With the dusts raised by the local government congresses of the All Progressives Congress (APC) yet to settle, the party is today going ahead with its state congresses, to elect officials for these levels of its structures.
The scenario of the local government congresses, characterised by protests, boycotts, and the election of parallel executives by the different factions in many states, looks set to repeat itself across the country.
Parallel congresses are likely in at least 13 states in spite of the various fence-mending sorties carried out by the various committees vested with that duty.
The parallel assemblies would flow from what transpired during the local government congresses where sharp divisions existed, with various factions foughting for the control of the party and structures.
Though Zamfara and Anambra states will not be participating in today’s exercise, Abia, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Ogun, Osun, Kwara, Adamawa, Lagos, Imo, Enugu, Sokoto, Kano and Katsina are expected to hold parallel congresses.
During the Ward and Local Government congresses in Abia State, parallel congresses between the factions loyal to the state Chairman of the party, Chief Donatus Nwankpa and Chief Ikechi Emenike were held. The same drama is expected to play out today. Barely 24 hours to commencement of the congress, elders of the party declared that no state congress would hold in Abia today.
APC caucus leader in Abia State, Senator Nkechi Nwogu, Chief Sam Nkire, Ume Kanu, Mr. KC Ugboajah and Hon. Elton Onwu and Mr. Chijioke Ikpo called the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee to recall the state congress committee sent to Abia State.
Addressing journalists yesterday in Abuja on behalf of the elders, Chris Adighije said any attempt to hold the congress in the state would create problem, confusion and plunge Abia into further crisis.
Despite the High Court order restraining the conduct of the last local government congresses in Delta State, a faction of the party led by the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, organised the exercise which he described as peaceful.
Thereafter, Delta State APC Leaders’ Council called on the National Caretaker Committee to annul the Ward and Local government congresses and organise fresh, all-inclusive congresses.
The council stated in a communiqué, jointly signed by 19 party members including the Chairman of the Council and Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Mr. Festus Keyamo, Dr. Alex Ideh, the Co-Chairman, the Council Secretary and former Executive Director of NDDC, Cairo Ojougboh and APC’s Governorship Candidate in 2019 in Delta State, Chief Great Ogboru, among others, that they were not satisfied with the manner of the exercise.
With the spat unresolved till date, it is doubtful if it will be a one house today devoid of boycotts.
The National Secretary of the APC Caretaker Committee, Senator John Akpanudoedehe and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio will also renew their rivalry in the state today.
While Akpanudoedehe controls the state chapter of the party, being an older member of the party, Akpabio is fighting to get hold of the party’s structure in the state.
The supremacy battle between the two led to the holding of parallel congresses in the 31 LGAs of the state during the local government congresses. The same is expected to be repeated today, as both factions are still in the contest of who blinks first, as issues in contention between the two gladiators are still fresh and potent.
The situation is not different in Enugu State where former Senate President, Ken Nnamani and the state Caretaker Committee Chairman, Ben Nwoye are locked in opposing sides and striding for control of the soul if the party and none of them has agreed to loosen their grip.
The local government congresses produced different leadership structures in all 17 council areas of the state due to failure to resolve contending issues. It is also expected that a parallel state congresses will hold today.
The Supremacy battle between the Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun and his predecessor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun will be renewed today. There has been no love lost between the two political leaders.
The Chairman of the Congress Committee for Ogun State, Wale Ohu fears there would be parallel congresses and voiced that much when he said he was inundated with inquiries on how things would go today.
The indication that another congress by a faction was in the offing was when he said, “I have the mandate of the National Secretariat of the party to vet, screen and conduct the Ogun State congress of the APC. No other election is valid, except the one by my committee of seven sent by the National headquarters of the party.”
Osun is going to be another battle ground today, especially between Osun State Governor, Gboyega Oyetola and the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola with each of them pulling the strings.
During the local government congresses, members of the APC who belong to The Osun Progressives (TOP), a political movement loyal to Aregbesola held their congress at Comrade Ola-Oni Centre in Osogbo, while those who belong to the Ileri Oluwa group – the political movement of the governor held theirs at the Osogbo Federal Constituency office.
Despite Lagos being the home state of the National Leader of the party, Bola Tinubu, the party has been factionalised as far back as 2018.
The two APC factions in Lagos State are the Tunde Balogun-led group and the Lagos4Lagos group. Like it happened during the local government congresses where parallel congress were held across the state, similar scenario is expected to take place today. In fact, the situation was so tense that unconfirmed reports said State Executives expected to be elected today were announced yesterday evening even ahead of the exercise.
In Rivers State, there are two factions of the party. One is led by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi while the order is led by Senator Magnus Abe.
During the local government congresses, Amaechi’s faction participated, while Abe’s faction boycotted the exercise. The story is not expected to be different today. It is either going to be a boycotted congress or a parallel one
In Kwara, the faction loyal to the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed has been having a running battle with the faction loyal to Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq.
The faction loyal to Mohammed recently opened a parallel party secretariat in the state. During the local government congresses, the two factions held separate congresses.
Sokoto State chapter of the APC is set to hold parallel congresses.
Speaking with THISDAY, the factional leader in the state, Dr. Balarabe Salame said like the wards and local governments congresses, his group had arranged for a state congress today.
Salame, who is a former acting Governor and current member representing Illela/Gwadawa Federal constituency, lamented his group bought forms but were not contacted on when and the mode of Congress.
Salame accused the leader of the party in the state, Senator Aliyu Wamakko of creating factions in the party to achieve his political aim.
The fight between former governor Rochas Okorocha and incumbent Governor Hope Uzodinma appears unabated, as well as Ifeanyi Ararume who boycotted party activities. But it is no longer clear if he will still be in the trenches as he has been appointed Chairman, Board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
However, there is still no love lost between Uzodinma and Okorocha. No matter how it pans, the exercise will either be boycotted by one faction or a parallel congress will result.