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Oyegun, NWC Sabotaging APC Congresses, Says Okorocha |The Republican News

By Onwuka Nzeshi

 

Rochas-Okorocha1

Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha

 

  • Party to gov: Your comments uncharitable

Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, has linked the crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) over its congresses to a plot by some members of the National Working Committee (NWC) to manipulate the internal electoral process of the party in order to achieve some selfish goals.

Okorocha, who is also the Chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum, pointedly accused the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and the National Organising Secretary, Senator Osita Izunaso, of being less than transparent in the crisis rocking the Imo State chapter of the party, resulting in the disappearance of the result sheets meant for the ward congress in the state.

National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, had in an advertorial on Sunday titled: ‘APC congresses: Why We Are Here’, blamed the crises rocking the party’s congresses across the country on “singular pursuit of self-interests” by some individuals. “They tried to scuttle congresses and to anoint themselves that they might retain their various positions beyond the agreed term.

They sought to do this without recourse to the will of party members who first voted them into their positions,” Tinubu said. Parallel congresses had been held in some states by various factions of the party, while deaths and arsons have been recorded in others.

Okorocha, who spoke to newsmen at the weekend in Abuja, insisted that the entire crisis, which has resulted in the burning down of APC secretariat in Owerri, the Imo State capital, parallel congresses and killing in some states, could have been avoided if the party had not allowed Oyegun and other members of the NWC to conduct the congresses.

“I think the mistake that is trailing the whole issue is that we appointed a convention committee chairman who is the governor of Jigawa State and instead of him to conduct the congresses and convention, the national chairman and his team are now the ones conducting the congresses. It is not done that way and that is why we have problems now. “Most members of the NWC have a conflict of interests in this matter.

They are conducting the congresses for themselves. “Like what is happening in Imo State where the national organising secretary (Izunaso) is conducting a congress to raise delegates that will re-elect him to come back as national organising secretary of the party, this is the problem. It is not done this way; that is where the lacuna is and I warned about this danger.

“If we had taken a neutral committee to run the congresses and convention, we will not be having these problems we are having today in Imo, Oyo, Rivers and other states. People have become judges in their own case,” he said.

The embattled governor expressed dismay at the sudden rebellion launched against him and his political structure in Imo State, alleging that it was the handiwork of those who did not like his opposition to the tenure elongation plot hatched by members of the NWC to perpetuate themselves in office.

“Initially, I spoke against tenure elongation and said it was not good for our party. But the national chairman of the party and some other members believed that there should be tenure elongation so that there will be no Congress as provided by the party’s constitution.

“I was a lonely voice on that matter until it became an issue that picked the interest of some party leaders and they supported my position. I told them the danger, that if we do not conduct this congress and we conduct primaries, those people who will elect our candidates would have been illegal. We might win an election and somebody whom we might defeat can go to court and claim our victory because we were elected by illegal delegates.

They disagreed with me, saying that the constitution allows the party to do without congresses because the party is supreme. But I said party supremacy cannot override the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“Great minds like the vice president (Prof.Yemi Osinbajo) who is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) also concurred with me on that position and that is where we are today.

They were giving the flimsy excuse that holding congress will divide the party, but we told them that the danger of not holding the congress is worse than not having the Congress.

You should do the right thing,” he said. On the controversy trailing the disappearance of electoral materials and party officials sent to conduct the congress in Imo State, Okorocha expressed disappointment that the national headquarters of the party had not been able to give a clear explanation on the development.

“I personally went to the national chairman’s office and when I met with Chief Oyegun, I did a request of him to declare his stand on this congress – whether it has been cancelled or not. He was not categorical with his statement as to whether it was cancelled or not, but he said that he was waiting for the outcome of the appeal panel.

“Shortly after that, the secretary of the appeal panel came to the party secretariat and we asked her about the situation in Imo State and she said that no congress was held in my state on that day as there were no electoral materials to do so,” he said.

The governor further expressed discomfort at what he described as the conflicting statements from Oyegun on the matter. Okorocha explained that Oyegun had earlier assured him that the ward congress will be suspended only for him to report that the results had been received at the national secretariat of the party. “I did ask the national chairman where are the result sheets and he told me categorically that they have received the result sheets.

