•One killed In Ekiti, Two Shot In Ebonyi
THE factional groupings within the All Progressives Congress (APC) were, on Saturday, accentuated in some states as the party held its ward congress.
The exercise was marred by protest and violence in some states with one person killed in Ekiti, while two people were shot in Ebonyi State during the congress.
In some states, various factions of the party held parallel congress, while others boycotted the event.
The congress could not hold in a few other states on account of court order which halted the exercise pending the determination of suits filed by aggrieved members. But the exercise was largely peaceful in many states where the consensus model preached by the national leadership of the party as the best model was embraced by various leaders.
One killed in Ekiti
One person was killed and many others injured as violence characterised the congress in Ekiti. It was gathered that the deceased, who was identified as Jide, was stabbed to death after violence erupted in Ado Ekiti in Ward 10.
A source, who was at the venue of the congress held at the pavilion close to the popular Fajuyi Park, said, “After the congress was concluded, some boys who were possibly on drugs had disagreement among themselves and before you knew it, it turned to a free for all.
“Jide was stabbed and rushed to the hospital where he was confirmed dead. This is unfortunate and uncalled for because it is a mere ward congress.”
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Sunday Abutu, who confirmed the incident, said investigations were ongoing to arrest the perpetrators of the killing.
According to him, “We got a distress call today [Saturday] after the Ward 10 congress in Fajuyi that people were fighting when celebrating and on getting to the place, we were told one person had been rushed to the hospital where he was confirmed dead.
“From our findings, he was beaten with a charm and investigations have commenced towards arresting the perpetrators.”
Sunday Tribune, which monitored the exercise, observed that, while the loyalists of the governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi rooted for consensus arrangement across the 177 wards, the other faction, peopled mostly members of the South West Agenda 2023 (SWAGA), a group rooting for the national leader, Senator Bola Tinubu, to be president in 2023, resisted the move and insisted on election.
It was gathered that party faithful as early as 8 a.m. trooped out to the venues of the congress for the election while the voting process did not start until 12 noon when the ward congress committee from the national secretariat started distributing election materials.
Sunday Tribune observed that while loyalists of the governor were expecting an easy ride on the consensus method, they were, however, astonished when SWAGA members who stormed the designated centres and insisted on having election to fill the party positions.
This development in some of the wards led to widespread violence across the state as thugs were allegedly unleashed with many sustaining injuries and vehicles destroyed. Specifically, in Ado-Ekiti Ward 8, thugs unleashed mayhem on party members and disrupted the process. Senator Babafemi Ojudu and the deputy governor, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi, are from Ward 8 in the state capital.
Many of the injured members were said to be receiving medical attention in one of the private hospitals in the state capital as of the time of this report. The chairperson of Ado local government, Mrs Omotunde Fajuyi, who participated in the congress in Ward 10, said the process was peaceful and devoid of any violence.
Speaking on the congress, the state chairman of SWAGA, Senator Tony Adeniyi, decried the widespread violence which marred the process, saying that there was no congress in the state. “There was no election today [Saturday] in Ekiti because there was no accreditation across the wards. The Fayemi Tokan Tokan people manipulated the process and prevented people from voting for their preferred leaders, especially SWAGA members.
“I can confirm to you that there was violence in Ikere-Ekiti, virtually all the wards in Ado-Ekiti we had violence and several people wounded and also in Ward 10, someone was killed. Is that how to do a congress?” he said. But the party’s spokesman, Ade Ajayi, denied the allegations, saying every member was allowed to participate in the congress.
“I can tell you that nobody was deprived of voting at the congress today [Saturday] and it is our hope that it will be an acceptable one by the stakeholders. It is a blatant lie to say that people were deprived, many members participated in the process,” he said.
2 shot in Ebonyi
It was a black Saturday in Ugwuachara, Abakaliki, capital city of Ebonyi State, as suspected gunmen interrupted the ward congress of the APC, killing two people in the process. Materials meant for the election of new ward executive were carted away by the gunmen.
Sunday Tribune gathered that apart from the scores of party members who sustained varying degrees of injury, the most pathetic was that of a woman whose left leg was completely shattered.
A source in the locality, who pleaded anonymity, told Sunday Tribune that some other persons, including the Ebube Agu Security personnel, also sustained bullet injuries during the attack. According to the source “By 5 p.m., I drove from police junction Ugwuachara through Tina Nweze street to Ugwuachara Central School. On getting to Ugwuachara Central School, I saw a black Hiace bus with tinted glass and a saloon car.
“I didn’t pick the registration numbers because their number plates were covered. Suddenly, gunmen numbering about 10 emerged from the bus with AK-47 rifles and gunfire ensued.
“There was chaos as I was caught in the melee. I managed to hit the Abakaliki Mile 4 Road and crossed to other side. I saw gunmen suspected to be Ebube Agu operatives fleeing the scene while others started returning fire.
“At that point, the gunmen entered their vehicles and drove out, while Ebube Agu men entered their own vehicle and pursued them.”
“On my way home I saw a woman lying in her pool of blood and when I asked onlookers, they told me that one of the people pursuing the gunmen hit a motorcycle carrying the woman and her leg got shattered,” the source narrated.
