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Echoes from APC state congresses

By Anietie Akpan, Calabar; Ayoyinka Jegede, Uyo; Isa Abdulsalami Ahovi, Jos; Njadvara Musa, Maiduguri; Timothy Agbor, Osogbo; Joseph Wantu, Makurdi; Ahmadu Baba Idris, Birnin Kebbi; Bala Yahaya, Minna; Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri; Inemesit Akpan-Nsoh, Uyo; Saxone Akhaine, Kaduna and Gordi Udeajah, Umuahia
22 October 2021   |   3:08 am
Series of controversies that trailed the nationwide state congresses of All Progressives Congress (APC), held last Saturday were not unexpected because the outcome of its local council congresses

[FILES] APC Congress. Photo/FACEBOOK/ jidesanwooluofficial

Party declares parallel congresses futile exercise

Series of controversies that trailed the nationwide state congresses of All Progressives Congress (APC), held last Saturday were not unexpected because the outcome of its local council congresses had deepened internal wrangling among party leaders.

Efforts by the party to reconcile aggrieved members after the crisis-laden council congress did not produce desired results. Few state chapters of the party had peaceful congresses while most states had parallel congresses.

ENUGU STATE
THE emergence of the ex-deputy state chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Enugu state, Chief Adolphus Ude and former Commissioner for Works in the state, Chief Ugochukwu Agballah from parallel congresses has deepened the crisis rocking the party in the state.

Before now, the party had been torn into two with State Caretaker Committee Chairman, Dr Ben Nwoye leading a faction and the trio of former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, ex-governor Sullivan Chime and Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffery Onyeama leading another group.

Before the congress, however, Nnamani and Chime had disagreed with the choice of Agballah, allegedly being sponsored by the Minister for the party’s number one position in the state. They had preferred the ex-military administrator, Group Capt. Joe Orji, leading to their absence at their agreed venue for the election.

But Ude emerged after defeating two other opponents in a secret ballot that strayed into the night at the secretariat of the party in Enugu. He polled a total of 782 out of the 1300 votes cast to defeat Dr Charles Chukwu who secured 202 votes and Chief Benson Eze who came third with 142 votes.

Agballah, who is a new entrant to the party, however, emerged through Option A4 at the Destiny Events, garnering 684 votes against Group Capt Joe Orji (rtd) who was not at the venue and secured no votes as well as Peter Omeje, who secured four votes.

However, while Ude emerged with nine other members of the state executive, Agballah emerged without any state executive member.

Agballah’s emergence had earlier been opposed by former Senate President, Ken Nnamani and ex-governor, Sullivan Chime, on the allegation that he was not known to the party. It is believed that he rode on the sponsorship of Onyeama.

Chairman of the state congress committee, Jonathan Akaya, while declaring Ude as the winner, said he was satisfied with the process, adding that he met the requirements for the election.

CROSS RIVER STATE
BARELY five months after Cross River State governor, Senator Ben Ayade dumped Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for All Progressives Congress (APC) the ruling party is now embroiled in a fresh crisis.
 
The just-concluded state congress of the party did not only tear the leaders apart but produced two parallel executives.

A congress, which was held at the Brigadier U. J. Esuene stadium with Ayade, had former Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndom-Egba, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, Senator John Owan Enoh, the Minister of State for Power, Mr. Jeddy Agba, top party stalwarts and a large number of delegates. It attendance produced the Governor’s former Aide, Mr. Alphonsus Eba otherwise known as Okadigbo as the new APC state chairman. Mr. Eka Williams, from the central senatorial district, emerged as state deputy chairman of the party.

On the other hand, the other faction was said to have held a parallel congress at the party’s secretariat along Marian road, Mr. Egbeji John Jallo and Chief Francis Ekpenyong were said to have emerged as Chairman and Secretary respectively. A video circulating and made available to The Guardian only featured Jallo who declared himself as APC state chairman with no crowd of delegates around him.
 
In his post-election speech, Eba pledged not to betray the confidence reposed in him by the party members, disclosing that he was a political orphan with no one to speak for him until Ayade, who he described as his political father came and liberated him.

PLATEAU STATE

FORMER Secretary to the Government of Plateau State, Mr Rufus Bature, has emerged as the chairman of APC in the state. He emerged victorious through consensus.

Fidelis Longbam emerged state secretary, while 33 others were also returned unchallenged.

