State governors, ministers in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet, even senators are at each other’s throats over state congresses of the ruling All Progressives Congress scheduled for next weekend.
As control of the party apparatus at the state level could greatly influence who will emerge as the party flagbearer for the 2023 governorship elections.
Following the trend of the local government congresses, the October 16, state congresses are already being shaped by political squabbles, legal tussles and even signs that there will be parallel congresses.
In Kwara state for example, the stage appears set for the conduct of two parallel state congresses by members of the party who are yet to iron out the differences and disagreements from the conduct of the local government congresses.
LEADERSHIP Sunday gathered that the aggrieved members of the party loyal to the minister of Information and Culture, Alh Lai Mohammed are prepared to hold a separate congress to elect their own state executives of the party.
Though, the national secretariat of the ruling party does not recognize the Lai Mohammed-led factional APC in Kwara State, the aggrieved party members have refused to sheathe their swords.
When asked about their plan for the forthcoming state congress, the publicity secretary of the factional APC, Comrade AbdulRahoof Bello said:”
However, the chairman of the. APC caretaker committee in the state, Alh Abdullahi Samari, insisted that there is no factional APC in the state, though he conceded that there are aggrieved members.
He said he remains the only recognised chairman of the party in the state, adding that all the officials sent from the party’s national secretariat in Abuja to Kwara for the purpose of conducting the ward and local government congresses operated from the party’s secretariat under his watch.
He added that:” The conduct of the state congress will follow the same pattern. The officials that will conduct the state congress will operate from the party’s secretariat under my watch and the party’s leader in the state, Governor AbdulRahaman AbdulRazaq.
“We will still make use of the consensus option that we adopted for our earlier ward and local government congresses which had made the party to be more united in the state.”
As at the time of filing this report, the party is under the firm control of the leadership of the state governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq and the caretaker committee executives led by Alh Abdullahi Samari.
Just like it happened during the earlier congresses of the party, the party stakeholders may likely zone the state offices into zones and ask the stakeholders in the zones to field candidates for such offices through consensus arrangements.
One thing that is sure is that the chairmanship of the party will be zoned to either Kwara north or Kwara south.
This is because the APC stakeholders in the state had unanimously endorsed the incumbent state governor who is from Kwara central for a second term of office.
Interestingly, no other person from the fold of the APC has made public his interest on the party’s gubernatorial ticket ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The APC chairman in the state, Alh Abdullahi Samari said the party is fully prepared for the forthcoming state congress.
He stated that the party, in line with the directive of its national secretariat and the wise counsel of its leader in the state, Governor AbdulRazaq, will adopt the consensus option in picking its state execitives during the congress.
Ahead of the nationwide state congress of the All Progressives Congress (APC) slated for Saturday, October 16, 2021, the Delta State chapter of the party has approved the zoning of offices for the state executive committee.
The zoning endorsed by the Chairman, Delta State APC Caretaker Committee, Prophet Jones Erue is already generating ripples and has led to the suspension of a prominent member of the party, Elvis Ayomanor, who addressed himself as the Acting State Chairman of APC Delta State Caretaker Committee
Ayomanor, disclosed that he is against Senator Ovie Omo-Agege’s ambition of wanting to be the governor of Delta State by all means and at all cost and that the exco of the so-called Ovie Omo-Agege support group could not suspend him. “Senator Ovie Omo-Agege’s ambition is a self enriching one, at the detriment of the general growth and development of the Urhobo Ethnic Nationality”
This may not be unconnected to plot by some aggrieved leaders of APC in state including the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Chief Festus Keyamo, the party governorship candidate in 2019 elections, Chief Great Ogboru, former speakers of the Delta State House of Assembly, Victor Ochei and Monday Igbuya; former Executive Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Cairo Ojougboh, Mrs Mariam Ali, and Air Vice-Marshal Okorodudu to restrain the APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) members from organizing local government congress.