When Sunday Tribune visited the scene later, it was discovered that all shops in Ugwuachara had hurriedly been shut.
Meanwhile, efforts to reach the Police Spokesperson, DSP Loveth Odah, proved abortive as she did not answer the calls put to her telephone line.
Parallel congress in Lagos
Factional chairman of the APC in Lagos, Fouad Oki, said the party had regressed into the 2018 situation where multiple congresses were held. Oki, while speaking to Sunday Tribune where he was monitoring the congress, confirmed that parallel congress was held by “the democrats” and other factions in the state.
“It is unfortunate that we are back to 2018 where there were separate congresses occasioned by some people’s determination to foist their will on majority members of the party.
“A few days back, there was a directive by some unknown and foreign leadership, foreign in the sense that it is not known to the constitution of the APC, that is, the Governors Advisory Council (GAC), that has continued to hold Lagos politics and government by the jugular, wherein it is stated that congress in Lagos State must be held within the consensus mode. But the caretaker committee chairman of the party in the state, Alhaji Tunde Balogun, said no parallel congress was held in the state.
He said members of the party agreed and went for a consensus arrangement to elect 37 executive members each in all 245 wards across the 20 local government councils in the state. Balogun, who spoke while addressing newsmen at the APC state secretariat on ACME Road, explained the consensus method equally required that candidates would emerge through “yes” or voice vote, after they must have bought nomination forms, filled in and submitted them to the appropriate quarters.”
“I don’t know what you mean by voting. We have agreed to have consensus in Lagos and of course, it is constitutional. It is in our constitution. It is one of the ways through which our candidates emerge from whatever primaries or elections we hold and the national headquarters of the party in Abuja has really advised the state chapters to adopt consensus. So, it is a general thing.
Abiodun, Amosun groups hold parallel congress in Ogun
Parallel congress was also held in Ogun State, despite warning by the Caretaker/ Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), that any processes or activities carried out without its approval are exercises in futility.
The congress was conducted in all the 236 wards in the state. Sunday Tribune gathered that loyalists of former governor of the State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, had a parallel ward congress in some parts of the state.
Loyalists of Governor Dapo Abiodun equally had an exercise conducted by the members of the congress committee from the national secretariat in Abuja. Speaking with newsmen, Abiodun, described the exercise as peaceful across the state. The governor who participated in the ward congress in his Iperu Ward 3 in Ikenne Local Government Area of the state, where 531 members took part commended the members for turning out in large numbers.
He noted that the exercise which was in line with what the caretaker extraordinary committee on convention planning had prescribed in preparation for the National Convention of the party, added that the exercise was the beginning of the house keeping one which would ensure that the party has people who are properly voted into office.
“So, basically, what we are doing is the beginning of the house keeping exercise to ensure that we have people who are properly voted into office that will now become substantive office holders from the ward levels and up,” he said.
The governor, while noting that the congress in his ward was a consensus arrangement ratified through an electoral process, assured party faithful that he would ensure that the ward is empowered to perform its duties. However, the chairman of the congress committee in the state, Mr Wale Ohu, declared that there was no parallel election in the 236 wards of the state. Ohu, who gave this declaration on Saturday evening while briefing newsmen at the party secretariat, said the congress was conducted throughout the state without any hitch.
Ohu said, “nobody will try a parallel congress in the APC because the party gave a clear directive and anyone who tries that is engaging in anti-party activity and it is null and void.”
Court halts congress in Bayelsa
A High Court sitting presided over by Justice Enekinimi Uzaka has stopped the APC from going ahead with the conduct of the ward congress in Bayelsa State pending the determination of a motion of notice before the court.
The court, it was learnt, adjourned the matter to August 9 for hearing of the motion before it. It was further learnt that before the court gave the order, two factions of the party led by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva and former Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri were busy at their two parallel secretariats preparing for the congress.
A visit to the APC secretariat in Yenagoa, revealed that participation forms had been distributed to each ward, to be filled by candidates and submitted to the secretariat. The acting secretary of the party, Alabo Martins, explained that the party was ready for the conduct of the ward congresses.
Protest in Akwa Ibom
Angry protesters drawn from a faction of the APC loyal to the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Godswill Akpabio, on Saturday, protested at the party secretariat, along Ikot Ekpene Road, Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital, seeking the cancellation of the ward congress. They alleged that the national caretaker secretary, Senator John Udoedehe, had “fraudulently manipulated the lists to include only his loyalists as candidates for the wards and chapter congresses.”
Armed with placards of various inscriptions: “Udoedehe cannot decide for us in Akwa Ibom;’ ‘The list cannot stand;’ ‘We reject this shambolic manipulation by one man;’ ‘This congress cannot hold’ among others, the protesters set bonfire outside the party office and caused traffic chaos along the major access road.
“We want the whole world to know that this sham is happening in Akwa Ibom. The party in the state has come under the vice grip of one man just because of his ambition to rule the state in 2023.
“We don’t know how he wants to achieve this if the party is balkanised with elements of disharmony holding sway.
