The in-fighting among chieftains and bigwigs of the All Progressives Congress (APC) took a deeper crisis dimension yesterday as parallel exercises, violence and boycotts characterised the party’s congresses held across states of the federation.
Some of the states where parallel congresses threw up factions include Osun, Enugu, Ogun, Abia, Kwara, Niger, Lagos and Bauchi, even as the exercise was postponed in Oyo State.
Although the exercise went on without a hitch in some states, party chieftains in some other states like Rivers, Delta, Ekiti, Bayelsa boycotted the exercise.
This followed the frictions that trailed the ward and local government congresses of the party.
Party leaders in opposing camps have been locked in a battle for control of party structures in their states.
Even though loyalists of minister of Transportation, Chibuike Ameachi, defied the heavy downpour in Rivers State to participate in the exercise, the Senator Magnus Abe-led camp boycotted the exercise.
The names of Senator Abe and his loyalists were not on the delegates’ list for the ongoing state congress of the APC in Rivers State.
Some prominent loyalists of the former Senator whose names were not on the delegates’ list were former Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Otelemaba Amachree and former Majority Leader of the House, Golden Ben Chioma.
LEADERSHIP Weekend learnt that Abe and his loyalists did not participate in the nationwide membership registration and revalidation exercise of the party in the state.
It was also learnt that the senator’s loyalists allegedly boycotted the ward and local government congresses earlier held by the APC in the state.
However, some statutory delegates, including Senator Wilson Ake and former member of the House of Representatives, Hon Chidi Wihioka, as well as former Majority Leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Golden Ben Chioma, were absent even though their names were on the delegates’ list.
Speaking with journalists shortly after casting his votes, the minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said the incoming state executive committee of the party should be prepared to face the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
An APC stalwart, Dr Dakuku Peterside, however, said the party is ready to take over Rivers governorship come 2023.
Peterside stated this following what he described as successful conduct of the party’s state congress election and constitution of a new executive.
He commended members of the party for their patience, commitment and determination to right the wrongs of the past and chart a new way forward.
He said, “I must commend members of our party for their unquestionable determination to take all the right steps since the conduct of ward and local government congresses.
“Despite the seeming challenges, our party members have remained steadfast under the leadership of Rt Hon Chibuike Amaechi and have weathered the storm.”
In Bauchi, two APC state chairmen emerged after the congress held in the state yesterday.
Hon Babayo Aliyu Misau and Sunusi Aliyu Kunde, both from Misau local government area, were elected as factional leaders of the party in the state.
The emergence of the two parallel leadership followed some political gobbledygook and dissatisfaction from some aggrieved members who were not happy with the initial arrangement.
LEADERSHIP Sunday learnt that the initial arrangements among some party stalwart were to concede for Babayo Aliyu Misau who is seen to have gotten Adamu Adamu’ blessings to vie for the position.
Babayo, it appears, also has the backing of the immediate past Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara.
Lagos State chapter of the APC held parallel congresses across the state, with the three factions in the party having separate congresses.
This is just as the Lagos state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) postponed its congress.
The PDP postponed its congress as a result of the sporadic gunshots outside the venue of the congress, slated for Tafawa Balewa Square.
The inability of members of the party to agree on a consensus candidate contributed to the postponement.
However, a group led by the immediate past governor of the state Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, under the aegis of Akinwunmi Ambode Campaign Organization (AMCO) had their congress at the Baptist Academy Secondary, Obanikoro, Lagos, while another group called Lagos for Lagos had their congress at Airport Hotel, Ikeja. The group is being led by Jide Adeniran popularly known as Jandor.
The congress attended by the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, was held at Onikan Stadium where Cornelius Ojelabi was presented as the consensus candidate for the chairmanship position.
The congress organised by Ambode supporters produced Mrs Beatrice Omotayo Tugbobo as party chairman, while Barrister Wasiu Adeyemi Sulaimon emerged as the state legal adviser; they were the sole candidates that stood for election.
In Oyo, the national leadership of APC suspended the congress in the state due to forgery of documents meant for the exercise.
Yobe State governor and chairman, Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, Mai Mala Buni, gave the order to suspend the exercise in a statement signed yesterday by the party’s national secretary, Sen. John James Akpanudoedehe.
He said the suspension became necessary to ensure credibility of the process leading to the emergence of new leaders in Oyo State.
“It has become 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 national chairman has, however, ordered the Oyo state Congress Committee to return to the National Secretariat for further briefing,” the statement noted.
