THE ward congresses of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, were marred by protests, violence yesterday, as the party chose its ward executives via consensus across the country.
Though largely peaceful, there were pockets of violence in some states just as Ogun State witnessed parallel congressss and emergence of parallel ward executives.
But the Chairman of Ogun APC Ward Congress Committee, Wale Onu, declared there was no parallel election of party executives in the 236 wards in the state.
The congresses were peaceful in Kano, Imo, Plateau, Edo, Borno and Nasarawa among other states.
One feared dead, several
others injured in Ekiti
Violence characterized the ward congresses of the APC held in Ekiti State, as one person was feared killed and many others injured.
Party faithful as early as 8am trooped out to the ward centers for the election while the voting process did not start until 12noon when the Ward Congress Committee from the national secretariat started distributing election materials.
Multiple sources told newsmen that the deceased who was simply identified as Jide was stabbed to death after violence erupted in Ado Ward 10 after the congress was said to have been concluded.
Sources who were at the venue of the Ward 10 congress, which took place at the pavilion close to Fajuyi, said, “ After the congress was concluded, the boys who are on drugs had disagreement among themselves and before you know it, it turned to free for all.
“ Jide was stabbed and rushed to the General Hospital where he was confirmed dead. This is unfortunate and uncalled for, because it is a mere ward congress.”
It was gathered that the violent clash couldn’t have been unconnected with the disagreement over the mode of the Congress, while the loyalists of the governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi rooted for consensus arrangement across the 177 wards, the other faction who were mostly members of the South West Agenda 2023 (SWAGA) resisted this move and insisted on election.
This development in some of the wards led to widespread violence across the state as thugs were allegedly unleashed on the people with many sustaining injuries and vehicles destroyed.
In Ado-Ekiti ward 8, thugs unleashed mayhem on party members and disrupted the process. Many of the injured members are receiving medical attention in one of the private hospital in the state capital.
Also in Ado-Ekiti, there was violence in Ward 4 and 8 as thugs went on rampage to disrupt the voting process.
The chairperson of Ado local government, Mrs Omotunde Fajuyi who participated in the congress in Ward 10 said the process was peaceful and devoid of any violence.
Fajuyi said, “ As you aware today, Ward 10 congress was peaceful during the congress and we had only one person who contested for ward chairmanship position, and was elected unopposed.
“ The process went peacefully and nobody had any cause to fight but we were told some persons had disagreement later after we left the place and one of them is dead. As I speak with you now, I am going to the hospital.
Speaking on the ward congress, the state chairman of SWAGA, Senator Tony Adeniyi decried the widespread violence which marred the process, saying that there was no congress in the state.
According to him, “ There was no election today in Ekiti because there was no accreditation across the wards. The Fayemi Tokan Tokan people manipulated the process and prevent people from voting for their prefer leaders, especially SWAGA members.
“ I can confirm to you that there was violence in Ikere-Ekiti, virtually all the wards in Ado-Ekiti we had violence and several people wounded and also in Ward 10, someone was killed. Is that how to do a congress ? “
On his part, a chieftain of the party and governorship aspirant, Chief Reuben Famuyibo, lamented that the politicians failed democracy in the state with the level of violence which characterised the ward congress.
Famuyibo, an elder statesman, who explained that he would address journalists in coming days on the process, said, “ As predicted by me on Friday, there was no election today,what you see is thugs moving around the wards.
“ The blood of any citizens does not worth my ambition. When I got to the ward today, i returned home, this is not democracy and our politicians have not learnt any election and it is unfortunate. We await what the national secretariat will do it.”
However, the party spokesman, Ade Ajayi, denied the allegations by the leaders on the process of the congress, saying every members of the were allowed to participate in congress.
“ I can tell you that nobody was deprived from the congress today (Saturday) and it is our hope that it will be an acceptable one by the stakeholders. It is blatant lie to say that people were deprived, people participated in the process.”
Protest, violence mar exercise in Osun
In Osun State, while the congresses were held peacefully in some wards, there were protest and violence in other wards over mode of conduct
The Congress Committee from the National Secretariat in the state, headed by Hon. Gbenga Elegbeleye monitored the congress at Isedo ward, Ila Orangun, where Chief Bisi Akande was said to be indisposed.
