APC state congress: Trouble in Ondo

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By Dayo Johnson,  Akure, Tony Edike, Enugu, Samuel Oyadongba, Yenagoa, Daud Olatunji, Abeokuta, Ola Ajayi, Ibadan, Olasunkanmi Akoni & Bose Adelaja

APC-protest-INECALL Progressive Congress (APC) state congress held across the country, yesterday, was generally peaceful except in Ondo State where the chairman of the congress committee, Mr. Femi Pedro, nearly exchanged blows with a former secretary to the state government (SSG), Mr. Isaac Kekemeke.

Pedro, a former deputy governor of Lagos State, was accused of favouring some members to emerge as the APC executives in the state.

The party has been polarised to three  factions following which the ward and local government congresses were characterised by crisis leading to the death of a member and scores injured.

Leaders of the factions have called for the cancellation of both congresses over alleged imposition of executives by a group of  party leaders

Sunday Vanguard learnt that yesterday dispute began when there were disparities in the delegates list sent to the committee before the congress and the one being used for the conduct of the election.

While some of the concerned delegates   protested   outside the venue of the congress, Kekemeke called the attention of the   congress Chairman to the   complaint before the commencement of the election. Pedro reportedly glossed over the complaint only to be accosted by Kekemeke and Omooba Bayo Adesanyan who asked him to rectify the problems.

The two leaders   insisted that the congress committee chairman would not move if he did not resolve the dispute over the list of delegates.

The party leaders  exchanged altercation and it took the intervention of combat ready policemen, led by the Area Commander of Akure, Mr. Edward Ajogun, ACP, to bring the situation under control.

The policemen had to ferry Pedro out of the rowdy atmosphere as more aggrieved party members attempted to manhandle him
In Ogun State, the congress produced two factional executives.

The two factions, led by former governor of the state and national leader,   Aremo Olusegun Osoba, and Governor Ibikunle Amosun, elected their separate   state leaders. The   factions held   their congresses     simultaneously   at   different places in  Abeokuta , Ogun State capital   and   were   monitored by officials of   Independent National Electoral Commission and security agencies.

Both   congresses, which were   peaceful   and well attended by party leaders across the state, chose their Chairmen from Ogun West Senatorial District.
Osoba’s faction   which held its congress at an event centre at   Quarry road in Abeokuta, produced a chieftain of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, Chief   Isaac Olu Agemo,   as Chairman and immediate-past Secretary of the defunct ACN,   Chief   Abimbola   Awofeso, as secretary.

Meanwhile, the appeal panel set up by the national leadership of the APC to adjudicate in the petition filed by some members of the party in the state has given a pass mark to the state congress committee on the conduct of the April 5 and 12 ward and LG congresses.

According to sources, the panel, led by Hon. Ikra Bilbis, a former Minister of State for Information and Communications, ruled that the congresses ‘substantially complied with the guidelines of the APC. The panel said the congress committee, headed by Hon. Ope Salami, provided 98 per cent evidence to show that the congress held across the state.

The verdict  cleared the way for the conduct of the state congress held, yesterday, at the Cultural Centre Ground, Kuto, Abeokuta.
In Enugu State, a 35-member executive, headed by Dr Ben Nwoye, emerged.

Reports from Bayelsa State said a  former chairman of Southern Ijaw local government area, Chief Tiwei Orunimigha, emerged as state chairman of the APC.
Also elected to serve on the state executive committee of the party are the former chairman of Ekeremor Local Government Council, Mr. Eddy Julius as the deputy chairman and Mr. Martins Daniel as secretary.

In Oyo State, two senators of the APC and some members of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change boycotted the state congress that took place at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba, Ibadan. Senator Olufemi Lanlehin representing Oyo South and Senator Ayo Adeseun representing Oyo Central were not at the venue of the congress.

They were said to have shunned all the congresses held so far in the state.
Chief Akin Oke was returned unopposed as the state party chairman while former Commissioner for Information, Mr. Bosun Oladele, was elected the legal officer.

Amidst tight security, the Lagos State chapter of APC elected 35 new executive members through consensus. The erstwhile interim state chairman, Chief Henry Ajomale, was returned.

Notable members of the caretaker committee returned by the congress include Cardinal James Odumbaku as deputy chairman, and Joe Igbokwe, publicity secretary.

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