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APC Congresses: Sign Of Bad Things To Come For 2019 Polls |The Republican News

APC-Congresses

 

Romanus Ugwu, Abuja

The ugly incidences playing out since the commencement of the congresses of the All Progressives Congress (APC) across the length and breadth of the country are sad the confirmation that the ruling party had postponed the evil days too long.

The national secretariat of the party has been practically turned into a theatre of war and seat of justice where the victors and the vanquished seek succour for their faceoff. In fact, the Secretariat has become a political mecca of a sort to protesters, both the aggrieved and the conquerors.

From Port Harcourt, Rivers, Imo and Delta states where ugly incidents of deaths and uncivilized abuse of the justice system were recorded, to most other states where the exercise went awry, the situation was the same.
There were complaints of electoral violence and fraud, intimidation, imposition, kidnapping and/or arrest of Congress committee members, setting party offices ablaze and other undemocratic practices.

The actions and inactions of the APC gladiators are blue confirmation that such behaviours are in the DNA of most Nigerian politicians regardless of party affiliation.
Never in the history of party politics in Nigeria did an insignificant election like a party’s ward congress recorded such level of tension, scheming and flow of blood as seen during the APC’s efforts to elect party officers at the grassroots, Local Governments and states.

Complaints, violence, anger, murder, threats and counter-threats among others had trailed the conduct of the APC congresses. In Kaduna, it was a straight battle between the state governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai and the National Assembly members from the state.

In Oyo State, it was survival of the smartest between the Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu and the state governor, Abiola Ajimobi; while in Rivers, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and Senator Magnus Abe took political indifference to a shameful height.

In Anambra State, the exercise almost cost the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, his life during a confrontation with other party chieftains like Hon Tony Nwoye, over an allegation of an attempt to impose wimps and caprices on others.

It was more dramatic and pathetic in Imo State where party chieftains have now triumphantly outsmarted Governor Rochas Okorocha in his plans to impose certain loyalists as officers of the party in the state. In Cross River, the Minister of Niger Delta, Pastor Usani Usani out-manoeuvred Senator Eno John and estranged APC National Working Committee (NWC) member, Hilliard Eta.

Stakeholders, including the Special Assistant to President on Prosecution, Obono Obla, Deputy Chairman, John Ochalla, and other party officials rejected and disowned the congress committee.
Ditto in Enugu where the combined efforts of the state party officials and other chieftains proved to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, that he may be a diplomatic strategist, but still a political neophyte. In Delta State, the battle between embattled Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, Great Ogboru, among others, against certain party chieftains even resulted in the death of a candidate.

It was a winner takes all in Edo State where the joint forces of the immediate past governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and the incumbent, Godwin Obaseki, forcefully retired the party’s National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, by stopping him from even daring to visit the state during the exercises.
In Bauchi State, a faction loyal to the Speaker of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, had dared Governor

Mohammed Abubakar by conducting parallel congresses.
In fact, one of the leaders of the faction, Senator Nazif Suleiman Gamawa (Bauchi North) had accused the Dr Tony Macfoy-led congresses committee of bias and doing the bidding of the governor. Senator Gamawa had described as ‘big lie’ Macfoy’s declaration of the exercises as free and fair.

For the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Kabiru Marafa, congresses did not hold in Zamfara State, since according to him, the exercise was manipulated in favour of certain persons.
Contrary to the announcement by Governor Abdulaziz Yari, Marafa had insisted that they were not part of the unity list in Zamfara, arguing that the committee deceived the people.

The ill wind also swept through Ebonyi State where former governorship candidate, Senator Julius Ucha, accused members of the Oyegun-led NWC of a plot to destroy the party before quitting. He described the congresses in the state as a sham, insisting that it was a plot by the NWC leadership to stage a comeback during the national convention.
To say the least, the exercises recorded sad tales of failures in every part of the country with the resonation of same ugly stories from the ugly conduct of congresses by the ruling party.

