On Sunday, there were strong indications that the All Progressives Congress would recognize executive councils sponsored by incumbent governors in APC states in states where parallel congresses were held.
In non-APC states, a member of the party’s national caucus told one of our journalists that the party would recognize congresses sponsored by the top political office holders in those states.
According to reports, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbeola, and the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, are among the party’s top leaders who may lose out in the power struggle in their states.
On Saturday, violence and protests rocked APC congresses across the country, with factions forming in states including as Lagos, Ogun, Kwara, Osun, and Kano.
In Ogun State, a faction loyal to a former governor, Senator Amosun, chose Chief Derin Adebiyi as chairman at a congress held at the palace of Alake of Egbaland.
However, a section led by the incumbent Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, conducted a congress at the MKO Abiola Stadium, with Chief Yemi Sanusi emerging as the chairman.
In Kano State, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje’s faction elected Abdullahi Abbas as chairman, while Senator Ibrahim Shekarau’s faction elected Haruna Zago as chairman.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu attended the Lagos State APC congress, which was held at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena Stadium.
Cornelius Ojelade was voted consensus chairman at the convention, while a competing group, Lagos4Lagos, elected Sunday Ajayi of the Agege Local Government to lead the party at the Airport Hotel Ikeja.
Parallel congresses were held in Osun State by supporters of the state governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, and his predecessor, Aregbesola.
Different officers were elected in Kwara State by groups loyal to Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq and Minister of Information and Culture, Mohammed.
The PUNCH gathered in Abuja on Sunday that the APC would offer recognition to governors and, in some cases, the highest political office holders from states where the party was not in power, in keeping with tradition.
“Why would a former governor seek to oppose a serving governor who we all know is the party’s leader in the state?” a member of the party’s national caucus told one of our journalists on condition of anonymity “so as not to jeopardize reconciliation efforts.” It has long been customary to show respect for our elders.
Parallel executive councils have arisen in certain states not governed by the APC, in addition to APC-dominated states.
In Enugu State, for example, a former Commissioner for Works, Mr Ugochukwu Agballah, and an ex-Chairman of the party, Adolphus Udeh, were elected chairmen at Saturday’s parallel congresses.
While Agballah was elected by the group of a former Senate President, Chief Ken Nnamani, at a congress held at the Destiny Event Centre in Enugu, Udeh was elected by the faction of the outgoing Caretaker Committee Chairman, Dr Ben Nwoye, at the party’s secretariat.
Following his election, Agballa stated that his election as the party’s state chairman signified a new era for the party.
“I want to especially applaud the Dr Ben Nwoye-led executive and the Enugu state congress committee for conducting a free and fair election today,” Ude said.
Two factions have developed in Sokoto State. Aliyu Wamakko, a former governor of Sokoto State and Senator representing Sokoto Central; Senator Ibrahim Gobir, the Minister for Police Affairs, Maigari Dingyadi, and Yusuf Suleiman, among others, attended a congress held at the party’s state secretariat.
The chairman of the congress, Isa Sadiq Acida, was re-elected, but a splinter group led by three-term federal legislator Abdullahi Balarabe Silame produced Muhammad.
We are unaware of Aregbesola’s group congress – Elegbeleye
Chairman of the APC’s Osun State Congress, Mr Gbenga Elegbeleye, said his committee was unaware of any other congress in the state than the one it oversaw.
Elegbeleye stated this on Sunday while submitting his committee’s findings at the APC state secretariat in Osogbo.
In response to the parallel congress hosted by the Aregbesola group, Elegbeleye said that the committee spoke with stakeholders prior to the exercise, and that the panel’s mandate was to conduct the event in accordance with the APC’s constitution, which was followed.
He said, “I am not aware of any congress elsewhere in Osun State. Nobody notified me or any member of this committee. We are seven in number. What we don’t know, we don’t act on it.”
“So, if we came here to announce the venue of the congress and somebody went to any shrine to do anything, certainly that maybe funeral or marriage ceremony, but not a congress.”
Factional secretary berates Elegbeleye
However, when approached, Lani Baderinwa, the APC factional secretary, chastised Elegbeleye.
He claimed that the Osun congress chairman should be aware that the party’s national secretariat sold nomination forms to members of the group who wanted to run for party offices.
“He came here to do a dirty job and he has completed it. There is no reasonable committee chairman that would be aware that the national secretariat sold two sets of forms and would be saying he was not aware of our congress,” Baderinwa concluded.
Also, Lowo Adebiyi, the Chairman of The Osun Progressives, a faction within Osun APC backed by Aregbesola, told one of our correspondents that the national caretaker committee was serving the interest of governors.