In Osun, Prince Adegboyega Famodun was returned as the state chairman of the APC, while Hon. Rasaq Salinsile emerged as chairman in a parallel congress organised by the Osun Progressives, a splinter group loyal to the minister of Interior and former governor of the state, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) monitored and supervised by the APC national secretariat committee delegates’ congress held at the Osogbo Township Stadium, even as the congress was massively witnessed by members at Ogo-Oluwa, Osogbo.
At the delegates congress, Tajudeen Lawal emerged as the party’s deputy chairman, Alhaja Kudirat Fakokunde, Women Leader, Akinwemimo Adegoke,Youth Leader and Alao Kamar Olabisi, state secretary.
Speaking at the delegates’ congress, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, charged the party executives in the state to ensure a reconciliatory process that will guarantee the unity and strength that the party is known for.
Also announcing the results of the congress, the chairman of the National Committee on the Osun state congress, Hon. Gbenga Elegbeleye, who read out Article 20 of the party’s constitution to the delegates said voice vote was adopted because of the population of the accredited delegates, which totalled 1,840.
In Kwara, a long standing political ally of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, Prince Sunday Fagbemi, emerged the new chairman of APC in the state.
Fagbemi succeeded Alhaji Abdullahi Samari who held sway as the caretaker committee chairman of the party despite resistance from the APC members loyal to the minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
However, another parallel congress organised by the minister’s loyalists produced Bashir Bolarinwa as factional APC chairman in the state.
But both the minister and Bolarinwa were conspicuously absent at the venue of the factional congress.
The mainstream APC congress that produced Fagbemi was supervised by officials sent from the party’s national secretariat, Abuja, led by Prof Emmanuel Dandaura.
It was also graced by officials of INEC, while Governor AbdulRazaq led the pack of party’s stalwarts that attended the state congress.
At the minister’s loyalists’ congress, no APC and INEC officials were present.
In Abia, chairman of the APC congress committee for then state, Kolawole Babatunda, described members of the party who organised a parallel congress in the state were on a picnic.
Babatunde who stated this when he spoke with journalists after the congress in Umuahia, the state capital, added that “such members will be sanctioned for contravening the guidelines for the exercise no matter who they are.”
The chairman of the 7-member committee, who had in his opening remarks assured the candidates of a plain playing field, described the exercise as transparent, free, and fair in line with the party’s disposition.
He commended the members for not only trooping out en masse for the exercise, but also for their peaceful and orderly conduct, adding that it would go down as one of the best across the country.
As of press time, members of the party loyal to the out-gone caretaker committee chairman, Donatus Nwankpa, were voting in their own congress where Acho Obioma is the consensus candidate.
Earlier, delegates from Ukwa federal constituency led by Hon Sylvanus Nwaji had pulled out from the congress under the supervision of Alhaji Aliyu Ugbene, citing their being denied the deputy chairmanship seat.
The Enugu State chapter of APC held multiple state congresses at different venues in the state.
As of the time of filing this report, the congress at the state secretariat of the party at Park Avenue, GRA Enugu, was still ongoing and the delegates were still casting their votes.
The congress was supervised by members of the Enugu State congress committee led by Akania Jonathan. They were sent by the national secretariat of the party in Abuja.
Another congress was conducted outside the state secretariat and supervised by a committee led by Dr Ijeomah Arodiogbu.
It was gathered that the faction recorded a near 100 per cent consensus arrangement for almost all the positions apart from the chairmanship position which was won by Chief Ugo Agballah.
However, Group Capt Orji was absent during the event.
It was alleged that Agballah’s victory came against serious opposition by former Senate President, Ken Nnamani and former Enugu State Governor, Barr Sullivan Chime.
Both stalwarts, it was learnt, threw their weight behind Group Capt Orji but during the congress, more than 95 per cent of the delegates queued behind Agballah, including delegates believed to earlier be rooting for other aspirants.
The returning officer of the congress, Dr Ijeoma Arodiogbu, expressed satisfaction with the process.
As of the time of filing this report, another congress was going on at a venue yet to be identified.
In Ogun State, the ‘Wale Ohu-led APC state congress electoral committee declared Chief Yemi Sanusi as the elected party chairman of the state.
However, gunmen suspected to be political thugs invaded the Ake Palace Pavilion, venue of the parallel state congress organised by APC members loyal to the former governor of the state and Senator representing Ogun Central senatorial district of the state, Ibikunle Amosun.