The team was also at Ward 1, Iragbiji where Governor Adegboyega Oyetola joined party members to adopt the new ward executive committee through consensus before proceeding to Moore Ward 1 where the new executive committee was unanimously affirmed in the presence of Senator Iyiola Omisore.
However, the congress was disrupted at Olorunda Ward 8, as party members disagreed on modalities for the congress. While some agreed with consensus others agitated for voting forcing the local congress officials to leave the area after fisticuffs between two members at the scene. At Isale-Oba Ward 4 in Iwo, party members were seen waiting for INEC officials to monitor the process but to no avail, while congress officials had not arrived at Osogbo Ward 4 collation centre before Sunday Vanguard left the centre.
Similarly at ward 4 in Ejigbo the former Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Najeem Salaam disclosed that members trooped out but after waiting for the Committee from Abuja for hours, the ward congress committee eventually oversaw the process.
Meanwhile, Governor Oyetola, Senator Omisore and Prince Famodun disclosed that the consensus method adopted by the party across the state was successful and reduced rancour within the party.
Some armed political thugs, around 11:30am attacked some members of the APC who were on the queue to participate in the party’s congress at Ward 3, Ilesa West Local Government of the State, while hoodlums also harassed participants at Ilare Ward 4 and Iremo Ward 1, Ife Central, while attempting to chase them away from collation centres at Ilare Central Primary School, Ilare and L.A Primary School, Ajebamidele respectively.
Elegbeleye, while addressing journalists disclosed that the committee to a large exten was satisfied with the conduct of the congress across the wards, adding that where members disagree on modalities, election should be held to determine the new ward executives.
Gov Abiodun, Amosun hold parallel congresses in Ogun
Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, and loyalists of his immediate predecessor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun held parallel ward congresses in Ogun.
The governor joined other party members in his Iperu Ward 3, Ikenne Local Government Area of the state to partake in the party’s Ward Congress and described the exercise as peaceful.
Abiodun, who said this in a chat with newsmen shortly after participating in the Ward Congress where 531 party members partook, noted that he was happy at the turnout of members of the party at the congress.
While observing that the exercise was in line with what the Caretaker Extraordinary Committee on Convention Planning had prescribed in preparation for the National Convention of the party, he added that the exercise was the beginning of the house keeping exercise that would ensure that the party has people who are properly voted into office.
Abiodun said that the congress in his ward was a consensus arrangement which was ratified through an electoral process, assuring party faithful that he would ensure that the ward is empowered to perform its duties.
He further assured the people of Ikenne Local Government that his administration would ensure it completes the Bethel Road, which he said is one of the two roads left for his administration to rehabilitate in the local government.
Meanwhile, loyalists of the immediate past governor of the state, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, organised parallel ward congresses
When Vanguard monitored the congress at Ward 14, Abeokuta South Local Government, APC members loyal to the former governor held their own ward congress at the St Leo’s Grammar School, Onikoko, while party faithful loyal to Governor Abiodun, held their own congress inside Anglican High School, Quarry Road, Abeokuta.
The two groups, however, adopted 27-man parallel ward executive members.
Ganduje allays fear over annulment of APC ward congress
Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano state has allayed fear that the ward congresses would be declared null if the minority judgement of the Supreme Court against the party is something to go by.
Ganduje made the disclosure while addressing newsmen at his ward at Ganduje town in Dawakin Tofa local government shortly after the Congress held across the 444 wards of the state.
“The Supreme Court judgement has to do with the National Caretaker Committee and what we have here is an Extra Ordinary Committee on Convention of the party.
“The election in this ward was based on consensus and same applied to all the 44 local government areas in the state” he stated.
While commenting on those having reservations on the Ward Congress, he stated that it is natural that people in any democratic contest would definitely not be happy with anything that runs contrary to their personal interest, but what is certain is that the majority will always have their wqy and the minority will have their say.
Chairman of the Ward Election Committee of the APC who was in Kano to supervise the election, Dr Tony described it as hitch- free as there was no violence and all the seats were declared unopposed.
