State Congresses held in some key All Progressives Congress, APC, states, Saturday, witnessed power tussles between principal officers of the party at all levels of authority, from party officials, Ministers and to party leaders in Kwara, Oyo, Lagos and Kogi. Only Katsina, until filing this reports, has had a smooth congress where all officials were returned unopposed by affirmation
In Kwara State, Senate President Dr Bukola Saraki and Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed are in serious battle for the soul of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara, with both participating in parallel state congress in Ilorin on Saturday, to elect state executives.
While the faction loyal to Saraki held its congress at the Banquet Hall opposite the Government House, the faction loyal to Lai Mohammed, held theirs at the Arca Santa Event Hall.
Gov. Abdulfatah Ahmed, APC National Publicity Secretary, Bolaji Abdullahi, Sen Shaaba Lafiaji and lawmakers representing the state at the National Assembly and state House of Assembly were present at the congress which had Saraki in attendance.
Saraki, while speaking at the congress commended members of the party for the peaceful conduct of the ward and local government congresses.
He said most of the executive members at the wards and local government level were youths, adding that “this was a sign of good things to come in 2019”.
The Senate President said: “In 2019, it will be a test for the youths to demonstrate their ability to take charge in the state,” he said.
Saraki, however, appealed to the delegates to comport themselves in an orderly and peaceful manner.
The party’s Chairman, Alhaji Ishola Balogun-Fulani, commended members for their conduct during the last two congresses of the party.
The congress held at Arca Santa Hall had Moshood Mustapha, a former Special Assistant to the Senate President on Special Duties and Inter-Parliamentary Affairs in attendance.
Alhaji Raheem Adedoyin, a former Commissioner for Information under the Saraki administration, was also in attendance.
Also present was a former Secretary to the State Government under the Saraki administration, Alhaji Ganiyu Cook-Olododo.
Executive members of the two factions emerged through consensus arrangement.
While delegates at the Banquet Hall still cast their votes in spite of the fact that the candidates had no opponents, those at the Arca Santa Hall only affirmed the return of candidates.
Alhaji Moshood Bolarinwa emerged the State Chairman of the faction loyal to the minister, while Malam Abdullahi Samari was elected as the Deputy Chairman.
Others were Alhaji Abdulganiyu Saka (Secretary); Abegunde Goge (Assistant Secretary); Rahmat Abolaji (Women leader) and Samuel Isaac (Youth Leader).
Also included were Mr Olayemi Olabanji, Kwara South Senatorial Chairman; Sulyman Yahaya, Kwara Central Senatorial Chairman; and Raheem Usman, Kwara North Senatorial Chairman.
Kayode Oyin-Zubair emerged Publicity Secretary of the faction, while Abiola Nasir was elected as Financial Secretary. Wahila Sakariyah emerged as the Organising Secretary.
In a repeat of the May 13 parallel local government congresses in Oyo State, the state congress of the party also held in two locations in Ibadan metropolis on Saturday.
While Gov. Abiola Ajimobi attended the congress held at the Lekan Salami Stadium, the Unity Forum of the party held its own at the Liberty Stadium.
Apart from Ajimobi, also present at the Lekan Salami Stadium were former Gov. Adebayo Alao-Akala, Sen. Abdulfatai Buhari (APC-Oyo North), Hon. Olagunju Ojo, Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly, and Sen. Teslim Folarin, a former Senate Leader.
Chief Moses Adeyemo, the Deputy Governor, and his predecessor, Amb. Taofeek Arapaja were, however, absent at the congress.
Chief Akin Oke, the APC Chairman in the state and several others were returned through consensus for another four-year term as party executives.
The exercise was conducted by the National Congress Committee led by Alhaji Abdullahi Gwarzo, a former deputy governor of Kano State, while INEC officials were present.
Among those returned were Hon. Lekan Adeyemo(Deputy Chairman), Hon. Mojeed Olaoya(Secretary), Dr Azeez Olatunde(Publicity Secretary) and Mrs Mabel Williams, Women Leader.
But at the congress of the Unity Forum held at Liberty Stadium, the Minister of Communications, Chief Adebayo Shittu, said members must check the impunity that had characterised the running of the party’s affairs in the state.
He expressed concern over what he called the dictatorial attitude of a few persons running the party without any consideration for those that had worked for its success.
“ It is in the course of our efforts to liberate the party from these individuals that we have brought this congress and we will continue to do the wishes of the people so as to bring sanity into the system,’’ he said.