At the APC state congress held at the main bowl of the M.K.O. Abiola International Stadium, Abeokuta, chairman of the party’s 7-man state congress committee, Ohu, announced that Aderibigbe Tella emerged secretary of the party through a consensus mode of election that witnessed 1, 730 delegates participating from the 236 Wards.
Meanwhile, heavy gunshots on two occasions greeted the parallel State Congress organised by APC members loyal to Senator Amosun at the event held at the Ake Palace Pavilion, Abeokuta, the state capital.
The first disruption came shortly after security operatives, who had earlier sealed off the Pavilion, allowed Amosun’s loyalists into the premises after an alleged “order from the above”.
Caught in the melee included the current minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc Olamilekan Adegbite; the Senator representing Ogun West Senatorial district, Tolu Odebiyi and the governorship candidate of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) in the 2019 election in the state, Adekunle Akinlade.
The development left party faithful who had thronged the venue in their hundreds to scamper for safety, even as the police struggled to restore normalcy.
The second gunshots witnessed at the venue occurred after a man who identified himself as Honourable Gbenga Opaleye and claimed to be the chairman appointed by the APC’s national secretariat to monitor the congress in Ogun State announced winners of the parallel party congress.
At the end of the crisis, several vehicles were destroyed, while some party faithfuls also sustained varying degrees of injuries.
Yobe State chapter of the APC yesterday held a hitch-free congress with the state Treasurer of the party, Alhaji Mohammed Gadaka, emerging the consensus candidate for state chairman of the party.
Gadaka is a confidant of the governor and his choice could not meet resistance from any quarter.
In Adamawa, the chairman, congress committee of the APC for the state, Prof. Umar Adam, said no court injunction stopped the congress in the state.
The chairman who stated this at the venue of the congress at the
Lamido Cinema said “It is not true; there is no court order stopping today’s congress. As you can see, all the seven members of the committee are on ground, and the electoral materials are already here.”
He said INEC officials had already arrived in the venue and the congress was smoothly going on.
Meanwhile, 2,614 delegates voted at PDP’s congress In Adamawa.
The Mahmud Ribadu square, venue of the congress, was full to capacity as delegates cast their votes. The congresses started as early as 8:00am amidst heavy security operatives drafted at the venue and strategic locations in the state.
In Delta State, the faction led by Festus Keyamo, minister of State for Niger Delta, and other members of APC in Delta were absent at the state congress yesterday.
Chief Omeni Sobotie (Delta Central) and Nick Ovuakporie (Delta South) emerged as the state chairman and secretary respectively after the consensus agreement.
Others who were absent at the Congress include Chief Great Ogboru, Marian Ali, Cairo Ojougboh, Victor Ochei, Eughene Okolocha, Terry Okorodudu and others.
Sobotie who two aspirants stepped down for promised to take the party to greater heights, reconcile all aggrieved members, and make sure everybody is carried along in the scheme of things in order to take over the government in 2023.
Keyamo’s absence may not be unconnected with their failure to upturn the congresses by camp of Ovie Omo-Agege, deputy Senate president, as their plot suffered a major setback at a State High Court, Asaba on Friday.
Leaders of APC in Delta State, including Keyamo, distanced themselves from the exercise.
In Niger State, there was a parallel congress. The congress attended by the Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Sani Bello, adopted Haliru Jikantoro as chairman through consensus, but some dissenting members held a parallel congress and adopted Nasiru Yusuf Ubandiya as chairman.
However, Alhaji Ahmed Wambai, chairman, congress committee, said, “Today we are gathered here to domesticate the Niger APC congress; the national caretaker committee appointed us to conduct the Niger APC congress.
“Any parallel congress in Niger is illegal. We are the legitimate body appointed to conduct the Niger APC state congress”.
He explained that the party’s constitution recognises election, affirmation or consensus for state congresses.
“We learnt that APC members in Niger settled for consensus candidates as their new party leaders and that is what we adopted,” he added.
In his remarks, Governor Sani-Bello of Niger thanked the party members for coming up with the consensus idea in order to avoid rancour.
In Jigawa, Aminu Sani Gumel emerged the new APC chairman in the state at the exercise which was held at Malam Aminu Kano Triangle Dutse.
Hon Aminu and other party state executives emerged through consensus and affirmed by the delegates during the congress.
In Gombe State, 36 members of the state executives were elected through voice affirmation of 712 delegates.
