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APC In Make Or Mar Congress Today

After months of speculation and deliberations, the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) will today conduct its ward congresses in the build-up to the much anticipated national convention.

The party had recently adjusted the dates to the primaries to accommodate concerns from the governors elected on its platform.

It said the dates for its congresses and national convention were rescheduled, taking cognizance of the Ramadan fast. Consequently, the national convention earlier fixed for May 14 would now hold at a later date to be determined by the National Working Committee (NWC).

According to the new timetable, May 5, 12 and 19 would be used to conduct ward, local government and state congresses respectively.

However, the notice of the timetable to the Independent National  Electoral  Commission (INEC) on the proposed convention date, as signed by the party’s national secretary, Mai Mala Buni, had already been leaked in the social media.

The correspondence, with reference number “APC/NHDQ/INEC/19/018/010” and entitled ‘Notice of Conduct of Congresses/National Convention’, said: “We write to advise that our party is scheduled to conduct ward, local government, state congresses and national convention to fill vacant offices arising from elapsing of time or appointment into government offices, death and other reasons as stipulated in Article 17 of our party’s constitution.

“Please be informed that we also intend to conduct special local government congresses to elect delegates to our forthcoming national convention.”

LEADERSHIP Weekend reports that governors and other chieftains of the party are making efforts to see that the exercise goes according to plan.

… PMB Arrives In Daura For APC Ward Congress

President Muhammadu Buhari arrived at his Daura country home yesterday to participate in the All Progressives Congress (APC) ward congress slated for today.

The presidential jet conveying him touched down at Umaru Musa Ya’Adua Airport, Katsina, at exactly 4:28pm and, shortly after, he was conveyed in a police helicopter to Daura, Katsina State.

The president had returned to the country from the USA on Thursday night after a meeting with President Donald Trump on Monday. Before arriving in Nigeria, Buhari had made a ‘technical stop-over’ in London that raised much anxiety among Nigerians.

On hand to receive the president on his arrival at Umar Musa Yar’Adua, Airport, Katsina  were Governor Aminu Bello Masari, Senator Abu Ibrahim and the managing director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, among others.

The APC congresses were initially scheduled to kick-start with the ward congress on Wednesday, May 2, before it was shifted to today.

The APC national convention is scheduled to hold in June but the exact date is yet to be announced.

….Kogi Gov Meets APC Stakeholders, Insists On Party’s Guidelines

In Kogi State, Governor Yahaya Bello hosted party stakeholders from the 21 local government areas of the state.

At the meeting, which was held at the remodelled Glass House, Government House, Lokoja, Governor Bello urged party stakeholders to accommodate all shades of interest in the conduct of the congress.

Director General of Media and Publicity to the governor, Kingsley Fanwo, noted in the statement that Bello also expressed the necessity to follow strictly party guidelines for the conduct of the congresses.

He warned against violence and expressed confidence that popular candidates would emerge from the congresses, even as he assured all party leaders and members of their safety.

Governor Bello also urged all party leaders and members to be ready for the litmus test of filling the vacant seat of Lokoja/Kogi Federal Constituency, saying the party is confident of “winning convincingly in the election.”

LEADERSHIP Weekend recalls that the seat became vacant after the occupant and former deputy majority leader, Hon Umar Buba Jibril died in March.

The governor urged party leaders to build bridges in order to strengthen the party and make it unbeatable in the 2019 general elections.

Before the governor’s remarks, the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Edward Onoja; Speaker of the House of Assembly, Prince Matthew Kolawole and the deputy governor, Elder Simon Achuba, had urged party faithful to follow due process and eschew violence before, during and after the congresses.

…APC Ward Congress Shifted To Sunday In  Adamawa

The seven-member APC Congress committee deployed to conduct ward and local government congresses in Adamawa State has shifted the exercise to Sunday.

Chairman of the committee, Alhaji Mahmoud, said the move was to enable more contestants to purchase nomination forms for the congress.

Announcing the cancellation of the congress yesterday evening, the chairman said many contestants who have not gotten the nomination forms pleaded for extension of the sales of the form in the state.

Sequel to the announcement, thugs had defied the security men deployed to maintain law and order at the secretariat of the  party, chanting abuses at members of the committee and demanding continuation of the sales of the forms.

