By Emmanuel Aziken, Dayo Johnson, Simon Ebegbulem, Gbenga Oke, Gabriel Olawawle, Chinonso Alozie & Chioma Onuegbu
The All Progressives Congress, APC has dismissed the emergence of parallel executives in about 10 states as an exercise in futility.
We’ll only okay congresses organised by party’s national leadership — ABDULAHI
Party spokesman, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi told Vanguard at the weekend that the national secretariat would only respect the outcome of congresses organised by teams dispatched by the national leadership.A cross-section of delegates at the All Progressives Congress (APC) State Congress, on Saturday in Benin City, May 19, 2018.
He spoke as reactions continued to trail the election of new state executives of the ruling party that took place across the country last Saturday. The harmony of the party was marred in several states as otherwise, party faithful including high-level officials of the party and government took on one another in the struggle for superiority.
Among states where parallel congresses were held were Kwara, Kogi, Oyo, Ondo, Lagos, Delta, Enugu, Kogi, and Ebonyi.
Remarkably, the parallel congresses organised in some of the states were spearheaded by leading officials of the Federal Government, notably, Dr. Ogbonnya Onu, minister of science and technology, (Ebonyi), minister of communication, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, (Oyo), Minister for Foreign affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama (Enugu), and Alhaji Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, (Kwara.)
Ministers’ congresses fail to fly
The congresses in the states spearheaded by some of the ministers were not accredited by observers from the national secretariat.
“We have said it that any congress that was not organised by the team sent by the national secretariat is an exercise in futility,” party spokesman, Abdullahi told Vanguard yesterday.
“You cannot build something on nothing. So, who is going to submit the report and to whom are they going to submit their reports? We know the committees we sent to the states.”
Abdullahi was, however, silent on the development in Delta State where a faction of the party is today planning to organise a parallel congress despite the Congress that returned Prophet Jones Erue as chairman of the state chapter of the party.
The list of the party executives elected in Delta State was yesterday endorsed in a statement issued by the chairman of the Congress Organising Committee, Senator Gbenga Obadara.
The new Erue-led executive was further affirmed by a group, Delta APC Buhari Re-Election Group which in a statement dismissed plans to elect a rival executive today.
“By conducting the Congress in line with the NWC’s guidelines, briefing and directives as it did in Asaba on the scheduled date of Saturday, 19th May, 2018, Senator Obadara, just like Dododo, simply affirmed that ours can be a nation where due process is superior to men who seek to corruptly undermine transparency. We salute Senator Obadara indeed.
“Now, let it be stated with absolute clarity. Nothing will reverse the final healing brought upon the Delta State APC through State Congress of Saturday, 19th May, 2018.”
Abdullahi’s assertion on non-recognition of parallel executives nonetheless, the faction that emerged in the rival Congress in Lagos State yesterday put forth its claim to legitimacy by claiming popular acceptance.
The factional chairman of the party in Lagos, Mr. Fouad Oki at a press conference in Lagos yesterday pledged to return the party to members for the benefit of Lagosians.
“Our first task is to reconcile all members in order to save our beloved party from disintegration. We are all witnesses to how the unity and team spirit is gradually eroding us and has shaken the fabrics of this Party to its very foundation. We, therefore, have a gigantic task of reconciling every member of this party and make them believe in this party again.
“Under our watch, internal democracy will be strictly adhered to with a deliberate policy to return real power to the people. No more imposition, no more impunity. Every member of this party can from this moment, consider him or herself, an equal shareholder in our common destiny.
Governor Rochas Okorocha yesterday lamented that his deputy and several loyalists had been deceived to leave him saying that he had returned to the position he was eight years ago when he had to fight singlehandedly against political heavyweights.
Lamenting during a courtesy call on him by some youths at the Government House, Owerri, the governor said that he was almost alone after his deputy, Prince Eze Madumere and several others were supposedly deceived by the state’s prominent politicians who he, Okorocha said had defeated in the past.
Attacks on journalists in Ondo rankle NUJ
In the meantime, the Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, Ondo State chapter has condemned the attack on journalists and other stakeholders at the parallel congress of the APC in Akure on Saturday.
