Aggrieved APC factions shift battle to court, accuse party of contempt

Mai Mala Buni

The internal crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress may not fizzle out any time soon as aggrieved factions of the party have shifted the battlefield to court after the national leadership of the party inaugurated state chairmen not in their camps.

Some factions also accused the APC of contempt of court with regard to pending legal matters and warned that the party was headed for an imminent collapse if it failed to resolve the crisis.

National secretary of the APC Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee, John Akpanudoedehe, had on Thursday sworn in 34 state chairmen in Abuja.

The chairmen are believed to have been produced from congresses monitored by the Independent National Electoral Commission and the APC Caretaker Committee led by the Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni.

In the wake of the intense disagreements generated by the congresses, the party had set up a national reconciliation committee led by a former governor of Nasarawa State, Senator Abdullahi Adamu.

However, top sources within the party had told Saturday PUNCH that the panel failed to deliver its core mandate as none of the factions had reconciled in their respective states while the party’s national convention which will hold on February 26 draws near.

Reacting to the Thursday event in Abuja, the spokesperson for the Kabiru Marafa-led faction of the APC in Zamfara State, Alhaji Bello Maradun, said the inauguration of the Bello Mattawale faction of the party was a fruitless exercise that could worsen the crisis in the party.

Maradun said considering the dispute rocking the party in many states of the federation, the inauguration of the party’s state chairmen produced by “favoured factions may lead to the total collapse or disintegration of the party.”

He said, “The inauguration of the state executive committees without considering the position of aggrieved members is a great mistake that can lead to more serious crises in the party. I am telling you that we are already in court to challenge the legality of Governor Bello Matawalle’s faction of the party and we are waiting for the court’s decision.

“We will however follow all the rules and regulations of our party constitution to make sure that our faction of the party, that is the Senator Kabiru Marafa’s faction, is not sidelined. How can anybody haphazardly inaugurate some favoured factions of the party knowing full well that there are still crises in almost all the states?”

When contacted for comment on the inauguration of the state executive members, the spokesperson for former Governor Abdul Aziz Yari-led faction of the party, Alhaji Ibrahim Magaji, said he would not say anything because they were still in court.

In Benue State where Austin Agada was inaugurated as the APC state chairman, the factional leader, Omale Omale, described the exercise as contemptuous, insisting that the group would pursue its case in court to a logical conclusion. He equally vowed to further institute a case of contempt at the court.

Omale had filed a suit in court via an originating summon and a motion on notice for an interlocutory injunction restraining the APC from swearing in Agada as the state chairman of the party.

However, the court did not rule on the pending motion on notice until Agada was sworn in on Thursday.

Omale said, “Whatever they have done is contemptuous, we are going to take up the matter to the court with all parties to the suit. We are still in court and sure of pursuing the matter to the logical conclusion because the law is clear in this matter that when a party is aware of a tendency of a suit and does any other things to destroy the rest it is contemptuous.”

While dismissing the possibility of leaving the party, Omale said defecting from one party to another was not the right step to correct impunity.

He added, “We will be in the party to correct anomalies, jumping out will not correct the ills. If you do, each time they do, you run away, you are not correcting anything.”

In the same vein, an APC chieftain in Akwa Ibom State and former military governor of Ogun and Rivers states, Group Capt Sam Ewang (retd.), insisted that if the right thing was not done, the party would completely break up in the state.

Ewang, who could not disclose whether his group was inaugurated or not, lamented that some stalwarts of the party were destroying it because of immediate selfish gains.

He said, “Which state executive are you talking about that was inaugurated on Thursday? There are three groups, it’s based on which one is recognised and who recognised and why it is recognised.”

Asked if his group was recognised at the inauguration, he said, “I don’t know and I have not been told. The issue is that the party as it is in the state is dead if the right thing was not done.”

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