The Guardian (Nigeria)

Aregbesola’s camp drags Buni, others to court over APC congress

• I will respond to your false allegation­s in due time, Lai Mohammed tells Kwara gov • Stakeholde­rs finger Amosun in cracks in Oyo APC, other states • Uzodimma conducted birthday party, not congress, says Okorocha

- From Seye Olumide ( Southwest Bureau Chief), Azimazi Momoh Jimoh ( Abuja) and Odun Edward ( Ilorin)

• PDP Secretary- ship: Consensus threatened as more aspirants emerge from Southeast

THE internal crises in the ruling All Progressiv­es Congress ( APC) following last weekend’s congresses across the country have continued to deepen.

In Osun State, the crack widened, yesterday, between loyalists of former governor Rauf Aregbesola and supporters of Governor Gboyega Oyetola over control of the party. Aregbesola’s loyalists had dragged leadership of the party to the Federal High Court sitting in Osogbo over the ward congress held on July 31, 2021 and to challenge the outcome of last Saturday’s congress in the state.

The aggrieved members, who belong to The Osun Progressiv­e ( TOP), a group loyal to the Minister of Interior, Aregbesola, had held a parallel congress its congress at Ogo- Oluwa area in Osogbo while the other faction held at the Osogbo City Stadium where the chairman of the party, Prince Adegboyega Famodun, was reelected for a second term.

But a death knell was handed the group on Sunday when the party stated that it would only recognise executive councils supported by incumbent governors in the states controlled by APC.

On Monday, the group dragged the Chairman of Caretaker Extraordin­ary Convention Committee of the party, Governor Mai Mala Buni and the Chairman of Osun State Ward Congress Committee, Gbenga Elegbeleye, to the Federal High Court in Osogbo over the manner the congress were conducted.

The plaintiffs, Yusuf Asifat Makanjuola and 2,516 others said they paid the stipulated amount and obtained forms to participat­e in the congresses of the party but were sidelined by the committee.

The plaintiffs also joined the Osun State chapter of the APC, the Independen­t National Electoral Commission ( INEC) and the chairman of the Osun State Ward Congress Appeal

Committee, Ambassador Obed Wadzani as defendants.

There were parallel APC state congresses in most of the states of the federation, with the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) mocking the ruling party for its inability to conduct free and fair state congresses across the country, saying it is a reflection of what the party stands for.

IN Kwara State, Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo, one of the most prominent members of the ‘ Otoge’ political movement in the state, has described as “an empty threat” a statement credited to the Kwara State governor, Abdulraham­an Abdulrazak, that the national body of the APC would not recognise results of the parallel congress conducted in in the state.

Oyedepo, a member of the group loyal to Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Informatio­n and Culture, in a chat with The Guardian in Ilorin said his group is looking beyond the outcome of the congress, noting that neither of the two factions can exclusivel­y win any election in the state.

He said the governor should cut short his joy over his belief that he has the control of the APC machinery in the state just as he asked him to dig into the political history of the state.

According to him, “in 1983, former governor of Kwara, Adamu Atta, thought he would coast home to victory because he was in firm control of party machinery, yet he lost the election.

“Mohammed Lawal in 2003 was also carried away with the false belief that once he had the control of the party, he would win the election. He instead lost woefully to Bukola Saraki.”

Oyedepo warned against any attempt to field AbdulRazak as the APC candidate in the 2023 polls “if the party intends to win the elections.”

THE Minister of Informatio­n and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has, however, said at the appropriat­e time and forum, he will respond to the false allegation­s levelled against him by Abdulrazaq. The Minister stated this yesterday when he featured on a phone- in programme of TV Continenta­l, ‘ This Morning’.

Recall that the governor alleged that the minister dehumanise­d him during the campaign and other preparatio­ns towards the 2019 governorsh­ip election in the state. Abdulrazaq also alleged that the minister did not remit some funds raised for the electionee­ring campaign.

Responding to a question from the anchor of the programme on the allegation­s and the crisis in the APC in the state, the minister said at the fullest of time, he would give his response.

“I read the article and I also read the response of some people. I believe that issues of national importance I have come here to discuss are more important than the personal disagreeme­nt between me and the governor. At the appropriat­e time and forum, I will respond to the false allegation­s,” he said.

The minister also declined response to questions on the parallel congresses held by the APC in some states. According to him, the party executives appointed or elected as spokespers­ons and other officers are in better position to respond to such issues.

“As a federal minister, I am not supposed to be partisan in the discharge of my duties, whether on intra- party or inter- party matters,’’ he said.

THERE are insinuatio­ns that the lawmaker representi­ng Ogun Central, Senator Ibikunle Amosun; Mohammed, Aregbesola and other aggrieved Southwest members of APC, who were said to have fallen apart with the National Leader, Bola Tinubu, were the brains behind the parallel congresses that held in some states.

To buttress their arguments, a group in Oyo State chapter of APC, The United Front ( TUF), in a statement, yesterday, urged President Muhammadu Buhari and other leaders of the party to resist moves by Amosun to hijack the party structure in the state.

The group alleged that Amosun is the one sponsoring members of Unity Forum within Oyo APC, which consists Prof. Adeolu Akande, Alhaji Fatai Ibikunle, Barr. Bayo Shittu, Dr. Ismail Adewusi, among others, to divide the party into intractabl­e fragments.

According to the group, “Amosun takes absolute delight in the fragmentat­ion of Oyo APC for the purpose of extending the web of schism he establishe­d in the party to other parts of the Southwest. His divisive ego- trip in Oyo can be traced to the build up to the 2019 elections when he extensivel­y bankrolled Unity Forum to tear the fabric of the party’s wholeness apart, a move that triggered the inevitable lacklustre performanc­e of the party in the gubernator­ial polls.

“It is on record that he channelled a large junk of Ogun State resources to finance the mobilisati­on and campaigns of African Democratic Congress ( ADC) candidate, Senator Femi Lanlehin. However, his dream to glide ADC to power was built on illusionar­y hopes, as the party fell flat in the senatorial election, which made Amosun’s camp to become completely rattled. With no other options up his sleeve, he lent a formidable support to the PDP gubernator­ial candidate, Seyi Makinde,” part of the statement read.

The group, while recalling the role played by the former governor during the 2019 general elections in Ogun, said, “Amosun has consistent­ly showed, with his divisive inclinatio­n and high- handedness that he lacks the requisites expected of managing a party even at the ward level. We can’t forget in a hurry how he almost succeeded in ruining Ogun APC into a state of inoperable rigidity, as he openly backed Adekunle Akinlade of Allied Peoples Movement ( APM) in the 2019 gubernator­ial polls. He is bent on devising the same template in Oyo.”

 ?? ?? Micheal Gonzalez ( left); Diana Banks; White House Deputy National Security Adviser, Jon Finer; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Ambassador of the U. S. to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard; David Diaz and Lyda Hall during Jon Finer’s courtesy visit to Osinbajo at the Presidenti­al Villa in Abuja… yesterday.
Micheal Gonzalez ( left); Diana Banks; White House Deputy National Security Adviser, Jon Finer; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Ambassador of the U. S. to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard; David Diaz and Lyda Hall during Jon Finer’s courtesy visit to Osinbajo at the Presidenti­al Villa in Abuja… yesterday.
 ?? ?? Mohammed
 ?? ?? Aregbesola
 ?? ?? Amosun
 ?? ?? Buni

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