POLITICS

APC congress: Rivers faction demands boycott, exercise suspended in Zamfara, Kwara, Anambra

Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni
  • Protest in Osun over candidates’ imposition, court stops congress in Bayelsa

The faction of the Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress loyal to Senator Magnus Abe has announced a boycott of the party’s ward congresses beginning on Saturday (today).

Members of the faction accused the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, of masterminding the exclusion of their supporters from participating in the exercise.

Abe, a former senator representing Rivers South-East at the National Assembly, made the accusation in Port Harcourt on Friday, while addressing his supporters across the 23 local government areas of the state.

He said, “There is really no crisis in this party. The crisis in the party is that the minister (Amaechi) said anybody who is with Senator Abe is no longer a member of the APC and cannot be entitled to any opportunity or privilege within the APC.

“I want to say I have had a series of meetings with the national leadership and it is determined that there will be justice for party members in Rivers State. Don’t take the law into your own hands. Since you were not given forms and allowed to take part in the congresses, leave it.

“We will follow the party process and we will formally complain to the national leadership that this is what has happened. Since they didn’t give you forms, don’t go and waste your time. Remain calm. We will get to where we are going. We will follow the directives of the national leadership of our party.”

He noted that he had always been an advocate of inclusiveness in the affairs of the party at the state level and would remain one.

In response, the state APC spokesman, Ogbonna Nwuke, dismissed the allegations. Nwuke, who is Amaechi’s close ally, said, “The whole thing is a complete hoax and lies coming from a man who is well-placed like Senator Magnus Abe.

“The APC has promised to provide a level playing field for all. That means members of Abe’s faction who equally bought forms to participate in the congresses are free to do so.

“But we are aware that because the senator knows that this time, he is merely a paper tiger who has no support at the grassroots, it becomes necessary for him to tell all kinds of lies in an attempt to create a wrong impression of a peaceful process.

“So, for us, we think that the public, particularly our supporters and all well-meaning people who are part of the APC, should ignore the call by Senator Magnus Abe.”

In Osun, some party members staged a peaceful protest against alleged refusal of the congress committee overseeing the exercise to hold a meeting with all stakeholders.

The protesters, led by an ex-parliamentarian, Rasheed Raji, insisted on going to their various wards to hold congress, as against the plan by the Ileri Oluwa-led group, said to enjoy the support of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, which is insisting on a consensus arrangement for all positions.

They armed themselves with placards with inscriptions such as ‘We say no to consensus,’ ‘Osun progressives’ women and youths demand APC Congress forms,’ and ‘We say no to imposition.’

The demonstrators, who protested along Osogbo/Gbongan road, said they decided to change their plan to march to the party secretariat because hoodlums had been stationed near the premises to attack them.

Addressing journalists, Raji said, “A consensus arrangement is no longer possible in Osun. We have obtained forms but our members have not been invited to any meeting. We insist that there must be an election.”

In a similar vein, party supporters under the aegis of The Osun Progressives called on security agencies in the state to protect their members.

The Chairman of the group, Lowo Adebiyi, who spoke to journalists in Osogbo, expressed fear that some members of the group might be attacked.

However, the state Chairman of the APC Caretaker Committee, Gboyega Famoodun, announced the adoption of a consensus arrangement for the election of ward leaders.

Famoodun spoke in Osogbo on Friday at a meeting of the congress committee for the state with the party stakeholders in Osun Government House.

He said, “As recommended by the National Secretariat, we have adopted a consensus mode in Osun for the smooth running of the exercise. Things have been properly done; our homework has been done properly.

“Our fathers and leaders have scrutinised the 332 wards that we have in Osun. We have concluded the exercise that will lead us to a very good congress tomorrow.”

In his brief remarks, the Chairman of the Congress Committee for the state, Mr Gbenga Elegbeleye, said he arrived in the state Friday evening and dismissed insinuations that the committee had been prevented from meeting all stakeholders.

In his goodwill message, Oyetola assured party members of adequate security across the state and called on all stakeholders to ensure a hitch-free ward congress.

Also, an Ekiti State governorship aspirant on the platform of the party, Reuben Famuyibo, on Friday, expressed fear that parallel ward congresses could take place because forms were being sold by two different sources.

Famuyibo, who spoke to reporters in Ado Ekiti, said, “In view of what is going on, there may be question marks on the credibility of our congress in Ekiti State, based on how they arrived at the names and who got the forms.”

He added, “Even based on the Supreme Court judgment on the Ondo State governorship election where the court has said you cannot be the chairman of a party when you are governor, something has to be done. This is the same person that is conducting the congresses. I think the best thing would have been to put a hold on this election and do a proper thing.

“On Saturday, we may have two conflicting groups. As at today (Friday), people who have forms got such from either Fayemi’s aides or from the Abuja group. There is likely to be a parallel congress.”

But the APC State Publicity Director, Sam Oluwalana, argued that Famuyibo’s claims were untrue. He said, “What those people say is false. What they planned was for them to have access to some forms and conduct a parallel congress, but they failed.

Meanwhile, the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, on Friday, asked the ruling party to go ahead with the ward congresses as planned.

Omo-Agege, in a statement titled ‘Why There is Nothing Stopping the APC Ward Congresses Scheduled for Saturday, 31st July, 2021,’ said, “I have, however, taken time to critically digest and juxtapose the divergent views on the issue and come to realise that the mischief-makers propagating confusion aimed at misleading our party into a state of disarray did not study the petition filed by Jegede at the lower court.

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