By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA—National Chairman of All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has inaugurated the elected state chairmen of the party, with a charge to them to ensure victory for President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
The event, however, did not start without protests from stakeholders who wanted the party hierarchy to discard the results of congresses conducted by other factions in their states.
Some factional state chairmen and their hordes of supporters had besieged the secretariat and attempted to gain entrance into the inauguration hall.
They were, however, repelled by security operatives on the orders of National Organising Secretary of the party, Sen. Osita Izunaso, who said only state chairmen whose names were listed by the party be allowed entry.
With the development, the factional chairmen in Oyo, Bayelsa, Enugu and Delta states, who had earlier accessed the hall, were shown the way out, while Oyo State Unity Forum, led by Communications Minister, Adebayo Shittu, were shut out.
Among the members of the Unity Forum locked out were Sen. Munsorat Sumonu, and some members of the House of Representatives who chanted solidarity songs and protested the recognition of the faction of Oyo State governor, Abiola Ajimobi, who they argued did not buy forms, and, therefore, should not be sworn in.
Though the factions loyal to the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Sen. Aisha Jummai Alhassan, in Taraba State and that of the Imo State Deputy Governor, Eze Madumere, were inaugurated, that of Shittu was not so lucky.
Performing the inauguration, Odigie-Oyegun said: “You have the onerous task of nurturing the APC. You have to work hard to return the party to its lost glory. Also make sure you work hard for the re-election of our President.
‘’We are aware of conflicts, disaffection and bad blood in the party. Put all these aside and work for the victory of our party at the 2019 general elections.”
Urges Lagos, Bayelsa, others to tarry
He, however, asked the state chairmen in Rivers, Taraba, Oyo, Delta, Lagos and others to tarry awhile for their executives to be inaugurated.
Odigie-Oyegun said: “There is serious need for quick reconciliation, especially in Rivers, Taraba, Oyo, Delta, Lagos and others. Let the chairmen here wait and not inaugurate their executives like the others until the issues with the congresses in such states are resolved.
‘’I am going to set up a committee, headed by the Deputy National Chairman, North, to study the situation in such states for possible actions. There will be concessions and harmonizations after the exercise within this week.”
APC’ll rule Nigeria forever—Alhassan
Meanwhile, in what appeared like a backtrack from his earlier decision not to support the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari, Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Senator Aisha Jummai Alhassan, expressed optimism that the ruling APC “will rule Nigeria forever,” assuring that her party will win more states in 2019.
Speaking with journalists on the sidelines of the inauguration of the state chairmen, the minister, popularly called Mama Taraba, said the party’s coming National Convention would go without glitches as the current crisis in the APC was normal in every big political party across the world.
She said: “Crisis is normal in a big party like APC. Once we can do our national convention, then we face the opposition PDP and I assure you that APC will win more states like Taraba in 2019.”
‘’I will make sure that in my zone, I follow up and by God’s grace, Gombe and Taraba will be taken over in 2019, and don’t even talk about Nigeria because its already APC and it will continue to be APC forever.”
While making her ambition to recontest governorship election in 2019, Mama Taraba said she actually won the election in 2015, adding that it was destined that she won’t be governor.
“I won the 2015 election, everyone knows that, even the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and I will re-contest the election again in 2019 if God keeps me alive and well.
‘’It is God that gives power to who ever he desires, I won the election of 2015, but God did not give me power, I will keep trusting in him and the grassroots people of Taraba and God willing, I will win the election,” she said.
The minister had last year, stirred the hornets nest when she said she would line behind her political godfather, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, should he decide to vie for the office of the president in 2019 as opposed to supporting her boss, President Buhari, who also has his eyes on the pie.