The NUJ in a press statement signed by the state secretary, Leke Adegbite expressed “displeasure over the failure of security operatives to arrest any of the political thugs that perpetrated the said attack on the journalists who were doing their lawful duty.”
Boroffice condemns attack by thugs
Senator Ajayi Boroffice has also condemned the attack by the thugs which led to the stripping of a member of the House of Representatives.
Borroffice in a statement issued by his media aide, Kayode Fakuyi said:
“Senator Boroffice wishes to condemn the brutal attack on a member of the House of Representatives, representing Idanre/Ifedore federal constituency, Hon. Bamidele Baderinwa and other prominent politicians during the State Congress of the APC at BTO Hall in Akure on Saturday.
The Nation, Thisday, The Sun, Adaba FM, Radio Nigeria Positive FM correspondents battered
“It is most unfortunate that the assailants of the politicians also attacked and maimed journalists who were on ground to cover the event. Sunkanmi Elujoba of Adaba FM, Damisi Ojo of The Nation, Bamigbola Gbolagunte of The Sun, Olumide Abudu of Radio Nigeria Positive FM, James Sowole, of Thisday and the chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists in the state were not spared from attacks.”
Nwoye congratulates winners
Meanwhile, the crisis in the Anambra State chapter of the party appeared to be settled yesterday after Dr. Tony Nwoye, the immediate past governorship candidate of the party congratulated the executive of the state chapter of the party returned at a unified congress in Awka last Saturday.
Dr. Nwoye in a statement yesterday charged the new executives elected at the ward, local government and state levels to make far-reaching decisions to change the fortunes of the party in the state.
“The party at all levels must give due attention to the development and economic issues within their wards, Local Government and State levels,” Nwoye said as he charged that the leaders of the party “must be truly servants of the people moved by matters that affect the people and the party at all times. They are elected to defend the party. And they must bear this in mind.”
Magnus Abe’s ambition not cause of River’s crisis — NIMSA chief
Meanwhile, with the controversy in the Rivers State chapter of the party still fluid, the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, has delinked the governorship ambition of Senator Magnus Abe to the crisis rocking the party in the state.
He also denied allegations that the Minister of Transport and leader of the APC in Rivers State, Chibuike Amaechi, has hijacked the party for personal gains.
Speaking on a radio programme monitored in Port-Harcourt, weekend, Peterside said all members of the party were united under the leadership of Amaechi.
He stated, “Against the backdrop of perceived leadership crisis in the Rivers chapter of the APC, I can say that all members are united under the headship of former governor Amaechi. Amaechi is the leader of all and everybody subscribes to his leadership. He has no such powers to hijack the APC because he is just one member of the APC. But if you say he has the support of the majority, that I will say yes he has the support of the majority including myself. I believe strongly he cannot be the leader of every ward and local government in Rivers State, it is not possible. He is the leader at the state level because of the support of other leaders both elected and not elected and every member of the APC subscribes to his leadership.
On the ambition of Senator Abe, he said, “Every party member has a right to aspire to any position just as individuals within the party also have rights to choose whomever they will support but for people to suggest that the governorship ambition of Abe was the reason for the crisis in the party, I totally disagree with that.
Oshiomhole urges new excos to shun monetary considerations
Meanwhile, the immediate past governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has urged the newly-elected members of the state chapter of the party to remove monetary considerations in the nomination of the party’s 2019 candidates of the party.
Oshiomhole, who is the caucus leader of the APC in the state spoke when members of the newly elected executive led by the state chairman of the party, Anselm Ojezua paid him a courtesy visit at his GRA residence in Benin City.
Addressing them, Oshiomhole commended Governor Godwin Obaseki for trusting the ability of the leaders of the party in ensuring a peaceful exercise, adding that the ball was now on the court of the executives to deliver credible candidates and ensure the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
The exercise in Akwa Ibom State was also commended by party chieftains, Atuekong Don Etiebet, who is the chairman of the state caucus of the party and Senator John Akpan Udoedehe.