Politics

Ogun APC factions set for parallel congresses

A suppoter tries to display All Progressives Congress (APC) party flag on a pole, during incumbent President Mohammadu Buhari's presidential campaign rally at the Sanni Abacha Stadium in Kano, on January 31, 2019. - Buhari has flag off campaign in Kano, the commercial nerve centre of northern Nigeria to seek re-election at the forthcoming February polls. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP) (Photo credit should read PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP via Getty Images)

Ahead of Saturday’s Congress of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ogun State, there is palpable fear among residents as the two factions of the party in the state prepare for a showdown.

The two factions – one loyal to Governor Dapo Abiodun and the other to his predecessor, Ibikunle Amosun – will be holding parallel congresses in Abeokuta.

While the faction of Governor Abiodun will hold its own congress at the MKO Abiola Stadium, less than two kilometres to the Governor’s office, the Amosun group will hold their congress at the palace of the Alake and Paramount ruler of Egba-land.

The distance between both congresses grounds is about five kilometres.

Politicians were seen in their numbers hanging around on the street of Abeokuta in preparation for the congress.

Traders have expressed fear as many of them have vowed not to open their shops on the said day.

A petty trader at Panseke market, Iya Falilat, noted that she won’t be displaying her goods on Saturday owing to the rumoured violence she had heard from politicians.

“My neighbours who are politicians, in fact, they do attend ward meetings have warned me to stay at home on Saturday, missing tomorrow sales won’t kill me. I choose to live and sell some other time instead to having this political thug to battle.”

Another trader who sells close to the secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, who preferred not to say her name, noted that she won’t step out of her home on Saturday.

“The memory of the 2019 elections is still very fresh in my head, not even when I have started hearing different things. I won’t come out tomorrow, I will only eat and sleep.”

In a statement signed by the police spokesperson, Abimbola Oyeyemi, the command said it would resist any act of hooliganism, brigandage or political thuggery before during and after the congress.

The police, however, affirmed MKO Abiola Stadium as the venue of the congress but didn’t dismiss the Alake’s palace where the other faction had also chosen to hold their congress.

“Therefore, anybody who has no business in and around the venue of the congress is by this release warned to stare clear of the place.

“The Command will deal decisively with anybody caught in any act capable of undermining the peace and tranquillity being enjoyed in the state, no matter the position or status of such person.

“Parents and guardians are also advised to call their wards to order by counselling them not to allow themselves to be used for political thuggery as such will be viewed with all seriousness.

“The Commissioner of Police, CP Lanre Bankole while wishing members of the party successful congress, enjoins them to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner and exhibit high sense of sportsmanship.”

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