Lai, Aregbesola, Yari, Keyamo Lose Out as APC Inaugurates State Chairmen
Factions of the All Progressives Congress in several states that are loyal to some ministers and senators are set to lose out as the APC has perfected plans to inaugurate state chairmen loyal to the governors at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja on Thursday (today).
Some of the losers include the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola; the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo; and the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
Others who lost out include former Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State, Senator Kabiru Marafa and a former Governor of Zamfara State, Abdul’Aziz Yari’.
Several state chapters had been divided into factions due to the controversial congresses conducted late last year. However, the national leadership of the party is now set to inaugurate chairmen who are loyal to the governors except in Kano State.
The PUNCH learnt that the chairmen from at least 30 states had already arrived in Abuja ahead of their inauguration.
One of our correspondents who visited the party headquarters on Blantyre Street, Wuse 2, Abuja, reported heavy police presence around the secretariat. The arrangement, it was learnt, was put in place to prevent any breakdown of law and order especially if aggrieved elements stage protests.
Some of the states witnessing crises include Osun, Ogun, Kwara, Kebbi, Kano, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Bauchi and Zamfara. In some of these states, factions have gone to court, seeking to be recognised as the authentic one.
However, Wednesday began on a dramatic note as Aregbesola, who had been engaged in a feud with his successor, Gboyega Oyetola, lost out. A Federal High Court in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, refused to recognise Aregbesola’s faction as the authentic one.
Justice Emmanuel Ayoola dismissed an application brought before it by Aregbesola’s loyalists, citing a lack of jurisdiction. The Judge ruled that the plaintiffs’ application was not covered by the law and could not be adjudicated by any competent court of law. Ayoola said the suit brought before the court was strictly party affairs, and the court lacked jurisdiction on the matter.
When contacted, the chairman of Aregbesola’s faction in Osun APC, Alhaji Rasaq Salinsile, said it was not clear yet who would be inaugurated by the national leadership as Osun state APC chairman.
Speaking with The PUNCH on Wednesday, Salinsile simply said, “As it is not clear to you, it is not clear to us who will be inaugurated. But let’s keep our fingers crossed.”
But when contacted, the Special Adviser to the Osun governor on Political Affairs, Sunday Akere, said there was no contention about the post of chairman of APC in the state, adding that the Prince Gboyega Famoodun would be inaugurated by the national leadership of APC.
“No contention about who is the chairman of APC in the state. Prince Gboyega Famoodun will be inaugurated by the national leadership of the party,” Akere said.
I have been invited for inauguration, I am in Abuja – Governor Abdulrazaq’s faction factional chair
In Kwara State, the faction loyal to Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, was invited for the inauguration.
Prince Sunday Fagbemi, who heads the governor’s faction, said he had been invited for Thursday (today’s) inauguration of party chairmen by the national caretaker committee of the party.
Fagbemi told The PUNCH in a telephone conversation on Wednesday that he was already in Abuja ahead of the inauguration and that the state chapter of APC was fully invited for the inauguration ceremony. “I’m already in Abuja for the swearing in of the APC chairmen that will hold on Thursday”
I am not aware of inauguration – Chairman, Lai Mohammed’s faction
However, the faction loyal to Lai Mohammed said that it was not aware of the inauguration.
Chief Sunday Oyebiyi, the Deputy Chairman elected by the faction at the APC Congress said, “We don’t know whether anything is being done by the national caretaker committee of APC in Abuja. We were not informed and we were not invited.”
Abiodun’s loyalist to be inaugurated
In Ogun State where Governor Dapo Abiodun and his predecessor, Senator Amosun, control two separate factions, the APC headquarters seems to have recognised Abiodun’s loyalist, Chief Yemi Sanusi.
When Sanusi was asked if he was confident of being inaugurated as the chairman of the party in the state, Sanusi just said “you cannot talk to me now. I just landed in Abuja, till tomorrow.”
Several attempts to speak to the faction loyal to a former governor of the state, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, also failed. The factional chairman, Derin Adebiyi, could not be reached as of the time of filing this report.
Marafa faction kicks as APC recognises Matawalle faction
In Zamfara State where three factions are currently operating, The PUNCH learnt that the APC would inaugurate the faction loyal to Governor Bello Matawalle.
While the faction led by Senator Kabiru Marafa kicked against the development, former Governor Abdul’Aziz Yari’s faction did not respond to calls.
The Zamfara State APC Publicity Secretary of the governor’s faction, Yusuf Idris, told The PUNCH that they were the only faction invited by the national headquarters of the party for the inauguration.
We are already in Abuja for inauguration – Matawalle faction
Idris said, “We are already in Abuja for the inauguration as invited by the national headquarters of our great party, the APC”.
“I have been telling people that we have no faction in Zamfara state as both former Governor Yari and Senator Kabiru Marafa have been saying.
“Their factions are not recognised by the national headquarters because they were not registered members of the party. They refused to revalidate their membership cards as directed by the national headquarters, as such, they have no business in the APC.”
In his reaction, the Publicity Secretary of Senator Marafa’s faction, Bello Bakyasuwa said, the Matawalle APC faction was only wasting its time.
Bakyasuwa said the Marafa’s faction did not go to Abuja for the inauguration because the case they filed against the national headquarters of the party was still in court.
“We didn’t go to Abuja because of our pending court’s case which will be heard on February 17. But I am telling you, that any faction of our party that goes to Abuja for the inauguration is violating the court’s order because we have been directed by the court to maintain the status-quo”.