…As chairman debunks parallel congress exercise
…As c’ttee chair hails good conduct of members
By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Despite controversy trailing the legality of conducting ward congresses of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, nationwide, party faithful and members, on Saturday, participated in the exercise in Lagos State, which the party leaders described as very “peaceful.”
Members turned out en masse for the ward congresses held across the 254 wards of the 20 Local Government Areas, LGAs and Local Council Development Areas, LCDAs in the state, in what was called. “ratification of consensus candidates,” in accordance with the decision of party leadership.
The exercise which was supervised by the National Committee members, led by Dr Muhammed Bashir, across the local governments, had a group within the fold, Lagos4Lagos, led by Mr Olajide Adediran, held another parallel ward exercise in few other designated centres.
Bashir, speaking on the exercise commended members of the party for their peaceful conduct during the congresses which he said was hitch-free.
There was light security presence in most of the venues of the exercise, as men and officers of Nigeria Police Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, among others provided adequate protection of lives and property, as well as maintenance of law and order.
According to him: “The exercise went peacefully all over the state despite earlier dissenting voices that it would not hold.
“We had an impressive turnout, a fall out of the consensus arrangement agreed on at the stakeholders meeting earlier held on Friday in Ikeja.
“Feelers across the wards revealed that the congress went without any hitch or crisis whatsoever.”
Also, Caretaker Committee Chairman, Lagos State chapter of APC, Tunde Balogun, said no parallel congress held in the state on Saturday, maintaining that members of the party agreed and went for a consensus arrangement to elect 37 Exco members each in all 245 Wards across the 20 local governments in Lagos.
Balogun said this while reacting to the rumour of parallel congress at the APC State Secretariat, ACME Road, even as he maintained that the consensus arrangement adopted by the state chapter of the party to elect its officials was sanctioned by the APC National headquarters, being part of the party’s constitution.
He stressed that consensus equally required that candidates would emerge through “yes” or voice vote after they must have bought nomination forms, filled and submitted them to the appropriate quarter.
Balogun said, “Consensus, we have agreed to have consensus in Lagos and of course, it’s constitutional. It’s in our constitution, it’s one of the ways through which our candidates emerge from whatever primaries or elections we hold and the National Headquarters of the party in Abuja has really advised a lot of chapters, state chapters to adopt consensus, so it’s a general thing.
“And of course, I was chairman of the party stated the same thing in my speech, if you listened to me two days ago, I have stated that our party has accepted consensus. And consensus means you still have to go to the field, you must have to file all those 27 Exco members’ forms.
“You don’t just say consensus, you may have their names, you must see their forms after buying their forms, you must fill their forms, every other thing has to be done.
“There must even be a yes vote, voice vote, that’s what they are doing on the field right now and our Committee from the National headquarters is here and it’s to just monitor around that and report back, that’s it,” he said.
“So if don’t want to do consensus you don’t buy forms, the forms are to be filled, you didn’t hear me. Forms are to be filled, you fill the form like any other candidate, or like any other aspirant, wanting to work for the party, wanting to be a member of the Executive of the party. You must buy from for any position at all,” he added.
Speaking further on the parallel exercise purportedly held by some party members, Balogun said he was not aware of such but quickly counselled that people should stop emphasizing things that would want to create problems in the APC fold.
He said rather they should concentrate on things that would make the party cohesive, and not emphasising a particular candidate or person trying to do something outside what was agreed upon.
“Parallel, I don’t know that one. I want people to stop emphasising things that will want to create problems in our fold. Make us cohesive, not emphasising a particular candidate or person trying to do something.
“We want consensus and you know what consensus means, it is coexistence, coming together to make us one, that’s why we would continue to encourage that.
“Everyone is a member of the party, we are all brothers, don’t try and create problems among us, you understand me. Don’t disrupt the working of the party, mentioning one candidate, we are all members, and I am a major stakeholder,” he added.
Also commenting on the exercise, caretaker Publicity Secretary of the state party, Mr Seye Oladejo, said, “It’s devoid of incidents as the consensus arrangement as provided for by our constitution, encouraged by the national headquarters and endorsed by the large majority of the leadership and membership of Lagos State APC was affirmed at the various venues of the ward congress across the state as witnessed by INEC, security agencies and other stakeholders.
“The success of the congress will no doubt reposition our party and promote the unity of purpose as we look forward to the State Congresses and the National Convention.”