The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on Saturday held ward congresses across the country to choose party executives.
TheNewsGuru.com, TNG reports that there was repeated calls in some quarters for a postponement of the congresses over the legality of the Governor Mai Buni-led Caretaker Committee to hold the congresses. However, the party insisted that the congresses would hold as scheduled but read the riot act its conduct.
TNG gathered that President Muhammadu Buhari sensing a possible legal fallout after the congresses directed Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to assemble the legal giants in his administration to check for potholes and possible way out.
The party in a notice to its chieftains by the Secretary, National Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, Senator John Akpan-Udoedehe, warned that the party would invoke necessary disciplinary measures on those who hold parallel congresses.
He reminded them of the National Executive Committee’s resolution, which directed members not to take the party to court unless it has exhausted “the internal mechanism for conflict resolution, as enshrined in the party’s constitution.”
Senator Akpan-Udoedehe insisted that the resolution still subsists and extends to the conduct of party members during the congresses.
However, the congresses did not go without hiccups as some states have been split into factions, while others adopted consensus candidates.
In the southwest, there were talks of a parallel congress in Osun State while members have agreed on a consensus option in Oyo and Ondo states.
In Lagos, a decision was yet to be made on a consensus candidate, as of the time of this reporting.
A Senator Magnus Abe faction in Rivers State said it would boycott the exercise.
Meanwhile, the party has postponed its congresses in Anambra and Zamfara states.
Aggrieved youths torch party secretariat in Akwa Ibom
Crisis has rocked the ward congresses of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom following the alleged insistence of National Secretary of the party’s Caretaker Committee Senator John Akpanudoedehe to have a consensus arrangement.
A group known as the APC Elders Forum led by a former military administrator of Rivers and Ogun states, Group Captain Sam Ewang(retd), had called for free and fair elective ward congresses instead of a consensus.
However, the congresses, which were supposed to take place in the 329 wards in the state, did not hold due to the absence of election materials.
According to reports, materials for the congresses did not arrive at the party secretariat even as National officers from Abuja were not sent to conduct the congresses.
Angered by the situation, youths of the party went on rampage on Saturday setting ablaze some sections of the state party Secretariat located along Ikot Ekpene.
The party’s flags were also torched.
The youths carried placards with the inscription, ”Udodehe you can’t hijack our party” and ”We want a free and fair congresses not consensus” among others.
A member of the party from Etinan local government area, Mr. UduakAbasi Ikpatt said there were no congresses in any of the wards in Etinan due to the absence of materials.
Ikpatt blamed Udoedehe for the situation insisting that the right thing must be done if the party is to remain one ahead of the 2023 elections in the state.
However, spokesperson of the party in the state, Nkereuwem Enyongekere, said the ward congresses went on smoothly without any hitch.
”The congresses took place in the 329 ward centres and not at the APC state secretariat in Uyo so what materials are they complaining about?
”The congresses have been concluded. If you want video clips of my own I will send it to you.
On allegation of Udoedehe trying to hijack the party, Enyongekere said: ”Hijack what? This is the most transparent congress ever conducted in Akwa Ibom state, very democratic. Otherwise from the inception of this state it has always been writing of names”.
Mild drama in Kwara as members reject consensus agreement, opt for election
There was mild drama at Badari ward of Ilorin South local government area of Kwara State during the congress.
Against the general grain of consensus arrangement in picking candidates by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq- led APC in the state, members of the ward opted for election.
They accused some APC executives of trying to impose a candidate on them, adding original list of candidates for respective offices had been doctored.
Attempts by APC coordinator Tunde Aluko at the venue to convince the people for a consensual arrangement met with brick walls.
The intervention of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officers at the Oja-Iya ECWA Primary School, venue of the exercise saved the situation from degenerating into rancor.
INEC’s intervention made the people to settle for election as the people queued behind their choice candidate for the ward chairman Abdullahi Ibrahim.
Speaking on why they opted for election instead of consensus, a member of the ward said: “we opted for election because we realised that some people in the party wanted to impose their candidates on us.
“During membership registration and revalidation, it was this our candidate that arranged how all of us got to the venue of the exercise at Ipata Oloje.
“This man along with the women leader in the ward has been has always been there for all APC members in the ward. That is the truth that is why we have all resolved that he must return unopposed.”
Ibrahim said: “Before this time around some people in the party approached me to step down but I told them that decision would come from majority of the ward members.
“However, over 95 percent of the electorates want me to continue. Any attempt not to accede to their clarion call would amount to arrogance.
“I am 100 percent in support of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq for another four years in office.”
In other parts of the State, congress reportedly took off peacefully and orderly across various parts of Kwara State with thousands of party loyalists, including INEC officials, APC representatives from Abuja, lawmakers and government appointees participating.