Lagos State chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC) on Saturday joined its counterparts all over the country to conduct its state congress but ended up having a parallel exercise that led to the emergence of two excos headed by Alhaji Tunde Balogun and Mr Fuad Oki.
The National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu group produced the Balogun led exco at a congress conducted at the party secretariat on ACME Road, Agidingbi, Ikeja by the State Congress Committee headed by Senator Uche Ekwunife, while Oki emerged as chairman at a parallel exercise held at the Airport Hotel, Ikeja.
However, the newly elected state chairman of APC, Alhaji Balogun; Mr Joe Igbokwe, who was returned as the party’s spokesperson and Hon. Abiodun Faleke, in separate interviews with newsmen, maintained that whichever congress held outside the party office was null and void.
At the congress held at the APC Secretariat on ACME Road, Balogun became the party chairman, Chief Sunny Ajose (Deputy Chairman), Chief Funsho Ologunde (vice-chairman, West), Mr Kayode Olusanya (vice-chairman, East), Mr Hakeem Bamigbala (vice-chairman, Central), Dr. Wale Ahmed (secretary), Ms Olasunmbo (treasurer), Barrister Joana Adebobuyi (assistant treasurer), Mr Joe igbokwe (publicity secretary), Hon. Abiodun Salami (assistant publicity secretary), Ademola Sadiq (legal adviser), all by affirmation as all of them were sole aspirants to their various posts with no challenger.
Speaking at the event, chairman of the State Congress Committee, Senator Ekwunife lauded the arrangements for the exercise that ensured that it went on peacefully without any rancour, expressing her gratitude to party leadership in the state for the cooperation and support for her committee, even as she promised to sell Lagos to other states of the Federation on the way to go about having a rancour-free transition.
“We are going to suggest to others the need to emulate Lagos on how to have a smooth transition,” she said, noting that the outgoing party chairman, Otunba Henry Ajomale, was happy leaving the position for others to take over.
She thanked Ajomale for his leadership role, which she said had seen Lagos growing from strength to strength.
Speaking earlier, Ajomale, who in his opening remark started with praise song, thanked party members and leaders for their support and cooperation that had ensured he and his team delivered their best for APC, declaring that the speech he was giving would not be his valedictory since “we are still part and parcel of the party membership.”
Ajomale, while welcoming the state governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode; party chieftains, the about 1,500 delegates, contestants, among others to the exercise, charged incoming leadership to do more and excel, pointing out that Lagos held the prestigious position of being “chairman of chairmen of all state chapters of APC in Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, at the parallel congress held at Lagos Hotel, Ikeja, in what appeared to be a crack in Lagos State chapter of All Peoples Congress (APC), Mr, Fuad Oki, former Campaign Director for Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Raji Fashola and Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, emerged as the chairman, while Mr Sanni Oloye and Mr Wole Oshodi became deputy chairman and secretary respectively.
Oki, it would be recalled is the immediate past vice-chairman (Central) of APC in the state.
In his inaugural speech, Oki affirmed that the Congress held by his group was authentic, declaring that the exercise that took place at the Airport Hotel could not be described as parallel in whatever way.
“The congress held at Airport Hotel is the only legitimate one. I’m not aware of any parallel congress, what we did here was the election of one party, the APC. This is a coalition of different groups, namely; Justice Forum, the Mandate and United Group,” he said, assuring that the new APC led by him would carry the party to a greater level.