The questions I asked were: Who submitted it? I am aware that the Police and DSS are looking for the result sheets. If the result sheets have reached the party office, then who submitted it? Anybody that submitted it should be able to tell security agencies how he was able to conduct the elections and brought the result sheets to Abuja.

“However, on Saturday, we are now hearing that the result sheets are not in the party office, but with some unknown persons caught in a hotel. This means that the party lied that it had got the result sheets.

So everything here looks funny; it looks like some kind of mischievous connivance by some people who are trying to make up things and cook up stories about the whole exercise.

“It is unfortunate that men who were elected into offices for their supposed integrity will condescend to lying and cheating, thereby debasing party principles. It is really very unfortunate, all because people want to get to power at all costs,” the governor lamented.

But the National Publicity Secretary of APC, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, described the allegations levelled against members of the NWC as unfair and uncharitable.

In a telephone chat with New Telegraph, Abdullahi said Okorocha should be specific on what went wrong and who did what, rather than blaming the entire members of NWC.

“I think Rochas is not being charitable and, which I think is just, because of his particular experience. People like Rochas would not mind setting the entire village on fire because they want to win.

You understand. So, saying that kind of a thing is not right, it is unfair. “If he has any specific thing against anybody, he should say so, but making that kind of wild allegation that the NWC conducted the congresses to favour them is not fair.

“What did the NWC do that they were not supposed to do. There were guidelines for the congresses. Or was it that the guidelines were not followed by the NWC? So, I don’t understand the meaning of what he is saying. If he has problems with anybody, he should go and sort it out, but I think it is wrong for him to cast aspersions on the entire people working for the party.

“I think it is wrong and I take exception to that. If he has any grievances with people, he should say so and if he has anything with the chairman or Osita, he should go and sort it out with them rather than involving the NWC,” Abdullahi said.    (New Telegraph)

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APC Crisis Worsens: Seemingly Heading Towards Implosion |The Republican News

By Correspondent

 

  • Party members burn LG secretariat
  • Parallel congresses in states
  • Okorocha battles for survival in Imo
  • Amaechi, senator at loggerheads
  • APC to aggrieved members: Seek redress through appeal panels

The fallout of Saturday’s ward congresses of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has further deepened the crisis rocking the ruling party. Reports from New Telegraph’s correspondents across the country revealed that the exercise, which was marred by violence and confusion in most states has also polarized the party the more.

It was further gathered that the violence is yet to subside as hoodlums believed to be political thugs loyal to a faction of the party in Bauchi State, Saturday evening, razed part of Ningi Local Government Area secretariat. Besides Bauchi, other states worst hit by the fallout of the congresses are Kano, Rivers, Ebonyi, Ondo, Kebbi, Kogi, Delta, Kaduna and Katsina.

But, the national leadership of the APC, which hailed the “successful conduct of the ward congresses,” yesterday, called on aggrieved members to seek redress with party’s appeal panels. The panels begin sitting today.

The party, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, said: “The APC wishes to congratulate all its members for the generally peaceful conduct of the party’s ward congresses, which took place across the country over the weekend. “The party especially commends members who served in the congress committees for their dedication and impartiality.

We, however, acknowledge there are some issues arising from the conduct of the elections in some states. “With this in view, the party had set up various appeal committees which will begin sitting from Monday, May 7.

We, therefore, call on all party members to remain law-abiding and where there are issues, they should seek redress through the appeal committees in their respective states.” Bauchi: Hoodlums raze LG secretariat In Bauchi, hoodlums believed to be political thugs loyal to a faction of the APC in the state, razed part of Ningi Local Government Area secretariat.

A source told one of our correspondents that some aggrieved APC members stormed the secretariat at about 6p.m. on Saturday and set it on fire to protest the outcome of the party congresses held in the area.

The source stated that the results of the congresses did not go down well with a faction of the APC in the area. A prominent APC leader in the council was said to have lost out in the exercise as all his candidates failed in the congresses.

Bauchi State Police Command Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Kamal Datti, who confirmed the incident, said: “Some hoodlums went and set fire on part of the Ningi Local Government Secretariat building while the Congress was going on.

