APC elects consensus ward executives amid dissenting voices - SALIENT TIMES ONLINE

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Saturday, 31 July 2021

APC elects consensus ward executives amid dissenting voices

Result Sheets Missing In Enugu, Parallel Congresses In Ogun, Kwara, Abia



There was apprehension that the All Progressives Congress (APC) Ward Congresses would end in crises, but that was not to be because in many states, candidates emerged through consensus. 

In places where there were strong dissenting voices, especially Ogun and Kwara, parallel congresses were held with both camps still producing executives through consensus.

In Edo State, party ward executives were elected across the 192 wards through consensus.

Chairman, Ward Congress Committee, Edo State, Dr. Chris Oghenechovwen, said the party in the state agreed on consensus in electing ward executives across the state.

“We are seven-man committee sent to conduct the congress from Abuja. We were told authoritatively that Edo State is so united that you have consensus everywhere.”

According to him, the Edo APC consensus is a model that should be adopted by members in other states.

Similarly, Ekiti State Ward Congress Committee, yesterday, insisted that consensus remains the best option to averting crisis in the party. The committee headed by Alhaji Shittu Galambi, has Omowunmi Olatunji, Mohammed Bamanga, Mohammed Ndanusa, Naomi Awake, Prof. Okey Onyejekwe and Bello Osaretin as members.

Addressing journalists at APC’s Secretariat, in Ado Ekiti, after distributing election materials to the 177 wards, Galambi said the party and stakeholders are at liberty to conduct direct mode of election, where consensual agreement fails among contenders.

However, a member of the state Working Committee, who craved anonymity, told journalists that the party had adopted consensus before arrival of the committee from the national.

Despite the suit seeking to stop the ward congress in Enugu State by some aggrieved members, the ward congresses were held peacefully in the 260 wards.

Four aggrieved members had, on Friday, gone to court, alleging compromised exercise. They, therefore, urged the court to stop it.

It was gathered that result sheets for the ward congress in Enugu State were missing, as officials deployed to the various wards for the exercise did not go to the congress venues with result sheets. They claimed sheets were not handed over to them.

The development was already raising tension among party members. When the state party chairman, Dr. Ben Nwoye, was contacted, he confirmed he received reports of the missing result sheets.

The members of the Osun State National Committee of APC Ward Congress have applauded the peaceful conduct of the exercise in the entire state. The delegates also extolled members of the ruling party for their high level compliance towards ensuring smooth, free, fair, credible and acceptable congress across the 332 wards in the state.

This is even as APC loyalists and supporters, who participated in the process across wards in the state, expressed satisfaction at the adoption of consensus by the party leadership.

Addressing journalists shortly after the tour of some wards, Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Gbenga Elegbeleye, expressed delight at the way and manner the party members conducted themselves.

Elegbeleye, who supervised the congress exercise in all the wards visited, said it was worthy of note that the entire process had been seen, observed and adjudged to be peaceful, orderly and in line with the party’s principles and guidelines. 

In Ogun State, the Chairman of the Ogun State Ward Congress Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Wale Ohu, addressing Journalists on Saturday evening while briefing newsmen at Ogun State Secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Iyana Mortuary, Abeokuta, equally submitted that the ward congress was conducted throughout the state without any hitch.

He insisted that there was no parallel congress conducted anywhere in the state.

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.

"So we never expected any reasonable and loyal party member to even think of any parallel congress, so there was none".

The Committee chairman stated further that "the turnout of  members at the stakeholders' meeting was an evidence of what we saw today. Anyone who is a gladiator in APC in the state was at the stakeholders forum and there was no dissenting view. All of them spoke commonly that they were ready to work together with us to have a hitch-free congress and that was what we had today".
 
He disclosed that on arrival in the state some days ago, his committee had, apart from convening a stakeholders meeting,  also screened candidates, carried out training for officials used in conducting the congress, as well as put other modalities in place to ensure a rancour free congress.

He added that the ward congress  started at about 9a.m on Saturday morning, with Committee members moving round to monitor the conduct of the congress in the three senatorial sistricts, adding that the exercise monitored by the Independent National Electorial Commission (INEC) officials was free and fair with massive turnout.

"I can say with all sense of responsibility that today's Ward Congress in Ogun State is one of the freest congresses conducted anywhere in this country. The turnout was massive. The process was rancour free in all the 236 wards. It is an indication that the party is well grounded in Ogun", Ohu submitted.

The Committee Chairman hinted that they were in the State on the authority of the national headquarters, to unite the party as a divided house could not stand, added that with the successful conclusion of the Congress, it was believed that the exco of party at the grassroots, would work to make the party even stronger.

