overnors who are members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are divided over today’s congresses of the party and the legality of the caretaker committee being chaired by Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State, Daily Trust reports.
The governors, at an emergency meeting held in Abuja on Thursday to review the issues trailing the Supreme Court judgment on the election of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, were sharply divided over the development in the party.
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The apex court, in a split decision of four-to-three on Wednesday, dismissed the appeal brought by Eyitayo Jegede, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the October 10, 2020 governorship election.
But Justice Mary Odili, in a dissenting minority verdict, upheld Jegede’s appeal that the nomination of Akeredolu, which was signed by Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State, was not valid under Section 183 of the Nigerian Constitution, 1999.
The dissenting judgment has created fresh crisis in the party with some chieftains of the party including the minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Festus Keyamo (SAN); the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Senator Babafemi Ojudu and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Enang calling for the dissolution of the caretaker committee.
Daily Trust gathered that while some of the governors at the meeting backed the decision of the committee to organize the congresses in states today, others faulted it.
One of the sources at the meeting yesterday said some of the governors called for the suspension of the congresses.
The source who does not want to be named said, “There was a serious division at the meeting. While some are saying that the congresses be suspended, others insisted that it should be held.”
But another source said, “It was resolved at the meeting that the congresses should go on as scheduled and that the removal of Buni is not an option.”
He added that the meeting was fruitful, saying, “Most of the governors who attended the meeting held in a lodge in Abuja were in support of the committee’s decision.
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has threatened to sanction any member or group that would organise parallel congresses as the exercise begins today, nationwide.
The secretary of the party’s Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, in a statement Friday, also ordered all members with pending litigations to withdraw them immediately.
Part of the statement reads, “All pending litigations instituted by members against the party should be withdrawn forthwith. And going forward, no member should institute matters against the party without exhausting the internal mechanism for conflict resolution as enshrined in the constitution.
“Consequent upon the above, party members should please note that all activities that may be carried out by persons to put the party and its officers in bad light, before, during and after the congresses, should be jettisoned.
However, findings by our correspondents indicate that factions within the ruling party in some of the states are bracing for a showdown ahead of the ward congresses.
Parallel congresses imminent in Kwara
With the look of things in Kwara State, it is almost certain that there will be parallel congresses as the two main gladiators struggling for the soul of the party – Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq and the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed – continue their supremacy battle.
The party’s national officials have arrived in the state for the exercise, and both factions that have been engaged in serious muscle flexing before now are expected to commence intense politicking to outsmart one another.
While welcoming members of the ward congress committee from the national headquarters of the party, led by Alhaji Shuaib Umar, the party’s state caretaker chairman, Abdullahi Samari, appealed to members to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner during the congresses.
According to him, “It is pertinent to let members know that the ward congresses slated for July 31, 2021 will definitely be held in Kwara State, with strict compliance with guidelines that will be made available to all the party members through the state and local government secretariats.”
Samari’s comment is coming against the backdrop of the uncertainty that had earlier trailed registration/revalidation exercise in the state.
But a very prominent member of the minister’s faction and key ally of the factional caretaker party chairman and member representing Offa in the Kwara State House of Assembly, Saheed Popoola said, “There is no two ways about that. It is certain that we will have two parallel congresses. I am confirming that to you now.
“Already, the committee from the headquarters has reached out to us to purchase forms. The group of the governor will be in charge of their own while we will also take charge of ours, but we are buying forms from the same source.
Ekiti: Fayemi, Ojudu in supremacy battle
The supremacy battle among members of the party in Ekiti State is yet to settle, as members loyal to Governor Kayode Fayemi and those loyal to the camps of a presidential aide, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, Senator Dayo Adeyeye and Senator Anthony Adeniyi, among others, have been strategising to have firm hold on leadership.
All these personalities, who are still at loggerheads with Fayemi’s camp, are crying foul over a plot to scheme them out of the party in the state.
As the congresses begin today, many of the actors, who were described as “outsiders,” have called on the leadership of the party at the national level to allow fair play in Ekiti politics.
When contacted over today’s congress, the spokesman of the party in the state, Ade Ajayi, declined comments on some of the issues around the exercise. He said a committee had been inaugurated and would be in charge of any matter concerning the election.
Crack in Benue APC as Akume, Jime disagree
In Benue State, the ward congress of the party holding today may be jeopardised by a brewing crisis between factions allegedly loyal to the 2019 gubernatorial flag-bearer of the party, Emmanuel Jime, a lawyer, and the Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Senator George Akume.
Already, the alleged loyalists of Jime in Makurdi Local Government Area are threatening to conduct a parallel congress if the national secretariat of the party failed to intervene in the matter tearing them apart.
