2023 GOVERNORSHIP AND
STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS
The much-postponed state congresses of the All Progressives Congress (APC) held last weekend has further polarised the ruling party as confusion, parallel leadership and multiple chairmen emerged in many states.
Two days after the exercise, bickering and rancour have persisted in Akwa Ibom, Kano, Bauchi, Kwara, Rivers, Niger, Osun, Delta and in almost all the South-East states as they have either two or more factional chairmen to contend with.
In Ogun State, faction loyal to Governor Dapo Abiodun has threatened to expel former governor, Senator Ibikunle Amonsun.
Sources from states rocked by crisis said while the situation during the congresses degenerated to shooting of guns, others though peaceful produced multiple leaderships.
In Abia, Enyi Harbor and Acho Obioma, emerged chairmen in parallel congresses. Harbor was returned as consensus chairman in the Chief Ikechi Emenike-led faction, while Chidi Abuaja emerged as state party secretary.
Obinna Atuonwu was announced as organising secretary and Okey Ezeala publicity secretary among others, who emerged from a consensus exercise held at Chidiebere Park Ugwunchara Umuahia opposite Holy Rosary Girls Secondary school.
In the other faction led by chairman, APC caretaker committee, Chief Donatus Nwamkpa, held at Umuahia Township stadium, Obioma polled 298 votes to defeat Sylvanus Nwaji who got one vote, Dike Nwankwo, four, Chidi Nwosu, 92 and Ikechukwu Ukaegbu 134 while there were 24 voided votes.
In Bauchi, opposing factions loyal to former speaker, Yakubu Dogara and minister of education, Malam Adamu Adamu, are at loggerheads following allegations of imposition of party officials.
A faction of the party has asked Mai Mala Buni, Governor of Yobe State and National Chairman of the party to perish the idea of imposing candidates by “powerful Abuja” politicians.
Chairman of the stakeholders committee from Bauchi South Senatorial district, Adamu S. Noma, who addressed the media at the NUJ Secretariat, yesterday, appealed to the national leadership of the party to recognise Sanusi Aliyu Kunde, who it claimed was unanimously endorsed by stakeholders from the state.
Noma said Kunde was the choice of the APC and that the seven member committee headed by Jibriln Sam never conducted any congress nor elected Babayo Aliyu Misau as chairman. He alleged that the so-called congress that returned Misau done in Abuja was abnormal.
They alleged that members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had infiltrated APC and assured that the new leadership led by Kunde would bring sanity to the party.
In Enugu, former commissioner for works, Chief Ugo Agballah and former vice chairman of the party, Adolphus Ude, emerged in parallel congresses. But the issue was, however, compounded as former military administrator of Gombe State and chieftain of the party, Group Capt. Joe Orji (retd) said he was the ‘consensus chairman designate’ of the APC in the state.
The faction of former senate president, Ken Nnamani, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama and ex-governor Sullivan Chime, produced Agballlah, while that loyal to outgone state chairman, Dr. Ben Nwoye, Director General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Osita Okechukwu and consisting of the foundation members of APC in the state elected Ude.
Ude, in his acceptance speech, said as progressives, promoting equity, natural justice and prosperity was their watchword. He wondered how some persons wanted to foist Agballah, who he claimed had not been publicly admitted into the party as its state chairman.
He also alleged that the same leaders who recruited Agballah had earlier recruited Rev. Okey Ogbodo to factionalise the party, resulting in APC’s woeful performance in 2019 general elections in Enugu State.
But Agballah said his victory marked a new beginning for the party in the state and the party’s journey to Government House and promised to unite all members of the party in the state by providing committed and selfless leadership.
Orji described news relating to the emergence of any other candidate as fake.
“I was actually the consensus candidate of Enugu APC stakeholders at a meeting convened by former Senate President and representative of the South East in the National Caretaker Committee of the party. In that meeting representing the three senatorial districts, they settled for me. So, I am the consensus chairman designate. Anything to the contrary won’t happen.”
In Ogun State, Senator Amosun, risks another suspension from the party following the conduct of a parallel congress, a source said.
Amosun had in 2019 been suspended by the national headquarters of the party for working for the Allied People’s Movement (APM) candidate, Abdulkabir Akinlade against the APC candidate and incumbent governor, Dapo Abiodun.
Loyalists of the former governor had converged at the Alake’s Palace to elect their state officials for Ogun State.
The congress produced Derin Adebiyi, Jide Ojuko and Toyin Adesiyan as chairman, deputy chairman and secretary, respectively.
Pandemonium, however, erupted at the congress venue as hoodlums temporarily disrupted proceedings before the situation was brought under control by the police and other security agencies on ground.
A source claimed the national leadership of the party in Abuja had issued a query to the former governor on the chaos which emanated as a result of the parallel congress by his loyalists. But this could not be confirmed at at press time.
In Benue State, congress of the APC ended in the early hours of Sunday with the emergence of Austin Agada as chairman.
Agada polled 1, 385 votes out of the votes from 1,500 delegates, while his co-contestant, Omale Omale who boycotted the election was said to have polled 27 votes.
However, some leaders from Benue South Senatorial District popularly known as Zone ‘C’ has rejected what they described as unfair and unjust accreditation of delegates by the state congress committee.
The leaders include former senate president, Ameh Ebute and former minister of agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh.
The aggrieved leaders in a petition to the Abubakar Mohammed Luggawero-led Committee, insisted that list of delegates generated in Benue South and given to the committee was not genuine, hence unacceptable.
In Osun State, the committee for the state congress, however, said there was no parallel congress in Osogbo, except funeral or marriage ceremony.
Chairman of the National Committee for Osun Congress, Gbenga Elegbeleye, said any other congress apart from the one held at the Osogbo City Stadium was a “mere funeral ceremony.”
Elegbeleye, at a news conference, yesterday, at the party’s secretariat in Osogbo, said the committee was not aware of any parallel congress in the state as being speculated. A faction within the party,The Osun Progressives (TOP), loyal to former Governor Rauf Aregbesola, held a parallel congress on Saturday, while the Ileri Oluwa group, loyal to Governor Gboyega Oyatola, held its congress at the Osogbo City Stadium, where the immediate caretaker chairman of the party, Mr Gboyega Famodun, was re-elected as chairman.
TOP, at a parallel congress, elected the immediate secretary of the party, Alhaji Rasak Salinsile, as its chairman.
Elegbeleye, who described the insinuations of parallel congress in the state as a fallacy, said on no account could any congress be held outside the knowledge of the committee, as prescribed by the party’s principles and guidelines.
In Adamawa, no fewer than 12 local government areas had voted as the congress election continued for the second day, yesterday.
Prof. Umar Katsayal, chairman of the election committee, attributed the delay of the election to intensive and thorough screening of delegates.
“The conduct of the election is moving smoothly according to the party’s rules and regulations,” Adamu said.
Reacting to the crisis, National Secretary APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, John Akpanudoedehe, reiterated the resolve of the party leadership to come hard on any person or group behind the emergence of any parallel leadership in any state.
“We successfully concluded the first and second congresses in the wards and local governments by observing all the laid down rules and regulations, including satisfying the requirements of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). We, therefore want to sound a note of warning again that any congress outside what we have endorsed is an effort in futility. All we want to appeal to them is to respect the constituted authority by exploring the Appeal Committee option when we set it up. Again, we have a listening chairman who can attend to any kind of complaint from anybody. They don’t need to bring the party down because of their selfish interests. It is not done that way. In any case, we don’t want to overrate ourselves, otherwise I will say that we achieved 99 per cent successes in the three congresses we have conducted so far.”
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