How ward congress saved Kwara APC from implosion

August 4, 2021
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Though the dust created by the conduct of the ward congress of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is yet to settle in the Kwara State chapter of the party, the prevalent scenario before the exercise conjured trepidation and fear because of the unending power tussle between two major tendencies in the party in the state. BIOLA AZEEZ examines a few major factors that doused the apprehension.

CONTRARY to the expectation of many observers, including major stakeholders in Kwara State, the ward congress of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state was relatively devoid of any untoward happening. Prior to the intra-party exercise, there was tension and apprehension that the congress could lead to an implosion going by events that characterised the buildup to the event. It turned out to be an anti-climax. Aside the orderly conduct and comportment of members of the ruling party in the state, stakeholders agreed to a consensus arrangements aimed to prevent parallel congress in any part of the state.

It would be recalled that days to the holding of the ward congress, tension had mounted between the Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq-backed Alhaji Abdullahi Samari-led leadership of the party in the state and some aggrieved members of the party led by the Information and Culture minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed. Members of the APC loyal to the minister had at a news conference two days before the congress, expressed their preparedness to participate in the exercise. The caretaker legal adviser of the party, Ladi Mustapha, who spoke on behalf of the group, had blamed the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led national leadership of the party for the crisis rocking APC in the state. “Gentlemen of the press, I am delighted to inform you that we have secured nomination forms for all prospective contestants into positions at the wards and local governments in compliance with the set guidelines for the exercise. We hereby express our preparedness for the ward congresses of our great party, which commences on Saturday, July 31, 2021, provided every other thing remains constant”.

However, at another press conference by members of APC’s delegation from Abuja and the party’s chairman in the state, Alhaji Abdullahi Samari, the officials had made it clear that no one would be allowed to hold any parallel congress in the state. The secretary of the ward congress committee from the APC national secretariat, Abuja, Yusuf Abdulrahman advised all contestants, including the aggrieved members of the party to purchase forms from the recognised party secretariat in the state.  “We are well prepared for the assignment; as you know, we have been on it since last three months. We only urge our party’s members in the state to come out and participate fully, as we are here for everybody,” the congress committee’s secretary declared.

While the congress committee successfully staved off the possibility of a parallel congress, Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq capped it up by impressing it on APC stakeholders, the need to adopt consensus arrangement in picking the party›s officials in all the 193 wards of the state.

Heeding the advice of the governor, who is the party’s leader in the state, the APC stakeholders at a meeting on the eve of the ward congress agreed to adopt consensus candidates for ward congresses across the 16 local government areas of the state.

At the end of the meeting called by the APC National Headquarters› Congress Planning Committee in Ilorin, members of the party unanimously settled for consensus candidates across the 193 wards. The meeting was attended by the ward congress chairman for Kwara, Professor Jonathan Ayuba, top party chieftains from the state, including Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq; Speaker of the state›s House of Assembly, Yakubu Danladi Salihu; Senators Yahya Oloriegbe (Central); Lola Ashiru (South); House of Representatives members; House of Assembly members; Kwara APC Caretaker committee chairman, Alhaji Abdullahi Samari; and many others.

Governor Abdulrazaq said the party›s congress was a democratic process designed to ensure the smooth running of the party, reiterating the commitment of the APC administration to serve the masses. «We are here only for Kwarans. They voted for us and we must continue to think about our people. We must not disappoint our people. We know what we are doing tomorrow. Speakers have spoken and I wish everyone safe journey to our respective places. May we have a successful outing tomorrow,» according to the Governor who was represented by Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi. Consequently, the APC members and stakeholders in the state last Saturday adopted consensus arrangements in picking the party›s leaders in all the 193 wards across the state.

The exercise, which attracted large turnout of party faithfuls in many centres that were visited, saw APC members participating in the exercise under a peaceful atmosphere. It was also observed that representatives of the APC national caretaker committee and some officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) witnessed the exercise in various centres across the state. Speaking with journalists in Ilorin, the APC chairman, Alhaji Abdullahi Samari, confirmed that all the executives across the 193 wards emerged through consensus arrangements, in accordance with the wise counsel of Governor Abdulrazaq. Samari also expressed delight that there were no parallel congresses by the APC members throughout the state.

Special Adviser on Strategy to Governor Abdulrazaq, Alhaji Sa›ad Salawudeen, who spoke with journalists at his Ibagun ward in Okelele area of Ilorin East local government area, attributed the success of the exercise to the outstanding performance of the governor. «In line with the directive of national caretaker committee and the state governor, we adopted consensus arrangements for all the candidates in the 193 wards at a stakeholders forum meeting on Friday. The large turnout of our party’s members for this all- important exercise was in appreciation of Governor Abdulrazaq’s exceptional performance in the past two years,” he said.

The governor›s aide also said that: “If this development is anything to go by, the crisis rocking the APC in the state has abated. The restraint exercised by the aggrieved party members by not holding a parallel congress is an indication of their preparedness to embrace peace and return to the party›s mainstream. The APC chairman, Alhaji Abdullahi Samari had always insisted that the misunderstanding among some members of the party was a family affair which would be resolved amicably.  He said the party was big enough to accommodate all the existing members and those willing to join it.

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