The election was held through consensus at the Pantami Stadium with top party stalwarts present at the venue.
The committee chairman for the conduct of congresses in Gombe State, Danjuma Dabo, said due screening was done to ensure credibility in the process as mandated by the party at the national level.
Dabo explained that 784 delegates were expected for the congress but 712 delegates were screened and duly accredited for the process.
On his part, Gov Inuwa Yahaya commended the committee and members of his party for the peaceful congresses throughout the exercise.
The APC in Nasarawa State elected John Mamman, its immediate-past chairman, as the new chairman of the party yesterday.
Mamman, alongside other 35 officials, was elected through consensus by delegates and stakeholders of the party in the state.
Speaking at the venue of the election on Saturday in Lafia, Abdullahi Garba-Abbas, chairman of the State congress, commended the stakeholders for making the aspirants resolve their differences amicably.
Also speaking, Governor Abdullahi Sule expressed gratitude to all the national and state house of Assembly members and other stakeholders of the party for their cooperation and support.
In Cross River, former director-general, Due Process, Alphonsus Ogar, emerged the new state party chairman of APC in the state, while Mr. Eka Williams from the central senatorial district emerged as state deputy chairman of the party.
The APC in Borno State returned all the 36 members of the outgoing state executive retained for a second The election conducted through affirmation was led by the chairman of the congress committee for Borno, Alhaji Uba Maigari.
The 36 members of APC executive in Ekiti State were elected through consensus process yesterday.
The congress was supervised by a 6-member national congress committee chaired by Alhaji Yusuf Galambi and officials of INEC in the state.
The state party chairman, Hon. Paul Omotoso and his deputy, Sola Elesin were returned in the election conducted through voice votes.
Though there were no parallel congress conducted, leaders and members of the pro-Tinubu loyalists called South West Agenda for 2023 were conspicuously absent at the congress held at the Ekiti Parapo Pavilion in Ado Ekiti, the state capital.
Governor Kayode Fayemi, after the election, urged the Omotoso-led state executive to work hard and unify the party ahead of the June 18, 2022 governorship poll.
The APC state congress in Katsina State was delayed for hours because of failure to arrive at a consensus candidate.
However, Gidado Sabo and Yahaya Nuhu Mahuta announced their withdrawal from the contest after a consensus arrangement was made by the stakeholders’ meeting.
In the congress which commenced by 4:05pm yesterday, party loyalists unanimously affirmed Sani Ahmed as the new state chairman of the party with other members of the executive.
Addressing the new executive, Governor Aminu Bello Masari thanked the national team sent to the state-led by Ali Kumu and all other members of the party for the peaceful conduct of the wards, local government and state congresses conducted.
Although the APC congress in Bayelsa State was peaceful, the faction of the party led by former minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, boycotted the exercise, citing the subsisting injunction before the Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State as reason.
However, Barr Dennis Otiotio emerged state chairman of the party.
The congress was held at the state party secretariat located along the Mbiama/Yenagoa Road.
Major stakeholders at the event were Senator Degi Eremienyo, two members of the Federal House of Representative, Hon. Isreal Sunny-Goli and Hon. Preye Influence Oseke.
However, the leader of the Party in the state and minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, was absent for unexplained reasons.
Chairman of the 7-man State Congress Committee, DCP Yusuf Aurelius Adejo (Rtd), described the conduct of the state congress as a family affair and was peaceful.
LEADERSHIP Sunday however observed that at the factional secretariat of the APC located at the Dimrose junction, there was no parallel congress being held as planned.
In Ebonyi, the state governor, David Umahi, said that there was no division in APC in the state as speculated in some quarters.
Umahi stated this at the Pa Ngele Orunta Township Staduim Abakaliki during the APC State Congress.
In Edo, the state chapter of APC yesterday averted the conduct of parallel congresses, as protracted meetings with aggrieved members finally paid off.
The meeting led to a consensus arrangement that returned majority members of the old party executives to their positions.
Addressing party delegates earlier, chairman of the congress committee for Edo State, Alhaji Ahmed Tijani Ramalan, said their mandate was to conduct a free and fair state congress to elect a state executives to run the party for the next four years and urged them to put the party first, stressing that the primary task is to return the party to power in Edo State.
In Plateau, Rufus Bature emerged the chairman of APC. He was presented as a consensus candidate by Plateau North APC Stakeholders.
APC had zoned the state chairmanship position to Plateau North Senatorial zone.