A member representing Jos North-North in the State House of Assembly, Baba Hassan, moved a motion for the adoption of the officials, it was seconded and were all adopted and deemed duly elected.

Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Idris Wase, Senator representing Plateau Central, Hezekiah Dimka and others graced the event.

BORNO STATE

THE Borno State chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC) has returned its 36-member state executive members of the party.

While affirming the “voice vote election,” the Congressional Committee Chairman of the party, Uba Maigari, disclosed that the delegates affirmed all the elective positions.

Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Abdulkarim Lawan moved the motion for the voice affirmation and it was seconded by his deputy, Abdullahi Askira.

According to him, the State’s Executive members are to serve the party for the next four years. He also commended the “maturity and unity” of the delegates drawn from the 27 Local Government Areas of the state.

Governor Babagana Zulum, in his brief remarks, called for sustained unity and peace saying, “This administration would continue to work towards a united and peaceful party to serve the people at the grassroots,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of re-elected leaders, the new chairman, Alhaji Ali Dalori thanked the elected party officials for the confidence reposed in them.

OSUN STATE
PARALLEL congresses were held to elect new leadership ofa the party in Osun State. Loyalists of Governor Gboyega Oyetola and his predecessor, Rauf Aregbesola, held separate congresses.

Gbenga Elegbeleye, the Chairman, National Congress Committee of the party, supervised the one conducted by the Ilerioluwa Group loyal to Oyetola. Also, the other faction, The Osun Progressives, loyal to Aregbesola, now Minister of Internal Affairs, comprising mainly those who served in his cabinet, conducted its own congress at another venue in the town.

The Ilerioluwa Group held its congress at the Osogbo City Stadium, where Gboyega Famodun was re-elected as state chairman of the party. Alhaji Tajudeen Lawal was elected as the deputy chairman, while Alao Olabisi was elected as the secretary, among other executives.

In his remarks, Oyetola commended the congress committee for conducting a transparent and successful exercise and congratulated the new executive members of the party.

BUT for the Osun Progressives group, the immediate past Secretary of APC in the state, Alhaji Rasaq Salinsile, was elected chairman at a well-attended parallel congress.

As early as 7 am, members of the party in the state numbering around 10,000 gathered at the open field at Ogooluwa Area of the state capital Osogbo, to participate in the congress.

The faction’s chairman was elected from Iwo Local Government alongside the former Commissioner for Information and Strategy in the state, Adelani Baderinwa, from Ifelodun Local Government area, who emerged as the new Secretary, while Comrade Abosede Oluwaseun, from Boluwaduro local government, was elected as the state Youth Leader.

Alhaji Salinsile and 33 others were elected using a direct primary mode of election as stipulated in the party guideline.

The guideline states that where consensus is not possible, a direct primary mode of electing candidates should be adopted.

Other state party executives who emerged from that faction include; Alh. Azeez Adesiji, from Ilesa West who was elected Deputy Chairman; while Hon. Biyi Odunlade, from Ife Central Local Government, Hon. Wasiu Adebayo from Olorunda Local Government and Hon. Olayemi J. Olatunde from Ede North Local government was elected as Vice Chairman East, Central and West respectively.

In his acceptance speech, the factional chairman, Alhaji Razak Salinsile, extended an olive branch to those who have gone astray from the progressive ideals, promising to reposition the party for victory in the coming elections.

BENUE STATE
A chieftain of All Progressives Congress, Mr Austin Agada on Sunday emerged as the State Chairman of the party in Benue State.

Agada polled 1,385 votes out of a total vote cast by 1,500 delegates even as his opponent, Mr Omale Omale boycotted the election.

Declaring the results, the chairman of the Electoral Committee, Mr Abubakar Mohammed said that out of the 36 positions it was only the position of the chairman that had two contestants while the rest were unopposed.

Mohammed said the election was hitch-free and credible, adding that the party is set to win the 2023 governorship election.

KEBBI STATE
KEBBI State chapter of All Progressives Congress conducted had rancour-free congress where new executive members emerged through consensus.

The election, held on Saturday at the Haliru Audi Stadium Birnin Kebbi produced Alhaji Abubakar Kana-Zuru as chairman.

The Chairman, APC congress Election Committee for Kebbi State, Mr Osita Okechukwu said all the 36 positions were unopposed.

Sen. Bala Ibn Na’Allah, who is the Chairman, state Main Committee of the party, also commended the leaders for their foresight and untiring efforts in making sure that disagreement among some aggrieved members was resolved.

