BY CLIFFORD NDUJIHE
THOUGH the hiccups and controversies that trailed weekend’s ward congresses of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are yet to abate, the party will tomorrow hold its local council congresses across the country. Leaders of the party have resolved to go by the timetable the party issued for the congresses from the wards to the state level. And going by the timetable, the local council congresses to elect council executive committees will be held tomorrow while the state congresses come up on April 23.
APC had what could pass for a baptism of fire last week during the ward congresses where it recorded mixed fortunes. While a couple of states had peaceful exercises with executives emerging by consensus, the congresses were postponed outright in a host of others due to logistics such as late arrival of materials, as well as violence, accusations and counter-accusations of manipulations.
Disagreements, petitions and protests trailed the congresses in Lagos and Rivers. States that had peaceful exercises include Oyo, Kano, Yobe and Kwara. In Bauchi, Adamawa and Plateau, the congresses were postponed indefinitely. Some of the affected states held the rescheduled ward congresses between Monday and Wednesday while some are yet to hold the exercise up till now, which indicates that the council congresses will not be held in such states.
Niger was one of the states where confusion trailed the ward congresses despite two consecutive postponements. Delegates turned out for the rescheduled exercise but after several hours of waiting on Wednesday, there were no signs that the exercise would be held in Minna and its environs.
Aggrieved members demand fresh ward congress in Anambra
In Anambra, some aggrieved members of the party have demanded cancellation of the exercise and the conduct of a fresh one. This came as leaders of the state congress committee disagreed over the credibility of the exercise. Chairman of Congress Committee, Chief Ezennia Ogbuehi, said that he adhered to the party guidelines by publishing the venues and candidates lists the previous Monday evening, adding that Option A4 was adopted for the congress so that everyone would go to the field and prove one’s popularity.
However, the Secretary, Chief Chijioke Owanta, disagreed and listed contraventions of the congress guidelines by the chairman as non-publication of list of candidates and venues at least 48 hours to the congress, which he said was violation of the 72 hours allowed for candidates to complete and return their application forms.
He claimed that the chairman repeatedly gave him excuses, whereas it is his constitutional duty to take possession of the materials. “Ogbuehi never allowed me see any of the congress materials or know where he kept them or the actual quantity supplied for the process in Anambra,” he said.
Some members of the youth wing of the party led by Chuks Obele created a stir at the Awka Secretariat of the congress committee, while demanding for the cancellation of the congress for ‘a more transparent, well organised process.’ The youths said that APC might become extinct in the state if a transparent congress was not conducted in place of the discredited one.
Ahead of tomorrow’s council congresses, the party hierarchy is expected to have learnt from the factors that hampered last week’s exercise and make amend. Having surmounted a high hurdle to emerge as a party from the ashes of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), new PDP and splinter group of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), the leaders are expected to smoothen the rough edges and ensure harmonious sharing of offices to pave the way for seamless congresses.