There is a lingering crisis in the camps of the All Progressives Congress in some states, including Osun, Ogun and Ekiti, Delta and Benue states as the party holds its local government congress across the country today.
Members of the party across 34 states and the Federal Capital Territory will troop out to elect party officials for the local government councils.
Delta State will not participate in the exercise based on a restraining order by the state high court against the party and its leadership.
While the Osun State Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, said the party would adopt a consensus arrangement, a faction loyal to the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, vowed that congress would hold in the 28 local government areas of the state.
Oyetola spoke on Friday at an APC stakeholders’ meeting, where the local government congress committee was introduced to members of the party. He said adequate security had been provided to ensure a hitch-free exercise.
He said, “Congress is not supposed to be a battlefield; it is supposed to be peaceful. As the previous speakers had rightly said, we have adopted consensus as the basis for the congress tomorrow (today).”
But The Osun Progressives backed by Aregbesola declared readiness to contest for posts in 28 local government areas.
A statement signed by the chairman of the group, Lowo Adebiyi, said TOP was convinced that all its candidates would emerge victorious in the exercise.
Adebiyi also assured members of the group that security agencies and the Independent National Electoral Commission had been duly notified of the exercise.
He then urged Governor Mai Mala Buni’s National Caretaker Committee to have a closer look at the Osun APC’s case, noting that TOP, might seek alternative arbitration elsewhere if it would not get justice in the party.
In his remarks at the APC stakeholders’ meeting held at the party state secretariat in Osogbo, the chairman of Osun LG congress committee, Mr. Gbenga Elegbeleye, urged party members to be peaceful during the exercise, saying consensus mode would be adopted where possible.
Meanwhile, the media aide to Osun APC Caretaker chairman, Kola Olabisi, told our correspondent that the APC Caretaker Chairman, Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, Mai Mala Buni, had announced ratification of the outcome of the ward congress of the party across the state “while reconciliation continues.”
Ogun APC crisis gets messier
The crisis rocking the APC in Ogun State on Friday got messier as a faction loyal to a former governor of the state, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, inaugurated its ward executives, barely 24 hours to the local government congress.
The inauguration came a day after the faction loyal to the state Governor, Dapo Abiodun, inaugurated its factional ward executives across the 236 wards in the state.
The party was divided into the two factions following the struggle by both Amosun and Abiodun to control the party structure. Loyalists of the two leaders had held parallel ward congresses on Saturday, July 31.
Two sitting Senators, Lekan Mustapha (Ogun East) and Tolu Odebiyi (Ogun West), loyal to Amosun had filed petitions against the ward congress before the five-man appeal panel set up by the national body of the party to resolve all issues surrounding the congress.
Both factions claimed the APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee had ratified and adopted their results of their respective ward congress.
While Abiodun factional ward chairmen took their oath of office at the Mitros Hall, Abeokuta, ward chairmen loyal to Amosun took oath of office at the Senatorial office of their leader.
The Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Sarafa Ishola, Odebiyi, former APC State Chairman, Derin Adebiyi, Amosun’s elder brother, Abidoye Amosun, among other Amosun’s loyalists were present at the parallel inauguration.
Addressing the gathering, Odebiyi who was Amosun’s Chief of Staff, said, “I don’t have much to say. Let’s continue to do the right thing and very soon, our wishes and aspirations will come to pass.”
Adebiyi described Amosun-backed ward executive as the “authentic one.”
He said “We have submitted our results and they have approved of it. We are in the majority and no reasonable and responsible party will abandon the majority for the minority.”
Meanwhile the two warring factions are set for parallel local government congresses today.
Abiodun, while addressing party stakeholders on Wednesday in Abeokuta, preparatory to the congress, assured members of the party of a level playing field.
The governor urged members of the party to jettison their self-interest and work for the success of the party.
Speaking on behalf of Amosun group, his elder brother, Abidoye, asked loyalists of the faction to mobilise en masse and participate in the Saturday congress.
Pro-Tinubu group heads to court in Ekiti
Amid disagreement over the ward congress results in Ekiti State, an APC chieftain and former state Publicity Secretary, Ade Ajayi, has said the local government congress will hold as scheduled.
Ajayi said, “Having considered the report of the appeal panel, the APC National Executive Committee met and ratified the ward congresses across the nation and we have been directed to inaugurate all the newly elected ward officials.
“The local government congress will hold on the 4th of September (today). The screening of aspirants fixed for August 31–Sept 2 had been done. There were screenings all over the 16 local governments in readiness for the local government congress.”
This is as party members, who belong to the South-West Agenda for Asiwaju 2023 – a group rooting for the presidency of a former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu, presidency – said they had filed a motion before the Federal High Court, Ado Ekiti Division, insisting that ward congresses did not hold in Ekiti State.
SWAGA State Secretary, Femi Adeleye, expressed surprise at the decision of the APC NEC to ratify the congresses when the aggrieved members in the state demonstrated with ample evidence that ward congresses did not hold in Ekiti State.
Buni sues for peace
Amid the worsening crisis, Buni, on Friday, appealed to APC members across the nation to remain law-abiding and elect leaders of their choice in accordance with the party’s guidelines.
Buni made this appeal in a statement titled, ‘APC CECPC Chairman Charge Members on Peaceful Local Govt. Congress,’ signed by his Director General (Media), Mamman Mohammed, in Abuja.
The Yobe State governor urged party members to conduct themselves peacefully during the local government congresses.
Mohammed quoted his principal as saying, “The leadership of the party has substantially complied with the dictates of the party constitution to promote internal democracy for the success of the congress.”
Mohammed also quoted Buni as urging officials handling the local government congress to be fair to all aspirants.
Buni equally charged the aspirants to respect the rule of the game and embrace the spirit of sportsmanship in the outcome of the congress.
“We should all abide by the rules governing the election to remain a role model to other political parties,” the statement added.
Court suspends congress in Benue LG
A Makurdi High Court presided over by Justice M. M. Odinya on Friday granted an interim injunction restraining the APC from holding local government congress in the Gwer East local government area of Benue State.
The presiding judge gave the directive based on an exparte brought before it by some elders in the local government, urging the court to put the congress on hold pending the determination of the originating summons.
Justice Ordinya, while granting the applicants’ prayers, further ordered that the respondents be put on notice to enable the court to hear from both parties.
Some elders and stakeholders of the APC in the council area had complained about the failure of the party to conduct ward congress in 12 out of the 14 council wards of the local government.
The stakeholders had in a petition to the Appeal Panel set up by the national secretariat of the party complained that through alleged machination of some interested aspirants, congress did not hold in most of the council wards as electoral materials either arrived late or did not arrive at all.
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.
Contact: [email protected]