Among other signals, the ill feelings were confirmation that only a tiny rope has been binding the party stakeholders. It was a confirmation that the structure and foundation holding the ruling party was not solid enough to bond the forces at war within the party.

The odds against APC ahead of 2019

Shortly after the tenure extension of the national and state officers was aborted and the handwriting on the wall became bolder that it was the end of the road for the party bosses, the NWC seems to have hatched a new plan to retain as many NWC members as possible.

According to the estranged National Vice Chairman South-South, Hilliard Etta, judging by the manner the congress committees conducted the exercise; it was pretty obvious that they acted the script the national leadership handed down to them. In most states, it was the same incident of committee members absconding with sensitive materials, going into hidings and/or endorsement of the unity lists.

Confirming the conspiracy theory, Hilliard claimed that the composition of the congressional committees was geared towards retaining Oyegun before the pronouncement by President Muhammadu Buhari truncated such arrangement.
“I have told my colleagues in the NWC that we have failed and should leave the stage for others to come in and move the party forward. Let me reveal to those that are not yet in the know that the congress committees were constituted in such a way to favour the re-election bid of the chairman.

“However, there was nothing they could do again when it became obvious that the tide is against him. We have shown over time that we don’t have what it takes to manage the crisis within the party now,” Hilliard submitted.

Although the NWC, through the National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, had maintained that the exercise was commendable and relatively peaceful judging by the reports from the congresses committee and Congresses Appeal Panel, the signs are ominous that the fallout of the congresses really widened the cracks in the party.
The ward, local government and state congresses may have taken place, but instead of uniting the party, the exercise has created more divisions and cracks within the party.

The big gamble

In all of these, there must be losers and victors. In the case of Amaechi versus Magnus Abe, there is a high possibility that the presidency will sacrifice Abe for Amaechi, considering what he would bring to the table in the President Buhari’s re-election bid.

However, the situation looks very dicey in a state like Imo, where the presidency would face a herculean task in deciding where to pinch its tent between the chieftains of the party popularly known as the allied forces or coalition and Okorocha.
For the allied forces to whittle down Governor Okorocha’s powers in the state means that the presidency would reappraise the choice of Okorocha, more so as the coalition seems to have all the big names in APC in Imo, leaving Okorocha with a few supporters.

The calculations are the same in most of the states and the ability of the presidency to make the right political calculation the better result it will get for the 2019 Presidential election.

Deepening crisis

With threats of litigations overwhelming the party and the certainty that it may go into the 2019 general elections as a divided house, with the insipid build up, it is gradually becoming obvious that bleak future faces the APC in its determination to retain power beyond 2019.

Rather than the situation getting better, it is rather getting more worrisome. Still smarting from the ill feelings of the congresses, the ugly incidents of threats and counter-threats by the new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) in the APC 2014 merger had rocked the party.

An ultimatum from the Kawu Barage-led faction of the nPDP over allegations of witch-hunt and marginalisation had jolted and deepened the graveyard peace in the party, resulting in the springing up of another nPDP faction led by Senator Abdullahi Adamu and Hon Abdulmumin Jibrin to counter and whittle down any potential threat from the other faction.
Again, the recent alarms by the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki that the Federal Government wants to rope in the Kwara State governor and himself into the Offa bank robbery incident and panic buttons from other aggrieved party chieftains are obviously having ripple effects on the party towards the 2019 general elections.

To worsen the APC situation, the reconciliation move to settle certain gladiators may have broken down irredeemably perhaps due to the face-off between the party’s National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the party’s boss, Oyegun.
Reacting to the situation in a chat with Sunday Sun, embattled former Deputy National Secretary of the party, Comrade Timi Frank, said that the party got what it bargained for.

“I was not surprised with the fallout of the APC congresses and the volume of crises rocking the party now. As a matter of fact, it has vindicated me because, at a time, it was as if I was the only voice crying in the wilderness, warning of the doom that awaits the party.

