Nigeria’s dominant parties – the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) each held their state congresses across the country on Saturday.
The move is part of preparations for the 2023 general election, which is less than two years from now.
Channels Television gathered that while the exercise was successful in some states, some parallel congresses took place in some other states such as Lagos State.
A faction loyal to ex-Governor Akinwunmi Ambode held a parallel state congress that took place at the Baptist Academy, Obanikoro and produced Beatrice Omotayo Tugbobo as the first female APC chairman in the state.
After emerging as the consensus candidate, the 65-year-old Beatrice said it was high time for women who are marginalized after elections have been won to take to the front seat.
This is even as former Commissioner for Rural Development in Lagos State, Pastor Cornelius Ojelabi was elected as the new chairman of APC in the state.
He was elected by card-carrying members of the party at Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan on Saturday.
The congress was led by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and was supervised by the Independent National Electoral Commission and also the Electoral Committee members appointed by the party’s National Caretaker Committee in Abuja.
Ogun APC Battle
The battle for the soul of the APC took a dimension on Saturday with the conduct of parallel congresses of two factions – one loyal to the incumbent Governor Dapo Abiodun and another to the immediate past governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun.
In Abeokuta, shooting was recorded at the venue of a parallel APC congress in the Ogun State capital.
The incident occurred on Saturday during the exercise organized by a group led by Senator Amosun, the lawmaker representing Ogun Central district at the palace ground of the Alake of Ake in Abeokuta, the state capital.
Although the cause of the violence has yet to be ascertained, party faithful at the venue is said to have scampered to safety.
On the other hand, Yemi Sanusi, the immediate past caretaker chairman emerged as the substantive chairman of ruling the party at a state congress held at the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital, while Tunde Oladunjoye emerged as the publicity secretary, while Aderibigbe Tella was elected secretary.
The candidates emerged through the consensus option with delegates affirmed their election through the voice votes.
In the southeast, it wasn’t as smooth in Abia State as different congresses were held at Umuahia Township Stadium and the other at Ekene Dili Chukwu Motor Park.
The congress at Oguta witnessed a large turnout of APC members and the congress committee led by Rt Hon Babatunde Kolawole from Ondo State while the stadium congress had all the state actors including the Minister of State for Mines and Steels Development, Uche Ogah and the spokesman for the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu.
APC faithful in their hundreds gathered at the Ndubuisi Kanu Square Owerri, the Imo State capital elect new state officials that will steer the affairs of the party through a consensus arrangement, MacDonald Ebere emerged as the state chairman of the party.
While congratulating the new state executives, the Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma charged them to ensure that they reconcile all aggrieved members.
“I want to urge you not to betray the confidence reposed on you by our dear people. Go out there, carry out political evangelism, preach the good message, tell the story the way it is and our party will grow from strength to strength,” he said.
The state elections follow the conclusion of the ward and local government congresses, as well as the appeal process.
The exercise led to the emergence and change of guard of state officials that will pilot the affairs of the parties in the states for four years.
But the PDP also conducted the exercise in seven states – Oyo, Kwara, Lagos, Adamawa, Borno, Kebbi, and Ebonyi.
Some of the states where Saturday’s congress is taking place have legal issues, where the state structure has been dissolved, where there is an internal crisis among members, or where there are cases of expiration of existing structures.
Adamawa State Governor, Umaru Fintiri, and Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar were among PDP party leaders who voted in the election at the Ribadu Square in Yola, the state capital.
According to the party’s leadership, the conduct of the elections is necessary to ensure a proper constitution of the party’s structure in the states ahead of the PDP national convention.
The national convention has been scheduled to hold from October 30.