
In Delta State, Omo-Agege led the pack in a parallel congress
The APC National Working Committee (NWC) had postponed the state congress in Delta but it was held against the national body’s position
The NWC had in a letter addressed to the chairman INEC and signed by Mai Buni, APC’s national secretary, confirmed the postponement of the exercise till Monday.
In a letter dated May 18, 2018, the party’s NWC had informed INEC that the state congress had been postponed till Monday.
Unconfirmed reports had it that the reason was as a result of unresolved disputes within leaders of the party in the state.
The postponement, nonetheless, some of the stakeholders were said to have attended the congress which held in Okpanam. Among those in attendance were Ovie Omo-Agege, senator representing Delta central senatorial district.
‘Anti-Tinubu’ faction held parallel congress in Lagos
In Lagos, two different factions of the APC held parallel congress. While one of the factions — loyal to Bola Tinubu, national leader of the party — had its at the party secretariat in Ikeja, the other faction led by Fouad Oki held its at the Lagos Airport Hotel, also in Ikeja.
In February, Oki had led other aggrieved members of the party in the state to form a group — the Broom United Movement. Delegates from various wards and local government areas in the state attended the congress organised by Oki’s faction.
Thugs chased delegates away at parallel congress in Ondo
Suspected thugs invaded the venue of a parallel congress of the party in Ondo state, destroying congress materials and also injuring some of the participants.
The thugs who invaded the venue of the congress — BTO Hall, Akure — chased away the delegates and others in attendance. Some party leaders at loggerhead with Rotimi Akeredolu, governor of the state, organised the congress.
Among those injured in the violence were Bamidele Baderinwa, a member of the house of representatives, from the state, as well journalists covering the exercise.
A separate congress by loyalists of Akeredolu held at the International Event Centre, Akure. There was no violence reported at the venue.
In Kwara, two parallel state congresses took place, both in Ilorin.
According to NAN, while the faction loyal to the Senate President Bukola Saraki, held its congress at the Banquet Hall opposite the government house, another congress by a faction loyal to Lai Mohammed, minister of information, took place at Arca Santa Event Hall.
Abdulfatah Ahmed, governor of the state, Bolaji Abdullahi, APC spokesman; lawmakers representing Kwara at the national assembly and state assembly were present at the congress.
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 congress held at Arca Santa Hall had Moshood Mustapha, a former special assistant to the senate president in attendance. Raheem Adedoyin, a former commissioner in the state; and Ganiyu Olododo, a former secretary to the state government, also witnessed it.
Executive members of the two factions emerged through consensus arrangement.
In Edo, John Oyegun, national chairman of the party was absent at the congress which held at at Imaguero College Hall, on Sapele Road in Benin City.
Anslem Ojezua was affirmed the state chairman. Ojezua was among the Edo APC Exco who were returned to office in a congress that was widely described as free and fair.
“The party is well organised. You can see that for yourself. Don’t you think this sort of experience should be taken to the federal level? Edo is the light; we want to show the light to Nigerians on how things should be done and how political parties should be organised,” Godwin Obaseki, the governor, said.
Okey Onyejekwe, chairman of the congress committee, commended the 1, 265 delegates drawn from the 18 local government area of the state for their conduct during the exercise.
In Katsina and Jigawa, all the officials of the party were returned through a consensus arrangement.
But in Oyo, there was a repeat of the May 13 parallel local government congress. Two factions held the exercise in two locations in Ibadan, the state capital.
While Abiola Ajimobi, the governor attended the congress held at the Lekan Salami Stadium, the unity forum led by Adebayo Shittus, minister of communications, held its own at the Liberty Stadium.
Present at the Lekan Salami Stadium were Adebayo Alao-Akala, a former governor; Abdulfatai Buhari, senator representing Oyo north; Olagunju Ojo, speaker, Oyo state house of assembly and Teslim Folarin, a former senate leader.
Akin Oke, the APC chairman in the state, and several others were returned through consensus.
But at the congress of the unity forum 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.
In Enugu, suspected thugs broke into Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu and disrupted the exercise.