In his acceptance speech, Kana-Zuru assured members of his commitment to serve the party diligently and selflessly devoid of disloyalty and disobedience to the constitution of the party.

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, commended Governor Atiku Bagudu for sustaining peace and development in the state, despite security challenges in the country.

In his remarks, Bagudu, apologised to members who were wronged in one way or the other, saying that the electoral processes were without rancor and bad feelings. He said, “It is not my intention to hurt or offend other members of the party, and it is not my intention to send anyone out of the party we had suffered so much to build and sustain.”

NIGER STATE
TWO factional chairmen emerged after parallel congresses in Niger State.

The congress that produced Hon. Haliru Zakari Jikantoro took place at Justice Idris Legbo Kutigu Conference Centre, Minna while Hon. Nasiru Yusuf Ubandiya emerged as the chairman of the other congress.

The parallel congresses were a result of disagreement by aggrieved members who were not comfortable with the initial consensus arrangement.

Speaking after Jikantoro was announced as the consensus chairman, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, said that APC would win all the elective positions in the 2023 elections, disclosing that the reconciliation committee will soon reach out to aggrieved members of the party.

The Chairman of the Congress Committee in Niger State, Ahmed Suleiman Wambai stated that APC agreed on consensus and read out the names of the new executive members for affirmation before the delegates.

LAGOS STATE

MULTIPLE state congresses also took place across Lagos State. The one held by the faction of the party led by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu was held at the Onikan Stadium, while the faction of the party was led by Jide Adediran (Lagos4Lagos) held its congress at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja.

The Akinwunmi Ambode Campaign Organisation (AMCO) faction led by former governor Akinwunmi Ambode, held its congress at Baptist Academy, Obanikoro, Lagos State.

In the mainstream faction backed by Sanwo-Olu, a former commissioner for rural development, Cornelius Ojelabi, emerged as the chairman, while Sunday Ajayi was chosen to lead the party by the Lagos4Lagos faction.

The AMCO-backed congress produced Mrs. Beatrice Omotayo Tugbobo, as the chairman, and Wasiu Adeyemi Sulaimon, as the state legal adviser being the only candidates that stood election for those posts.

The exercise at Onikan stadium was attended by Sanwo-Olu, his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, three senators, members of the House of Representatives from the state and members of the state Assembly.

In his remark, the Chairman of the National Congress Committee, Mr. Bayo Adelabu, commended the delegates for conducting themselves orderly and declared Mr. Ojelabi and 35 other executive committee members after delegates ratified their nominations. Ojelabi promised to consolidate the achievements of his predecessor.

AMCO-backed Tugbobo, who admitted that there were factions in Lagos APC, asserted that the exercise was conducted in line with the party’s constitution, which she said stipulated that the congress could be held by consensus arrangement or election.

Sanwo-Olu, who said that the APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu called him twice in the course of the congress said: “Let me on behalf of the entire cabinet and the people of Lagos State thank God for the fairest, simplest and non-violent congress. The committee has conducted the election professionally.”
 
While answering questions on the parallel congresses conducted in the state, he said: “I am not aware of any other congress. Maybe because of your work, you are able to see those who are engaging in a tea party.”

Briefing reporters at the weekend, Tugbobo, who admitted that there were factions within the state chapter of the ruling party, insisted that the election that produced her followed APC’s constitution.

Her words: “According to the Constitution of the APC, you can conduct your congresses whether by consensus or by voting and the agreement from the national headquarters of APC is that we hold our congresses in a consensual manner.

“Other factions can be holding their congresses elsewhere, yet we are holding our own here, which is AMCO, the group belonging to former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.”

IMO STATE

The immediate past General Chairman of the Imo State Environmental Transformation Commission (ENTRACO) and Adviser to the Governor on Sanitation, Dr. MacDonald Ebere, has emerged chairman of Imo State All Progressives Congress (APC) at a congress boycotted by former governor Rochas Okorocha’s faction.

Other members of the party who got voice vote of the delegates, were Mathew Omegara (Vice-chairman); Greg Madu (Secretary); Ikechukwu Ume (Organising Secretary); Ifeoma Ndukwu (Woman Leader), Cajethan Duke (Publicity Secretary), Ijeoma Onyebuagwu, (Welfare Secretary), Peter Madu (Auditor), and Samuelson Emeribe (Physically Challenge).

