The National Convention Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has concluded plans to bar non-statutory delegates from five states from participating in the Saturday convention of the party.
The affected states include Rivers, Cross River, Imo and two others which witnessed crises and had parallel congresses during the recent ward, council and state congresses of the party.
Other states like Enugu, Abia, Oyo, Lagos, Ebonyi, and Taraba also had parallel congresses that produced two sets of party executives.
Non-statutory delegates include state executives of the party, local government chairmen and secretaries, and elected delegates from the senatorial zones.
A member of the Election Sub-Committee of the Convention, who spoke to New Telegraph in confidence, disclosed that only statutory delegates from those states would be allowed to participate in the convention.
This new development would cut down the number of delegates that would participate in the election of members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party.
Secretary of the Convention Committee, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, had earlier put the number of the delegates expected to participate in the convention at 6,800.
Parallel congresses held in the affected states have resulted in multiple legal tussles.
In Rivers, Minister of Transportation and former governor of the state, Rotimi Amaechi and the Senator representing Rivers East Senatorial District, Magnus Abe, are at loggerheads. The Abe group also obtained a court injunction to stop the congress at some point.
In Cross River, a faction led by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Uguru Usani, and another faction, led by Senator John Owan Enoh, held parallel congresses in the state. This has produced two different state executives.
Similarly, the Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha and the National Organizing Secretay, Senator Osita Izunaso faction of APC are at loggerheads over the APC congresses in the state.
There is litigation over the Imo congresses.
New Telegraph learnt that the committee was considering barring non-statutory delegates from such troubled states because of the legal implications, especially on states where the factions were already in court and no resolution had been reached on the authentic list of delegates.
In such states, only statutory delegates would be accredited for the convention.
Statutory delegates include serving governors, former governors, Senators, members of House of Representatives, former Senate President and former Speaker, House of Representatives and some others.
The ministers and state commissioners of APC governments are not statutory delegates.
However, spokesperson of the Convention Sub-Committee on Media, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has denied knowledge of the plans to bar some delegates from the convention.
In her reaction to our inquiry on the matter, Dabiri-Erewa said: “I doubt the authenticity of that story.”
However, the Secretary of the Sub-Committee on Accreditation, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, said that it was not a concluded issue.
According to him, the committee would not accredit any state that has a verifiable legal tussle.
He also stated that the committee was also doing everything possible to vacate such cases in court before Friday evening.
Meanwhile, the Kwara State chapter of APC has alleged that two groups, led by some aggrieved members of the party, had compiled a fake list of delegates to represent the state at the national convention.
A statement by its state publicity secretary, Sulyman Buhari, claimed that the decision to compile the alleged fake list was reached at a meeting held on Tuesday in the house of a chieftain of the party in GRA, Ilorin, the state capital.
The statement, however, did not mention any name, but went further to claim the party was also aware that another group, led by some Abuja-based politicians, has procured branded buses and banners, vest and Ankara to be used by the fake delegates for the convention.
The group, the party added, has even gone to the extent of making accommodation arrangement at Wuse area of Abuja for the fake delegates.
Buhari said: “To show how unpopular they all are, the two groups have been fishing for people on the streets of Ilorin to use as delegates and begging them to follow them to Abuja with a promise that they would be handsomely paid on their return.
“As a party, we are not bothered by the evil antics of those three-months-to-elections politicians. But we believe we owe it as a duty to the leadership of our party at the national level to expose the evil machinations of these politicians whose only mission is obviously to disrupt the National Convention in Abuja with multiple delegates’ list as against the one officially sanctioned by the party.
“We like to reiterate for the umpteenth time that there is no faction in the Kwara State chapter of the APC. The APC in Kwara is one. Therefore, any group or groups laying claims to factionalisation are mere jokers and dreamers who have refused to wake up to the reality that they cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stand.”
The National Convention Committee of the will, today, inspect Eagle Square, the venue for the convention.
The Committee, chaired by the governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Abubakar Badaru would also meet with the 45 aspirants for the APC National Working Committee (NWC) positions.
Dabiri-Erewa said the committee would meet with the 45 aspirants to see how to reach a consensus among them.
She said that the decision to meet with the aspirants was reached after the meeting of the Convention Committee and Sub-Committees that was held yesterday.
The APC governors met in Abuja last night.
The meeting, according to inside source, was to agree on Unity List of aspirants that would be presented to President Muhammadu Buhari.
The governors are said to be determined to produce the NWC members.
In attendance at the meeting were Governors Abiola Ajimobi, Rauf Aregbesola, Abdullahi Ganduje, Tanko Al-Makura, Rochas Okorocha, Rotimi Akeredolu, Godwin Obaseki and Aminu Tambuwal.
Others were: Aminu Masari, Simon Lalong, Samuel Ortom, Jibrila Bindow, Abubakar Badaru, Yahaya Bello and Abdulazizi Yari.