How Peace Was Restored To Kogi APC

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LAGOS – Since the inception of the present administration in the State, there have been contentions for the soul of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state between two factions in the state. The first are the the party members loyal to Governor Yahaya Bello while the other are the aggrieved members of the party who were discontented with the emergence of the Governor in 2016 after he was picked by the national leadership of the party to succeed the late Prince Abubakar Audu who died before the final announcement of results for the Kogi governorship election.

The group loyal to the late Prince Abubakar Audu transferred its loyalty and support to Hon. James Abiodun Faleke, a member of the House of Representatives who was the running mate to the late Audu.

At the height of the crisis, the group loyal to the Governor declared Hadi Ametuo, the then Chairman of the party, suspended. An “Acting Chairman” was anointed, a situation which drew the ire of the National Headquarters of the party.

The battle for the soul of the party dragged to the last Congresses of the party from the Wards to State level. The Haddi Ametuo Group held a parallel Congress which was rejected by the Party secretariat.

The party became polarised in May 2018 when two different executive councils emerged following the holding of two parallel congresses by the two main factions of the party.While Governor Yahaya Bello and the state executives recognised the Abdullahi Bello-led executives, the James Faleke group recognised the one led by Ametuo. The national leadership of the party recognised the Bello-led exco and rejected that of the Ametuo faction.

In June 2018, the Ametuo group dragged the party and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to court over the fallout out of the party congresses. Despite series of interventions, the group refused to withdraw the case, vowing to pursue it to a logical conclusion until it is recognised as the authentic exco in the state.

However, peace has finally returned to the party as Governor Yahaya Bello, who is seeking reelection and has been working assiduously to put the party in perfect shape ahead of the governorship election last weekend reconciled the two warring parties. At the end of the reconciliation, the Ametuo group promised to withdraw all the court cases and join hands with the Abdullahi Bello-led executives to secure victory for APC in the state.

A top source close to the reconciliation told Daily Independent on condition of anonymity that the Governor was the party that first reached out to the Haddi Ametuo Group through the State Chairman of the party. He added that the fact that the trio of the State Governor, Alh. Yahaya Bello; the State Chairman, Hon. Abdullahi Bello and the immediate past Chairman, Hon. Haddi Ametuo are all of the Ebira extraction made it easy for them to reach a truce.

In his opening remarks, the Chairman of the party, Abdullahi Bello said the meeting was called at the instance of the governor to bring the groups together for discussions and resolution of their grievances.

He said Hadi Ametuo has shown great support and cooperation towards resolving the crisis within the party. He told the Governor that the Hadi Ametuo led group worked for the APC in 2015 and after the demise of Prince Abubakar Audu, some of them decided to work with Governor Bello while others stayed away. He noted that despite the rift, Hadi Ametuo-led exco remained in APC.

On his part, Hon Hadi Ametuo congratulated the governor for the success of the party in the last elections where APC recorded 2/3 senatorial seats, 7/9 House of Representatives seats, 25/25 House of Assembly Seats and the presidential election with wide margin.

While presenting their demand, Ametuo commended the governor for his reconciliation approach and said they were appreciative of the move.

He thanked the governor that after all they did, the governor as the executive governor of the state did not stop anybody from entering the state or intimidate any member of the group.

Ametuo said the group had only three request before the party executive which include; Arrears of monthly allowances of the former excos, harmonisation of party structure from the state down to local government and ward level to accommodate some members of his group and appointment of his members into positions in government.

He declared that the whole issue between them is over today noting that the time to forgive each other and forget the past has come.

The governor in his remarks sincerely appreciated Hadi Ametuo and his group. He commended the decision of the Ametuo group for coming up for reconciliation. While recognising the group as the pioneer exco of the party, he said he has built the party to become much more formidable as it is today citing the recent electoral successes as a pointer.

Accepting the conditions of the group, the governor assured the group that there were lots of benefits aside the three demands they had put forward and he will ensure they benefits from the party.

Addressing the press after the meeting, former treasurer of the party, Hon Yahaya Ade Ismail said “the disagreement between the two groups is over. We are assuring Kogites and all APC members that we will work as one family to win the next governorship election for our leader, His Excellency Alhaji Yahaya Bello and move the state forward based on how he led the party to victory in the last elections”.

”We have resolved today to work together as one united family. It is only a bastard who will build a house and use his hands to pull it down. We don’t want a repeat of what happened in Zamfara state to happen in Kogi; hence the decision of the two warring groups to bury their hatchets and work together to move the party forward and the state forward”.

”The governor has acceded to our demands and we have also agreed to end all hostilities including the pending Court case in the interest of peace, and development under the leadership of Governor Yahaya Bello”.

Also speaking during the briefing, the Director-General on Media and Publicity to Kogi State Governor, Kingsley Fanwo said Governor Bello is committed to ensuring peace in the party. He said none of the returning members will be discriminated against; saying everyone will be carried along in running the party affairs.

“The Governor expressed strong commitment to incorporate the returning members into the scheme of things in his government and the party and thanked the Hadi Ametuo-led Group for committing to reconciliation and his re-election”.

“Ametuo insisted on carrying along all that served under him when he was Chairman, the situation which gave birth to yesterday’s reconciliation meeting.

“The Governor was honest to tell them he has no power in substituting Executives. He said that would amount to perpetrating illegality. But he assured them of a few slots in his government in the true spirit of reconciliation”.

“On his part, Alh. Haddi Ametuo has agreed to withdraw his case challenging the emergence of the Abdullahi Bello- led State Executive Committee”.

With the recent development, pundits believe the only straw the internal opponents was holding on has been broken. They also believed that the fact that all parties have agreed to work together is a tacit approval of the indirect primary adopted by the constitutionally recognized State Exco of the party, which is the Abdullahi Bello-led executive.

Stakeholders and Governor Yahaya Bello during the reconciliation

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