Crises caused by parallel state congresses of the All Progressives Congress (APC) may stall the party’s national convention scheduled for December, The Editor Nigeria learnt.
Aggrieved APC members in Delta, Osun, Akwa Ibom and Ekiti states faulted a plan by the party’s national interim committee to recognise executive councils endorsed by incumbent governors or highest political office holders in non-APC states.
They, therefore, vowed to continue with suits filed against the national interim committees as well as the ward and local government congresses.
Some of the aggrieved members, particularly Ekiti State stakeholders, specifically referred to the Supreme Court judgment on the Ondo State governorship election, which they said declared the Mala Buni-led committee illegal.
The crises in the party worsened on Saturday when opposing groups organised parallel congresses in Ogun, Osun, Kwara, Lagos, Kano, and Akwa Ibom states.
In Ekiti and Delta states, APC chieftains boycotted congresses supervised by the teams sent by the national interim committee.
The Editor Nigeria gathered on Monday reported that the interim committee planned to recognise congresses attended by incumbent governors in APC states and highest political office holders in non-APC states.
Commenting on the development, aggrieved APC members in Ekiti State said that the legal action that they instituted against conduct of the July 31 ward congresses was suffice for the local government and state congresses as something could not stand on nothing.
The aggrieved members, under the aegis of Ekiti APC Stakeholders Forum had in August, in a suit number FHC/AD/CS/21/2021 filed at the Federal High Court, Ekiti State Division, dragged the state APC to court, calling for outright annulment of the ward congresses, which they, among others, said did not hold and a declaration that the ward congresses were “unconstitutional, illegal, null and void”.
The Secretary to the forum, Femi Adeleye, in an interview with one of our correspondents, said the national caretaker committee was not recognised by law.
Buni’s committee not recognised by law, its activities will be declared illegal – Ekiti group
He, therefore, expressed hope that the court would declare all its activities including ward, local government and state congresses illegal.
Asked whether the stakeholders would go to court to stop the party’s national convention, Adeleye said the suit already filed by the group against the national interim committee was all-encompassing.
He stated, “You cannot build something on nothing. What would bring about state congress would be from ward congress to local government congress and then state congress, nothing was done in the ward, nothing was done in the local, so where did they derive the state?
“That is why we are in court, we went to court to say no ward congress was held. We don’t need to go to court again over the exercise, which was a waste of time, we are already in court and the court is all-encompassing.
“Even the national caretaker is not recognised by law. When the court decides, all they have done will become a nullity.
“The aggrieved party members had already gone to court on the ward congress issue and joined Mai Buni alongside. The people that went to court are those that obtained forms and wanted to contest from their various wards but were not allowed to contest.
“Among others, they are in court that the national caretaker committee based on the Supreme Court pronouncement regarding Ondo State governorship election. They are in court to say that the national caretaker committee being there is illegal since it is not in the APC constitution.
“They are saying that the APC constitution is very clear that you cannot be in executive position and hold party position. As governor of Yobe State, the court says that he cannot be in the party executive. One must go for the other,” he said.
Although there was no parallel congress in the state, Paul Omotoso emerged the chairman at the congress attended by the state Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, but boycotted by party chieftains including a presidential aide, Babafemi Ojudu and Senator Adedayo Adeyeye.
Keyamo-led group heads for appeal court
In Delta State, a group in the APC led by the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, SAN, who is also the chairman of the party’s leaders’ council, said it would proceed to the Court of Appeal to challenge the judgment a Federal High Court, Asaba.
The APC Secretary Delta North, Mr Victor Sorokwu said, “We are planning to appeal the case as the court declared on Thursday last week that it had no jurisdiction to entertain the matter, adding that the case was an internal affair of the party.”
The group had taken the Mala Buni-led caretaker committee to the Federal High Court over the conduct of the party’s congresses in the state.
It said it was not part of what it called the kangaroo congresses organised by a group loyal to the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Omo-Agege, on Saturday.
He said, “For us in Delta, the issues surrounding the congresses in Delta are still as they were unaddressed.”
According to him, leaders of the party have agreed on consensus executive councils from ward to the state levels.
He stated, “We would not recognise any other executives other than the consensus executives put together by the leaders and stakeholders. We have already in court against Buni -led caretaker committee after series of petitions.”
Asked if his group would approach court to seek nullification of the Osun state APC congress, Kolapo Alimi, the Legal Adviser of The Osun Progressives, a faction within Osun APC enjoying the backing of Interior Minister, Rauf Aregbesola, explained that the only case instituted by the group was against the ward congress.
He said the faction had challenged the ward congress in a suit FHC/Os/cs/38/21 pending before an Osogbo Federal High Court, expressing confidence that, if the group secured victory in the matter, its local and state congress would stand.
Alimi said, “We are already in court in respect of our Ward congress. We are not challenging anything relating to the national convention. If we win that case, technically, our local government and state congress will stand.”
National body should expect death of APC in Akwa Ibom, if its decision is not the best –Ewang
On his part, an APC chieftain in Akwa Ibom State and former military administrator of Ogun and Rivers states, Capt Sam Ewang (retd.), warned that the party would die in the state if best decisions were not taken.
He stated, “They are many ways of doing things and whatever the national body chooses to do should be the best and if not the best, they should expect the death of the party in the state. What I am trying to do is for the party to win elections in the state.
“As the APC Elders’ Forum chairman in the state, I said from the beginning that whatever decision we take should come from the elders’ forum at every level. If it is at the ward, the ward elders should produce the results.
“However, if this is at variance with what the national body said, the party should take responsibility. But I believe that the party will not make that mistake. They should listen to elders of the party in the state. They must listen to elders of the party in Akwa Ibom State. I am the chairman of the Elders Forum and what the elders have said is what I am standing for.”
Stakeholders will decide our next line of action – Kwara APC faction
The Kwara State faction of the APC loyal to the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said it would submit the list of its officers to the party headquarters on Monday or Tuesday.
The Vice Chairman of the faction, Chief Sunday Oyebiyi said that “the report of our congress will be submitted to the national secretariat of the party tomorrow. I don’t think the party will reject the report of the 22 or 23 states where parallel congress was held.
Asked on the next line of action that the faction would take should if its list of executive is rejected, Oyebiyi said, “If such happens, the stakeholders would meet and decide the next line of action. “
We carried national secretariat along in our congress – Lagos4Lagos
A group within the Lagos chapter of the APC Congress, theLagos4Lagos said it carried the national secretariat of the party along and it was aware of its recently concluded state congress.
The spokesman for the group, Mr Seun Soyinka, said this on Monday, in a chat with one of our correspondents on the phone.
He said, “In fact, everybody is aware of it. Anybody that is saying there was no parallel congress in Lagos State is just deceiving himself. Parallel congresses were held everywhere and everybody knows. I am sure the national body will settle what is going on.”
Soyinka added that the Lagos4Lagos congress reflected the wishes of the people as opposed to imposition of leaders.
Also the faction chairman of the APC in the state, Sunday Ajayi, who spoke with one of our correspondents, also said the national headquarters would not allow the group to leave the party.