The ward congresses of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to elect new executives of the party at ward level took place nationwide on Saturday.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports successful votes in some states, and controversies in others.
Adamawa — Congress suspended
In Adamawa, the chairman of Adamawa Congress Committee for All Progressives Party (APC), Musa Mahmud, has announced the shifting of Saturday Ward Congress to Sunday.
Mr Mahmud made the announcement shortly after a meeting with some stakeholders who protested that many candidates were yet to obtain the nomination forms to contest the election.
Some of the stakeholders that protested included former secretary to the government of the Federation, Babacir Lawan, Sen. Abdulaziz Nyako, Sen. Abubakar MoAllayidi, Nuhu Ribadu and Marcus Gundiri.
Mr Mahmud said the congress has been shifted to 1 pm on Sunday.
Kano – We’re ready for ward congresses
The Kano State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) says it is fully prepared to hold congresses in the 484 wards in the state on Saturday, May 5.
Ibrahim Sarina, secretary of APC in the state, gave the assurance in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kano on Friday.
Mr Sarina said that all necessary arrangements had been concluded for the successful conduct of the exercise.
“We are very ready. Everything has been put in place and members of the party’s National Election Committee are already in Kano,’’ he said.
Mr Sarina said that each ward would produce 26 executive members from the position of chairman to ex-officio at the end of the exercise.
The secretary said the party had resolved to conduct the congress through consensus.
“We have decided that the congress be conducted through consensus but where it is not possible, people are free to do it through open ballot system,’’ he explained.
Mr Sarina said that the party would ensure justice and fairness in the entire process.
“The congresses will be transparent as the party has put necessary measures in place,’’ he said.
He urged all party members to contribute to the success of the congresses by abiding by the guidelines of the party.
The ruling party, APC, had fixed May 5 for the Ward congress; and the Local Government Area (LGA) and State Congresses for May 12 and May 19.
Ebonyi — APC assures of peaceful, transparent wards congresses in Ebonyi
Eze Nwachukwu, the Ebonyi State acting chairman, All Progressives Congress (APC), has assured party faithfuls that conduct of the party’s wards congresses in the state would be open, peaceful and credible.
The chairman spoke on Saturday morning in Abakaliki at a meeting with party faithful, stakeholders and the electoral committee team from the APC national secretariat, Abuja .
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that APC holds a nation-wide elective wards congresses on Saturday to elect new wards executives and delegates for the local government congresses.
Mr Nwachukwu promised that the exercise would be open, peaceful and devoid of manipulation.
He called for support and cooperation of members to make the exercise hitch – free, noting that the success of the local government and state congresses were largely dependant on the outcome of the wards congresses.
“We assure you of commitment of the party to conduct transparent, peaceful wards congresses devoid of manipulation or imposition.
“We must put aside all differences and collectively work for overall success of the exercise because our victory in 2019 begins with the party congresses, ” Mr Nwachukwu said.
The chairman charged party leaders and stakeholders to ensure that the outcome and integrity of the exercise was not compromised in their various wards.
He told the committee members that adequate security arrangements had been put in place to ensure their safety and the safety of other party faithful during the exercise.
He said: “Mr chairman, we want to assure you that the congress in Ebonyi will be the most peaceful and transparent, and that we are prepared for the exercise.
“We want to assure you that all hands will be on deck to achieve a resounding success in the exercise and put enemies of the party to shame.
“We welcome you on behalf of the party to Ebonyi, salt of the nation, and we assure you of adequate security.”
The chairman of the electoral committee, Nicolas Adekunle – Ajayi, who spoke, commended the unity and peace existing in the Ebonyi chapter of APC.
He assured that the congresses in the state would be peaceful, transparent and credible.
He said participation in the exercise was open only to APC card-carrying members, adding that every aspirant was entitled to his or her aspiration.
Mr Adekunle-Ajayi said that he would ensure that every eligible aspirant who had met the guidelines, paid nomination fee would collect his or her nomination form.