But the special adviser to Akume on media and public affairs, Dr Aondona Mkor, dismissed any claim of rift among the party’s faithful, saying that as far as the minister and Jime were concerned, there is no issue about the ward congress.
Our correspondent, however, reports that a faction under the umbrella of Concerned Makurdi APC Stakeholders, allegedly loyal to Jime, had vowed that they would not look away while some people within the party impose their stooges.
Aggrieved Lagos chieftains reject consensus option
Fresh crisis is brewing in the Lagos State chapter of the party over the consensus option adopted by the party for today’s ward congresses.
The Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC), the highest decision-making body in Lagos APC, had declared after a meeting on Wednesday that consensus option would be adopted for the forthcoming congress, ruling out any contest.
However, some aggrieved members, led by Mr Fouad Oki, who once laid claim to the chairmanship of the party in the state, rejected consensus arrangement.
A group within the party, Lagos4Lagos Movement, led by Dr Abdul-Azeez Olajide Adediran, also faulted the move, claiming that its members were ready for an elective congress.
It was learnt that 48 hours to the congress, the party stopped members from obtaining nomination forms for any of the offices.
Dr Adediran said the party should allow members to test their popularity and acceptance, adding that nobody can force consensus on them.
Shun congresses, Abe tells his loyalists
A former lawmaker who represented Rivers southeast senatorial district, Senator Magnus Abe, has told his loyalists to shun the ward congress in the interest of peace.
He made the call in Port Harcourt on Friday while briefing his supporters that cut across the 23 local government areas of the state.
He said, “If they wanted the party to be united they would have behaved differently. Having behaved the way they did shows their inclination, so if you go to participate in the congress it would be a problem.”
Ogun: Confusion as Abiodun, Amosun set for parallel ward congresses
In ogun, there was confusion on Friday as Governor Dapo Abiodun and his predecessor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun renewed their rivalry ahead of today’s congress.
Daily Trust Saturday reliably gathered that Abiodun and Amosun’s camps are set for parallel congresses except for a last minute truce.
Sources told our correspondent that both camps have been compiling lists of their ward executives ahead of Saturday.
Katsina: APC ward chairmen in Batsari kick against consensus
Some aggrieved party leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Batsari Local Government Area of Katsina State have kicked against the consensus recently reached in the state, describing it as gross injustice.
The ward leaders said they were forcefully removed from their seats contrary to the directives given by the governor, Aminu Bello Masari, who advised that some consensus should be reached were possible ahead of today’s congress.
They include Surajo Isah Wagini from Wagini ward, Abdullahi Na Aliyu, Sha’aban Abdullahi, Batsari, Zubairu Usman, Batsari, Isya Aliyu Aliyu Abdu Barka, Karari, and Lado Gwamnati also form Karari ward among others.
Osun: Aregbesola camp kicks as APC adopt consensus
The All Progressive Congress (APC) in Osun State has adopted consensus model for the ward congress on Saturday to put new executives of the party in place even as the camp of former Governor Rauf Aregbesola has kicked against the decision.
The Chairman of the Congress Electoral Panel, Senator Gbenga Elegbeleye at a meeting with party leadership in Osogbo said due process would be followed during the exercise.
But the camp of the former governor of the state and Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola said the consensus arrangement was designed to edge out Aregbesola and his followers from the control of the party structure in the state.
Buni calls for peaceful, fair congresses
Meanwhile, the Chairman, Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee and Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, has enjoined party stakeholders and members to conduct the exercise peacefully.
He called on officials conducting the congress to be fair and objective to all candidates contesting the election.
In a statement last night by his spokesman, Mamman Mohammed, Buni said, “As stakeholders of the party, we have great responsibility to make the ward congress in all the participating states successful.
“We should endeavour to place the party and members interest above personal interests”, Buni said.
The chairman warned that the party would not hesitate to take decisive measures against anyone who deliberately sabotaged the congress.
He expressed the commitment of the committee to entrench internal democracy and respect for the people’s choice.
Governor Buni further said adequate arrangements have been made by the party to conduct successful and acceptable congresses across the country.
Ismail Mudashir & Saawua Terzungwe (Abuja), Mumini Abdulkareem (Ilorin), Raphael Ogbonnaiye (Ado-Ekiti), Hope Abah Emmanuel (Makurdi), Abdullateef Aliyu (Lagos), Victor Edozie (Port Harcourt), Peter Moses, (Abeokuta) Hameed Oyegbade, (Osun) & Tijjani Ibrahim (Katsina)