“It’s unfortunate this could happen when the whole country is preaching peace. We were able to make one arrest and the suspect is in custody providing useful information.”

He added that the command has commenced an investigation into the incident and gave assurance that those responsible for the arson would be brought to justice. Ganduje, Kwankwaso conduct parallel congresses. While the committee that conducted the ward congresses in Kano State believes that the exercise was without hitches, former Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso carried out a parallel congress in the state.

However, a member of the APC Congress committee, Murtala Garo, told New Telegraph that Kwankwaso only carried out his own parallel congress in six wards and that was even not in the legally agreed party offices.

He said the committee allowed an open exercise for everybody to participate provided they met the party’s requirements and that winners have emerged in all the 448 wards of the state.

Garo’s claim was, however, faulted by the chairman of the faction of the party loyal to Kwankwaso, Haruna Doguwa, who said they conducted their own congresses in all wards of the state and will soon take their results to Abuja. Rivers: Amaechi, Abe in claims and counterclaims In Rivers State, it was disagreement between the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, and Senator Magnus Abe over the outcome of ward congresses.

While Amaechi’s camp said the exercise was free and fair and described those complaining of not being on the ground, Abe’s camp claimed there was a deliberate move by those working for Amaechi to shut out some members of the party.

The senator had, after results were declared, said that there was no congress in the 319 wards of the state, but Amaechi dismissed Abe’s allegation of the hijack of forms for the exercise, explaining that the Congress was based on Option A4, where delegates had to queue up and be counted. A day before the election, some party members had protested at the party secretariat over the non-availability of forms, which they alleged had been hijacked by Amaechi.

The lawmaker representing Ikwerre/Emuoha Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, Hon. Chidi Wihioka (a member of Abe’s camp) also faulted the exercise, but Rivers APC Woman Leader, Mrs Caroline Nagbor, said that the exercise was peaceful and had the full participation of women who, she said, were mobilized to participate.

Ebonyi: Onu holds sway as faction kicks In Ebonyi State, it was the faction controlled by the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu that carried the day.

The party has been polarized into two in the state with a faction loyal to Onu, while the other faction has the support of the party’s governorship candidate in 2015 general elections, Senator Julius Ucha.

The Onu faction has Pastor Eze Nwachukwu as its chairman, while the Ucha faction has Hon. Ben Nwaobasi as its chairman. But, the congress committee set up by the national leadership of the party recognized the minister’s faction.

Nwaobasi had alleged that the seven-man committee was hijacked by the group loyal to Onu. He also expressed disappointment that the committee absconded while the exercise was going on.

But, Nwachukwu dismissed the conduct of parallel congresses during the exercise. Party chieftains kick in Ondo The emergence of candidates of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu in the 203 political wards in Ondo State has prompted some APC chieftains in the state to fault the conduct of the congresses. In many political wards, parallel congresses were held while violence marred the exercise in some areas.

In Akure South, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr Ifedayo Abegunde, was said to have written the list of the party executives in the local government with the exclusion of other top political office holders.

This development made the lawmaker representing Akure South/North federal constituency, Hon. Afe Olowookere, to alleged irregularities in the conduct of the Congress.

Similarly, the lawmaker representing Iferore/Idanre federal constituency, Hon. Bolarinwa also alleged irregularities. In Ondo East and West federal constituency, parallel executives emerged as some leaders who were opposed to the handpicking of ward executives organised their own congress.

Imo: Okorocha battles for survival. The outcome of the ward congresses in Imo State is still clouded by uncertainty. While Governor Rochas Okorocha and members of his faction insist there was no congress in the state and that a new date would be announced for the rescheduled congress, the state chairman of the party, Dr Hilary Eke, at a press conference yesterday, maintained that the Congress held on Saturday has not been cancelled.

If the results of the congresses were upheld, then it means that Okorocha has lost the party structures. Okorocha is contending with a massive alliance of APC leaders across the 27 council areas of the state led by Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, Senator Hope Uzodinma, Senator Ben Uwajumogu, Senator Osita Izunaso and the Deputy Governor, Prince Eze Madumere and Okorocha’s former chief of Staff and SSG, Sir Jude Ejiogu.