“The nomination forms are with the party chairman, we have extra forms and we assure you that we will ensure that every eligible aspirant who has paid for the nomination form will be given form.
“We are going to make the exercise so fair and transparent, so that at the end of the day everybody will be happy, we demand that you make the exercise easy for us.
“If we get it right between this morning and the next one week, be sure we are winning Ebonyi by 70 per cent of declared votes.
“But we must get it right, we must do what is right on this assignment, we call for your cooperation and we will do it to the satisfaction of the majority of the party faithful,” he said.
NAN reports that the congress is expected to commence simultaneously in the 171 wards across the state and will hold at the respective ward party secretariats.
Kaduna — APC Ward Congress yet to commence in 2 Kaduna LGAs
The nationwide ward congress of All Progressive Congress (APC) is yet to commence in Zaria and Sobongari Local Government Areas of Kaduna State.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that as at the time of filing this report, officials expected to conduct the exercise were yet to arrive as at about 12 noon.
A correspondent of NAN who visited Limancin-Kona, Kwarbai A, Kwarbai B, Kaura, Gyallesu, Kufena, Muchia, Chikaji, Jama’a, Samaru and Bomo wards, among others, reported that many party members were gathered at designated areas waiting for take-off of the exercise.
The party members who spoke on condition of anonymity, expressed concern over the delay and appealed for justice in the entire exercise.
One of the members said: “I am disappointed, I was here since 7:00a.m, thinking that they will start the election on time, so that we can finish and go about our normal daily businesses.
“APC should endeavour to prove that it is a party for positive change that will contemplate imposing party leadership on members.”
Another party member, noted that the ward congress “is scheduled to start at most by 9:00a.m. but the time now is after 11:00a.m. there is no news of the officials assigned to conduct the election.”
When contacted on telephone, the APC zonal chairman, Kaduna North senatorial district, Abubakar Rilwanu said they were still expecting the officials that would conduct the election.
Mr Rilwanu, who did not make further comment, however, called on all party members to exercise patience, assuring that the congress would hold.
Gombe — Police deploy men to ensure hitch-free exercise
The Gombe State police command said it had deployed enough police men to ensure a hitch-free All Progressives Congress (APC) Ward Congresses in the state.
Mary Malum, the command’s Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gombe on Saturday that the measure would check any attempt at breaching the peace during the exercise.
She advised party officials and members to play the game according to the rules and refrain from taking the law into their hands.
“All measures have been put in place and currently, our men had been deployed to ensure a hitch free exercise.
“I am advising members of the public to be law-abiding and good citizens; the politicians should also play the game according to the rules so that there will be a hitch free exercise,” she said.
She further called on the delegates to understand that the exercise was not a ‘do or die’ affair.
Ms Malum called on people in the state to always give useful information that would help in ensuring security of lives and property.
Niger — Gov. Bello calls for peace, progress of party
Abubakar Bello, governor of Niger State has called on members of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and stakeholders in the state to work for peace, progress and unity of the party.
Mr Bello made the call when he received members of the APC wards and Local Government Congress Committee on Saturday in Minna.
He called on the members of the party to be united and ensure fairness, justice and accountability in building enduring foundation for the party.
“We are building a structure that will outlive us, and the only way to do that is to build foundation of fairness, justice, equity and transparency,” he said.
He urged stakeholders at the state, local government and ward levels to remain steadfast in promoting the ideals that would ensure the consolidation of the gains of the party.
Earlier, Ray Murphy, Chairman, APC Ward and Local Government Congress Committee, urged stakeholders to support the policies and programmes of the party.
He said that the support would move the party to greater height at all levels.
“We are not in Niger State to create division but rather to ensure consensus building,” he said.
He advised stakeholders to see the congress as an opportunity to further strengthen the party.
