The two factions of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara State on Saturday elected different sets of officers at parallel state congresses in Ilorin, the state capital.
While Sunday Fagbemi emerged as chairman for the faction loyal to Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, a former caretaker chairman of the party in the state, Bashir Bolarinwa, was returned by the faction led by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.
Mr Fagbemi, who was picked by consensus by loyalists of the governor at their congress held at the state secretariat of the party in Ilorin, pledged that his team “would lead by example and work with everyone to strengthen the party.
“I thank His Excellency, our party leaders, elders and delegates for the confidence reposed in me. I also want to thank my predecessor, Alhaji Abdullahi Samari, for holding forth so well for the party. We will soon reel out our plans and we will start with genuine reconciliation of our brothers and sisters of the same family,” he said in his acceptance speech.
“We will be transparent in all our dealings. We will hit the ground running and will soon intimate the public on the direction we will take.”
The congress also produced 35 others as members of the state executive council of APC by consensus.
The event was attended by Governor AbdulRazaq; his deputy Kayode Alabi; House of Assembly Speaker Yakubu Salihu-Danladi; two senators, Ibrahim Yahya Oloriegbe and Lola Ashiru; and members of the House of Representatives and the state House of Assembly. Also at the congress were a national chairmanship aspirant of the party from Kwara, Saliu Mustapha; and many other party leaders.
The congress was conducted by a seven-member committee deployed from the party’s national headquarters and led by Emmanuel Dandaura, and was observed by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
At the other congress held at their factional secretariat in the GRA area of Ilorin, members of the other faction returned Bashir Bolarinwa as state APC chairman.
The congress elected Mr Bolarinwa and other members of his state executive by acclamation.
However, neither Mr Bolarinwa nor the minister, Mr Mohammed, attended the event. INEC and the national headquarters of the APC also apparently did not accord it recognition as their officials stayed away from it.
Dignitaries at the event include a member of the Federal Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Shuaib Abdullahi, representative of Ilorin East/South federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Ganiyu Cook-Olododo, and a member of the State House Assembly from Offa, Saheed Popoola.
Bolaji Afolabi, who served as the returning officer, said the new executive enjoyed the support of the majority of the party members.
“As you can see, over one thousand delegates got the new executive elected by acclamation and we are ready to move the party forward through activities that will attract more people to the party,” the new vice chairman, Theophilous Sunday, told reporters after the elections.
Speaking on the absence of the new chairman, Mr Sunday said: “BOB is absent for one reason or another. But as you can witness, people have clamoured for his return as chairman and that is the wish of the majority members of our party.”