APC ward Congress precursor to winning back Edo – Chairman
Chairman of the Ward Congress Committee for Edo State, Dr. Chris Oghenechovwen, said the exercise in the state was the beginning of the process of winning back the governorship seat of the state it lost in 2020.
Speaking to journalists after moving round some wards where they all agreed on consensus for the ward leaders, Oghenechovwen called on other parties across the country to borrow a leaf from the Edo state chapter of APC where its 192 wards executives emerged by consensus to avoid disharmony among their members.
He said: “We are happy and we want to call on other states to emulate the example of Edo State and we know when a house is together, it can only move forward and that Edo State APC will be much stronger and by 2024, will probably take over the government of the state”.
On his part, state chairman of the party,
Col David Imuse (rtd), said the peaceful conduct of the Congress has made APC the party to beat come 2024 in the state.
APC suffers blow in Benue as stalwarts defect to PDP
The APC in Benue state, weekend suffered a major blow by the unexpected defection of its stalwart, Engineer Nath Apir alongside his followers and supporters, to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in Gwer East Local Government Area, LGA, of the state.
Among those who defected with their supporters alongside Engineer Apir during the ceremony held at St. Francis Primary School Aliade, were Engineers Rogers and Peter Damkor as well as Elder John Asen including members of the Labour Party, LP and All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA in the area.
Speaking separately on why they defected to the PDP, the APC stalwarts cited the forthrightness, resilience and doggedness of Governor Samuel Ortom in standing against external aggressors who want to takeover the state and subjugate the people, for their decision to leave their former parties.
They also referred to the numerous appointments to their people and projects executed in their LGA as some of the motivating factors.
Bayelsa APC makes u-turn, shelves ward congress over court injunction
THE APC in Bayelsa State appears to have decided to obey the order of a state high court which granted an interim injunction stoping the exercise in the state.
A Bayelsa State High Court presided over by Enekinimi Uzaka, in a ruling on Friday ordered a stop to the proposed congress pending the determination of the motion of notice before the court.
Some aggrieved members of APC in Bayelsa State, Mr Ompadec Victor, Esuenifen Obi and Seimiegha Ebibofe Agbozu had filed a suit seeking the court Interim injunction stopping the conduct of the ward Congress in the state.
In a suit numbered YHC/07/2021, with the All Progressive Congress (APC) as the only respondent, the claimants asked the court to restrain the Party’s caretaker/extra ordinary Convention Committee from assigning or conducting Congress to elect state, local government and ward party leaders in the state scheduled for Saturday 31st, July, 2021 until the determination of the motion on notice already before the court
The court however adjourned the matter to the 9th of August for the hearing of the motion before it
But the factions of the party in the state loyal to both the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, HMSPR, Chief Timipre Sylva and former Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri had on Friday sworn to go ahead with the exercise despite the court order.
Checks by our reporter who monitored the exercise in some parts of the state observed that the exercise did not take place.
Confirming the party’s decision to discontinue with the exercise, the Caretaker Secretary of the party in the state, Mr Alabo Martins in a statement on Saturday, said as a law abiding party, the APC would not take laws into its hands by going contrary to the court injunction as any unguided moves would jeopardize the effort the party has made so far.
Almakura, NSHA Speaker others lauds excercise
The exercise in Nasarawa Statewas dominated by concensus as most aspirants emerged through consensus
Speaking during the exercise, the Senator representing Nasarawa South,Tanko Almaku commended stakeholders of the APC for the strict adherence to guidelines of the party to ensure peaceful conduct of Ward Congresses in the state.
Almakura who gave the commendation after participating in the exercise in his Gayam Electoral Ward, Lafia the Nasarawa State capital, said APC had some lessons to learn for future congresses and elections especially the adoption of consensus leaders through mutual agreement devoid of rancour and hard feelings among supporters of the party.
On his part, Speaker Nasarawa state House of Assembly, Ibrahim Balarabe Abdullahi Lauded the Peaceful APC Ward Congress in Toto Saying the exercise Further Demonstrate Unity,Strength of party.
Ibrahim Balarabe Abdullahi who expressed satisfaction with the peaceful conduct of APC ward congress in Toto LG as all the new officials emerged through consensus said the success achieved in the exercise is a clear demonstration of unity and understanding among members and called for its sustenance.