Katsina — Buhari urges elected APC ward executives to be diligent
President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the party executives elected in his Sarkin Yara A electoral ward to discharge their responsibilities with the fear of God and in accordance with the party’s constitution.
Mr Buhari made the call in Daura on Saturday after participating in the APC Ward Congress in his constituency.
He said throughout his political career he had been a loyal party member who respected the rules and the regulations of his political party.
“I call on you to fear God in whatever you do as we would transit to the next world and account for our deeds before our creator.”
He said his administration was determined to uphold the provisions of the constitution and the rule of law, stressing the need to play politics with decency and decorum.
Earlier in his remarks Aminu Masari, the state governor,commended the president for finding time to attend the congress in spite of his tight schedule.
He described the presence of the president as a clear demonstration of his commitment to party rules and regulations.
He called on Nigerians to continue to pray for peace and stability of the nation as well as respect the constituted authorities for the socio-economic progress of the nation.
Ahmad El-Marzuq, the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General of the state, who organised the ward congress, said the election of officials was done through consensus, which is in line with the party’s constitution.
Mr Marzuq commended the president for ensuring strict adherence to party rules,.
News Agency of Nigeria ( NAN ) reports that Aliyu Mani, the incumbent ward Chairman, returned as the Chairman, Ibrahim Halilu as Deputy chairman, and Rufa’i Aliyu as Secretary, among others.
NAN also reports that the congress was conducted under the supervision of INEC officials.
The Sarkin Yara A comprises 15 polling units.
Zamfara — Police, Army block commuters in Zamfara
Hundreds of travellers were on Saturdays denied passage through Zamfara by armed security personnel following the conduct of the All Progressive Congress (APC) ward congresses in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that fierce looking police, army and civil defense personnel had blocked all exits out of Gusau, the state capital, leaving motorists travelling out of the state stranded.
Some of the motorists especially commercial vehicles leaving the state capital as early as 7.00 am could not go beyond the outskirts of the town as they were stopped by the security personnel.
Many of the vehicle owners and passengers were seen wearing long faces unsure of what to do.
Some of them who spoke to NAN lamented that no announcement was made to the effect, and that the development had affected their business schedules.
Sale Moriki, a commercial driver going to Kano from Gusau, expressed disappointment over the development.
“If the government is serious, it would have reached out to our union leaders who would have prepared us before we came out, so, that drivers and passengers would plan ahead, ’’ he said.
When NAN contacted the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, Mohammed Shehu, he said the restriction of movement was to ensure smooth conduct of the exercise.
Rivers — Election conducted through option A4
In Rivers the election of the ward officials of the party was conducted through option A4.
The Chairman of the party in the state, Davies Ikanya, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Port Harcourt that the exercise had nothing to do with distribution of materials.
“The only material the officials are with, is the result sheet. Members are expected to go to their various Wards and queue behind their choice aspirants.
“So, the tension created based on eagerness to monitor the distribution of materials was totally unnecessary, and this happened because they are uninformed,” Mr Ikanya said.
Edo — Party did not adopt popular consensus style
In Edo the APC described the event across the state as “participatory democracy at play”.
The chairman of the party in the state, Anselm Ojezua, said members of the party, through the casting of their votes, were allowed freedom and right to take decision.
Mr Ojezua said the party did not adopt the popular consensus style because it would have brought about acrimony and crisis in the party, “but the method the party adopted showed the collective wishes of members.”
He said the constitution of the party was sacrosanct, hence the party in state had been able to manage its affairs without internal or external wranglings.
He said that members were obedient and adhered strictly to the rules of the party during the exercise.
NAN observed that the elections were free, fair and peaceful at the various wards visited in Oredo and Ikpoba-Okha local government areas of the state.
Ondo — Newly-elected Ward 9 executives commend peaceful conduct of congress
In Ondo, the newly-elected Ward 9 executives in Akure North Local Government Area commended the peaceful conduct of the congress.