Others are Hon. Emeka Nwajiuba of TETFund, Jasper Azuatalam, business mogul, Tony Chukwu, and several other former aides of the governor. Kebbi: Party faction rejects exercise A faction of the APC in Kebbi State, yesterday, kicked against the outcome of the ward congresses held in the 21 local government areas of the state.

Addressing newsmen at the state party secretariat, the leader of the faction, Hon. Abdulhai Arugungu, said there were no congresses in the state. He further accused the state government, party officials in the state and members of the congress committee of bias. Kogi: Confusion over parallel congresses It was confusion in Kogi State as the Audu/Faleke and Governor Yahaya Bello’s factions of the party held separate congresses.

While the Audu/Faleke camp held its congresses under the supervision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that of Bello’s camp was held at the Government House, Lokoja.

The state chairman of the party, Alhaji Hadi Ametuo, described the action of the governor to hold the ward congresses at the government house as absurd and exercise in futility. According to Ametuo, Governor Bello’s action to run a parallel congress against the decision of the national leadership party underscores his penchant for killing the party in the state.

Kaduna: El-Rufai, Sani disagree While Governor Nasir el-Rufai said the Congress was orderly and an impressive exercise in democracy at the local level, the senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani, insisted the exercise did not take place in the state.

“I am receiving reports from all the 255 wards showing that the new APC leadership in the wards is emerging in a peaceful and orderly manner. It is an impressive exercise in democracy at the local level.

There are no adverse reports from any part of the state. The reports indicate that things are going well. All the stakeholders are working together to bring about a strong leadership for the party at the ward level,” the governor said in a statement by his spokesman, Samuel Aruwan. But Sani, who dismissed the governor’s position, said: “Our political, legal and media team were on the ground in all the 23 local governments in the state.

Any ‘list’ written and presented or any form of ‘affirmation’ will suffer legitimacy, legal and credibility setbacks. Make no mistake about it. Whatever is built on the sand will end in the sand. We can’t claim change and end up shortchanging.

We have cases of elected people removed from their seats as a result of faulty congresses.” Katsina: Aspirants reject result A group of APC Concerned Candidates in Katsina have rejected the outcome of the exercise in the state.

The group, in a statement signed by its leader, Malam Hassanu Isah, expressed shock and dismay over what it described as the hijack of the Congress officials from Abuja by officials of the state government.

“We reject the purported release of the result as an outcome of the ward congress. We advise the national headquarters of the party to set up a high powered committee to investigate the illegality masterminded by the state government,” the group said.

Adamawa: Complaints about poor logistics It was complaints of poor logistics in Adamawa State yesterday when the APC ward congresses held. The exercise, slated for Saturday, was shifted to yesterday due to protest by some stakeholders who felt sidelined.

Our correspondent, who visited some of the wards, reports that though there was a large turnout of party delegates, some members of the party protested over the delay in some wards as a result of the late arrival of voting materials. Lagos: Members protest at party’s secretariat, call for cancellation Some chieftains and members of the Lagos APC, yesterday, expressed their displeasure over the outcome of the party’s ward congress as they stormed the party secretariat to express their grievances.

The APC chieftains comprising some council chairmen, state lawmakers and political appointees, who stormed the party’s secretariat on Acme Road, Ogba, an alleged imposition of candidates during the ward congress.

They also accused some leaders of the party of tampering with the consensus list of ward executives and delegates as agreed. Vice- Chairman of the party in the state, Mr Faud Oki, said that the ward congress was not in line with the party’s constitution and its rules, stating that the exercise should be cancelled.

Addressing newsmen, Oki, who is also a leader of Broom Movement of Nigeria (BMN), accused the organising committee of side-tracking the State Congress Committee sent by the party’s national headquarters from Abuja and committing a lot of shenanigans to ensure that their preferred candidates were elected into office.

The party chieftain, who described the Lagos exercise as a travesty of justice that must be fought and redressed, said that appointment of senatorial electoral officers and local government electoral officers to serve as returning officers instead of the State Congress Committee was against the Nigerian Constitution and that of APC as well as its rule.           (New Telegraph)

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