APC okays congresses as protests by members rage

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday said it was satisfied with what it described as the peaceful conduct of its ward congresses across the country at the weekend.

In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Malam Bolaji Abdullahi, the party lauded its members for the conduct of the congresses. It commended those who served on the committees for their dedication and impartiality.

The party, which acknowledged that some of its supporters were aggrieved over the outcome of the exercise, enjoined those with genuine grievances to take them to various appeal committees which will begin sitting from today.

APC urged its members to remain law-abiding, and where there are issues, they should seek redress through the appeal panels in their states.

The party gave the advice following protests that are trailing the conduct of the congresses in many parts of the country.

It expressed regrets over the cancellation of the governorship primaries in Ekiti State.

Abdullahi disclosed that the knotty issues that led to the cancellation of the primaries had been resolved by the Chief John Odigie-Oyegun-led National Working Committee (NWC) of the party.

He hinted that the Governor Umar Tanko Al-Makura-led panel handling the primary election had been directed to conduct it as soon as possible.

“The situation in Ekiti is regrettable. The issues have been resolved and it is our hope that the exercise can now continue where it stopped. The position is that the process should resume as quickly as possible. The issue of indefinite postponement does not arise,” he said.

As protests trailed the ward congresses yesterday, the APC National Vice Chairman, South South, Ntufam Hilliard Eta and other stakeholders in Cross River State passed a vote of no confidence in Odigie-Oyegun.

The stakeholders, including former governor of the state, Mr. Clement Ebri, Senator John Owan Enoh, governorship aspirants, Venatious Ikem, Chief Eyo Etim Nyong and others alleged that the national chairman’s actions in Cross River were destroying the party.

Speaking with some newsmen on the activities of the congress committee led by Stanly Ekezie, Eta said: “APC needs to build itself ideologically and morally to be different from the party from which we took over power.

It is believed that Mr. Adams Oshiomhole is the one that can steer the party away from the current impunity being perpetrated by the current leadership of the party.

“The activities of Odigie-Oyegun and the minister from Cross River will cause doom for President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC in Cross River and the South South in 2019 because they are foisting very wrong interest.

“The party that was handed over to Odigie- Oyegun has fallen on bad times. Having been a keen watcher of political history in Nigeria, I can tell you that this is what we used to see in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and under Odigie-Oyegun, it has almost taken over the entire party.

“We cannot allow impunity and disrespect for the rule of law and guidelines for the party, imposition of candidates and lack of internal democracy to become our culture.

“We have great potential but we have not been able to put our best foot forward in the state. People we have as minister from the state and governor are not helping us.”

Despite the resolution on Saturday to postpone the state ward congresses indefinitely, the Ekezie committee tried to conduct it but could not get the materials deposited with the police following the postponement.

Eta said if they had gone ahead with the congress, it would have amounted to an illegality.

Meanwhile, PDP has condemned the violence that characterised the APC ward congress in various parts of the country.

The party said it was worried that electoral processes were still very much smudged by unnecessary resort to violence by contenders, even when there were available channels for the resolution of disagreements at various levels of engagement.

In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP called on Nigerians, particularly political stakeholders, to make efforts to make the political and electioneering processes across board free of violence especially, as the nation approaches the 2019 general elections.

“Our party values the life of every single Nigerian and we implore all contenders, including political parties, to eschew desperation for power, especially in the face of loss of popularity and public support due to performance issues.

“Nigeria belongs to all of us and we seek a peaceful environment where the citizens are free to vote for candidates of their choice at all levels, particularly the presidency.

“As it were, the majority of Nigerians have made up their minds where to go in the 2019 general elections and we urge all stakeholders, including political parties, contenders to offices and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to respect the will of the people by playing by the rules and maintaining a peaceful atmosphere.”

The opposition said it sympathised with the families of those who lost their lives in the violence and prayed for speedy recovery for those who were injured.

“We also urge all Nigerians to continue in prayers and commitment to the unity and peace of our dear nation,” it added.