Crises Rocks Sokoto, Benue, Rivers, Oyo APC Over Delegate Choices, Guber Primaries

The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC is currently witnessing hitches in some states as party stakeholders disagree over choices on governorship primaries.

Naija News reports that the Sokoto State chapter of the APC is witnessing factional issues ahead of the 2023 general elections.

As it stands, factions loyal to Senators Aliyu Wamakko and Abubakar Gada have disagreed over the party congress.

Speaking yesterday during an interview with the Punch, a leader of the Gada faction and governorship aspirants, Abdullahi Balarabe Salame said his heart is troubled with how delegates emerged in Sokoto State.

According to him, the party only made use of the loyalists of a faction in arriving at the delegates’ list.

A push was made to get the state Chairman of the party backed by Wamakko, Isa Sadiq Acida, to comment on the happenings but all was futile.

The spokesman for the party, Sambo Danchadi, however, on his part described the situation as a national matter.

He said the party in the state was fully ready for any directive from the headquarters.

Naija News understands that the APC had initially scheduled its governorship primaries for Friday, but on Thursday postponed it to May 26 following its failure to decide on delegates that would vote during the shadow election.

Reports have emerged last week about disorderliness in some of the state chapters of the party.

Among the contributing factors is President Muhammadu Buhari’s delay in signing the amendment to the Electoral Act.

By implication, the delay in signing the bill only elected delegates who emerged from last week’s congresses would vote at the governorship primaries as the current Act bars statutory delegates from voting at the primaries.

With the impending non-participation of statutory delegates, including the President, the Vice-President, and members of state and national assemblies, only five delegates elected from each of the 8,809 wards in the country would vote at the governorship primaries.

The disagreement among aspirants over elected delegates heightened on Sunday as they realized statutory delegates would not vote, Naija News understands.

Factional leaders and aspirants in separate interviews on Sunday lamented that elections were not held rather delegates were hand-picked by rival groups.

In Rivers State, the faction loyal to Senator Magnus Abe in Rivers State argued that there was no delegate election in the state.

Naija News understands that APC in the state is currently split into two factions, one led by Abe and the other headed by a former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi

The Abe factional chairman, Golden Chioma, while responding to journalists on Sunday said “You know that in our state we didn’t have a delegate election and we are still fighting that. People that bought forms were not allowed to contest. So, if people were not allowed to contest, it is not a valid process.

“The process was skewed in our state. So, to answer your question, I am not satisfied and you know it. A lot of people bought forms and were not allowed to compete for them. So why should I be happy?

“But the state party spokesman, Chris Finebone, dismissed claims by the Abe-led faction that no delegate election took place in the state.”

Meanwhile, Finebone who is understood to be loyal to Amaechi had told newsmen that contrary to such claims, it was only in one ward in Asari-Toru Local Government Area that the election did not hold due to harassment.

He said: “The exercise was peaceful and credible and it was witnessed by INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) and security officials in all wards.”

A factional leader of the APC in Benue State, Omale Omale, faulted the process of electing delegates.

In a conversation with newsmen earlier in Makurdi, Omale, whose group is opposed to the Minister of Special Duties, George Akume’s faction, said that some people only sat down and picked names of their loyalists and forwarded the list to the state capital.

He stated, “If there is congress, members will participate, INEC and the DSS (Department of State Services) will send representatives but I do know again that we have a very compromising system where INEC which never supervised anything will write a report okaying a congress that never took place. But the point I am making is that there was no ward congress anywhere in the state.”

But the organising secretary of the APC in the state, James Orgunga, said that the party opted for consensus to pick the delegates at the ward level.

Later on Sunday, the Chairman of the Akume-backed faction, Austin Agada, said the party had adopted a direct option for its forthcoming governorship primary.

This is part of the resolution that reached the party stakeholders’ meeting held at City Bay in Makurdi, the state capital on Sunday.

But it was gathered that the Omale faction and a former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Barnabas Gemade, were not at the meeting.

When asked why the factional leader and Gemade did not attend the stakeholders’ meeting, the party chairman said some specific people were invited to the meeting.

He said: “There were specific people that were invited for the meeting. Omale is just a member of the party; on the Gemade issue, he personally contacted me that he was not considered as for delegates and as such excused himself from the meeting.”

Meanwhile, in Oyo State, it was gathered that two delegates’ lists were produced by rival factions of the party.

Concerns were raised by factions about the delegates’ list which would be approved at the party headquarters for the governorship primary.

The party in the state is polarized by the governorship ambitions of Senator Teslim Folarin and a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, Adebayo Adelabu, Naija News understands.

The state chairman of the APC, Isaac Omodewu, is a loyalist to Folarin while Abu Gbadamosi who was elected on the eve of the last national convention of the party in Abuja is loyal to Adelabu.

Reports had it that the two factions in the state submitted separate lists to Abuja but they were not sure which one would be adopted for the governorship primary.

Omodewu declined to speak when contacted on the telephone by one of our correspondents.

He said, “I don’t want to comment on the list yet because they are still processing it. I will react when the list is out.”

An elderly male voice who reportedly responded to a call from the PUNCH to speak on the happenings said he was busy.

The media platform submitted that the politician also did not return subsequent calls to his line till the time this report was given.

Meanwhile, reports of casualties in Rivers State over political matters have been faulted by APC in the state.

Naija News understands that reports have emerged earlier that there were casualties last Tuesday when some aggrieved party members stormed the party secretariat to protest the alleged hijack of the voting process and materials for the ward delegate congresses.

Responding to speculation, the State APC spokesperson, Chris Finebone, while briefing newsmen on Sunday said the police had arrested some persons linked to the protest, saying they would be prosecuted after investigations were concluded.

Finebone, however, linked the attempted invasion of the party secretariat to supporters of Abe, stressing that the party would not allow a repeat of a similar incident in 2018 where the former party Secretariat was vandalized and property carted away.

Amidst all these, the National Working Committee of the APC has remained mum, Naija News reports.

This article was originally published on Nigeria News