The ward congresses of the All Progressives Congress (APC) will hold across the country today, Saturday, July 31.
After suffering several postponements, all is now set for the process.
However, in Ogbomoso zone as it may happen in some other zones, the battle for the soul of the party will get messy as two main groups, headed by former governor, Chief Christopher Adebayo Alao-Akala and Senator Ayo Adeseun, who represented Oyo Central Senatorial District in the National Assembly between 2011 and 2015, are expected to slug it out.
ogbomosoinsightonline.com learnt authoritatively that the two groups’ nominees for the various executive positions at the ward levels have purchased forms in the five local governments “but there won’t be harmonized primaries, rather each group is set to hold its separate primaries,” a party leader, who pleaded anonymity disclosed.
Against what the party national leadership has been preaching, consensuses couldn’t be reached and holding single primaries in the wards has become a tall order “and so, parallel primaries are inevitable,” the source further stated.
In the last few days, leaders from each side and the hithertho neutrals have continued to cross carpet in Ogbomoso zone.
As an instance, ogbomosoinsightonline gathered that Hon Gunju Ojo, ex-Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly, Chief Sunday Dare, Minister for Youths and Sports Development, Hon Dokun Alamu, a leader of Senator Femi Lankehin group and some others recently identified with the Akala camp, which is said to be heavily populated by the SENACO elements of late former Governor Abiola Ajimobi, “in Ogbomoso zone, 70% of the group led by Akala is constituted by SENACO members, these are politicians who are extremely loyal to late Ajimobi,” the source revealed.
The camp itself distributed the positions. In Ogbomoso North, Akala is alloted 50%; Senator Fatai Buhari, 20%; Chief Akin Oke, 10%; Alhaji Bukola Badmus, 10% and Engr. Open Salawu, 10%.
In Ogbomoso South, Akala took three, Buhari took three, Prince Banji Olorode took two, Chief Matthew Fashola took one and Pa Wahab Gbadebo Oyelade took one while in Oriire, Hon Jacob Bamigboye, currently representing the constituency in the Oyo State House of Assembly is given 50% of the positions while Akala, Gunju Ojo, Gidado Fatimo and others are given the remaining 50%.
Hon Segun Odebunmi takes the lead in Surulere local government while Mr. Zacch Adelabu Adedeji takes the lion share in Ogo-Oluwa.
Another party leader informed, “It is certain parallel congresses will hold in Ogbomoso North, Ogbomoso South and Surulere local governments. But in Oriire and Ogo-Oluwa local governments, this is not likely because those leading the Adeseun/Unity camp there against the Akala camp are inconsequential.”
But Barrister Dapo Atanda, a close associate of Senator Adeseun, corroborated the likelihood of parallel congresses when he confirmed that the Adeseun camp has also bought forms for its candidates.
“We have purchased forms and we are sure of being given the nod by the national headquarters.”
Barrister Atanda expressed confidence when he added, “Security agencies like the DSS and the police as well as INEC will witness our group’s congresses tomorrow.”
He however punctured the claim that the other camp’s congress will be recognized, mocking, “they printed forms for their nominees while each of our nominees purchased forms. We have acted in line with the provisions of the party’s guidelines and our people bought the forms within the time frame allowed.
“I don’t expect we will be doing things the same old way, which is what they have done in their group.
“I can assure you they have lost out, they are in disarray because their members have realized the forms they brought to them were not authentic,” while alleging the group might want to disrupt the congress
He noted a meeting between the two groups was held on Thursday at Akala’s office in Sekoni, but that it reached no consensus, “except that we proved we have stepped ahead of them. The minister, Chief Sunday Dare and others are firmly in our camp.”
Reacting to an insinuation that they went cap in hand to seek some concessions from Chief Akala yesterday, he said it was far from the truth. “I tell you categorically it is a lie, what for?”
Meanwhile, the APC Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), led by the APC ward congress committee chairman, Alhaji Gambo Lawal, held a meeting yesterday at the Oke-Ado state secretariat of the party in Ibadan, attended by party stakeholders in the state.
The meeting deliberated on today’s ward congresses and on the imperative of making it rancour-free, “towards building consensus and party cohesion.”
Reacting, a member of SENACO boasted, “The chairman of the committee is on our side, you can say the committee met with our camp today. Where were the members of the Unity Group and those opposed to us?”
Any moment now, the party leaders and their followers will file out to execute the machineries to seize the structure of the ruling party right from the grassroots.