Despite the friction that trailed the exercise yesterday, most state chapters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) adopted a consensus candidacy arrangement for the ward congresses.
This is in spite of the conduct of parallel congresses and protests in states like Osun, Ogun and Kogi.
In Yobe State, LEADERSHIP Sunday learnt that peaceful congresses were conducted in line with the party’s guidelines.
Speaking with journalists in Damaturu during the congress yesterday, the state party chairman Adamu Chilariye, said consensus was adopted and there was full adherence to constituted authorities of the party.
He debunked claims that Governor Mai Mala Buni hijacked the congress.
“It is not true that the process was hijacked by the governor, senators or government officials,” he said.
In Plateau, Enoch Famak, the state acting chairman of the APC, said the party’s ward congresses in the state went on smoothly.
Famak said in an interview with journalists in Jos: “With the reports I have received so far, I can authoritatively tell you that the congresses are smooth.”
Also, minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama and former Enugu State governor, Sullivan Chime, applauded the peaceful conduct of the congress in the state.
Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, allayed fears that the congresses held in the country would be declared a nullity if the judgement by the Supreme Court against the party was anything to go by.
Ganduje made the disclosure in his remarks shortly after the congress held at his Ganduje town in Dawakin Tofa local government area and throughout the 444 wards in the state.
He said, “The Supreme Court judgement has to do with the National Caretaker Committee and what we have here is an Extra Ordinary Committee on Convention of the party.”
The congress in Abia State witnessed a large turnout of the members just as they described it as free, fair and transparent.
At most polling stations, the members started arriving shortly after the end of the state monthly environmental sanitation exercise which lasted from 9am to 11 am.
Members of the APC in Rivers State yesterday participated in the ward congress of the party in the 23 local government areas of the state.
LEADERSHIP Sunday observed that delegates of the party met at their various wards to elect new executives of APC as stipulated in the party’s constitution.
Our Correspondent, who monitored the exercise in Port Harcourt City and Abua/Odual local government areas of the state, said the exercise was peaceful.
The exercise went on successfully in Imo State as party loyalists came out to vote for candidates of their choice. This is shortly after the distribution of electoral materials to the various wards in the state.
The director-general, APC media centre, Cajethan Duke, told newsmen that the distribution of materials was hitch-free and were dispatched to various wards for the exercise.
Our correspondent who monitored the congress said on arrival at Mgbuisii ward in Ohaji/Egbema LGA, party faithful were seen voting to elect candidates.
New party ward executives were yesterday elected across the 192 wards in Edo State through consensus.
A visit to some of the wards in Benin showed party members affirming the ward executives after their names were read out during the congress.
In Kwara State, the APC adopted consensus arrangement in picking its leaders at the ward congresses held in the 193 wards across the state.
The state governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, had recommended the consensus option to the party’s stakeholders to further foster peace and unity amongst party members in the state.
The exercise which attracted large turnout of the party faithful in many centres visited by LEADERSHIP Sunday saw APC members participating in the exercise under a peaceful atmosphere.
LEADERSHIP Sunday observed that representatives of the APC national caretaker committee witnessed the exercise in various centres across the state. Contrary to expectations there were no parallel congresses in the state.
Stakeholders in Gudi ward of Akwanga local government area of Nasarawa State where Governor Sule comes from affirmed newly elected ward executives under signaling the commencement of the party’s ward congresses in the state.
Chairman of the state ward congress committee, Abdullahi Garba Abbas, supervised the affirmation of the Gudi electoral ward new executives.
The APC ward congress went on smoothly in Niger State except in some areas in Paiikoro local government area.
It was also observed that in most wards most delegates and party executives were elected based on consensus.
Protesters besieged the APC secretariat along Ikot Ekpene Road, Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, seeking the cancellation of the ward congress, alleging that the National Caretaker Secretary, Senator John Udoedehe, had fraudulently manipulated the list to include only his loyalists as candidates for the ward and chapter congresses.
Police Barricade Secretariat In Delta, Kayemo Faction Abandons Venue
Police yesterday took over the premises of the APC state Secretariat in Asaba, Delta State.
