The Ward Congresses authorized by the Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee of the All Progressives Congress on Saturday (APC), in Ekiti State, has been described as a Charade, and an exercise that cannot stand the test of democracy.
National Chairman of South West for Bola Ahmed Tinubu 2023, (SWAGA), Senator Dayo Adeyeye made the condemnation while reacting to the conduct of the exercise across the state on Sunday.
Adeyeye accused a group, 'Tokan - Tokan', which he alleged to be loyal to Governor Kayode Fayemi of hijacking the elections and unleashing violence leading to loss of an APC member, even as properties were reportedly destroyed during the intra-party exercise in the state.
Read the full statement below:
The Charade Called Ward Congresses In Ekiti State: The Morning After
Gentlemen of the press,
Here is the synopsis of events at what is supposed to be Ward Congresses, held in Ekiti State, on Saturday, July 31, 2021.
"We want to believe that the Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), of our party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), meant well when it gave the go ahead that Ward Congresses should hold across the country yesterday.
"This was despite the fear earlier raised in some quarters on the legitimacy of such.
"The fear was triggered by the narrow-margined victory of the Ondo State governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu, at the Supreme Court and pointers to the legality of the current party executives, to conduct a legally viable congress.
"The Ward Congresses purportedly took place in Ekiti State. But the manner of its conduct was nothing near all democratic norms as it was warped, disorderly, perverse and can only pass for a charade.
"Prior to the congresses, the Tokan-Tokan, a group loyal to the State governor Kayode Fayemi, has constituted for themselves a 7-man electoral committee, with no input from many party stakeholders in the State. This is even as the CECPC had earlier advised that effort should be geared towards peaceful resolution of conflicts so that the APC could birth consensus delegates across board.
"You will recall that the Ekiti State Chairman of SWAGA, Senator Tony Adeniyi, had issued a release to the effect that while consensus delegates, as advised by the CECPC, was desirable, it would be impossible in Ekiti State because of the determination of the Tokan-Tokan group, to dominate and control the soul of the congresses. Senator Adeniyi warned that the unbridled actions of the group would have grave consequences. But the warning was ignored.
"Now the consequences of the arrogance and selfishness of the Tokan-Tokan group, to impose their favourites on members, stirs us in the face.
"As witnessed yesterday, the presence of INEC officials was not felt at the congresses. In most of the centers, members of the Tokan-Tokan group took over the INEC job. The presence of the law enforcement agents was also very insignificant. We witnessed a situation where people waited agitatedly from dusk to almost dawn, in a decoy deployed to frustrate voters.
"We also recorded a situation later in the day where the Tokan-Tokan group, hand-picked some loyalists and were moving them from one Ward to the other, in a save-face measure to give a semblance of congress.
"In places like Ijero, Ado Ekiti and Oye Local councils, extreme violence was visited on people, leading to one death in Ado Ekiti Ward "Several people were also wounded and properties destroyed. We have the video clips of some of these heinous incidents.
"We are miffed by this level of desperation and wanton electoral recklessness. If it will take killings, wounding of over a hundred of our members and all sorts of violence, for the Tokan-Tokan- group to succeed in an intra-party contest, what are we going to witness in a general election?
"It is disheartening that those charged with the responsibility to strengthen our party in Ekiti are rather pillaging and giving it all sorts of bad names on the track of violence. If we lost three lives in the Ekiti East bye elections and this again in an intra-party affair, then there is still more to be done to lead us to the right path.
"We are hereby telling the CECPC, our party members nationwide and indeed, all Nigerians, that there was no congress in Ekiti State yesterday. What happened was a charade that cannot pass the test of democracy and it is totally unacceptable.
"We want to use this opportunity to thank all SWAGA members for coming out so overwhelmingly to show our indisputable strength in Ekiti State. You have really demonstrated that SWAGA has been strongly entrenched and has metamorphosed to a movement that will determine the anticipated electoral success of the APC in coming elections.
"We also commend our members for not allowing the popularity get to their heads and staying loyal to us by heeding our advice to be law abiding and to eschew violence in the course of the congresses, no matter the level of provocations. We shall conform to showing that type of exemplary behaviour in all things we do subsequently.
"Now that we have affirmed our stand, we state here clearly today that work has just started in earnest for mass mobilization across Ekiti State. In few weeks to come, we will embark on a mass mobilization drive to cultivate more members to our party, so we can breast the tape smoothly and take assured steps onto victory in coming elections.
"SWAGA is the force driving the APC in Ekiti and if anybody is deluding himself to a claim of popularity that does not exist, we wish them luck.
" APC, to us, is one big family. In view of this, internal conflicts should not be allowed to fester; if people are really desirous of our victory in coming polls. I think it is time we bury our arrogance and ego, for the party to thrive", he stated.