But Okorocha’s faction, led by its chairman, Dan Nwafor, did not participate, as they did for the ward and local government congresses. They hinged their decision on their opinion that Nwafor, by the Court’s pronouncement has been the authentic chairman.

Speaking at the occasion, before their inauguration, the Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, promised to support the executive members, describing the party as one to beat.

He said: “I will give you all the required support. I thank members of the party and urge the new executives not to betray the conference and trust reposed in them.”

AKWA IBOM
Three factional chairmen emerged from parallel congresses conducted by the Akwa Ibom State APC.

The factions were those of the Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Senator Godswill Akpabio, Senator Ita Enang and that of National Secretary of the Caretaker Committee, Senator John Akpanudoedehe.

Akpabio’s faction held its congress at the Kara Event Centre situated along the Goodluck Jonathan Boulevard, Uyo, while Akpanudoedehe’s faction took place at the Sheergrace Events Centre, also in Uyo, the state capital.

It was gathered that the congress committee from Abuja, led by Sheriff Banki monitored the congress of Akpanudoedehe’s faction only.

Akpabio’s group elected Mr. Steve Ntukekpo as its state chairman while Mr. Austin Ekanem emerged as chairman of Akpanudoedehe’s faction. Mr. Douglass Pepple was elected for Senator Ita Enang’s group.

It was learnt Senator Akpabio and Ita Enang had visited the congress venue of Akpanudoedehe’s camp where they also addressed the congress committee from Abuja.

Speaking during the congress held at Kara Event Centre, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Enang, said that the different congresses are working for the interest of the party.

According to him, people must always disagree to agree amongst themselves, adding that at the end of the day APC would be positioned to take over the Hilltop Mansion House in 2023.

The Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, in his remarks called on party faithful not to look at the disagreement among the leaders of the party, assuring that such disagreements would be settled in a round table.

He promised to work towards ensuring unity among the different party leaders in the state to position the party to take over power in 2023.

But the Secretary, Caretaker Extraordinary Congress Planning Committee of APC, Senator John James Akpan Udoedehe, said there was no parallel congress in Akwa Ibom State. He expressed support for the congress held at Sheergrace arena Uyo, which produced Mr. Augustine Ekanem as the state chairman.

KADUNA STATE
Members of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kaduna State adopted the consensus option in electing new officials of the state executive committee to run the affairs of the party in the state.

State chairman of the Party, Air Commodore Emmanuel Jekada (rtd), emerged to retain his position, while other former officials were also returned unopposed at the party congress held at the Murtala Square, Kaduna.

The Congress Committee Chairman, Abubakar Moddibo, explained that the consensus option adopted by the state was in line with the party’s constitution. According to him, the Committee held an interactive session with the governor and other stakeholders.

He said, “The party leaders informed the committee that an agreement was reached at the state executive committee meeting held on the 30th September 2021 that a consensus option should be adopted as the mode of the congress in Kaduna State.

ABIA STATE
There were two congresses in Abia State during the state congress on the APC. While a faction announced Mazi Enyi Harbor as its chairman, the Hon Donatus Nwankpa-led faction held it’s own at Umuahia Stadium and announced Hon Acho Obioma as its chairman.

Harbor in his acceptance speech attributed his emergence to the dedication and careful planning by high Chief Ikechi Emenike, Hon Nkiru Onyejeocha and other party stakeholders in their drive to move APC forward.

According to him, he will reposition the state APC and reverse the wrongs of PDP in the state, warning that the party executive shall not be a breeding place for anti-party activities.

But Hon Obioma in his speech thanked APC for the confidence reposed in him, promising not to disappoint them.
HOWEVER, the APC secretary Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), Sen. John James Akpanudoedehe has declared as illegal all parallel congresses held in parts of the country.

He said that such activities remain strange to the party Constitution and the guidelines for the conduct of the State and other Congresses. 

“Only exercises conducted by duly inaugurated State Congress Committees are recognised by the party,” the party insisted.

The APC scribe warned that the party would not hesitate to take adequate and lawful measures against any person or interests sabotaging the collective party interest and efforts to achieve peace and unity. 

The statement added: “Where contestations exist, adequate conflict resolution measures have been put in place to address them. The party has Appeal committees for every Congress.”

The party congratulated its teeming members on the successful conduct of the state congresses across the country. 

Recall also that the party has inaugurated the National Reconciliation Committee under the chairmanship of Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, former Governor of Nasarawa State to reconcile all differences among stakeholders and party members.