It was not unconnected with the party congress. Over five police Hilux and Sienna vehicles were stationed in front of the secretariat while over 100 youths from different parts of the state numbering over 100 were seen around the secretariat.
One of the security men confided that security was tight because members of the three-man committee sent to Delta State for the conduct of APC ward congress were almost lynched to death by aggrieved aspirants, as they were saved by some party members.
The aggrieved aspirants gathered at the secretariat lamenting that they were not given forms even after presenting their payment tellers for the collection of forms indicating that the forms had been rustled. APC Ward Congress ln Delta, Nationwide Heart-Warming – Omo Agege
Court Action Stops Bayelsa Congress
The Bayelsa State chapter of the APC postponed its ward congress following the injunction by the State High Court.
According to Alabo Martins, the Caretaker Secretary of the faction loyal to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, all party members should remain calm and united as the party is taking proactive steps to address the court injunction stopping the congress.
Parallel Congresses In Ogun, Osun, Kogi
The Ogun and Osun states chapters held parallel congresses to elect party leaders.
In Ogun State while the Chief Yemi Sanusi led APC Caretaker Committee organised theirs to pick the party leaders as directed by the national headquarters of the party, a group allegedly loyal to the former governor of the state and senator representing Ogun Central, Ibikunle Amosun and led by Chief Derin Adebiyi, also conducted their own separately from the exercise organized by that of Sanusi led State Executive Committee (SEC).
LEADERSHIP Sunday correspondent who monitored the exercise in Ogun State observed that the parallel congresses which simultaneously commenced around 9a.m across the state, held in a distance of about 200 meters away from each other.
In Osun the chairman of the Committee, Gbenga Elegbeleye who supervised the congress expressed delight at the way and manner the members of the party conducted themselves.
Elegbeleye said it was worthy of note that the entire process had been seen, observed and adjudged to be peaceful, orderly and in line with the party’s principles and guidelines.
However, a faction of the party loyal to the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola went ahead to conduct election via direct primary option and affirmation in their strongholds against the party directive that adopted consensus candidature.
There was a crisis in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ijumu local government area of Kogi State as the council boss in the area, Alhaji Taofiq Isa, allegedly conducted parallel Ward Congress.
It was gathered that some party stakeholders including the state commissioner for Environment, Chief Victor Omofaiye, member representing Ijumu Constituency, Hon. Kilani Olumo, among others were present at Iyara, the headquarters of Ijumu Local Government to elect new Ward officials through affirmation but it was allegedly hijacked by the Ijumu council boss to another venue.
Speaking to journalists, the Kogi State commissioner for Environment, Chief Victor Omofaiye, who confirmed this on Saturday evening, noted that, the Ijumu Local Government Chairman, Alhaji Taofiq Isa hijacked the forms for the Congress and failed to show up at the agreed venue for the exercise.
Benue Still Screening
In Benue State our correspondent gathered from the APC spokesman James Ornguga that voting proper would commence today at the local government headquarters and wards after the screening yesterday.
3 Dead In Ekiti, Ebonyi
One person was feared dead and several others injured in the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti state ward congress held on Saturday in Ekiti state which turned bloody.
One Jide was reported to have been stabbed to death following the violence that erupted in Ado ward 10.
A source at the popular Fajuyi pavilion where the ward 10 congress was held said, ” After the congress was concluded, the boys who are on drugs had a disagreement among themselves and before you know it, it turned to be a free for all fight.
“Jide was stabbed and rushed to the General Hospital where he was confirmed dead. This is unfortunate and uncalled for, because it is a mere ward congress.”
It was gathered that APC members loyal to Governor Kayode Fayemi wanted consensus arrangement across the 177 wards of the state, while the move was rejected by members of the South West Agenda 2023 (SWAGA) who insisted on direct election.
The seven-man Ward Congress Committee dispatched to Ekiti State by the APC opted for a direct mode of election where consensus agreement failed among contenders.
