Fresh tension is brewing in the ranks of the All Progressives Congress ahead of the party’s national convention slated for February 26, 2022.
There are indications that delegates will be drawn from factions loyal to the governors or most senior Federal Government officials or political office holders in the states without APC governors, Saturday PUNCH has learnt.
The exception to the party move may be in Kano State where an FCT High Court has recognised the faction led by Senator Ibrahim Shekarau. This might change should the Court of Appeal recognise the faction led by Governor Abdullahi Ganduje before the convention.
However, factions not loyal to the governors have insisted that they would present delegates at the convention, just as others resolved to wait for court rulings on cases bordering on the internal party crisis.
Saturday PUNCH learnt that the APC Caretaker Committee led by the Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, already had a list of all party chairmen it is working with.
These state chairmen are believed to have been produced from congresses monitored by the Independent National Electoral Commission and representatives of the national leadership of the APC.
The list obtained by Saturday PUNCH showed that in Abia State, Mr Eyinna Harbor is recognised as the party chairman while in Adamawa, it is Alhaji Ibrahim Bilal. The recognised chairman in Akwa Ibom is Augustine Ekanem. However, there is no recognised chairman in Anambra State yet.
In Bauchi State, where there are two factions separately led by the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu; and the Nigeria Ambassador to Germany, Yusuf Tugar; the APC national leadership seems to have taken sides with Adamu who is close to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) Consequently, Adamu’s ally, Babayo Misau, is recognised as the authentic chairman.
Chief Dennis Otiotio is the recognised chairman in Bayelsa State while in Benue, Augustine Agada is the chairman. Ali Dalori and Alphonsus Eba are the respective chairmen in Borno and Cross River states.
In Delta State where two factions separately led by Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege; and the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, are in a supremacy battle, the APC national leadership recognises Omo-Agege’s faction led by Omeni Sobotie. Keyamo’s faction led by Chukwusa Edafe lost in court last month.
Also, Mr Stanley Emegha is the recognised chairman in Ebonyi State while Col. David Muse (retd.) is the person the party considers as its authentic chairman in Edo State. Other recognised chairmen include: Paul Omotosho (Ekiti State), Chief Ogochukwu Agballah (Enugu), Abdulmalik Ahmed (FCT), Nitte Amangal (Gombe), Macdonald Ebere (Imo), Aminu Gumel (Jigawa), Air Commodore EK Jekada (retd.) and Sani Ahmed (Katsina). Abubakar Kana (Kebbi), Abdullahi Bello (Kogi).
In Kwara State where Governor Abdulrazaq Abdulrahman and the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, lock horns, the national leadership of the APC recognises the governor’s faction led by Fagbemi Adeniran.
Others recognised by the APC leadership include: Cornelius Ojelabi (Lagos), Dr John Mamman (Nasarawa); and Haliru Jikantoro (Niger). In Ondo State, Ade Adetimehin is the recognised chairman while in Osun State where Governor Gboyega Oyetola and his predecessor, Rauf Aregbesola, are engaged in a supremacy battle, Prince Gboyega Famodun, who is loyal to the governor, is the recognised chairman.
Similarly, in Rivers State, the faction led by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, seems to be the recognised faction as Emeka Beke, who is an ally of Amaechi, is the recognised chairman.
Others include: Isaac Omodewu (Oyo), Rufus Bature (Plateau), Isahsano Acida (Sokoto), Ibrahim El-Sudi (Taraba) and Mohammed Sadaka (Yobe).
It was learnt that the APC reconciliation committee led by Senator Abdullahi Adamu has not been able to fully reconcile all factions even as the committee is expected to submit its report next week.
Meanwhile, sources close to the national headquarters of the party said the National Caretaker Committee was favourably disposed to back the list of delegates from factions loyal to the governors.
A member of the caretaker committee, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told one of our correspondents that it would be difficult for the party to discard the governors’ backed list, saying that the governors remained the leaders of the party in their respective states.
He said though the aggrieved members could have what he described as “genuine reasons”, it would be tough for the party to ignore the governors and side with individuals in their states.
The APC chieftain said, “Look, we have sitting governors and they are doing well. If we have a sitting governor in a state, it is a rule that such a governor is the leader of the party in his state. We expect our party members to defer to the governor.
“At the national level, we defer to the President as the national and overall leader of the party. He was instrumental to the setting up of this national caretaker committee of the party.”
Alluding to the APC crisis in Osun State, another reliable source in the caretaker committee stated that as the President is the national leader of the party, so are the APC governors “the number one eyes” of the party at the state level.
He stated, “For example, in a state like Osun where we have a governor being fought by a minister, do we begin to side with the minister, who was a former governor? Fair is fair. We need to be reasonable in our thinking and whatever we do.
“In the same state, congresses were held and monitored by the officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission and representatives of the party from the national headquarters, Abuja. So, how do we turn around to say a congress monitored by INEC and which was adjudged to have complied with all the laid down rules is not acceptable to us? This is one of the reasons we feel it is not logical to abandon the governors and begin to side with individuals or ministers in those (aggrieved) states.”
A national leadership member of the party also told Saturday PUNCH that in circumstances – such as in Kano – where competent courts ruled against governors’ camps, the party would have no option but to comply with court judgments.
“We will have no option but to comply with such a judgment as we will state clearly that we took the action based on court judgment or pronouncement,” he added.
Reacting to the move by the national leadership of the party to recognise delegate lists submitted by the governors’ factions, the Chairman of South West Agenda for Asiwaju Tinubu 2023 in Ekiti State, Senator Tony Adeniyi (SAN), said the ‘kangaroo’ delegates elected in the last year’s APC congresses in the state would not attend the national convention.