The minister assured all party faithful to remain focused and steadfast, saying the interest of all members would prevail.
Among prominent members of the group apart from Shittu are Sen. Monsurat Sumonu representing Oyo Central and Adedapo Lam-Adesina as well as some federal and state lawmakers.
The 26 candidates for the state executive positions were elected unopposed by the 2,840 delegates across the 33 local government areas.
Chief Isiaka Alimi emerged as the State chairman while Remi Olalekan was elected the State Secretary.
Others were Olawale Osadare, Publicity Secretary; Victoria Adegbuyi, Women Leader and Babajide Alabi, Youth Leader.
The crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kogi has worsened following the emergence of two different state executive on Saturday after a parallel congress.
While the faction loyal to the state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello held its own Congress at the Confluence Stadium, the Audu/Faleke faction held its own at St Peters Primary School, Felele, Lokoja.
At the Congress held at the Confluence Stadium, Mr Abdulahi Bello emerged as the state Chairman of the party, Mr Ibrahim Abdulrahman, Deputy Chairman and Mr Josiah Onoja, Secretary.
Bello was until now, a Senior Special Assistant on political affairs to the state governor.
Aside from Bello, Abdulrahman and Onoja, 34 other persons were elected by affirmation into various positions to make the state executive council of the party.
Alhaji Maman Ali Magaji , the Chairman of the state Congress Committee from the headquarters of the party conducted the Congress while the state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof. James Apam led other officials of the Independent National Electoral Commissioner to supervise it.
However, the Audu/Faleke faction at the congress held at St Peter Primary School Felele, re-elected Alhaji Haddy Ametuo, as Chairman.
He and 34 other outgoing executive members were elected by affirmation by all delegates that attended the congress.
The Returning Officer for the congress, Mr. Theman Saurara announced the results of the congress.
In Lagos, a faction of the All Progressives Congress, APC appears to be challenging the dominance of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in dictating the political direction of the state.
The faction led by Fuad Oki, defied the party juggernauts in the state, including Governor Akinwunmi Ambode by holding a separate state congress at Ikeja Airport Hotel, different from the one held at the party’s secretariat on Acme Road, also in Ikeja.
Oki returned himself as the chairman of the APC in the state, while the main congress at the State Secretariat produced Alhaji Tunde Balogun, a former commissioner.
It was not clear whether Oki’s congress was supervised by officials sent by the National secretariat of the APC .
The congress conducted at the party secretariat on ACME Road, was witnessed by the State Congress Committee headed by Senator Uche Ekwunife.
At the congress, Chief Sunny Ajose became the Deputy Chairman, Chief Funsho Ologunde (vice-chairman, West), Mr Kayode Olusanya (vice-chairman, East), Mr Hakeem Bamigbala (vice-chaiman, Central), Dr. Wale Ahmed (secretary), Ms Olasunmbo (treasurer), Barrister Joana Adebobuyi (assistant treasurer), Mr Joe Igbokwe (publicity secretary), Hon. Abiodun Salami (assistant publicity secretary), Ademola Sadiq (legal adviser).
They were all elected by affirmation, as all of them were consensus candidates.
Chairman of the State Congress Committee, Senator Ekwunife lauded the arrangements for the exercise that ensured that it went on peacefully without any rancour, expressing her gratitude to party leadership in the state for the cooperation and support for her committee, even as she promised to sell Lagos to other states of the Federation on the way to go about having a rancour-free transition.
However, at the parallel congress held at Lagos Hotel, Ikeja, Mr, Fuad Oki, a former Campaign Director for Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Raji Fashola and Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, emerged as the chairman, while Mr. Sanni Oloye and Mr Wole Oshodi became deputy chairman and secretary respectively.
Oki was also a past vice-chairman (Central) of APC in the state.
In separate interviews, the new chairman of APC, Alhaji Balogun; spokesman Mr Joe Igbokwe and member of the House of Representatives, Abiodun Faleke dismissed the Oki congress. The trio said whichever congress held outside the party office was null and void.
Oki, however said that the congress held by his group was authentic, declaring that the exercise that took place at the Airport Hotel could not be described as parallel in whatever way.
According to him, the congress held at Airport Hotel was the only legitimate one, saying he was not aware of any parallel congress.
‘What we did here was the election of one party, the APC. This is a coalition of different groups, namely; Justice Forum, the Mandate and United Group,” he said. NAN