Internal wrangling arising from the All Progressives Congress (APC) ward congresses across the country intensified yesterday as party chieftains tussled for control of party structures in their states.
Despite the power play in some states, the exercise has been greeted with commendation by other party chieftains.
The ward congresses which held on Saturday were marred with protests, legal action and killing across the states.
However, in what appears to be a power tussle, critical stakeholders including the minister of Power, Engr Sale Mamman, and Senator Yusuf A Yusuf, are battling hard to reach a compromise on how ward leaders of the APC in Taraba State would emerge.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the congress could not hold on Saturday as scheduled due to the late arrival of members of the Taraba State Congress Committee of the APC from the party headquarters in Abuja.
The source said many stakeholders of the party agreed that ward leaders should emerge through a consensus, but the minister disagreed, insisting on the election of ward executives for the party.
“The minister does not want consensus while other critical stakeholders agree to a consensus arrangement.
“It’s believed that the minister is plotting to install Ibrahim Goje as the next chairman of the party to enable him have full control ahead of the 2023 election and the first move is to dislodge the executives of the party from the ward level.
“The precedent will be that all the party executives will not emerge through consensus.
“The leadership of the party was able to manage the situation as congress would hold where consensus is not agreed. Wukari, Ibi, Takum and Jalingo are flash points where consensus were not reached because stakeholders bought forms for their supporters to contest,” the source said.
Meanwhile, the minister was booed yesterday by suspected party members.
The minister and his security detail were however calm as he walked away amidst negative chants from the youthful crowd.
A spokesperson of the minister said the youths were politically arranged to embarrass the minister.
Barr. Ibrahim Elsudi, the chairman of the party in the state, was not seen at his office in Jalingo to comment on the development. He also did not pick phone calls when contacted.
However, senator representing Nasarawa South at the National Assembly, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, has commended APC stakeholders for initiating the consensus method that brought about peaceful congresses in the state.
Similarly, the speaker, Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Ibrahim Balarabe Abdullahi, expressed satisfaction with the peaceful conduct of APC ward congress in Toto local government as all the new officials emerged through consensus.
Al-Makura gave the commendation after participating in the exercise in his Gayam Electoral Ward, in Lafia the Nasarawa State capital on Saturday.
“APC had some lessons to learn for future congresses and elections especially the adoption of consensus leaders through mutual agreement devoid of rancour and hard feelings among supporters of the party.
“I want to commend Governor Sule and the caretaker committees at both the state and the national levels, for adopting the consensus method, which in my opinion will save the party a lot of time and energy,” he said.
He called on APC members and supporters to remain focused and behave maturely during and after the congresses to give the party a good name.
The speaker, while expressing happiness at the entire process and how all interests across polling units are adequately represented, said the exercise has further demonstrated the unity and strength of the APC.
The speaker, who is the party leader for the congress in Toto local government said the success achieved in the exercise is a clear demonstration of unity and understanding among members and called for its sustenance.
In Delta State, the chairman of APC Ward Congress Committee, Mr Matthew Omegara, said the congresses were conducted peacefully across the 25 local government areas of the state.
Omegara, who stated this while briefing newsmen at the APC state secretariat in Asaba, expressed gratitude to the leaders and members of the party in the state for the peaceful conduct of the congress.
He said: “the congress went smoothly and peaceful. The committee received a report of a free and fair Ward Congress election to bring in new leadership of our great party”.
The state party chairman, Prophet Jones Erue, said: “Our Congresses were peaceful and we have set the pace, showing example to other parts of the country that congresses can be conducted peacefully.
“The peaceful conduct of the Congresses portend victory for the party in 2023,” he said.
On whether he could say there is relative peace among party members, he said; “I don’t know the definition of relative peace because it is a value judgement.
“Even in families, is there relative peace? No perfect peace. You asked me whether there is sustainable peace; is there sustainable peace? The answer is yes. Sustainable peace when injustice is addressed and peace is guaranteed. That is where we have sustainable peace but, anywhere in life, there is no real peace.”
In Adamawa State, chieftain of APC, Shagnah Pwamaddi, has hailed the peaceful conduct consensus across the 226 wards.
Pwamaddi who is also the caretaker legal adviser of the party expressed hope that the party would reclaim its mandate come 2023.
He said the success of the exercise followed the consensus arrangement put in place by the party.The adoption of the method was in line with the counsel of the national secretariat for a smooth and hitch free exercise.
With the agreement, most of the stakeholders at the ward level agreed to the consensus arrangement resulting in the overall success of the exercise.
While appreciating the maturity and understanding of the stakeholders, he said the party has ensured that the exercise was conducted in a free and fair atmosphere, making it to record 70 percent success in terms of participation of stakeholders.
Pwamaddi however advised those that have issues with the consensus method to accept it as politics is about the majority. He added that the majority have agreed with the method and so the exercise stands accepted by the leadership of the party in the state.
APC Ward Congress A Nullity – PDP
However, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said the APC ward congresses amount to a nullity, given the pronouncement of the Supreme Court, which invalidates the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led national executive.
PDP said Governor Buni and other APC leaders deceived Nigerians and cajoled them to participate in the needless exercise, which “ended in violent crisis and avoidable deaths, when they knew it was all in futility.”
The national publicity secretary of PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, said, “It is indeed callous that the leaders of the APC, despite knowing that any process conducted by the Buni-led national executive, whose legal status, in the face of section 183 of the 1999 Constitution and Article 17(4) of the APC constitution, has been queried by the Supreme Court, could extort from their innocent followers and subject them to a fraudulent exercise that is a nullity.
“While Section 183 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) bars a sitting governor from holding any other office while serving as state governor, Article 17(4) of the APC constitution clearly states that ‘no officer in any organ of the party shall hold executive position in government concurrently’.
“The implication is that with Mai Buni as chairman, the APC has no valid national executive and as such any congress or any other statutory process conducted by the APC under this circumstance remains a nullity.
“Our party therefore counsels those who participated in the ridiculous drama called APC ward congress to know that they have been viciously scammed. They should not worsen their situation by allowing the deceptive APC leaders to further set them against one another in bloody clashes for a party that has technically gone defunct.”
The PDP cautioned other members of the APC, who are being cajoled to participate in the local government and state congresses, to be circumspect so that they do not suffer needless losses, scam and harm in an exercise that is certainly going to end in futility. “
PDP added that the situation in the APC is symptomatic of the disgraceful end of a political contraption that was set up and operated on the basis of lies, deceit, falsehood, violence, and disrespect for Nigerians and utter disregard to rules.
The party added that APC, as a party, as well as its government at all levels, are plagued by crisis, confusion and endless bloodletting.
The opposition party further cautioned Nigerians to be wary of their dealings with APC as it has put itself in a situation where it cannot legally stand for election or statutorily participate in our national electoral process.