The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says the chaos and violence that trailed the congresses of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in some state is a reflection of the troubled state of the country the latter governs.
In an outcome similar to its Wards and Local Government Areas congresses held in July and September respectively, the ruling party yet recorded parallel congresses in some of its stronghold states in the country on Saturday, thereby further casting a doubt on its portrayed unity.
At least 10 of the states witnessed either violence or renewed rivalry among party leaders and followers while consensus candidates emerged from many more.
Osun, Ogun, Kwara, and Niger topped the list of states that recorded parallel congresses over the weekend.
The discord among loyalists of the incumbent Governor of Osun State, Gboyega Oyetola and the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, degenerated into violence when sponsored thugs clashed with the former during the event.
At least two persons were reportedly injured at the parallel congress held in Osogbo, the capital of Osun State, by the followers of the minister.
A similar fiasco played out in Ogun and Kwara states where loyalists of the incumbent governors of the two states, Dapo Abiodun and Abdulrahaman Abdulrazaq renewed their feud with supporters of Ibikunle Amosun, a former governor of the state, and the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed respectively.
In Niger State, there was a contest for dominance between members loyal to the state governor, Abubakar Bello and some members who felt cheated by the state’s congress committee as two separate sets of executives emerged from the parallel exercise.
Parallel congresses were also reportedly held in Kano, Enugu, Akwa Ibom, Abia and Imo states.
The congresses were postponed in Oyo in alleged compliance with a directive from the APC National Secretariat in Abuja to clear outstanding issues while the process was postponed in Bauchi and Taraba States for fear of insecurity and threat of violence respectively.
With the adoption of consensus candidates, Lagos, Katsina, Nasarawa, Gombe, Cross River, Borno, Rivers, Ekiti and Yobe states were among the states that enjoyed a considerably peaceful atmosphere during the exercise.
APC unsuitable for Nigeria’s unity – PDP
Seizing the moment, the opposition PDP spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement on Sunday, described the ruling APC congresses as a “harvest of confusion” and a proof that the party lacks the leadership qualities to lead the nation right.
“It is indeed despicable that a party that has the incumbent president of the country could not successfully conduct state congress, as their leaders were seen behaving recklessly and investing heavily in violence; a development that speaks volumes on why our nation has been under the heavy yoke of violence, division, bloodletting and acts of terrorism under the APC watch.
“The outcome of APC congresses in many of the states has shown that it is a party that lacks leadership direction and internal cohesion; a party of unruly people, who are averse to peace, which explains why our country is reeling in crisis under the APC.
“The APC cannot guarantee or give unity, tranquillity and progress to our nation. Instead, it has continued to worsen the tension in the country. It has continued to show itself as a party that is troubled from within and only waiting to implode at any time,” Mr Ologbodiyan said.
However, while the APC state congresses have been arguably defined by its pocket of discords among its members and leaders, PREMIUM TIMES gathered that similar chaos played out in PDP congresses in Oyo, Kebbi and Ebonyi States on Saturday.
Two sets of parallel state executives were reported to have emerged in Oyo and Kebbi States while crisis marred the exercise in Ebonyi State.
Against this reality, the main opposition party has accused the ruling APC of injecting crises into its congresses to ensure its recorded a similar outcome.
Parallel congresses are futile activities – APC
As it rejected the division that trailed both its Wards and LGA congresses earlier, the APC has also disregarded the divisive outcome of its just concluded state congresses.
The ruling party’s interim National Secretary, John Akpanudoedehe, on Sunday evening, said the party will consider the parallel exercise in the affected states as irrelevant and uphold the congresses conducted by the appointed committee.
Despite the clash of interests and violence recorded in some of its members’ states, Mr Akpanudoedehe described the exercise as generally successful but promised “adequate and lawful measures” against members working against the party’s interest.
“The purported “parallel” Congresses are futile activities and very strange to the party, our Constitution and the guidelines for the conduct of the State and other Congresses.
“Only exercises conducted by duly inaugurated State Congress Committees are recognised by the Party. The APC leadership will not hesitate to take adequate and lawful measures against any person or interest sabotaging the collective Party’s interest and efforts to achieve peace and unity in our great party.
“Where contestations exist, adequate conflict resolution measures have been put in place to address them. The party has Appeal committees for every Congress,” he said.