“If we can no longer speak with one voice, how will he be able to realise his ambition which he has been nursing every election year?,” Effiong Bassey, a youth activist and one of the protesters lamented. The protesters, who called for the removal of the former Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), insisted that “only his sack will bring peace and force other members who left the party to return and rebuild the party for 2023.”
Confusion in Rivers APC
Speculations about a court injunction in favour of the Magnus Abe faction of the APC stopping the exercise in Rivers State were rife on Saturday. CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2 News about the injunction filtered in through the social media early on Saturday, confirming an earlier allegation late on Friday by the Rotimi Amaechi’s faction that the Abe group was making efforts to stop the congresses using the judiciary.
But Issac Ogbobula, chairman caretaker committee of the party in the state, could neither confirm nor deny the news about the injunction. In a telephone conversation with Sunday Tribune, early on Saturday, he asked: “Where’s it? Where is the injunction? Do you have a copy of the injunction, journalist? Don’t speculate.”
Delegates boycott congress in Delta North
Although the Delta State chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Prophet Jones Erhue said the ward congress held as scheduled on Saturday, there are indications that no election took place in the Delta North Senatorial District.
The delegates, who came out for the congress in the zone, were disappointed to discover there were no materials to conduct the exercise.
Materials meant for the state were said to have been allegedly hijacked by the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo Agege and his loyalists.
A chieftain of the party, Dr Cairo Ojougboh, said that the council of leaders of the party in the state has decided to boycott the exercise.
The acting chairman of the party in Oshimili South, Dr Obi Essumai, in a statement on Saturday said, “they was no congress in Oshimili South Local Government Area to which l am the acting chairman of the party.
“No congress can take place without the participation of the party chairman. It is the chairman that midwifes a congress. Forms were paid for by many members with their tellers on hand but could not get the form,” he said.
Oyo: parallel congress in Ibadan S/East LG
A chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State and younger brother to the immediate past governor of the state, Chief Wasiu Ajimobi, has appealed to his kinsmen to remain calm and maintain decorum as some members of the party in Ward 2.
Ibadan East Local Government Area, held a parallel congress on Saturday.
Speaking with journalists shortly after the congress held at Cook Memorial Baptist Church, Ibadan, where Ibrahim Adekunle emerged as the chairman, Chief Ajimobi wondered why the other faction chose to converge on another venue despite the real address of the venue of the congress having been communicated to all members of the party.
“Those having parallel congress should retrace their steps. As you can see, we are having our ward congress. You can see people are on the queue to elect their leaders for the next four years. You can see our congress is going peaceful. Nobody is harassing anyone and our people are civil.
“I also heard some people are holding parallel congress somewhere, but I will advise them to maintain peace. This is the authentic venue of our congress. It was pasted at the APC state secretariat that this address is the venue.”
Meanwhile, spokesman of the party in the state, Dr Azeez Olatunde, denied any parallel congress in the state, saying “it is not true. To the best of my knowledge, there was no parallel congress in Oyo.”
Violence rocks congress in Osun
Violence marred the exercise in some parts of Osun State, as supporters of a faction known as The Osun Progressives (TOP) clashed with members of another group. Investigation by Sunday Tribune revealed that the incident occurred at Ward 1,Osogbo, the state capital, where a parallel congress was held by the group which opposed the adoption of consensus option.
Also, in Ejigbo, the country home of former speaker of the state House Of Assembly, Honourable Najeem Salam, parallel congress was recorded as TOP mobilised its members for a parallel congress.
Speaking with newsmen, the former speaker accused the congress committee of bias, saying the committee was only working with the list presented to it by Governor Adegboyega Oyetola and not the one agreed to by party members.
There was commotion in some parts of Ile-Ife, where some members of the party were harassed in Ilare Ward 4 and Iremo Ward 1 in Ife Central Senatorial District by political hoodlums who attempted to chase them away from the collation centres. The thugs were said to have been led by a party chieftain in the state who was said to be shooting sporadically into the air, breaking bottles and brandishing other dangerous weapons to scare people.
While a group loyal to the state governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, adopted the consensus option canvassed by the national leadership of the party, while a faction loyal to former governor and Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, did its own congress elsewhere in the state.
Speaking to Sunday Tribune, the chairman of the party in Osogbo Ward 9, Honourable Adebayo Kabiru, said the resolution on the acceptance of consensus was passed to the leadership of the party and the lists agreed upon were forwarded to the party secretariat for ratification.
The chairman of the congress committee and the former Director General of the National Sports Commission, Gbenga Elegbeleye, promised to work on the lists of the consensus candidates agreed on by the leaders. Addressing journalists shortly after the tour to some of the wards in the state, the chairman of the committee, Honourable Gbenga Elegbeleye, expressed delight at the way and manner the members of the party conducted themselves. While fielding questions from journalists during the tour of the committee to Iragbiji, the country home of the state governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, the governor lauded the members of the party for turning out in large numbers to elect new officers of the party at ward level.
“Well, you have seen things for yourselves and thank God it is been very peaceful. Members of the party are here in their large numbers, just as the congress has been done in line with the directive of the national secretariat of the party,” he said.
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