Also, two people were feared dead when about 10 gunmen yesterday around 6:00pm attacked members and supporters of the All Progressive Congress at Ugwuachara Primary School Abakaliki during the ward congress in the state.
Leadership Sunday gathered that the gunmen who stormed the venue of the congress in a black Hiace bus with tinted glass and a saloon car started shooting sporadically which prompted members of the party to scamper for safety.
According to an eyewitness who spoke to Leadership Sunday on grounds of anonymity the heavy gunshots disrupted the peaceful congress as many of the voters ran home when a gun battle ensued between members of the Ebube Agu Security Network and the gunmen.
He said the gunmen were confronted by men of the Ebube Agu Security Network and as the heavy gun battle raged the gunmen entered their vehicles and drove out while Ebube Agu operatives pursued them.
AGF Faults Keyamo, Others Over S’Court Judgment On Buni
Meanwhile, the attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), has faulted the view of the minister of labour and employment, Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN), on the Supreme Court judgement that upheld the election of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State.
In a majority judgement, the apex court dismissed the election of Mr. Eyitayo Jegede of the PDP on the ground that he failed to join the Caretaker Committee chairman of the APC in his petition at the tribunal.
In defending minority decision of the court, Keyamo warned his party to do the right thing by removing Gov. Buni as the chairman to avoid flood gate of litigations against the party.
But the AGF on his part said Keyamo’s view was not the position of the law.
He said, ”Therefore, it is shocking that the interpretation of Section 183 of the 1999 Constitution, in light of the above-quoted decision of the Supreme Court, could be stretched in some quarters to state that chairmanship of an ad-hoc committee duly constituted by the National Executive Committee of a registered political party (by a registered member of the Party) could constitute paid employment or an executive position as envisaged under Section 183 of the Constitution.
”It remains to be seen how a governor functioning in an ad-hoc capacity as mandated/delegated by his political party can be construed as ‘’holding any executive office or paid employment’’ as envisaged by the drafters of our Constitution.
”To further show the meritless nature of the position under review, assuming without conceding that the argument is right, then, it will equally be contrary to the spirit and intent of Section 183 of the Constitution for any sitting Governor to be Chairman of say the Governors’ Forum, Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum, or any other similar body. This, in my humble view can definitely not be the intention of the drafters of the 1999 Constitution.
”Available information on the instant proceedings is to the effect that at the Tribunal hearings, the Principal Witness of the Party- Mr. Dare Oketade Esq, who is the Director Legal Services of the APC was thoroughly Cross- Examined by Chief Onyechi Ikpeazu SAN of Counsel to the PDP, and Mr. Oketade duly informed the Court affirmatively that H.E, Gov Mai Mala Buni was not drawing salary from the Party; was never occupying the Office of the National Chairman of the Party, and that he only functions in an ad-hoc or caretaker capacity.
”The appointment of Gov. Mala Buni in the circumstances is not irregular and the possibility of any member of the Party to be so appointed is in compliance with the APC Constitution which empowers the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Party to appoint any Member into any Committee, give such Committee any name and empower it as the NEC may deem fit.
”The foregoing said, needless to state that the determination of the propriety or otherwise of H.E., Mai Mala Buni to function as Chairman of the Party’s CECPC in his capacity as a Member of the Party and Executive Governor of Yobe State, or whether such dual-responsibility amounts to occupying an executive position or paid employment as envisaged under Section 183 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) is a matter which will have to be specifically submitted to the Court, for proper adjudication before a firm position of the Law can be arrived at in respect thereof.
”However, it remains to be seen how the Court will hold that an ad-hoc caretaker committee chairman exercising the powers of, and subject to the supervision and control of NEC and the Convention of his Party, is occupying an executive position.
”It is trite that Case Law (or judicial precedent) operates under the principle of stare decisis to the effect that the Court must follow and apply the Law as set out in the decisions of higher Courts in previous cases. The principle is not inviolable as it is only applicable to the specific stare decisis and not any orbiter dictum in the case. Importantly, a case is also only a judicial precedent for a subsequent case where the facts and circumstances are similar, to avoid a situation where the Court will perpetuate injustice.”