Mr Kunle Olapade, the Ward Chairman, told NAN at Oba-Ile area of Akure that the exercise was peaceful.
Similarly, the newly-elected Ward Woman Leader, Remi Adebowale, commended the party members for their commitment and loyalty to the party.
Mr Adebowale also lauded the peaceful conduct of the exercise.
Saka Yusuf, the state Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development, said the party strictly followed the guidelines of INEC in the conduct of the congress.
Mr Yusuf said there might be grievances from some people, but noted that the congress was welcomed by majority of party members.
Nasarawa — Party Members defy rain
The All Progressive Congress (APC) wards congress in Nasarawa State, held on Saturday, was generally peaceful in Lafia, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
NAN correspondents, who monitored the exercise in most of the wards, reported that some of the members of the party defiled the early morning rains to be part of the exercise.
In Ciroma ward, members were on ground as early as 10:00 am slated for the exercise and had to wait for the party official till about noon.
Mohammed Yahaya, secretary of the party in the ward commended the peaceful conduct by members.
“This is a clear indication that the APC is one family, speaking with one voice and without rancor, ” he added.
Similarly, at Gayam ward, the chairman, Ahmed Aminu attributed the peaceful conduct of the exercise to the consensus decision reached by the party stakeholders.
“What we are having here today is adoption of the decimal of stakeholders in order to move the party forward and consolidate on the gains so far recorded in the state,” Aminu said.
At Makama ward, Ibrahim Arari said he got the nod of elders and other stakeholders to pilot the affairs of the party as their chairman, a position that was rectified at the congress.
Aliyu Kira, an elder at Makama ward corroborated Mr Arari’s claim saying that the agreement was reached to ensure a rancour-free congress.
Also in Keffi Local Government of the state, the exercise was peaceful while some ward chairmen of the party commended the state party stakeholders for ensuring emergence of party officials, from ward level, through consensus.
Abdullahi Alkassim, the APC chairman, Yara electoral ward in the area said the ward party officials were returned unopposed and described the exercise as a good omen for the party.
“We are happy with the decision of the party and our stakeholders that we returned opposed or through consensus except in minor changes in the case of those that resigned from the exercise.
“We promise to work tirelessly for the party in order to ensure that our party, APC wins all future elections in the state and the country at large.
“I want to use this medium to commend Tanko Al makura, the state party leadership and other stakeholders of our party for taking the party and the state to a greater height in the state,” he said.
Mr Alkassim called on Nigerians to support President Muhammad Buhari administration to enable him succeed in the stat ahead of him.
Ovey Musa, the APC ward chairman of Wakama electoral ward of Nassarawa Eggon Local Government Area commended the consensus used to return the ward electives.
He said the decision would unite the members of the party and promote peace among members in the ward, the state and the country at large.
Also speaking, a former Administrator of Akun Development Area of the state, Mr Monday Nanza, has also lauded the members of APC for the consensus reached during the ward congresses.
He called on the people of the state to continue to live in peace and tolerate one another, irrespective of ethnic, religious and political affiliation.
Lagos — Drama in Lagos as members allege manipulation
In Agbado Oke Odo Local Council Development Area of Lagos state, accreditation of eligible voters which started at about 1.30 p.m at Ward C Aboru-Ifesewapo, Agbado Oke Odo was peaceful amidst heavy presence of policemen.
The Chairman of Agbado Oke Odo LCDA, Augustine Arogun, lauded the peaceful conduct of the congress in the locality.
Mr Arogun said: “This is one of the largest wards where we have a lot of votes in Agbado Oke Odo LCDA.
“You can see from the way we have been conducting ourselves that it has been peaceful so far. People came out en masse to vote for their delegates and the ward executive.
The council boss also hailed the performance of Akinwunmi Ambode, governor of Lagos State, stressing that the governor had distinguished himself in governance.
He said: “The chances of APC are brighter in 2019, especially with the performance of Ambode. In fact, we are going to double the number of votes we gave to him in 2015.
