A faction of the All Progressives Congress, APC appears to be challenging the dominance of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in dictating the political direction of the state.
The faction led by Fouad Oki, defied the party juggernauts in the state, including Governor Akinwunmi Ambode by holding a separate state congress at Ikeja Airport Hotel, different from the one held at the party’s secretariat on Acme Road, also in Ikeja.
Oki returned himself as the chairman of the APC in the state, while the main congress at the State Secretariat produced Alhaji Tunde Balogun, a former commissioner.
It was not clear whether Oki’s congress was supervised by officials sent by the National secretariat of the APC .
The congress conducted at the party secretariat on ACME Road, was witnessed by the State Congress Committee headed by Senator Uche Ekwunife.
At the congress, Chief Sunny Ajose became the Deputy Chairman, Chief Funsho Ologunde (vice-chairman, West), Mr Kayode Olusanya (vice-chairman, East), Mr Hakeem Bamigbala (vice-chaiman, 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).
They were all elected by affirmation, as all of them were consensus candidates.
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.
According to her, “We are going to suggest to others the need to emulate Lagos on how to have a smooth transition,” adding 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.
Ajomale, who spoke earlier, 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.”
However, at the parallel congress held at Lagos Hotel, Ikeja, Mr, Fouad Oki , a 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 was also a past vice-chairman (Central) of APC in the state.
In separate interviews, the new chairman of APC, Alhaji Balogun; spokesman Mr Joe Igbokwe and member of the House of Representatives, Abiodun Faleke dismissed the Oki congress. The trio said whichever congress held outside the party office was null and void.
Oki, however said 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.
According to him, the congress held at Airport Hotel was the only legitimate one, saying he was 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.