By; OLADELE ADEDAYO, Ado-Ekiti
As the forthcoming Congress of the All Progressives Congress (APC) draws closer,some notable loyalists of former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in Ekiti State at the weekend expressed grave concern over how they were prevented from attending a stakeholders’ meeting called by the Ekiti State Chapter of the Party.
The meeting was held within the premises of the State Government House Ground in Ado- Ekiti and was attended by Governor Kayode Fayemi, his Deputy, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi, Minister of Trade and Industry, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, National Assembly members, State Executive Committee and former political office holders.
Part of the issues discussed included: The coming congreses, party discipline and unity, continuous registration exercise, and support for the present administration of Governor Kayode Fayemi .
At the meeting, the Presidential Adviser on Political Matters, Babafemi Ojudu, who has been having a running battle with Governor Fayemi and former Minister of Works, Senator Dayo Adeyeye and other Tinubu’s core loyalists , were conspicuously absent.
Speaking with journalists through telephone conversation, Ojudu revealed that he was invited to the meeting, but could not attend due to official engagements .
“Yes, I can confirm to you that I was invited . I got a text message inviting me , but I couldn’t make it because I have to be with the Vice President , Prof. Yemi Osinbajo in Jigawa and Kano States on for official assignments.
“I really apologise to our members for this and I seek their understanding”.
While Adeyeye, who is the National Chairman of a pro-Tinubu group christened Southwest Agenda for 2023 (SWAGA), confirmed to journalists that he and top members of the group were precluded from the meeting.
He said: “I was not invited . I don’t know anything about the proposed meeting. I didn’t get invitation from anyone”, Adeyeye said.
A communique issued at the end of the meeting and signed by the APC State chairman, Hon. Paul Omotoso, on Monday,stated that those holding elective and appointive positions under the present government won’t be eligible to vie for any party positions in the coming congresses.
The leaders and stakeholders present affirmed that the APC , is one big, united family, and that there is only one unified party structure that accommodates the Interests of all bonafide party members.
The meeting further stressed the need for all party members to do away with divisive tendencies and work towards ensuring the party is more inclusive and consultative across the board in reaching key decisions that affect all members.
Speaking about the congresses, the party explained that “Only fully registered and financial upright members of the party shall have the right to vote and be voted for into any of the elective positions.
“All elective party positions prescribed by the Constitution of the APC 2014 (as amended) shall for the purposes of the congresses be filled by democratically conducted elections subject where possible to consensus, provided that where a candidate has emerged by consensus for an elective position, a vote of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ by ballot or voice shall be called to ensure that it was not an imposition.
“No member of the party that currently holds an elective or appointive position in government or is in the service of the Government of Ekiti State shall be eligible to stand for election to any position in the party.
“Any member that has served for a continuous period of eight years on a particular party position shall not be eligible to stand for election to the same position”, it stated.
However, it was a general consensus at the meeting that all women and differently abled people shall only pay 50% of the cost of the nomination forms for any position being contested.
They agreed that officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security personnel shall be present during congresses to ensure a transparent, fair, safe, and secure process”.