As reactions continue to trail last Saturday’s ward congresses of the All Progressives Congress (APC) across the country, results of the exercise show that most senators and ministers lost control of the party’s structures in their respective wards.
Most governors, however, seized the opportunity to affirm their grip on structures at the grassroots. Among the states where the governors held forth according to findings by New Telegraph include Lagos, Ogun, Kano, Kaduna, Ondo, Niger, Bauchi, and Zamfara.
It was, however, mixed fortunes for the governors of Imo and Benue states, Rochas Okorocha and Samuel Ortom, who lost to opposing camps in their respective states.
In Bauchi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, was also schemed out by Governor Mohammed Abubakar. The Speaker and his supporters did not participate in the ward congress. But Senate President Bukola Saraki took charge in Kwara State.
In states under the control of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) such as Rivers and Akwa Ibom, political appointees like ministers and heads of agencies of governments and parastatals held sway. Among senators who had poor outing at the ward congresses are Senators Shehu Sani (Kaduna Central), Suleiman Hunkuyi (Kaduna North), Ajayi Boroffice (Ondo North), Solomon Adeola (Lagos West), Magnus Abe (Rivers South East), Nafiz Gamawa (Bauchi North), Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano Central), Lanre Tejuosho (Ogun Central), Yele Omogunwa (Ondo South), David Umaru (Niger East), Adamu Aliero (Kebbi Central) and Kabiru Marafa (Zamfara Central).
The ministers are Chief Audu Ogbeh (Agriculture), Babatunde Fashola (Power, Works and Housing), Abubakar Malami (Justice) and Geoffrey Onyeama (Foreign Affairs). Imo: Okorocha out in the cold as senators take over party structure An alliance of two serving senators of the APC, two former senators, Imo State deputy governor and other key stakeholders of the party overwhelmed Governor Rochas Okorocha and his faction of the party at the ward congress of the party.
The governor who watched them forge the alliance and strategize toward upstaging his faction in the congress, took the ‘Allied Forces’ for granted. Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu, representing Imo North, who was Okorocha’s Speaker in his first term and Senator Hope Uzodinma, representing Imo West, who joined the party recently and pitched his tent with the Imo APC ‘Allied Forces’ teamed up with Senator Osita Izunaso, the National Organizing Secretary of the party and Senator Ifeanyi Araraume to scheme Governor Okorocha out during the congress.
While the senators commended party faithful for their support and hopefully waiting for ratification of the result of the exercise, Okorocha and his group, who alleged that sensitive congress materials were hijacked, are calling for the cancellation of the exercise. Apparently beaten, the governor, on Sunday, jetted out to Daura, Katsina State to consult with President Muhammadu Buhari on his precarious situation in the party and the need for Mr. President to intervene and save his political career.
Benue: Ortom, Ogbeh shut out Results of the congress from Benue State showed that the senator representing Benue North West and former governor of the state, Senator George Akume, controls the APC structure in the state. But, Governor Samuel Ortom, in his reaction, said he came into the party when there was no structure on ground and so he is not bothered whether “he controls the structure of my party or not.” New Telegraph gathered that the governor was unable to take charge of the party’s structure in his Nzorov council ward in Guma local government area.
Also shut out during the congress was the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, who fell to the political scheming in his Zone C axis, where he was unable to produce a single member of ward exco. Kebbi: Malami’s camp flays exercise In Kebbi State, a faction of the party loyal to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Mallami, expressed dismay over the conduct of the ward congress.
A former governor of the state, Adamu Aliero, who currently represents Kebbi Central in the National Assembly, also lost out as Governor Atiku Bagudu’s loyalists emerged after the exercise. Enugu: Onyeama kicks as Nwoye okays congress Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, who had a parallel congress in his Eke ward in Udi Local Government Area of the state, where the Director General of the Voice of Nigeria, Osita Okechukwu, who hails from the ward, similarly had a separate congress, has kicked against the exercise.
Addressing his loyalists in Enugu, Onyeama said he was sidelined alongside his loyalists. He attributed the conduct of the parallel congresses to a flawed process that excluded a significant part of the party faithful in the state. He added that leaders of the party in the state, including the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Justice Reform, Juliet Ibekaku, were also excluded from the process. Ondo: Senators, Reps, House of Assembly defectors shut out All the three senators under the platform of the APC lost out in the ward congress of the party held in Ondo State at the weekend. Also, all the six members of the party in the House of Representatives lost out. The senators lost the control of the party to commissioners, special advisers and top government appointees, including the Secretary to the State Government (SSG).