“We want to double it because he has performed beyond our imagination, particularly in Alimosho where he has constructed 21 roads.
It was a different story in Badagry where the exercise was marred with snatching of materials resulting in violence and some party member disallowed the congress to hold.
Fight broke out at Ward C under Badagry Local Government during which some party members claimed that the list to elect the executive members was manipulated.
The timely intervention of the policemen from the Badagry Division prevented the situation from generating into a full blown chaos.
A party member, who pleaded for anonymity, told NAN that the list had been manipulated by party officials.
“The congress cannot hold because we believe that the list has been compromised and we wouldn’t fold our arms and allow anyone to manipulate things.
“We would prefer it nothing holds than allowing this to happen,” the party member said.
Also, the Ward Congress was yet to start as at the time of this report in Badagry West Local Council Development Area.
Party members who converged in various centres waited in vain for officials of the APC to conduct the congress.
In Ward B and C, centres were filled with APC members who waited endlessly for the conduct of the exco elections.
The party members said they reported at the venue of the exercise as early as 7a.m and the exercise had not begun as at the time of this report.
Also at Olorunda Local Council Development Area, party members were still expecting officials to conduct the elections.
Kogi — Congress hampered by the rain
In Kogi, members of the All Progressives Congress in Kogi on Saturday defied the early morning rains as they trooped out for the party Ward Congresses.
The congress, which was expected to commence 10 a.m across 239 wards across in the state, was hampered by the rains which came few minutes to the slated time.
The member, who spoke with NAN, said they took the action to affirm the list of their candidates on whom they had earlier agreed.
Speaking with newsmen on the mode adopted to attain a hitch-free congress election, Idris Ndakwo (APC-Lokoja II), Kogi State House of Assembly, said measures were taken to avoid imposition of candidates.
Mr Ndakwo said imposition had caused a lot of problems in the past and as a result, the party leadership insisted that members of particular wards must agree on the choice of leadership before the affirmation.
At Ward A headquarters collation centre in Crowther Memorial College, Lokoja, the congress was conducted peacefully.
Femi Oluyori, the elected chairman of the ward, told NAN that it was a unanimous congress in which candidates were sorted in a ‘’basketing process’’, adding that members only came together to have a voice vote to affirm the candidates.
At Oworo Ward 8 in Lokoja Local Government, the INEC representative monitoring the conduct, Zakari Adama, said though the congress was billed to commence at 10 a.m but that rain held some members back, yet the exercise was peaceful.
Ishaq Idris and Abdullahi Adamu both staunch APC members with other members at the Ward Congress venue said they defied the rains in view of the importance attached to the exercise.
At Ward B, Liman Shehu, who was returned as chairman along with Ibrahim, his Vice- Chairman,said the exercise went hitch-free.
In Ward C, Bishop Crowther Primary School, Lokoja, Musa Suleiman and Abbas Mohammed emerged chairman and secretary.
Yobe — Congress exercise conducted through affirmation
In Damaturu,Yobe, the exercised was conducted through affirmation.
Khadijah Ibrahim, Minister of state Foreign Affairs, who was at the ward congress for Damaturu Local Government Area, said the ward executives of the party were elected peacefully.
She said the party provided for either election or consensus or affirmation which was adopted by the wards.
“It was very successful here without rancour, the executives were returned by affirmation, and those who died or resigned were replaced.
“I am satisfied that due process was adhered to and everyone was satisfied with the process” she said.
Bulama Bukar, legislator representing Gujba state constituency also expressed satisfaction with the arrangement made by the party for the ward congress.
“The ward congress had been conducted peacefully across Gujba local government area with adherence to due process, rule of law and respecting the people’s choice” he said.
Adamu Chilariya, the acting state chairman of the party, commended party members for the peaceful conduct of the congress.
NAN reports that the ward executives were returned as leaders, while those who died were replaced.