The Lagos State chapter of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Saturday held its state congress where it elected new leaders to pilot its affairs.
The new leaders were elected and endorsed by the no fewer than 2, 500 delegates via voice vote at the party Secretariat in Ikeja.
A former Commissioner of Home Affairs in the state, Alhaji Tunde Balogun emerged as new chairman, while Mr Sunny Ajose, a former Head of Service in the state emerged as Deputy Chairman.
The party state Secretary in the last executive, Mr Hakeem Bamgbala was elected as Vice-Chairman (Lagos Central) while Chief Funsho Ologunde retained his position as Vice -Chairman (Lagos West).
Alhaji Kaoli Olusanya was elected Vice-Chairman (Lagos East) while a former Commissioner for Home Affairs, Dr Wale Ahmed emerged as new State Secretary of the party.
Mr Joe Igbokwe was returned as Publicity Secretary while the Assistant Publicity Secretary in the last executive, Mr Abiodun Salami was also returned.
Others in the 37-man new executive include Alhaji Abdullah Enilolobo as state Organizing Secretary and a former member of House of Representatives, Mrs Jumoke-Okoya Thomas.
The process was monitored by a team from the party’s national secretariat led by Sen. Uche Ekwunife.
Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode, his Deputy, Mrs Idiat Adebule were among top state government officials that attended the congress.
Sen. Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos Central), Rep. Jide Jimoh, Lagos Speaker, Rep. Rotimi Agunsoye, Mr Mudashiru Obasa top the list of federal and state legislators at the congress.
However, while the congress was going at the party Secretariat on ACME Road, another faction of the party, led by a former Vice -Chairman, Mr Fouad Oki held another congress at Airport Hotel in Ikeja.
Just like the congress at ACME Road was well attended by members, the parallel congress was attended by no fewer than 2, 000 members.
39 executive members were elected by the Oki group with him emerging Chairman.
Alhaji Sola Oyedele was elected Deputy State Chairman while Mr Wale Oshodi emerged as State Secretary.
Other executives in the parallel congress include Kufisile Aremo as State Treasurer and Alhaja Idera Adeyemi as Woman leader.
Some prominent party members including the Deputy Chief Whip of the Lagos House of Assembly, Mrs Omotayo Oduntan was at the congress.
Oki said the congress met all the guidelines of a democratic congress.
He said the people had made up their minds to the right things, hence the decision to hold the congress.
Oki described the other group as lacking in democratic ideals, saying the new group would do things the way it should be done.
“Never again will anyone or group determine the fate of our people. We are here to salvage the party. These are the people and this is the party”, he said.
Oduntan said the only congress she recognized was the one she attended.
She said the ward and council congresses were a sham and that the party failed to address the injustices that marked them.
Oduntan said she was strongly convinced that the Oki- led APC would do the right thing.
But speaking at the congress held at the main Secretariat, Ekwunife said the authentic congress was the one she presided over.
She said any other gathering elsewhere was null and void as the outcome would not be recognized by the party.
“This is the only legal committee constituted by the party to conduct congress in Lagos State. If there is anything going on elsewhere, it is at the essence of that illegal gathering null and void,” she added.
She commended the peaceful conduct of the congress, urging other state’s chapters to emulate the peaceful conduct in Lagos.
Oduntan said the process was transparent as the executive members were elected by consensus as there was no opposition.
A Former Minister of State for Defense, Mr Musiliu Obanikoro, while speaking at the congress, also said the Oki congress was illegal.
“Well whatever it is, for me, it is inconsequential. Since the presiding officer was designated by the party at the national level, I will not worry myself with whatever is going on there.
“This is democracy. People have the right to express themselves. And expressing oneself about an issue doesn’t make him wrong or right on such issue.
“What we are doing here has been sanction by the party as the authentic congress. So, why should we worry about what is happening elsewhere,” he added.
Balogun thanked party members for the confidence reposed in him by electing him as chairman.
The former commissioner assured members of the party that the new executive would strive to cover lost grounds and “take the party to next height.”
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