“I had warned that the national chairman lacks the capacity to organise an election. We saw it manifested during the party primaries in some states. I also warned repeatedly that it might be too late to amend the situation. I had cautioned again that the earlier we tackle the crisis facing the party, the better for us, but they paid no attention and left it too late,” he noted.

Comrade Frank is certainly not alone in this line of thought, as a member of the NWC told Sunday Sun in confidence that the situation portends great danger to the party ahead of 2019.
According to him; “Yes, because party politics is a human organisation and individual interest, the crisis is bound to happen. I must admit that the situation is scary and worrisome because there is this increased desperation for power that will naturally affect our 2019 outing.

“The dangerous scheming by certain persons to impose loyalists on another aggravated the crisis. The scheming is targeted at disrespecting and spiting certain members of the national leadership of the party. It has now become a case of if you have the money, I will prove to you that I have more political sagacity,” the NWC member lamented.

Wriggling out of the logjam

For Comrade Frank, only divine intervention can rescue the party from the mess it plunged itself into now. According to him, “the way forward is to hand over the APC to God to intervene in the crisis facing it ahead of 2019.
“It is only God that can decide the fate of the party now because it has become too late in the day to resolve the issues confronting the party. Doom and disaster await the APC if it goes into the 2019 general election as a divided house,” he warned.

Although the APC seems to have squandered its goodwill with the failure to put its house in order, many, however, still believe that the ruling party can leverage on what many political watchers described as President Buhari’s cult image to turn around the declining fortune of the party.
In that category is the Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu. Reacting to the effects of the bad blood created by the congresses on the party’s future, he told Sunday Sun that; “I strongly believe that the party will manage the problems very well.

“However, regardless of the situation, one good thing APC has which no other party has is the personality of our president. The appealing almost cult image of Mr President is what makes the APC different from other parties. Many people, regardless of whether they gained anything or not in this government, will still vote for President Buhari any day.
“So, that symbol of unity President Buhari represents, that symbol of affection and the symbol of appreciation is still there.
Whatever may be the case, APC will still win the 2019 general elections by the grace of God.”   (The Sun)

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Imo: APC Appeal Committee Upholds Ward, LG Congresses |The Republican News

Imo-APC-Congress

Romanus Ugwu, Abuja

The move by Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, to cancel the ward and local government congresses of the All Progressives Congress (APC) held in the state has failed, as the party’s Appeal Committee has ratified the exercise.

This was even as Imo Assembly lawmakers, led by the Speaker, Acho Ihim, and some National Assembly members staged a protest at the APC national secretariat in Abuja, yesterday.

Okorocha had met President Muhammadu Buhari and the Vice President, Yemi Osibanjo, to protest alleged malfeasance during the ward congresses in his state and demanded their cancellation.
In its report, the APC Congresses Appeal Panel said based on a report submitted by Imo State Congress Committee, signed by its Chairman, Senator Abubakar Tutare, ward and local government congresses were held in Imo State.
The appeal committee further said those who wrote a petition against the congress were unqualified.
The report said: “The congress committee presented video evidence to support its position that Congress actually held in the state.”

Meanwhile, the National Assembly legislators from Imo State have dismissed the insinuation that the allied forces, consisting mainly the chieftains of the party, have defeated Governor Okorocha in the recently conducted ward and local government congresses.

Speaking after the closed-door meeting with the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, the delegation of 24 legislators, led by the Speaker, Imo House of Assembly, Acho Ihim, claimed the governor is still the leader of the ruling party in the state.

They insisted that there is nothing wrong with the governor endorsing his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, and dismissed what many believed was the genesis of the problem.

“We are here to reconfirm that there was no congress in all the general and certain wards in Imo State. We are here to reaffirm and demand that an announcement be made for a new date for the ward and local government congresses and we can now talk about the state congresses.

“As for our discussion with the national chairman, we want it treated as an in-house affair; but, we have affirmed our stand that we are still with our governor.