Unfortunately for them, Delta State High Court in Asaba refused to grant them the ex-parte order they sought. Recall that ahead of the Ward Congress, those leaders had threatened to boycott party’s congress over alleged hijack of the process by a certain leader of the party.
Not happy with the outcome of the Ward Congress and their failure to get the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) to cancel the process in Delta, they mobilised the APC State Deputy Chairman, Elvis Ayomanor and a few other officials to challenge the outcome of the ward congress in the state.
In an ex-parte application in case A/145/2021: Elvis Ayomanor & Ors v APC & Ors, dated 18/8/21 and filed on 19/8/21, currently pending before the Delta State High Court sitting in Asaba presided over by Hon. Justice Onome Marshal-Umukoro, the Claimants/ Applicants prayed the honourable court for an interim order.
But the Delta State High Court in Asaba did not restrain Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni and others from parading themselves as the APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) members.
Ayomanor who maintained that Delta State APC did not take part in the just concluded congresses of the APC, and will still not take part in any further congresses, in line with the orders of the State High Court Asaba, warned that the ward congresses and LGA congresses in Delta State were conducted in breach of court orders and in total disregard for the Constitutional provision of APC, thus it amounts to nullity and unrecognised by the totality of the leaders and members of APC Delta State”.
“APC is a political party, not a pressure group.. As it stands today, the matter is still in court, pending determination. Until then, the consent judgement exco is still in charge”.
While saying no single individual or a pocket of persons have the powers to impose such product of illegality or act of impunity and irresponsibility on the people, he said Senator Ovie Omo-Agege is not the leader of the party, neither is he the party’s Governorship candidate, “so he does not have the powers to assume the candidacy of the party for 2023. Until he contests the primaries and wins, he remains an aspirant”
However, the party described its erstwhile State Deputy Chairman, Ayomanor, as an impostor for claiming to be the party’s State Acting Chairman
The party in a statement authorised by Erue and signed by Nick Ovuakporie, Director of Publicity, said the suspension of Ayomanor is to serve as deterrent to other bootlickers and notorious anti-party moles, who are APC in the afternoon and PDP in the night.
The party which likened of Ayomanor’s claim to a nollywood script being acted by a confused impostor and PDP agent vowed the party would sustain the enforcement of party discipline against anyone who runs foul of the express provisions of the APC constitution no matter how highly placed.
The party statement further described Elvis Ayomanor’s false claim as acting chairman as laughable and totally ridiculous, made reference to the case he instituted against the party and the National Chairman, where he admitted that he was never sworn-in as a member of the State Caretaker Committee and therefore asking for an order of court to direct the State Chairman who is the 15th defendant, to swear him in as a member of the State Caretaker Committee.
The power tussle to determine who controls the soul of All Progressives Congress ( APC) in Imo State, presents titanic fierce battle as the Governor , Senator Hope Uzodimma battles the joint force of the former governor of the state, Senator Rochas Okorocha and Senator Ifeanyi Araraume.
These trio have vowed to confront squarely the governor of the State, Senator Uzodinma in all ramifications of Imo political “Chess Board ” having claimed to be the progenators of Imo APC.
This face off is traceable to the quest to retain the APC structure in the state. As old war horse, Senator Okorocha and Senator Araraume being the grand master of Imo Politics does not want to let go the structures they laboured to nurture over the years.
They have decided to take the battle to the camp of the enemy in what could appear as the last straw that broke the camels back .
The Supremacy battle on who controls the soul of Imo All Progressives Congress (APC) between the governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma , Senator Rochas Okorocha and Senator Ifeanyi Ararume enters climax as the APC state Chairmanship Congress gatheres momentum.
The governor edged out both his rivals in the wards, local government and now set to trunce them in the election of State chairmanship election.
The last have not been heard in respect to this fight as Okorocha and Ararume are indefatigable fighters and as old war horse might have their jokers close to their chests.
