Why we held parallel congress in Lagos – Ambode’s group
Ganduje hints at reconciliation with G-7
By Ismail Mudashir, Saawua Terzungwe (Abuja), Abdullateef Aliyu (Lagos), Clement A. Oloyede (Kano) & Peter Moses (Abeokuta)
Chairman of the national caretaker committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Yobe State governor, Mai Mala Buni, is under intense pressure to sanction top shots of the party who promoted parallel congresses during Saturday’s exercise organised to elect members of the State Working Committees (SWC).
Sources in the party told Daily Trust that governors of states where parallel congresses were held have been reaching out to the national caretaker committee to wield the big stick on those who sponsored the exercises.
Parallel congresses were organised in 12 states including Kano, Lagos, Ogun, Kwara, Osun, Plateau, Niger, Akwa Ibom, and Enugu.
Camps of Ibrahim Shekarau (Kano), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos), minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed (Kwara) and minister of Niger Delta, Senator Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom) organised parallel congresses in their respective states.
The development has further polarised the ruling party ahead of the national convention. Also, contrary to the warning of the party and President Muhammadu Buhari, the camp of Aregbesola has dragged the party to court over the congresses.
A party source said the committee is under pressure to sanction them to serve as deterrent to others and forestall a repeat of the scenario during the forthcoming national convention.
“Governors are pushing that they should be punished but the committee is in a tight corner because the promoters of the parallel congresses are bigwigs that cannot be easily reprimanded,” the source said.
Another source at the party’s secretariat said members of the congress committee who sided with the promoters of the parallel congresses would be sanctioned.
“Yes, pressure is being mounted on the national secretariat on this matter but the first thing that will be done is the sanctioning of members of the congress committee who attended the parallel congresses. They aided it.
“Our constitution is very clear. The leaders of the party in states are governors. Congress committees are supposed to be with the governors, not parallel committees. The members of the Kano committee that went to parallel congress are going to be punished,” a party leader at the national secretariat said.
It was also gathered that the issue would first be presented to the appeal committee of the congress and the Senator Abdullahi Adamu reconciliation committee before it would go to the national caretaker committee for a final decision on the matter.
A chieftain of the party and former presidential candidate, Chief Chekwas Okorie, said the party should match its words with action by applying some disciplinary measures against those who conducted parallel congresses.
Secretary of the APC caretaker committee Sen John James Akpan Udo-Edehe had described the ‘parallel’ congresses as futile activities, saying the party will not hesitate to wield the big stick on perpetrators.
When contacted, the media aide to Governor Buni, Mamman Mohammed, said the governor is not under pressure.
“We are not aware of any pressure. The party under his leadership will meticulously follow due process in the administration of the party,” he said.
Ganduje hints reconciliation with Shekarau, others
Kano State Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has said moves are on to reconcile with members of the party led by a former governor, Ibrahim Shekarau, who parted ways with his (Ganduje) leadership of the APC in the state.
This is even as the governor insisted that the national secretariat of the party recognised and accepted the emergence of Abdullahi Abbas, endorsed by him, as the only state chairman of the party.
The governor, according to a statement by Abba Anwar, his chief press secretary, said this on Wednesday before the commencement of the State Executive Council meeting.
The statement said Ganduje noted that “Politics is all about this kind (reconciliation) of development, anyway.”
Recall that former governor of the state, Ibrahim Shekarau, had led a group now called the G-7, comprising of Senator Barau Jibrin (Kano North), four House of Representatives members and a party stalwart, to challenge Ganduje’s leadership of the party.
Why we held parallel congress in Lagos – Ambode’s group
Meanwhile, Mrs. Beatrice Omotayo Tugbobo, who emerged as chairman from the parallel congress conducted by the group affiliated to former governor Akinwunmi Ambode in Lagos, insisted that her group has the real APC members.
It would be recalled that members of the group under the aegis of Akinwunmi Ambode Campaign Organisation (AMCO) stormed the Baptist Academy, Obakoro, venue to conduct the exercise.
Daily Trust reports that no fewer than four parallel congresses were conducted in the state.
But Tugbobo, in a statement yesterday, admitted that there are factions in Lagos APC and that the exercise was conducted in line with the party’s constitution.
She said, “According to the constitution of APC, you can conduct your congresses whether by consensus or by voting and the agreement from the national headquarters of APC constitutionally is that we hold our congresses in a consensus 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,” she said.
In Abeokuta, Ogun State, there was outrage on Wednesday following the arrest of six loyalists of a former governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, over the violent Saturday’s parallel congresses of the party.
Our correspondent reports that hoodlums had disrupted a parallel congress organised by Amosun’s faction at Ake palace, leading to shootings.
The two major factions battling for the soul of the state’s APC are led by Amosun and Governor Dapo Abiodun.