APC convention date shaky, party battles crises in 13 states


The ruling All Progressives Congress has yet to decide on the date for its national convention, The PUNCH has learnt.

It was gathered on Tuesday that among the issues delaying the convention was the fact that the Anambra and Zamfara State chapters of the party had yet to conduct membership registration/revalidation as well as congresses.

The APC leaders, who confided in our correspondents, said multiple cases arising from the party’s state congresses contributed in no small measure to the uncertainty over the convention date.

Party members in no fewer than 13 states, where parallel congresses were held, on Tuesday, said they would not withdraw court cases they filed to challenge the congresses.

Other aggrieved members stated that although they did not file any suit, they expected party leaders to ensure justice in resolving the crises that arose from the congresses.

The APC had on July 31, 2021 held its ward congresses, followed by local government congresses on September 4, and state congresses on October 16.

It was gathered that the national convention, which was initially scheduled to hold in December 2020, was postponed till June 2021 after a meeting of the National Executive Committee of the party, which was presided over by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on December 8, 2020.

The Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee was inaugurated in June 2020 and given six months within which to conduct the convention.

It was given an additional six months on December 8, 2020, which expired in June 2021. However, when this lapsed on June 26, 2021, another NEC meeting presided over by Buhari approved an indefinite timeline for the committee to achieve its objectives.

The new Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, shortly after his election at the party’s national convention on Sunday, mocked the APC over its inability to hold a national convention.

Ayu said the ruling party had produced 92 chairmen in the 36 states of the federation.

Sources in the APC said on Tuesday the party would not rush to hold its national convention and land itself in a bigger crisis.

“We have many things to resolve. It is after we have done those things that we can announce the date for the convention,” a party leader stated.

If we hold convention and leave out some states, they can go to court – National secretary

The National Secretary of the CENCPC, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, in an interview with one of our correspondents, said the party needed to tidy up some things before holding its convention.

For instance, he said the party had not conducted membership registration and revalidation in Anambra and Zamfara states.

Akpanudoedehe stated, “Go and look at our party constitution. If we hold our convention and exclude only one state, then someone can go to court and say they were left out.

“You know because of the Anambra State election, we did not conduct our membership registration and revalidation in Anambra.

“We did not do the same in Zamfara State too. We have to conduct these in the states before the convention. Every state must be carried along.

“There is no way you can exclude one state and say it is a valid convention. There are a lot of things we need to tidy up before the convention; congresses must be tidied up. Appeals must also be tidied up to guide the process of the convention.

“It is not because some people are agitating for a convention that we will rush to do something that will create more problems. This new car (APC) that we have bought, we cannot give it to a careless driver to go and crash it; we cannot.”

The national secretary also said unlike the PDP, the APC was not likely to hold zonal congresses.

When asked if the APC would hold zonal congresses, he stated, “You are bringing the PDP template. The APC doesn’t do zonal congresses; every national officer is elected from the state; if it is something that we will consider, we will let you know. It is not something we are considering; it is not what we do, but it is something to think about.”

On the issue of parallel congresses, the party scribe said, “I said it before and I want to repeat it, there is nothing like parallel congress in our party.

“The constitution spells it out so; Article 18 empowers us to hold congresses, as well as articles 19 and 20; that is the position of the party.

“We have a President in the person of Muhammadu Buhari, who is known worldwide as a respecter of the law. We also have a chairman, in the person of Governor Mai Mala Buni, a gentleman to the core, who equally insists on proper things being done; you cannot present illegality before these men and expect to succeed.

“We set up committees to go to states to conduct congresses, anything outside this, you are on your own; to even ask any question about the so-called parallel congresses is an attempt to destroy the APC.

“Any person or group within our party, who has an issue with the congresses, has an opportunity to seek redress at the level of appeal; that is why appeal committees were set up. Those who feel aggrieved one way or the other can take advantage of the Senator Abdullahi Adamu committee.

“You cannot do something outside the constitution and expect to succeed. I have said so many times that we are structured.

“I will repeat for the last time, anything outside what we have done in terms of ward, local government and state congresses is a nullity; that doesn’t mean where we have disagreements we will not intervene; that is why we have the Adamu committee.

“The APC is a family; we are bound to have disagreements among our family members, but we will reconcile ultimately; that is the beauty of our party that is progressively democratic.”

He also mocked the opposition PDP for saying it was prepared to defeat the APC come 2023.

