Fresh tension is brewing in the ranks of the All Progressives Congress ahead of the party’s national convention slated for February 26, 2022.
There are indications that delegates will be drawn from factions loyal to the governors or most senior Federal Government officials or political office holders in the states without APC governors.
The exception to the party move may be in Kano State where the Court of Appeal has reserved judgement on the factional crisis between loyalists of Governor Abdullahi Ganduje and Senator Ibrahim Shekarau.
However, factions not loyal to the governors have insisted that they would present delegates at the convention, just as others resolved to wait for court rulings on cases bordering on the internal party crisis.
It was learnt that the APC Caretaker Committee led by the Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, already had a list of all party chairmen it is working with.
These state chairmen are believed to have been produced from congresses monitored by the Independent National Electoral Commission and representatives of the national leadership of the APC.
The list obtained showed that in Abia State, Mr Eyinna Harbor is recognised as the party chairman while in Adamawa, it is Alhaji Ibrahim Bilal. The recognised chairman in Akwa Ibom is Augustine Ekanem. However, there is no recognised chairman in Anambra State yet.
In Bauchi State, where there are two factions separately led by the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu; and the Nigeria Ambassador to Germany, Yusuf Tugar; the APC national leadership seems to have taken sides with Adamu who is close to the President Muhammadu Buhari. Consequently, Adamu’s ally, Babayo Misau, is recognised as the authentic chairman.
Chief Dennis Otiotio is the recognised chairman in Bayelsa State while in Benue, Augustine Agada is the chairman. Ali Dalori and Alphonsus Eba are the respective chairmen in Borno and Cross River states.
In Delta State where two factions separately led by Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege; and the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, are in a supremacy battle, the APC national leadership recognises Omo-Agege’s faction led by Omeni Sobotie. Keyamo’s faction led by Chukwusa Edafe lost in court last month.
Also, Mr Stanley Emegha is the recognised chairman in Ebonyi State while Col. David Muse (retd.) is the person the party considers as its authentic chairman in Edo State. Other recognised chairmen include: Paul Omotosho (Ekiti State), Chief Ogochukwu Agballah (Enugu), Abdulmalik Ahmed (FCT), Nitte Amangal (Gombe), Macdonald Ebere (Imo), Aminu Gumel (Jigawa), Air Commodore EK Jekada (retd.) and Sani Ahmed (Katsina). Abubakar Kana (Kebbi), Abdullahi Bello (Kogi).
In Kwara State where Governor Abdulrazaq Abdulrahman and the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, lock horns, the national leadership of the APC recognises the governor’s faction led by Fagbemi Adeniran.
Others recognised by the APC leadership include: Cornelius Ojelabi (Lagos), Dr John Mamman (Nasarawa); and Haliru Jikantoro (Niger). In Ondo State, Ade Adetimehin is the recognised chairman while in Osun State where Governor Gboyega Oyetola and his predecessor, Rauf Aregbesola, are engaged in a supremacy battle, Prince Gboyega Famodun, who is loyal to the governor, is the recognised chairman.
Similarly, in Rivers State, the faction led by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, seems to be the recognised faction as Emeka Beke, who is an ally of Amaechi, is the recognised chairman.
Others include: Isaac Omodewu (Oyo), Rufus Bature (Plateau), Isahsano Acida (Sokoto), Ibrahim El-Sudi (Taraba) and Mohammed Sadaka (Yobe).
It was learnt that the APC reconciliation committee led by Senator Abdullahi Adamu has not been able to fully reconcile all factions even as the committee is expected to submit its report next week.
Meanwhile, sources close to the national headquarters of the party said the National Caretaker Committee was favourably disposed to back the list of delegates from factions loyal to the governors.
A member of the caretaker committee, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told one of our correspondents that it would be difficult for the party to discard the governors’ backed list, saying that the governors remained the leaders of the party in their respective states.
He said though the aggrieved members could have what he described as “genuine reasons”, it would be tough for the party to ignore the governors and side with individuals in their states.
The APC chieftain said, “Look, we have sitting governors and they are doing well. If we have a sitting governor in a state, it is a rule that such a governor is the leader of the party in his state. We expect our party members to defer to the governor.
“At the national level, we defer to the President as the national and overall leader of the party. He was instrumental to the setting up of this national caretaker committee of the party.”
Alluding to the APC crisis in Osun State, another reliable source in the caretaker committee stated that as the President is the national leader of the party, so are the APC governors “the number one eyes” of the party at the state level.
He stated, “For example, in a state like Osun where we have a governor being fought by a minister, do we begin to side with the minister, who was a former governor? Fair is fair. We need to be reasonable in our thinking and whatever we do.
“In the same state, congresses were held and monitored by the officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission and representatives of the party from the national headquarters, Abuja. So, how do we turn around to say a congress monitored by INEC and which was adjudged to have complied with all the laid down rules is not acceptable to us? This is one of the reasons we feel it is not logical to abandon the governors and begin to side with individuals or ministers in those (aggrieved) states.”
A national leadership member of the party also said that in circumstances – such as in Kano – where competent courts ruled against governors’ camps, the party would have no option but to comply with court judgments.
“We will have no option but to comply with such a judgment as we will state clearly that we took the action based on court judgment or pronouncement,” he added.
Reacting to the move by the national leadership of the party to recognise delegate lists submitted by the governors’ factions, the Chairman of South West Agenda for Asiwaju Tinubu 2023 in Ekiti State, Senator Tony Adeniyi (SAN), said the ‘kangaroo’ delegates elected in the last year’s APC congresses in the state would not attend the national convention.
Aggrieved APC members in the state had taken the APC to court over the ward congresses, saying the exercise did not hold in the state and therefore urged the court to nullify the exercise and the subsequent local government and state congresses.
