The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is heading for implosion as aggrieved members who were edged out during the just concluded congresses are fighting back, Daily Trust reports.
Governors, ministers, senators, members of the House of Representatives and other stalwarts of the party are all out to install their cronies in key party positions, ahead of the 2023 politicking.
Saturday’s state congresses of the party to elect new members of the State Working Committees (SWC) witnessed renewed hostilities by aggrieved chieftains who organised parallel exercises leading to the formation of many factions in states.
While in some states members of the SWC were elected through consensus, in key states regarded as the stronghold of the party, there were parallel congresses.
The national secretariat of the party has knocked out the aggrieved persons when it stated that the parallel congresses were futile exercises and strange to the party, a development that gave serving governors the upper hand.
The party’s caretaker committee, through a statement by its secretary, Sen John James Akpanudoedehe, said only exercises conducted by duly inaugurated state congress committees are recognised by the party.
Parallel congresses were organised in Kano, Lagos, Ogun, Kwara, Osun, Plateau, Niger, Akwa Ibom and Enugu states. Daily Trust reports that some chieftains of the party boycotted the congress in protest of the way some of the governors hijacked it.
Four former governors; Ibrahim Shekarau (Kano), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Rauf Aregbesola (Osun) and Rochas Okorocha (Imo) are on the verge of being edged out in the scheme of things. Others are Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, Senator Barau Jibril (APC, Kano) and Senator Godswill Akpabio, among others.
Aregbesola’s camp goes to court
Worried by the development, the camp of the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has instituted legal action against the party.
The battle between Aregbesola and his successor in Osun State, Adegboyega Oyetola, had polarised the state chapter of the party. Two congresses were held in the state on Saturday.
The plaintiffs, Yusuf Asifat Makanjuola and 2,516, who are members of The Osun Progressives (TOP) are loyal to Aregbesola. They claimed to have paid the stipulated amount and obtained forms to participate in the congresses of the party but were sidelined by the committee.
They also joined the Osun State chapter of the APC, the Independent National Electoral Commission and the Chairman of the Osun State Ward Congress Appeal Committee, Ambassador Obed Wadzani, as defendants.
Speaking on the matter, the chairman of Aregbesola’s faction, Alhaji Rasak Salinsile, said they instituted a legal action to seek redress.
“We are already in court, the Federal High Court, Oshogbo; that they should declare the ward congresses null and void,” he said.
Reminded about President Buhari’s plea to party members against dragging the party to court, he said they have exhausted all internal mechanisms of the party.
“The constitution of the party did not say we should not go to court, it said we should not go until we have exhausted all the internal mechanisms of the party and that we have done to our satisfaction,” he said.
We are authentic, not parallel – Shekarau’s camp
The camp of former Kano State governor, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, known as G-7 has insisted its congress was authentic.
Speaking to Daily Trust after a meeting of the Shura Council (elders consultative forum) of the two-term former Kano State governor, Dr. Sule Yau Sule, its spokesman said members that emerged as executives loyal to Shekarau bought their nomination forms from the party and were properly screened.
He said the former governor’s position in the earlier petition remains the same and that the Shekarau-led G7 has total confidence in the national secretariat of the party to properly address the issues they raised in the petition.
“We remain law-abiding and we firmly remain in APC and we await the decision of the party leadership (on the petition and outcome of Saturday’s congress),” he said.
Recall that Ahmadu Haruna Danzago emerged as chairman in the congress conducted at Janguza area of Kano by the party members loyal to the G7 while Abdullahi Abbas with the support of the state governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, emerged victorious in the congress conducted at the Sani Abacha Indoor Sports Hall.
Similarly, in Lagos, where four congresses took place, the promoters are insisting that due process was followed in conducting the exercises.
With the parallel congresses organized by the Akinwunmi Ambode’s group, the Lagos4Lagos as well as the Conscience Forum, it means there were four congresses that took place in the state while that of the mainstream APC attended by the governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, was recognised.
Kasim Bakare, spokesman of Lagos4Lagos movement insists the national leadership of the party would recognise its executive.
When contacted over the congress allegedly organized by a group loyal to former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, his former chief press secretary, Habib Haruna, declined comment, saying he was not aware of it as he was out of town.
You can’t build something on nothing – Okorocha
A former governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha (APC, Imo West), has described the just concluded congresses in the state as a sham.
Speaking through his media adviser, Sam Onwuemeodo, he said there was a subsisting court judgement that affirmed Daniel Nwafor as the chairman of the party in the state.
He said, “I am not aware of any congress because there was a subsisting court judgement, which said that Daniel Nwafor is the APC chairman in Imo State.
“That judgement has been appealed by the other party and that’s the position as of today. So you cannot build something on nothing. Daniel Nwafor remains the chairman of APC in Imo State.”
‘Dissolve Buni c’ttee now’
A chieftain of the APC from the South West, Chief Jackson Lekan Ojo, told Daily Trust in a telephone interview yesterday that the APC stakeholders should dissolve the Buni-led committee.
He said, “The Buni-led committee has overstayed their welcome so they should be dissolved. They are not competent.
“The only thing they have done is that they thought they were catching fish, but they didn’t know they were dragging dragons into the fold that are going to tear the party apart. The people they brought into the party will later go back to their former parties.
“There are factions in Ogun, Lagos, Imo, Ebonyi, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Bauchi and everywhere.”
Reconciliation panel appeals to aggrieved members
Chairman of the party’s reconciliation committee, Senator Abdullahi Adamu (APC, Nasarawa), appealed to the aggrieved chieftains to always respect the directive of the party.
“This party is ours and we should find a way of showing maturity; we are in government and we should try as much as possible to be loyal party men and women.
“There is a directive by the party, let us comply; if anybody is in default of it, we will take a look at it, but what we can’t relate with is parallel congresses, because it is not in the interest of the party, the party is very clear on this,” he said.
He reiterated the commitment of his committee to reconcile all aggrieved members of the party, saying where there are conflicts of interests in the party, what we are all going to do is reconciliation within the framework and directive of the party.”
Meanwhile, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party, Yekini Nabena, has said no party member is expected to take the party to court on the grounds of state congresses.
“There are no factions in the APC and there were no parallel congresses. The party sent committees to various states to conduct the congresses and they will submit their reports. So on what ground will a group take the party to court?” he asked.
A member of the House of Representatives, Mansur Manu Soro (APC, Bauchi) said although crises are inevitable during elections and congresses at party levels, the APC leadership should have done more to address what was witnessed during the just concluded state congresses.
He noted that the party has also created a vacuum and left its most important organ, the Board of Trustees (BOT) non-existent which has weakened the party’s conflict resolution mechanism.
By Ismail Mudashir, Balarabe Alkassim, Saawua Terzungwe (Abuja), Jude Aguguo Owuamanam (Owerri), Abdullateef Aliyu (Lagos), Ado Abubakar Musa (Jos), Hameed Oyegbade, (Osogbo) & Clement A. Oloyede (Kano)