The former governor, Rochas Okorocha and Senator Araraume are celebrities, gitfed with the “Midas Touch” on how to galvanise both human and material resources as a result of their philanthropy and financial muscles.
Okorocha and Araraume still command’s arrays of followershp in Imo politics as they pain stakingly built formidably structures in all the 27 local government areas of the State . These troops still roots for their masters openly and secretly depending on political exigency.
However, the present Okorocha,s political predicament surfaced when against all odds he pursued the project of Installing Hon.Uche Nwosu as successor to the governorship stool of Imo State
Political Pundits are of the opinion that, if he had supported Senator Araraume, Prince Eze Madumere or any other candidate , he would have ended up as the hero of Imo politics.
when the project to install Hon. Nwosu hit the brick wall, this propelled the emergence of Uzodimma who was initially not in the picture, having been in Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) then,but suddenly emerged as the candidate of APC to the astonishment of political observers.
Reacting to the various insinuations aimed at diminishing his stature, Okorocha dismissed the report that he has joined the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Okorocha stressed that the report of defection was to blackmail him out of the party, APC, by the Imo state government.
According to Okorocha, “Governor Hope Uzodinma can not and will not blackmail Senator Rochas Okorocha out of the All Progressives Congress, APC. Governor Uzodinma was behind the fake story of Senator Rochas Okorocha leaving the APC for the PDP.
“He had come up with the fake story of Okorocha leaving APC because the National Secretariat of the Party had set up a reconciliation committee. And also because of Okorocha’s visit to the National Office of the Party, with men and women who had sacrificed all they had, to make APC the Party to beat in Imo. And with National Assembly members who have the mandate of the people.
“Governor Uzodinma was never a member of APC. He joined APC after he had been announced governor by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court had given the Judgement that the Candidate of APC in the 2019 governorship election was Uche Nwosu. Showing that, Chief Uzodinma was a gatecrasher in APC.”
“Yet, he does not want to be humble about that. He wants those who laboured, blackmailed, so that they can leave the party for him. There would not have been APC in Imo today if Okorocha didn’t take the political risk he took to make Imo APC. Governor Uzodinma is reaping where he did not sow and one had expected him to be sober about that.
But he has continued to use blackmail to see how the party could be abandoned for him. At what point did Chief Uzodinma join APC”.
In Niger state the struggle for the All Progressives Congress APC’s structures began during the last local government congresses but the Governor Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello maintained his control over the party’s structure using consesus arrangements.
Already few Governorship aspirants are trying frantically to get a space in the party by sponsoring their associates to strategic positions but the latest consesus arrangements powered by the Governor and some loyal stakeholders have checked their moves.
Notable among the likely aspirants are Alhaji Mohammed Idris publisher of Blueprint Newspapers, Sani Ndanusa a former Minister of sports, Alhaji Nda mohammed , the Deputy Governor Ahmed Mohammed Ketso , Rufai Mohammed , Mohammed Umar Bago , Soko Deke and Abubakar Lado Suleja.
All the aspirants are from Niger south except Hon Lado from Niger East Senatorial District, making, the struggle for the party structures to be stiffer in Niger south
LEADERSHIP however observed that the Governor has refused to align with any of the listed aspirants even as he is working tactically to maintain the control of the party from a neutral perspective..
Already it was gathered that some political associates of the Governor are working for his Commissioner of Agriculture Alhaji Haliru Jikantoro to be the new party Chairman through consesus arrangement.
A source however hinted that with the amendment of the electoral act the struggle for the party’s structure may be less at the congress as the aspirants may not want to confront the Governor who is finishing his second term by 2023 .
It was learnt that the likely aspirants were doing more of associating with the Governor than trying to create their own structures that will look like an affront on him.
It is therefore expected that after the state congress , the Governor will still maintain the control over the party if the consesus arrangements for strategic positions in the party scale through , especially now that all the aspirants are queuing behind him.