The party’s structure in Akure and Ondo Central senatorial district was handed over to SSG, Ifedayo Abegunde, and the commissioners. In the South, the structure of the party was handed over to the deputy governor, Hon. Agboola Ajayi and some commissioners, shutting the door on Senator Yele Omogunwa, a defector from PDP. In the North, Governor Akeredolu, who is not in same page politically with the senator from the zone, Prof. Ajayi Boroffice, has effective control of the structure. He holds it in conjunction with some of his appointees including commissioners.
The House of Representatives members, who were shut out include Afe Olowookere, Bamidele Samson Baderinwa and Bode Ayorinde. Also hit by the outcome of the congress were members of the state House of Assembly, who defected from the PDP to the APC shortly after the exit of former Governor Olusegun Mimiko from office.
The state legislators, including the Speaker, Mr. Bamidele Oleyelogun, were edged out as loyalists of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu took over party structures in their respective constituencies. Kaduna: El-Rufai wins big as Hunkuyi, Sani kick Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, who is locked in a running battle with the two APC senators from the state, Shehu Sani and Suleiman Hunkuyi, had a field day as he won the battle for the control of the party’s structure in the state.
But Senator Hunkuyi, who faulted the conduct of the congress, said democracy was raped in the state during the exercise. Addressing newsmen yesterday on the outcome of the exercise, he said: “We join all APC members and supporters in mourning the death of democracy and its burial in Kaduna State, where its resurrection may be an impossible task.” His sentiment was shared by the senator representing Kaduna Central, Sani, who said that ward congresses never took place in the state, vowing to resist any written list that might be presented as the list of elected party officials.
Ogun: Tejuoso, Adeola lose out In Ogun State, Governor Ibikunle Amosun proved that he still holds the ace with the outcome of ward congresses as his loyalists emerged as chairmen and taking other positions in virtually all of the 236 electoral wards.
Prior to the congresses, Amosun had reconciled with a former governor of the state, Chief Olusegun Osoba, and both resolved to work for the victory of the party. However, the reconciliation appeared not to have gone down well with some supporters of the former governor, who alleged that the deal had mortgaged their political interests for personal gains. New Telegraph learnt that those who are opposed to the governor’s leadership of the party lost out in the power struggle. Specifically, they are the senator representing Ogun Central, Lanre Tejuoso.
Tejuoso, who had indicated interest in seeking a second term, is facing hurdles as a result of the senatorial ambition of the current Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Taiwo Adeoluwa, who may have Amosun’s backing. Another casualty is the senator representing Lagos West and governorship aspirant in Ogun State, Solomon Adeola, whose supporters boycotted the ward congresses and are considering defecting to another political party ahead of the 2019 elections.
Meanwhile, the protests that greeted Saturday’s inconclusive governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State took a new turn yesterday as the police moved in to seal off the party’s secretariat. Protesters, who claimed to be sympathetic to the aspiration of the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, had besieged the party’s secretariat on the Ajilosun Ikere road, where they announced the removal of the state executives led by Chief Jide Awe.
The protesters also announced the immediate formation of a pro-Fayemi caretaker committee. Armed policemen, however, arrived the secretariat later and drove everyone out, after which the secretariat was sealed off.
The police also sealed off the Delta State secretariat of the APC over the outcome of the congresses. One person died during the exercise on Saturday. Also, the Delta State Police Command yesterday sealed off the secretariat of the APC in Asaba, the state capital, following the crisis rocking the party in the state.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mustafa Muhammad, said his men were positioned to provide security for the announcement of the result of the contentious ward congress. In Abuja, protesters stormed the national headquarters of the party.
While some party members from Kaduna State protested at the party secretariat against the state governor, El-Rufai, for allegedly hijacking the congresses, the Chairman Senate Committee on Finance, John Owan Enoh, protested against the plot of the Minister of Niger Delta, Mr. Usani Usani and the Cross River State Congresses Panel of hijacking the congresses in the state.
The Kaduna protesters came with banners of anti- APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and El-Rufai. Some of the inscriptions on the banners read “Baba, please call Kiriku to order,” “APC is dying in Kaduna”, “EFCC, investigate Oyegun and Oyegun return our money”, “EFCC should come to the aides of the Kaduna people.” Other inscriptions include: “Democracy is about people and not committee of friends,” “Say no to Kiriku in 2019,” “Congress must hold in Kaduna,” “Affirmation is undemocratic,” “Oyegun should go,”
“No APC Ward congress in Kaduna, “We stand with Baba Buhari for 2019,” among others. For the Cross River State, Senator Enoh said the ward congresses did not hold in the state.