The All Progressives Congress leaders who organised parallel congresses which produced separate executives in some states are planning a mass defection if the Odigie-Oyegun-led National Working Committee of the party fails to address their grievances.
Investigations by Punch correspondents in the affected states showed that while some state factions of the APC were perfecting strategies to dump the party, others preferred to remain within the system and work for other parties’ candidates.
In Oyo State, the Unity Forum, largely made up of the late governor Lam Adesina’s loyalists, Adebayo Shittu’s group, some aggrieved loyalists of Governor Abiola Ajimobi and those who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party and Accord Party, have vowed to defect en masse soon.
The spokesperson for the group, Wasiu Olatubosun, said although the group had approached the court to seek redress, arrangements were being made to pull out of the party in case the state government manipulates the court process. He said;
“We are aware that the governor and his people have been saying the judiciary is an annex of the executive and that we cannot defeat him there.
“This group is not politically inconsequential. If he has the judiciary in his pocket and believes that everyone has a price, he cannot control who we associate with. We have a plan B.
“We are aware that some people will stay back in the party because they hold one position or the other. What matters is for us to go for a credible platform where we can prove that we are not inconsequential. We proved to him that we are relevant during the by-election in Ibarapa East last week.
“The government spent almost N100m on that by-election but the party candidate lost by a wide margin. There is an election pattern that was jettisoned and that was the reason for the failure.”
However in Ondo State, the factional group within the APC has vowed to take a definite action against the disqualification of their congresses held in the state by the party’s NWC.
The group, which had its parallel ward, local and state congresses disqualified, described the action of the national leadership of the party as unfair and unacceptable.
Speaking with one of our correspondents, the factional chairman, Mr. Idowu Otetubi, insisted that the group produced the authentic state executive because it conducted a proper congress. He said;
“We are definitely going to take action. In very few days to this time, you will see what will happen. I won’t say more than that for now; just wait.
“This is our party, we are not going to leave the party for anyone. It is an internal crisis but we are going to fight the injustice, just wait and see what will happen in the next few days.”
One of the ring leaders of the group, however, told one of our correspondents in confidence that they were already considering a mass exodus from the party.
In Enugu State, the Deacon Okey Ogbodo-led APC faction had already gone to court to restrain the NWC from recognising Dr. Ben Nwoye as the chairman of the party in the state.
An Enugu Federal High Court had made an interim order restraining the APC national leadership from recognising Nwoye as the Enugu State chairman, pending the determination of a suit filed by the Ogbodo’s camp.
In defiance to the ruling, the party’s national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, inaugurated Nwoye.
The court has fixed June 26 to deliver judgment in the matter.
The spokesperson for the Ogbodo faction, Mr. Melvin Onuora, said his group was waiting for the court to determine the matter. He said;
“There is nothing like inauguration, what happened was nothing but an attempt to scuttle the court order.
“Now that the court has given a date for the judgment, we will wait until the court decides but we are confident.
“As far as we are concerned, there was no inauguration. We are waiting for the court to decide.”
The factional spokesman was, however, silent on whether his group would consider leaving the party, though sources among them said they were ready to quit in order to protest the injustice.
Onuora insisted that they would continue to push their case in court until ‘justice’ was done.
The factional chairman of the APC in Kano State, Haruna Doguwa, said he was waiting for the party’s national secretariat to make pronouncements on the fate of his executive before directing his members to take necessary actions.