“He is the face of APC in the South East. Of course, the young man has done so well.”   (The Sun)

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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 Kaduna Queries Gov. El-Rufai, Suspends 3 Of His Allies |The Republican News

nasirel_rufai

Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai

•They’re disgruntled elements- Acting Secretary

 Noah Ebije, Kaduna

The Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi-led faction of the Kaduna chapter of the All Progresive Congress (APC), has issued a query and warning letter to Governor Nasir El-Rufai, on alleged anti-party activities in the state.

In a swift reaction, however, acting chairman of the El-Rufai-led group of the party, Yahaya Baba Pate, described the Hunkuyi group are disgruntled elements and saidthey will soon be punished for their actions.

“We will soon issue a disclaimer on them; they are disgruntled elements, and disciplinary action will be taken against them for misleading the public. We want to assure all members of the party that APC is one in Kaduna,” Pate said.

Also, El-Rufai’s spokesman, Samuel Aruwan described the alleged suspension as “a sham and laughable.”

In a statement signed by Aruwan, El-Rufai called the action ‘rascally’ and described Hunkuyi as the brain behind the action.

He also listed some of his achievements in office.

“The APC government of Kaduna state has boldly lived up to its manifesto and principles to the people. In this work, it continues to enjoy the firm support of the APC state executive, which is united and committed to the hardwork of bringing sustainable change.

“The government appreciates the support it has received from the party in executing policies which stand up for the right of ordinary people to equal opportunity. That support was vividly demonstrated as the government took drastic action to ensure only qualified teachers teach the children of the poor.

“Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai is proud of his record in achieving unprecedented levels of capital spending in the state, direct job creation, doubling school enrolment and doubling internally-generated revenue. The governor is not in doubt that the people of Kaduna state have seen who is committed to building schools, roads and hospitals, and bringing investors and make the right choice in their own interest.

“The political traders are also aware of the people who stand up for them.”

Regardless, the political adviser to the governor, Uba Sani, has been suspended for 18 months and advised to desist from participating in party affairs or face prosecution.

Also suspended for 18 months are Commissioner of Finance, Suleiman Audu Kwari and Alhaji Yahaya Baba Pate, acting state secretary of the party.

According to the letters signed by the Hunkuyi group, State APC Acting Chairman, S.I Danladi Wada, and copies made available to newsmen at a press conference, yesterday, suspension of the said members was with immediate effect, while the governor was expected to respond to the query within 48 hours or face further disciplinary measures.

He said the State secretariat of the party has been relocated to No.11B Sambo road, Kaduna

According to the Acting State  Chairman, “the decision to relocate, as approved by the majority members of the state Executive Committee, becomes necessary so as to create a harmonious working environment for the leadership of APC in the state, considering the unprecedented manner which some politicians have permanently deployed thugs to invade the former address and harrass and intimidate other innocent officers and members of the party perceived as political threats and, therefore, prevented from attending or taking part in any activity of the party at the former address.

“The State Working Committee (SWC),  after due consultation with stakeholders and elders of the party, has decided to issue notice of suspension from APC to Mallam Uba Sani for 18 months.

“The acting state secretary is also suspended for 18 months and Alhaji Audu Kwaru, commissioner of finance is also suspended for anti party activities for 18 months.His Excellency, Mallam Nasiru El-Rufai has been queried and we expect him to answer the query within 48 hours. Failure to do that, the SWC will seat down and deliberate.

“We queried Mallam Nasiru El-Rufai for his anti party and anti human activities. The letters would be delivered to these personalities today” he stressed.

The suspension and query letters were copied the APC National Chairman, APC Deputy National Chairman, APC Vice Chairman, North Local west, Headquarters INEC, Abuja, REC INEC Kaduna State. KADSIECOM, ALL LGQ Chairmen of APC, Kaduna State, CNPP, IPAC, Commissioner of Police Kaduna State Command, Director of SSS Kaduna and Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the media.

Also, in a press statement he personally signed, Hunkiyi said he had aligned himself and his followership to the decision of the national party which recognises S.I Danladi Wada as the acting chairman of the APC in Kaduna state, as known to the party records.        (The Sun)

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