APC inaugurates 34 state chairmen as Buni stays away
• Kano, Sokoto chapters missing as Ganduje, Shekarau wait
• End of road for Mohammed, Aregbesola, Yari, Akpabio camps
• Gunmen attack Aregbesola’s campaign office in Osogbo
Amid concerns for continued safety of its structures, the All Progressives Congress (APC), yesterday, at the party’s national headquarters in Abuja, inaugurated chairmen of 34 state chapters to run the affairs of the party at the state level.
It would be recalled that parallel congresses, which led to the emergence of parallel state chairmen, trailed the countrywide exercise after the party concluded its membership revalidation.
Also, prior to the swearing-in of state chairmen from states where congresses held, the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the party formally informed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of its readiness to hold a national convention on February 26, 2022.
In the letter, with reference number: APC/NHDQ/INEC/19/022/14, dated February 2, 2022, the APC interim management committee informed INEC that the communication was a follow up to an earlier letter dated, July 11, 2021.
The CECPC had, last year, written in similar fashion to INEC, informing the electoral umpire of its preparedness to organise the national convention, stressing that the step was in line with stipulations in the Electoral Act 2010, as amended, which requires 21 days’ prior notification for the exercise.
Without giving guarantees that there would not be further postponement of the convention, the CECPC told INEC in the letter: “This is to inform the commission that our great party has scheduled to hold its national convention on Saturday February 26, 2022.
“This serves as a formal notification, pursuant to the provisions of Section 85 of the Electoral Act 2010, as amended. Kindly arrange for your officials to monitor the exercise accordingly.”
The letter, which was for the special attention of the Election and Party Monitoring (EPM) department of the commission, was jointly signed by Senator John James Akpanudoedehe (CECPC Secretary) and Governor Mai Mala Buni (CECPC chairman).
Earlier, before the swearing-in, the precincts of the party’s national headquarters at No 40 Blantyre Street, Wuse II, was cordoned off by security personnel, in obvious anticipation of possible protest by aggrieved members of unrecognised factions.
The measure, however, did not deter hundreds of party faithful, who beat the cordon to show solidarity for the recognised chairmen.
The ceremony was devoid of the usual administration of oaths, as the 34 chairmen lined up to display their certificates of return for winning their state congresses.
But Buni stayed away, leaving the burden of inaugurating the state chapters to Akpanudoedehe, who, in turn, merely handed out the certificates to the chairmen.
Buni had met for several hours with members of the CECPC before deciding Akpanudoedehe should represent him.
The CECPC scribe, perhaps out of apprehension, given the tense atmosphere around the secretariat, could not deliver any speech in line with tradition.
Conspicuously missing from the list of state excos that were inaugurated were those of Kano State, where Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje’s faction is at loggerheads with the Senator Ibrahim Shekarau’s faction over control of the party structure.
The Court of Appeal in Abuja is yet to rule on the legality of the chairmanship of Alhaji Haruna Danzago, from Shekarau’s camp, which is being challenged by Prince Abdullahi Abbas of the Ganduje group.
Also missing on the list was that of Sokoto State, even as Anambra and Zamfara States made it at the nick of time.
The Borno State chapter chairman, Mr. Bukar Dalori, who issued a statement on behalf of the chairmen, at the end of the event, expressed gratitude to the members and national leadership of APC for the confidence reposed in them, even as he pledged unalloyed loyalty to the CECPC under Buni’s leadership.
The list of recognised state chairmen are: Kingsley Ononogbu (Abia), Ibrahim Bilal (Adamawa), Augustine Enefiok Ekanem (Akwa Ibom), Basil Ejike (Anambra), Babayo Aliyu Misau (Bauchi), Dennis Otiotio (Bayelsa), Augustine Agada (Benue), Ali Bukar Dalori (Borno), and Alphonsus Orgar Eba (Cross River).
Others are: Omeni Sabotie (Delta), Stanley Okoro Emegha (Ebonyi), David Imuse (Edo), Omotosho Paul Ayodele (Ekiti), Ogochukwu Agballah (Enugu), Nitte K. Amangal (Gombe), Macdonald Ebere (Imo), Aminu Sani Gumel (Jigawa), Emmanuel Jekada (Kaduna), Alhaji Muhammed Sani (Katsina), Abubakar Muhammed Kana (Kebbi) and Abdullahi Bello (Kogi).
Also on the list are: Sunday Adeniran Fagbemi (Kwara), Cornelius Ojelabi (Lagos), John D Mamman (Nasarawa), Haliru Zakari Jikantoro (Niger), Yemi Sanusi (Ogun), Ade Adetimehin (Ondo), Adegboyega Famodun (Osun), Isaac Omodewu (Oyo), Rufus Bature (Plateau), Emeka Bekee (Rivers), Ibrahim Tukur El-Sudi (Taraba), Muhammed A. Gadaka (Yobe), Tukur Umar Danfulani (Zamfara) and Abdulmalik Usman (FCT).
With the development, factional chairmen produced at parallel congresses held by some serving ministers and senators are not recognised by the national secretariat of the party.
The affected include: Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola; Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed; Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio and former Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun.
MEANWHILE, gun-wielding hoodlums, yesterday, attacked Oranmiyan House, the campaign office of Aregbesola in Osogbo, Osun State.
Eyewitnesses said the suspected political thugs stormed the building and started shooting directly into it. The gunmen also shattered the outer glass decor of the building with bullets.
The Guardian correspondent, who visited the four-storey building about 20 minutes after the attack, saw fire fighters making efforts to put out a blaze started by the hoodlums at the front of the building.
The incident was said to have happened around 5:30 p.m., after APC members loyal to Aregbesola ended their weekly meeting.
Public Relations Officer of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Olabisi Atanda, who was at the scene, said: “We have seen the building and the damaged parts. We will investigate the matter.”