But contrary to his claim, two political leaders who had been at loggerheads over the party structure, conducted parallel congresses on Ogun.

A party member sustained injuries when loyalists from both camps clashed at ward 11 in Abeokuta South Local Government Area.

Our correspondent who monitored the exercise in Abeokuta, the state capital, reports that party leaders from both camps stormed their wards with prepared list of executives and adopted it after the head count of the party members in attendance.

SalientTimes observed that both Abiodun and Amosun camps equally used separate venues, in some areas, for the ward congress to avoid a clash between the political groups of the ruling party.

At ward 14 Abeokuta South Local Government area, our correspondent witnessed a congress held by Amosun’s loyalists at St Louis Secondary School, Onikoko, while Abiodun men held theirs at Anglican High School, Ibara.

Our correspondent observed that the two camps came to the ward congress venues with a prepared list containing names of the executives, and merely adopted after an head counts of APC members on ground.

For ward 14 of Abeokuta South LG, Amosun men elected 27 – man executives with Odesanya Clement as the chairman, while Abiodun’s loyalists equally announced 27 executive members with Lasisi Taofeek as the ward chairman.

On his part, Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, who joined other APC members in his Iperu Ward 3, Ikenne Local Council to partake in the congress, described the exercise as peaceful.

Observing that the exercise was in line with what the Caretaker Extraordinary Committee on Convention Planning had prescribed in preparation for the party’s National Convention, he added that the exercise was the beginning of the house keeping exercise that would ensure that the party has people who were properly voted into office.

Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, called for peaceful conduct during the election, as it would strengthen the party and gives it a stronger foundation for the consolidation of its successes in the state.

The party’s state secretary, Mallam Bashir Musa Sati, said the exercise was fantastic, as the turnout was impressive, adding that Lalong capped it with a visit to the state secretariat to see things for himself.

In Kano, the party returned all its candidates unopposed across the 44 local councils, unanimously electing the 13,068 ward executive members across the 484 wards.

Rejecting the option of consensus, a member representing Kano Municipal at the House of Representatives, Sha’aban Ibrahim Sharada, lamented that the process has excluded some party loyalists.

Sharada, Chairman, House Committee on Security and Intelligence, alleged that the party has denied members willing to contest in the ward congress opportunity to do so.

A party member at Tarauni Ward, Ahmad Mansur Ali, accused the party leadership of not promoting democratic process.

Speaking after the consensus votes at his Ganduje Ward in Dawakin-Tofa Local Council, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the ward congresses.

In Lagos, some aggrieved party members in Alimosho Local Council staged a protest over alleged manipulation of the process.

Addressing journalists, leader, Alimosho Liberation Movement (ALM), Alhaji Idris Balogun, said the presiding officers meant to conduct the congress absconded from the venue before 9am, as a faction hoarded materials.

While displaying contestants’ forms purchased by the group, the APC Chieftain accused the electoral committee of bias, revealing it was around 2am before they could access the forms from the committee.

In Kwara, there were parallel congresses, though both adopted consensus arrangements in the 193 wards. There were reports of parallel congresses by factions loyal to Governor AbdulRahaman AbdulRazak and Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed at different centres.

Reviewing the congress in his state, Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu Abubakar, commended the state party executive for uniting the party, expressing happiness over the manner party members conducted themselves.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Local Content and Oyo Central Senatorial District representative, Senator Teslim Folarin, hailed the peaceful conduct of the congresses in Oyo State.

Folarin said party members displayed high level of political maturity that created peaceful atmosphere, declaring the exercise as “No Victor, No Vanquished”.

The Lead Visioner, Lagos4Lagos Movement, Dr. Abdul-Azeez Olajide Adediran (Jandor), who was at Ward G, Ojo Local Council, claimed the delegation from Abuja refused to sell forms to members of his movement.

He was optimistic that the movement’s members represented in the 245 wards in Lagos would make a difference to achieve the objective of the movement that time has come, when Lagos would be for Lagos.

During his visit to Oba Abideen Durosinmi, Agunbioyinbo II, the Osolu of Irewe Kingdom, the Oba told elected officers to ensure they are committed to the goal of the movement with a view to making a difference.

Meanwhile, Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, warned APC delegates against forging results. Uzodimma gave the admonition, while addressing party members from the 27 Local Councils at Government House, Owerri.

He said: “What the party needs is cooperation to succeed, since the task of building the party is the responsibility of every member. APC is a family, and to sustain that, there is need to introduce an integration process that will aid members to win every election. Therefore, for a structure to be worthwhile, it must be controlled and managed by the people.”

The party’s Caretaker Committee Chairman, Marcelinus Nlemigbo, promised an open and transparent process, commending Uzodimma for providing the party an enabling environment to perform creditably.