“How can a party, while it was in power, one of its ministers bought a brassiere for millions of naira using public funds talk about beating a party, which is using public funds to rebuild the nation and restore hope?” Akpanudoedehe queried.

Aggrieved members of the party under the aegis of Concerned APC members, however, advised the party’s leaders to take a cue from the opposition PDP to conduct a convention that would restore its democratic credentials.

The spokesman for the group, Abdullahi Dauda, in a telephone interview in Abuja, on Tuesday, said, “We have no excuse not to have elected party leaders by now.

“We are the progressives, but recent actions and inactions have called to question our credentials; we need to have our convention sooner and not later than December this year.”

Factions adamant in states

Despite the warning by the APC national leaders, factions of the party in Rivers, Ekiti, Ogun, Oyo, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Delta, Osun, Kano, Abia, Zamfara and Kwara states are still battling for supremacy.

In Rivers State, factions led by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, and Senator Magnus Abe elected different executive councils.

While Abe’s faction has as its chairman a former member of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Golden Chioma, the Amaechi faction elected Emeka Beke as chairman.

Asked if the faction would go to court to challenge the parallel executive, the Publicity Secretary of the Amaechi faction, Chris Finebone, told one of our correspondents that the party would take appropriate actions after the inauguration of the executive council.

Chioma, however, claimed that he was not aware of any faction, pointing out that congresses were held at the state, local government and ward levels, where party officials emerged.

In Kwara State, the party is divided into factions led by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, and the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.

The Vice Chairman of the minister’s faction, Chief Sunday Oyebiyi, told The PUNCH on Tuesday that though the faction had not filed a fresh suit on the congresses, it was waiting for the decision of the court on the suit earlier filed by the former chairman of the party, Bashir Bolarinwa, on his alleged illegal removal.

The Chairman of the APC in Ekiti State, Paul Omotoso, and the state Chairman, South West Agenda for Asiwaju 2023, a pro-Bola Tinubu group, Senator Tony Adeniyi, disagreed over the suit filed by aggrieved party members challenging the conduct of ward congresses in the state.

While Adeniyi ruled out the possibility of withdrawing the court case, saying the state APC leadership had continued to display arrogance despite its unconstitutional act, Omotoso, who said the aggrieved members had nothing to contest in court over the ward congresses, said, “Withdrawal of the case lies with the petitioners.”

A chieftain of the APC in Akwa Ibom State, Group Capt Sam Ewang (retd.), said the party must resolve the crisis in its state chapter.

“It’s either the crisis is resolved or the party is dead. If the national body cannot resolve it, they should expect the party to be dead in Akwa Ibom State,” he stated.

A factional APC Chairman in Cross River State, John Egbeji, said he expected the party to resolve the crises arising from the congresses.

In Kano State, Alhaji Ahmadu Haruna Danzago, the newly-elected factional Chairman of the APC led by a former governor, Ibrahim Shekarau, insisted that the faction was recognised by the national leaders of the party.

Efforts to contact the state Chairman and Secretary of the APC faction loyal to Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, Abdullahi Abbas and Ibrahim Sarena, respectively, proved abortive as they did not take several calls made to their mobile telephones.

Lani Baderinwa, the secretary of the APC faction in Osun State backed by the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, said the group had challenged the last local government congress of the party in court.

Baderinwa, who said there was no negotiation between the faction and the one supported by Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, added that the matter instituted against the congress at the Federal High Court, Osogbo would progress unhindered.

The spokesperson for the Lagos State chapter of the party, Mr Seye Oladejo, said, “It should be the business of the aggrieved to seek redress within the confines of the platforms provided by the party. It’s advisable that they strictly adhere to this if they’re truly committed party men.”

But the spokesperson for the Lagos4Lagos Movement, Mr Seun Soyinka, told one of our correspondents that the court would only be an option if the national body failed to dispense justice.

The faction loyal to a former governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun, said the national leadership of the party would recognise the faction, because its representatives conducted the state congress.

But the faction loyal to Governor Dapo Abiodun kept mum on the lingering crisis over the party structure.

In Delta State, the party is divided into factions led by the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, and the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, SAN.

The immediate past Chairman of the party in Abia State, Donatus Nwankpa, told one of our correspondents that the party did not have factions in the state.

He, however, advised the national leadership of the party to reject reactionary elements to ensure genuine reconciliation.

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