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Ward Congress: ‘Osun APC group held national officials incommunicado’
The Progressive Minded People, a group within the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Osun State, has alleged that another group in the party in the state held officials sent from the national headquarters to conduct the Ward Congress.
A statement made available to Daily Trust on Wednesday and was signed by the Publicity Secretary of the group, Sunday Oriolowo, claimed that the operatives of the Ilerioluwa group in the party, which is loyal to the Governor of the State, Gboyega Oyetola, hijacked the officials and all materials meant for the election.
The group claimed that the move was to prevent those who were not in support of the Ilerioluwa group’s decision on consensus candidacy from participating in the election.
“Officials of the National Secretariat of our party had informed us that three officials of the party led by one Abdullahi had been dispatched to the state on Sunday 25th July 2021 to carry out necessary preparations for the coming congress.
“Their term of reference includes the sale of forms to interested contestants amongst others.
“Consequently, majority of the party members in the state proceeded to the bank to pay for the forms as directed by the party guidelines.
“However, we were surprised when on Wednesday, 28th July 2021 – the day the payment for the forms was supposed to close- we still hadn’t seen the officials who were sent to Osun for the assignment,” the group said.
It claimed that it later discovered the national party officials who were sent to the state had actually arrived but were held incommunicado by the Ilerioluwa group.
“Many members of the party were then forced to pick up their forms from our national headquarters in Abuja,” the group added.
The statement also said the Chairman of the APC National Committee for Osun State Ward Congress, Hon. Gbenga Elegbeleye, arrived at the state less than 12 hours before the congress and held a meeting with selected individuals inside the governor’s house.
It queried: “We would like to know if he [elegbeleye] asked about the whereabouts of the officials sent ahead from Abuja to sell forms to the majority of the party members.
“We have it on good authority that over 18,000 forms given to the party officials from Abuja were paid for in bulk on a single teller and collected from the officials by an official loyal to the governor as against our party’s Ward Congress Guidelines.”
However, when contacted by Daily Trust, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Oyetola, Ismail Omipidan, debunked the allegations by the group.
In a Watsapp message, he said the governor did not manipulate the ward congress, adding that “the committee’s chairman also addressed the issue [hijacking of nomination forms and officials from the national headquarters] during the stakeholders’ meeting held on Friday evening, shortly after their arrival.”