20181202

2019: APC Battling Crises In Ogun, Imo, 6 Other States As INEC Deadline Ends

The All Progressives Congress was still battling with crises in at least eight of its state chapters despite the expiry of the deadline for the replacement of candidates on Saturday.

INEC, in its notice of the 2019 general elections, gave political parties December 1 deadline to substitute their candidates for governorship and state assembly elections.

The deadline ended midnight on Saturday. Although many political parties met the October 7, 2018 deadline given to them to conclude their primaries, a lot of them were still battling with crises arising from the shadow elections.

Investigations by The Punch across the country showed the APC was concerned about crises in states including Ogun, Delta, Imo, Zamfara, Oyo, Ebonyi, Katsina and Ondo.

A top official of the APC in Ogun State, who confided in The Punch, said that a faction of the party, led by an ex-governor of the state, Chief Olusegun Osoba, produced the governorship candidate, Mr Dapo Abiodun, but the executive council of the APC was firmly controlled by Governor Ibikunle Amosun.

He said, “There is confusion in the party because many are still waiting to see how Abiodun will run his campaign without the backing of the state executive of the party. Also, can the state governor campaign against the governorship candidate of a party, where he is contesting a senatorial seat?”

According to the source, the situation has been worsened by the defection of Amosun’s preferred candidate, Adekunle Akinlade, from the APC to the Allied Peoples Movement.

When contacted, the state Chairman of the APC, Chief Adebiyi described the crisis in the party as a family affair, saying he and other party officers in the state had not been contacted by Abiodun and his group.

But when contacted on whether his group had reached out to Adebiyi or not, the Director-General of Dapo Abiodun Campaign Organisation, Prince Segun Adesegun said his group would contact those that mattered.

He said, “It is a party issue and I will not want to be specific about it. But I can assure you that everyone that matters will be reached out to.”

In Oyo state, the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, is the only aggrieved leading member in the party. Others such as a former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala had left the party to contest under the Action Democratic Party.

The minister told The Punch that despite the crisis in the party, he believed the crisis could be resolved, adding that the right thing must be done.

According to him, the only thing he needed from the peace committee set up by the party’s NWC is restitution with justice, adding that reconciliation will follow.

Shittu stated, “You must ensure justice before you can talk of peace. No matter whose ox is gored even if the heaven will fall, you must ensure justice is done. And the heaven will not fall once justice is done. The analogy I wish to draw from it is when a thief takes your property and is caught and instead of him engaging in restitution, he is now calling for peace? Can there be peace without justice?”

Reacting to Shittu’s claim, the Director of Media, Research and Strategies of the party in the state, Dr AbdulAzeez Olatunde, said the fact that “he (Shittu) is a minister of Federal Republic of Nigeria is enough for him to humble himself and carry himself around with dignity."