APC congress: Fresh crisis over sharing formula
Posted by News Express | 15 August 2021 | 98 times
•APC national caretaker committee secretary, John James Akpanudoedehe
By LANRE ADEWOLE, Lagos
In what appears a definite stand, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has directed the appeals panels set up last week to work on petitions arising from the just-concluded controversial ward congress, to strictly work with the party’s constitution and congress guidelines in resolving the logjam in many state chapters.
The directive, which is contained in the letter of appointment handed over to chairmen of the panels, is already generating fresh tension in many state chapters of the party where parallel congress took place, with the crisis in the Osun State chapter boiling over at the weekend.
The order to stick with constitutionality and due process is bound to upset a lot of applecart in many state chapters, where groups considered to be in the mainstream may end up losing out, considering prevalent allegations of dominant factions not abiding by the guidelines in arriving at their victories.
While the national leadership of the party, led by Yobe State governor, Mai Mala Buni, encouraged consensus arrangement to avoid a rancorous congress, it added a caveat that all tendencies within the party in each state chapter should have a buy-in.
Accodring to Buni, where consensus is not agreed on, factions are to go for elective congress.
Allegations of dominant factions cornering the entire exercise, without consensus agreement and not resorting to election, have rent the space since the exercise was conducted.
In giving the marching order, APC said, “you are expected to adhere strictly to the guidelines of the exercise and the constitution, in receiving and determination of complaints arising from the ward congresses.”
The appointment letter, sighted by Sunday Tribune, was signed by the Secretary, Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), Mr John James Akpanudoedehe and dated August 12, 2021.
The full letter reads:
“In furtherance of the provisions of the guidelines of the ward congresses, as adopted by the Caretaker/ Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee. “The chairman of the CECPC, Mai Mala Buni, has approved your nomination as the chairman of the ward congresses appeals committee for …(redacted) state.
“As a responsible organisation, the party is not oblivious of the fact that with the sheer magnitude and scope of the ward congresses, there may be persons who may be dissatisfied with the exercise, hence this committee.
“You are expected to adhere strictly to the guidelines of the exercise and the constitution, in receiving and determination of complaints arising from the ward congresses.”
Despite the resolve to go constitutional, Sunday Tribune can also report that behind-the-scenes moves for peace and reconciliation in the party may birth a political solution to the crisis in the state chapters.
The planned masterstroke being reportedly fine-tuned by the embattled national leadership of the party is expected to harmonise multiple ward executive lists, submitted or being paraded, in each of the state chapters, where factions held parallel exercise.
While the appeal committees would still listen to aggrieved caucuses within the party in state chapters, available insider information pointed at the committees already armed with a general mandate to accommodate all major tendencies in feuding state chapters.
Appeals committees’ final reports are expected to include recommendations for power sharing by feuding factions.
Sunday Tribune learnt a 60:40 ratio is on the card for consideration. The national leadership will either ratify or reject suggestions from the appeals panels.
Factions favoured as the mainstream groups are expected to take the lion’s share, after the review of complaints from each state chapter. It was learnt that the party is working to delegitimise winner-takes-all approach for peace to reign in the conduct of the concluding part of the exercise.
While the proposition is said to have been mentioned to the national leader of the party, President Muhammadu Buhari, a source noted that nothing was conclusive, as the party waits on him for final approval.
Buhari returned to the country Friday night from medical tourism to London, where another national leader of the party, former Lagos State governor, Senator Bola Tinubu, is recuperating after an alleged knee operation. Political Action Committees (PACs) affiliated to the former governor have launched a nationwide campaign for him to succeed Buhari, who visited him in London on Thursday, before his departure the next day.
Lagos State, the political base of Tinubu, however, is one of the state chapters hardest hit by the intra-party crisis rocking the ruling party.
Coming off the ward congress, four factions emerged in the state with three submitting independent elected executive members’ lists.
While Tinubu’s faction is holding on to the mainstream through the caretaker committee led by Mr Tunde Balogun, there is a major bloc within the party known as APC Democrats led by a former ally of Tinubu, Fouad Oki. Also in the loop is an emerging group known as Lagos4Lagos led by Mr Olajide Adediran, a gubernatorial aspirant for the 2023 election in the state.
He is said to be a protégé of another former governor of the state and allegedly being funded by a former governor of a neighbouring state. The agenda of his group is to ensure an indigene of the state succeeds Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu in 2023.
The fourth breakaway faction known as the Conscience Group is led by Mr Moshood Salvador, a former state chairman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He defected to the ruling party, following a protracted leadership tussle in Lagos PDP, only to claim being sidelined by chieftains of the ruling party.
Apart from the Oki group, all others submitted results from their parallel congress to the party.
Feelers from the mainstream group, however, suggested total refusal of the proposition, with accompanying threat to quit the party, if the national leadership should go ahead with the plan. Oki’s faction is yet to make its position known officially as the group says it will approach the appeal panel next week with its case and congress result.
Apart from Lagos, the proposed political solution is also expected to encounter strong pushback in party chapters in Ogun, Rivers, Kwara, Osun, Delta, Akwa-Ibom, Zamfara, Anambra, among others.
In Ogun, former governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, has refused to accept the political leadership of the governor, Mr Dapo Abiodun. While Amosun is favoured at the centre because of his strong affinity with Buhari, Abiodun enjoys the backing of Tinubu who shepherded him to the governorship seat, despite stiff opposition from then governor, Amosun.
Political watchers are certain Amosun won’t play second fiddle to Abiodun, despite the latter’s hold on the party in the state.
In Rivers, the two dominant figures in the state chapter of the party which is in opposition to the ruling PDP, Mr Magnus Abe and Minister of Transport, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, have moved from being opponents to political enemies. All efforts at reconciliation have proved abortive. The congress has further widened the gulf, putting any political solution in jeopardy.
In Kwara, where APC is the ruling party, the governor, Mr Abdulraham Abdulrazaq and his erstwhile backer, Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, have parted ways, irreversibly, according to insider information.
Apart from holding parallel ward congress, supporters of the minister have begun mass movement into another political platform, possibly foreclosing any reconciliation effort. Apart from the public spat about campaign funds, amid allegations of corruption, one of the parties to the feud has reportedly vowed not to have anything to do with the other side.
In the 2023 governorship contest, a three-horse race is likely, with PDP and the breakaway faction giving Mr Abdulrazaq a run for his strategy. In Osun, the festering crisis between the governor, Mr Gboyega Oyetola and his predecessor-in-office, Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, isn’t showing any signal of slowing down.
As a member of the caretaker running the national office of the party, Oyetola is favoured against the minister and even if a rapprochement is worked out on 60:40 ratio, the amount of bad blood already generated by their disagreement may not be easily washed away by a political solution.
There are fears the minister’s group could play the spoiler when Oyetola is up for re-election next year.
In Delta State, where APC is in opposition to the ruling PDP, Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, has beaten his competitors like Minister of State for Labour, Mr Festus Keyamo, to the diadem, staying in strong control of the party amid his rumoured governorship interest in 2023. If he concedes to the political solution, he would be seen to be gracious unto others who lost out in a contest they claimed never took place.
Similar scenario is playing out in places like Anambra, where it is Andy Uba against Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige, in Akwa-Ibom, where the caretaker secretary Mr Akpanudoedehe, is being heckled by other factions, the most outspoken, being the group loyal to former governor and Niger Delta Minister, Godswill Akpabio. (Sunday Tribune)
Source: News Express
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