In at least seven states, factions elected parallel executives during yesterday’s All Progressives Congress (APC) Local Government Congresses. Reports filed by state correspondents show that some of the states where parallel congresses held yesterday include Enugu, Kogi, Ondo, Zamfara, Bayelsa, Kwara and Abia.
In Enugu State for example, Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, Special Assistant to the President on Judicial Reviews, Mrs. Juliet Ibekaku and the Director General, Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr. Osita Okechukwu, emerged as delegates. But they were elected from parallel congresses of the Udi Local Council.
Onyeama and Ibekaku, as well as other key officials of the Udi APC Local Government, were elected unopposed at a parallel congress held at Comprehensive High School, Abia-Udi.
Okechukwu was elected at a parallel congress held at the Udi APC Local Government office, 9th Mile Corner, Ngwo, near Enugu.
Okechukwu was returned unopposed likewise two other national delegates, Mr. Charlie Chime and Maureen Anosike, at the same venue.
Onyeama, while commenting on the congress, said: “But unfortunately, those who want to be elected and the congress team that came here, the chairman, claimed that the National Working Council said they should only meet with the chairman of the state party.
“The chairman of the state party himself is interested in competing, so you can imagine a situation where they said that the person who is interested in being elected should be the one that should carry out the election process.
“So, what has happened is exactly what you would expect to happen; he now keeps all the forms for himself and completely excludes everybody else; in fact, he excludes the majority of the people. And we can’t allow that to happen.
“So we have gone on with the parallel congress. I spoke to the chairman of the congress; I said to him you just impose a democratic process on the state; but he said no, he had instruction from Abuja that he should relate with the chairman, and that he knows is not fair, and that he knows that will just come up with a list without having gone through any electoral process at all.
“But we are going to fight it today because you’ve seen so many people here, and by God’s grace, their votes must count.”
The APC National Vice Chairman for South-East, Emma Eneukwu and the Acting Women Leader, Mrs. Oby Nwofor were among the party chieftains from the local government who attended the congress in which the VON Managing Director was elected.
Officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ?were also in attendance at the Udi APC office.
Reacting to his election as national delegate, Okechukwu assured that he would use the mandate given to him to support the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari to improve infrastructure in the South-East geo-political zone.
At the congress which held at the St. Luke Primary School, Adankolo in Kogi State, the Audu/Faleke faction of APC, elected Usman Mamanlafia and Abubakar Nagogo Maiyaki as the chairman and secretary, respectively, in the 27-man executive.
The faction is alleged to be sympathetic to the embattled APC state chairman, Alhaji Haddi Ametuo.
The congress was supervised by officials of INEC, amidst the presence of some operatives of the Special Anti- Robbery Squad.
But Okene, the faction loyal to Governor Yahaya Bello, led by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Alhaji Abubakar Ohere, were observed putting final touches for the LG congress, at the popular Lafia Street area, while similar arrangements by Bello’s loyalist, led by the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mathew Kolawole, were ongoing in Kabba, as at 2pm.
In Zamfara State, a group loyal to the chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Senator Kabiru Marafa, yesterday organised a parallel congress across the 14 local government areas of the state.
The congress, according to a statement by the camp, signed by Bello Soja Bakyasuwa Maradun for the group, said the parallel Congress recorded a large turnout across the 14 local government areas of Zamfara state.
The camp had last week threatened to block the local government Congress over the alleged refusal of Ambassador Dauda Danladi-led committee to organise ward Congress.
Marafa’s group accused Ambassador Danladi of pitching tent with Governor Abdulaziz Yari to scuttle the will of Congress members of the party in the state.
” Our group is the only faction that fulfilled all the party conditions, having paid the prescribed fees through the designated banks for all our candidates during the just concluded ward Congresses that were held nationwide last week,” the statement reads in part.
Parallel local government congress was also recorded in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.
Two factions loyal to a former Governor of the state, Chief Timipre Sylva, and a former Acting Governor, Chief Nestor Binabo, conducted separate congresses.
Sylva commended the delegates and party members for the peaceful conduct of the congresses.
But Binabo claimed that the LG congresses conducted by them were the real ones, describing Sylva’s faction as fake.
Ondo is another state that recorded parallel congresses. At least, two visible factions held congresses across the 18 local government areas.
One of the factions was loyal to the state governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, and the Acting Chairman of the party, Ade Adetimehin, while the other group supported the embattled chairman of the party, Isaac Kekemeke.
It was a supremacy battle between the two factions as they struggled for the group that is authentic.
However, the congresses were devoid of violence.
Some of the local governments where the parallel congresses were reportedly held included Akure South, Ifedore, Akoko South-West, Ondo West, among others.
The Acting Chairman, Adetimehin however denied having parallel congress, saying the real congress which was conducted and attended by the congress committee, set up by the national secretariat, Abuja, was the authentic congress.
Commenting on the exercise, a leader of the APC in Ifedore Local Government and leader of the Kekemeke’s faction in the local government, Bamidele Baderinwa, a federal lawmaker, said the congress was held at the APC secretariat, Igbara Oke, the headquarters of the local government.
In Abia State, the congresses were peaceful across the 17 local government areas but reports confirmed that parallel congress was held in some areas.
Our reporter who was at the party’s secretariat in Umuahia, Abia State capital, reports that materials for the congress in all the 17 local government areas of the state were distributed as early as 7:30am including Arochukwu, Ohafia, Isiukwuato, Ikwuano, Umunneochi, Bende, Ukwa East and West, Ugwunagbo, Obingwa, Aba North and South, Osisioma, Umuahia North and South respectively.
Meanwhile, NAN reports that a faction of the party loyal to Chief Ikechi Emenike also held a parallel congress at Umuawa Alaocha Primary School in Umuahia North LGA.
The congress, which also adopted Option A4, elected Chief Nelson Udenze (Chairman), Onyebuchi Igodo (Treasurer), Chigozie Oriaku (Secretary) and Mercy Uchechukwu (Women Leader).
Speaking with newsmen at the end of the exercise, former Deputy Gov. Chris Akomas, who is a delegate and member, Board of Trustees of the party, expressed joy over the peaceful congress in the area.
In Kwara also, two parallel congresses of the All Progressives Congress (APC) took place across the 16 local government areas of the state yesterday.
A faction of the party loyal to President Muhammadu Buhari and another led by Senate President Bukola Saraki conducted different congresses.
The congresses were conducted in a peaceful atmosphere.
Just like what happened during last week’s ward congresses, APC stakeholders in most local government areas in the state picked their executives through a consensus arrangement
The faction loyal to President Buhari said its grievances against the other faction included maginalisation and inaccessibility to nomination forms.