The dust raised by the last congresses of the All Progressives Congress in Oyo State is yet to settle as loyalists of Governor Abiola Ajimobi have been accused of deceiving the APC National Secretariat with fake bank documents to claim participation in the exercise.
Ajimobi has been involved in a battle for control of the party with the Unity Forum, a group comprising adherents of the late Alhaji Lam Adesina, former governor of the state, called Lamists; the CPC, led by Alhaji Adebayo Shittu, the Minister of Communications; Senator Monsurat Sunmonu; Prof Adeolu Akande, the Chairman of NITDA; nine of the 14 House of Representatives members from the state; about 15 former commissioners under Ajimobi, including Dr. Yunus Akintunde, former Works Commissioner; 26 former local government chairmen under Ajimobi; and about 80 per cent of the elders caucus of the party in the state, led by its Chairman, Dr. Busari Adebisi, who was Chairman of the governor’s political group, SENACO.
The Unity Forum in a petition addressed to the National Chairman of the party and copied to President Muhammadu Buhari, members of the National Working Committee of the APC, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Central Bank and the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, alleged that the Transfer Forms of Agodi Branch of First Bank, which was presented as proof of payment for nomination forms for the ward congress, was fake.
Quoting the number of the Transfer Form of First Bank, which is purportedly dated May 4, as 29173701, that it stated is fake, the Unity Forum claimed Ajimobi’s loyalists only paid the nomination sum of N20.06 million to the account of APC at the Agodi Branch of First Bank on May 7.
The petition identified those who made the lodgement on May 7, 2018 as Akeem Adeyemi, Said Fijabi and Segun Odebunmi, who paid, N4.2 million each, except that Said Fijabi and Akeem Adeyemi lodged the same amount of N4.2 million twice same day, bringing the total lodgement to N21 million, which is the same amount purportedly paid on May 4, 2018 for the same purpose.
The three men who made the lodgement are all members of the House of Representatives and are loyal to Ajimobi.
Of the 14 members of House of Representatives in the state, nine are members of the Unity Forum, while four are loyal to the governor.
The 14th, Hon. Olatoye Temitope, is not aligned with any of the two factions.
The petition, signed by Dr. Wasiu Olatunbosun, wondered if truly Ajimobi’s loyalists paid N20.06 million on May 4 for the ward congresses as they claimed before the Appeals Committee of the APC, why will they pay the same sum again on May 7, a day after the congress.
A member of the Unity Forum said: “Will Governor Ajimobi’s contestants pay twice for the same set of forms? The clear deduction is that a fake bank document dated May 4, 2018 was presented to the Congress and Appeal Committees of the APC to deceive them when in actual fact, they only made payment on Monday May 7th, the day after the congress. By that act of deception, they clearly demonstrated that they knew that not paying before the congress automatically precludes them from the congress. It is very sad that people in high places will descend so low to deceive their party and the people. It is total lack of integrity.”
Members of the Unity Forum when contacted said they did not want to dwell on the conduct of the Congress and Appeal panels, saying documentary evidence from the bank has confirmed that the governor’s team did not collect nomination forms for the ward congress.
“Even if your father is the Vice Chancellor and your mother is the Admission Officer, no university will give you admission in Nigeria if you do not pay for and collect JAMB form. That is the situation with the Ajimobi team,” said a member of the Unity Team.
The petition, entitled: ILLEGAL CONDUCT BY AJIMOBI FACTION, OF A PURPORTED APC WARD CONGRESS, IN FAVOUR OF PERSONS WHO DID NOT OBTAIN NOMINATION FORMS,” reads in full: It has come to our attention that an illegal ward congress was conducted in Oyo State on 6th May 2018, by some group of persons who parade themselves as the Ajimobi Faction. This illegal/unlawful exercise is indeed worrisome, as it compromises the integrity of this quintessential party.
The Process of Becoming An Aspirant
There is no disputation as to the fact that the All Progressives Congress (APC) is regulated by the Guidelines for Wards, Local Government Areas and States Congress. It is also not in doubt that the said Guideline prescribes the procedure for Nomination of Candidates [for party positions], in the following manner:
Aspirants to party positions in the wards, local governments and States will be elected at the various congress and will be required to be persons with the highest degree of Character, Competence, Capacity and shall pay the specified fees for the party nomination form. The fees are as follows;
i. Ward Chairman N10, 000.00
ii. Other Offices N 2,000.00”
By the above token, it is required of any aspirant at the ward level to pay the above prescribed fees in a designated bank, before he can obtain the Nomination Forms. Also, in the Guideline, this mandatory condition is provided for in the manner reproduced under reference, to wit:
Sale of Forms
All payments for purchase of Nomination Forms shall be made directly into All Progressives Congress accredited banks as follows:
4. Bank Name: First Bank Plc.
Account Number: 202-461-1967
Account Name: All Progressives Congress (APC)
The fees shall be paid through the accredited banks and deposit tellers shall be evidence of payment and will be required for the collection of forms. All completed forms must be returned at least 24 hours before the conduct of the elections.
It is imperative to reference the above provisions of the Guidelines, in view of the purported congress conducted at the ward level, by the aforementioned group of persons who describe themselves as the Ajimobi Faction. Of utmost importance is their non-compliance with mandatory provisions of the Guidelines, which include the fact that Nomination Forms must be obtained before a person can lawfully participate in the congress.
Put differently, as at 6th of May 2018, when the ward congresses were conducted in Oyo State, the purported contestants of the said faction of the APC had not obtained the Nomination Forms. The bank transfer form for a sum of N21, 000,000.00 being brandished by the said group was backdated to 4th of May, 2018 (First Bank, Ibadan Agodi Branch transfer form Number 29173701) but no money were paid into the First Bank Account Number 202-461-1967, until the 7th of May 2018, when some persons who did not contest in the Congress decided to stagger the payment in lump sums, as opposed to individual payments. Their names include:
1. Akeem Adeyemi paid the sum of N4, 200,000.00 on 7th May 2018.
2. Segun Odebunmi paid the sum of N4, 200,000.00 on 7th May 2018.
3. Akeem Adeyemi paid the sum of N4, 260, 000.00 on 7th May 2018.
4. Saheed Fijabi paid the sum of N4, 200, 000.00 on 7th May 2018
5. Saheed Fijabi (again) paid the sum of N4, 260, 000.00 on 7th May 2018
The five payments sum up to N21, 060,000.00, same amount as the purported payment of 4th of May. Could Governor Ajimobi’s group have paid twice for the same set of forms?
There is no foundation for a continued operation of the Ajimobi Faction. The need to emphasize this point cannot be overemphasized; given the fact its activities portend grave legal consequences for the party; especially as they relate to the National Convention and other activities of the party. In essence, the prejudicial steps being taken by the Ajimobi Faction against the party’s interest and that of other members will in no time cause the opening of litigation floodgates, especially because internal remedies within the party have been exhausted.
1. In the light of the above, we urge you Sir, not to recognize the said purported contestants; and not to accord them any benefit that may be attached to the status of lawful and proper contestants of the party at the ward and subsequent levels.
2. Conversely Sir, we humbly urge that the congress conducted involving the Unity Forum of the APC-Oyo State, be declared as the only legal congress, with recognition of all the attendant perquisites.