The ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), is facing the challenge of factional leadership as the recently conducted State Congress saw about eight States having parallel Government with imposition of candidates being the major bone of contention.
During the Ward Congress conducted a few weeks ago, some States complained of disenfranchisement, irregularities among others.
The recent exercise conducted in the 36 States to elect the executives at the State level saw Lagos, Kwara, Oyo, Ondo, Kogi among others, being marred with disruption by suspected thugs and factional conducting of Congress.
Factional Congress was conducted between suspected loyalists of the former Governor of Lagos, Bola Tinubu and Fouad Oki, the convener of Broom United Movement, a faction of the APC.
In February, Oki had formed the movement following claims of “low organisational capacity and lack of internal Democracy” in APC.
Oki iterated that the movement was formed due to APC’s inability to serve many important functions, including citizen mobilisation, interest aggregation, public policy formulation, leadership recruitment and Government organisation.
“The party has not been able to engender peace, trust and confidence in its membership. The undesirable cleavages of mistrust between the principal stakeholders is encouraging perfidious little minds at the local levels to further sow the seed of discord among the stakeholders in the naive belief that the could gainfully exploit the cleavages for personal purposes.
“Our party in Lagos State has never been this divided and disunited, the current graveyard silence that permeate our political landscape with a siddon look A O mu erin j’oba syndrome is very dangerous. Political parties are vital Organisations in a democracy, and democracy is stronger when citizens become active members of political parties.”
While Oki’s faction had conducted its Congress at the Event Centre of the Airport Hotel, the other Faction’s Congress was held at the Party’s Secretariat.
Oki emerged as the Chairman of the factional Congress, while the State’s former Commissioner for Home Affairs, Tunde Balogun, emerge Chairman in the Congress held at the Secretariat.
Prior to the Congress, the Party had banned individuals who have spent eight years as Executives from seeking re-elections.
“We fought hard against tenure elongation, and now we are going to have our Congresses. Some of you who have spent two, three, four terms as ward, local Government and State Executive members, it is time to go”, Tinubu had announced then.
“I mean if you have spent eight years, twelve years, you have tried. You should give us chance; let us now have new people.”
In contrast, the new results saw Joe Igbokwe, the Publicity Secretary of the Party since 2006 re-elected again.
A faction believed to be led by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, held its Congress at Arca Santa Event Hall, while another faction held theirs at the Banquet Hall opposite the Government House, which saw Senate President Bukola Saraki, Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatai Ahmad in attendance.
It was reported that while the faction at the Banquet Hall conducted its Congress without opposition, those at the Event Hall also confirmed the return of candidates, as the Executive of both factions emerged through consensus arrangement.
Moshood Bolarinwa emerged as the Party’s Chairman for the faction allegedly supported by the Minister, while Ishola Balogun Fulani was the Chiarman at the Banquet Hall Congress.
It was no different in Oyo State as the Minister of Information, Adebayo Shittu attended one while the State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, was seen in the other.
According to Shittu, efforts are being made to wrestle power from some individuals who have turned APC into personal business.
“It is in the course of our efforts to liberate the Party from these individuals that we have brought this Congress and we will continue to do the wishes of the people so as to bring sanity into the system.”
Other party loyalists to the faction include Senator representing Oyo Central, Momsurat Sumonu, and Adedapo Lam Adesina.
The other faction had Governor Ajimobi, Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly, Olagunju Ojo, former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala among others in attendance.
While a Congress was held at the International Event Centre, Akure, where the Governor of the State, Rotimi Akeredolu, was in attendance, another Congress was held that BTO Hall, Akure, which was later disrupted by suspected thugs, who chased away delegates, destroyed materials and also injured participants.
A member of the House of Representatives in the State, Bamidele Baderinwa was also injured in the event.
Kogi State was also not left out as it also witnessed the emergence of two Chairmen from the factional Congresses conducted.
Earlier this Month, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said most of APC’s Crisis would be resolved soon.