Earlier, Mahmud  had assured of free and fair congress and warned that any group or individuals that purchased the congress form in clusters would automatically be disqualified.

Publicity secretary of the APC in the state, Ahmad Lawal said over 10,000 forms had so far been purchased for the congresses.

Meanwhile, the state government has warned citizens of the state against any breach of peace during the congresses.

In a statement signed by the commissioner for Information and Strategy Mallam Ahmad Sajoh, the government warned that any person found wanting would face the full wrath of the law.

It would be recalled that former secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, had reportedly accused state government  of conniving  to hijack the forthcoming congresses to favour the outgoing executives of the party in the state.

Lawal vowed to ensure free and fair congresses, saying people should not take them for granted when it comes to politics in the state.

…. Confusion In Bayelsa APC As Court Reinstates Sacked Chairman

The High Court, Sagbama Division sitting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, yesterday ordered the immediate reinstatement of the sacked chairman of the APC in the state, Chief Tiwei Orunimighe

Chief Orunimighe had dragged the APC, the national chairman, Chief John Oyegun and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to court challenging his removal over alleged misconduct and anti-patyy activities. 

The claimant on April 26 filed a motion exparte praying the court to issue an order directing the defendants to recognise him as the chairman of APC pending the hearing and determination of the suit.

He also sought an order directing the defendants to accord him with all the rights and privileges as the APC chairman as well as an order directing that nobody apart from him should exercise and perform the functions of the APC chairman.

Ruling on the motion, the presiding judge, Justice E.G. Omukoro granted all the reliefs sought by Oruminighe.

The court fixed May 10 for hearing of the motion on notice.

Already, the loyalists of the reinstated party chairman, Orunimighe, are gearing up to move back to the party secretariat along the Mbiama/Yenagoa road and occupy it till the expiration of his tenure.

Orunimighe is expected to commence the processes of conducting the ward, local and state congresses of the party. 

A visit to the party secretariat yesterday showed a heavy presence of armed security personnel to forestall crisis. 

The acting party chairman, Deacon Joseph Fafi, who was removed by the court judgement, confirmed the order granted by the court but said “the state APC has not been served.”

LEADERSHIP Weekend recalls that the National Working Committee (NWC) of APC had expelled Orunimighe following allegations of anti-party activities, and appointed Josef Fafi as the acting chairman of the party in the state.

The committee had also suspended the deputy chairman of the party, Mr. Eddy Julius and the state party secretary, Marlin Daniel.

Aggrieved by the action of the party, Orunimighe had gone to court to challenge his removal.

… 2 Injured As Fracas Breaks Out At APC Secretariat In Rivers

No fewer than two persons were injured yesterday when fracas broke out at the state secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

LEADERSHIP Weekend gathered that the incident occurred after some APC members stormed the party secretariat to protest an alleged diversion of materials to be used in today ward congress.

It was further gathered that items like computers, television and window glasses were destroyed by the angry protesters. Also destroyed were various flags of the party mounted at the front of the secretariat.

Policemen took over the place after the incident to restore calm. 

Some of the bags of rice kept at the party secretariat located on Forces Avenue in Port Harcourt were carried off by the angry members of the party. 

They alleged that the materials were taken to a private hotel located around Marine Base axis of the state capital, where the state party chairman, Ibiamu Davies Ikanya, and other party executives were said to have lodged.

One of the agitators from Etche local government area who identified himself as Kingsley Michael said, “We are here to say no to this aberration as the materials of the party’s ward and state delegate elections are supposed to be in the party secretariat and not in a private hotel room.

“The party’s chairman, secretary and other state executives are not here; they are all in a hotel in Marine Base with all the materials for the delegate elections. That hotel is not the appropriate place for party materials to be; it is supposed to be in the secretariat.”

In his reaction, APC publicity secretary in the state, Chris Finebone, dismissed the claim, saying nobody was hijacking any materials.

Finebone explained that ballot papers were not used as voting materials during congresses and wondered why a group of people would claim that congress materials were hijacked.

He, however, told one of our correspondents that forms were being sold ahead of the ward congress across the state today.

Finebone said, “It is not true that materials were hijacked. The truth is that we don’t use ballot papers for congresses. As I speak with you, forms are already being sold in readiness for the congress tomorrow (today).