Adeniyi said, “We are already in court, part of what we have asked for in court is that there are no delegates from last year’s congresses in Ekiti State.
“I am a statutory delegate being a non-serving senator, so I will attend the national convention. Other statutory delegates on our side will be attending as well. But all the kangaroo delegates that emerged from the so-called congresses might not attend, depending on what the court says.
We await court judgment – Lai Mohammed faction
The APC faction in Kwara State loyal to the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said it was waiting for the ruling on the case it filed before the court on the purported removal of the state Chairman of the party, Alhaji Bashir Bolarinwa, by the National Caretaker Committee of the party.
The deputy chairman elected by the faction in its parallel congress in October 2021, Chief Sunday Oyebiyi, said that the case filed by the faction at an Abuja High Court had been concluded and that judgment was being awaited.
He added, “As of now, nobody is sure which of the factions will go to the convention. Apart from Kwara, other states also filed cases against the party. So, we are all waiting for the judgment.
“We are not filing a fresh suit, but we are relying on the existing one that we have, so, we hope that our faction will be recognised and we will be going for the party convention.”
In Osun State, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Political Affairs, Sunday Akere, while speaking with one of our correspondents, noted that the factional APC officers produced by the former Governor Rauf Aregbesola-led ‘The Osun Progressives,’ “cannot go for the national convention because the group did not hold valid local government congress.”
But the factional secretary of the APC in Osun, Lani Baderinwa, insisted that the group backed by ex-governor Aregbesola held valid congresses from ward to state levels and elected officials that would go to the national convention.
He noted, “Whoever said we did not hold congresses from ward to state levels in Osun State did not say the truth. Those opposing us do not mind that APC degenerates and destabilised. But we will not allow them. We held ward congress, why won’t we also hold local government congress? What are we challenging in court? It is the ward congress.”
A Federal High Court sitting in the state has slated ruling on the preliminary objections against a suit filed on behalf of aggrieved members of the APC in Osun State against the last ward congress of the party in the state, for Wednesday, January 26.
In Zamfara State, the spokesperson for the Senator Kabiru Marafa faction, Bello Maradun, said the faction of the party “will surely be the one to attend the forthcoming APC national convention.”
Maradun, however, explained that they have a pending court case that was expected to be decided before the date of the convention.
In his reaction, the chairman of the publicity committee of the former Governor Abdul Aziz Yari-led faction, Ibrahim Magaji, said they were still in court and that he would not want to comment on the issue.
He said, “Our faction of the APC loyal to former Governor Abdul Aziz Yari is already in court, so I don’t want to talk much on the issue of the national convention. When the case is over, we will make our position known.”
But Yusuf Idris, the Publicity Secretary of the incumbent Zamfara State APC backed by Governor Bello Matawalle, said only the governor’s faction had the constitutional backing to attend the national convention.
He said, “I want to categorically make you understand that the national headquarters of the APC does not recognise both the Yari and the Marafa so-called faction.”
Ganduje’s faction hopeful of resolving crisis
The Ganduje faction of the APC expressed optimism that the crisis bedevilling the party in the state would be resolved before the party’s national convention.
The faction’s Deputy Chairman, Alhaji Shehu Maigari, in a telephone interview, said, “We have high hopes that the leadership crisis facing the party in the state will soon be resolved before the date fixed for the National Convention.”
On whether the party would go to court in the event they were excluded from the convention, Maigari said he could not comment on that because the appeal on the leadership crisis of the APC in Kano was still pending in court.
However, when contacted, the chairman of the former Governor Ibrahim Shekarau-led faction in the state, Alhaji Haruna Danzago, simply said the faction had no problem as regards the delegates list since it had been recognised by the court.
Abia factions awaiting National Reconciliation Committee’s report
The two factions of the APC in Abia State said they would wait for the report of the party’s National Reconciliation Committee to enable them to know who will submit the delegate list for the party’s National Convention.
The state Caretaker Committee chairman, Donatus Nwankpa, said, “The committee has yet to put up their report. We will wait for them to resolve the matter. When people go to court, it is to seek justice. If the internal conflict resolution mechanism offers fairness and justice, no one will go to court.”
But the APC chairman of Ikechi Emenike-led faction, Dr Kingsley Ononogbu, said, “There cannot be two APC factions in the state and so, the recognised APC will submit the delegates list.”
He said the national committee would submit its report, stating that his priority now was to have APC in the state as one family.
Ogun APC factions keep mum over delegate list
The two factions of the party in Ogun State have kept mum over which of them would produce the delegate list for the national convention.
The party had been divided into two factions led by the state Governor, Dapo Abiodun and former governor Ibikunle Amosun.
Despite the intervention of the reconciliatory committee of the APC to reconcile them, the two factions were adamant over which faction controlled the party structure.
Both factions declined comments when contacted for reactions to the purported move by the national caretaker committee to accept only the delegate lists from governors’ factions.
The factional Chairman loyal to Amosun, Derin Adebiyi, said he was not ready to make a comment on the issue.
The factional Publicity Secretary of the party in the state loyal to Abiodun, Tunde Oladunjoye, also refused to comment on the issue.
We hope to see Goje at convention – Gombe Exco
The spokesman for the APC in Gombe State, Moses Kyari, said the state would present “a common front at the national convention” noting that those who resigned their appointments would be accepted.
He said, “We are working towards the convention. After the Senator Abdullahi Adamu reconciliation committee in Abuja, it was agreed that Goje should not give any condition for his continuous stay in the party. Invariably the governor was also asked to accept and carry Goje along.
“For those that resigned, it is believed they are not interested in the offices. The constitution of the party allows us to replace those that have resigned and we have already replaced them and we will be swearing them in soon. We hope to meet Goje at the convention.”