Members of All Progressives Congress, APC held two different congresses to elect new executive for the state chapter of the party on Saturday.
In a move that can be interpreted as a challenge of former governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s tight grip on the state’s APC, a faction of the chapter held its congress at the Airport Hotel, Ikeja and elected Dr. Fouad Oki as the new chairman of Lagos APC.
Fouad was the Director General of the campaign organization of Lagos Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode
Meanwhile, the other faction of APC which is believed to have the backing of the former governor is holding its congress at the APC secretariat on Acme Road, Ikeja, Lagos.
It could be recalled that Fouad, was a Vice Chairman of the state party before he was suspended in March 2018.
Meanwhile in other part of Lagos, the All Progressives Congress (APC), yesterday, held parallel but peaceful state congresses amid tight security.The state congress was monitored by representatives of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the State Congress Committee from the APC national headquarters, Abuja, headed by Senator Uche Ekwunife, at the party’s secretariat, along Acme Road, Ogba.
Conversely, the Right to Chose Coalition, which comprises of the new Mandate Group, Justice Dorum, and Broom United Movement (BUM) held a parallel congress at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja.Consensus and affirmation of aspirants were, however, adopted in both congresses without rancour or complaint.
In her speech, Ekwunife said the congress held at Acme was the authentic one, because it was witnessed and monitored by INEC and representatives of the party, which she led, stressing, “We have been interacting with party stakeholders in Lagos since Thursday. The congress in Lagos is physically stable, and we hope other states will emulate what is happening here.”She also commended the outgoing state chairman, Otunba Henry Ajomale, for the maturity displayed in leaving the stage for a successor, after serving meritoriously for years, as well as other outgoing members. Ekwunife also dismissed insinuations of any crack in Lagos APC.
The newly elected officers include the state chairman, Mr. Tunde Balogun; Deputy Vice Chairman, Mr. Sunny Ajose; vice chairman Lagos west, east and central, Mr. Funsho Ologunde; Otunba Kaoli Asipa; Mr. Hakeem Balogun; State Secretary, Mr. Wale Ahmed; Public Relation Officer, Mr. Joe Igbokwe; Women Leader, Jumoke Okoya-Thomas; and Youth Leader, Mr. Tayo Sanyaolu.
Present at the congress was Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and his deputy, Idiat Adebule; Senators Remi Tinubu and Gbenga Ashafa; Speaker, House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa; and other lawmakers in the state.
Meanwhile, Mr. Fouad Oki, the campaign manager for former governors Bola Tinubu and Babatunde Fashola, and Ambode, emerged as state chairman at the parallel congress held at Airport Hotel.Others are: Deputy chairman, Sank Oloyede; State Secretary Wale Oshodi; State Treasurer, Kufisile Arwmo; Auditor, Idera Lawal; and others.
Although, it was alleged the Fashola, Mrs. Joke Orelope and the APC National Legal Adviser, Dr. Muiz Banire, sponsored the parallel congress, none of them were present at the event.The faction stated that its congress was in strict compliance with the constitution of the party, while the second one at Acme, Ogba was not.
Speaking on behalf of the members, the State Chairman, Oki, stated that the leadership of the party intimidates and muzzles the people’s voice.Oki, who maintained that the party must respect and stick to the rule of law, said the party belongs to everyone, adding that the Banire faction will not relent until equity is established.
There was a heavy presence of security agents at the Airport Road congress venue. This might have been to scuttle the event or arrest Oki. Efforts to reach Banire for comments were unsuccessful.