The election of the Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) which was held at the premises of the state headquarters of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) has continued to generate controversy. HEAD POLITICS, MUMINI ABDULKAREEM writes on the issue.
The Kwara State chapter of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Friday 15th September, came out with a new list of executives to pilot its affairs for the next 12 months in the state.
But since the release of the new list, a wing in the council comprising fifteen political parties in the state have rejected the election which has again brought to the fore the struggle for the soul of the council.
Among the thirty-six registered political parties in the state, 24 of them that were present at the election endorsed the exercise while no fewer than fifteen boycotted the event which this medium confirmed held at the INEC headquarters.
Those that were present at the exercise included UPN, PPN, DA, PPP, PDC, NAC, ID, NNPP, YDP, KOWA, PDP, MPPP, ADP, NCP, NDLP, PRP, DPP, ADC, PDC, ADC, DPC, Hope, LP, NAC and ADC among others.
Among the 15 parties that reneged were Accord, AA, ACD, APA, ACPN, APGA, CPP, PPA, UDP, UPP, SDP, AD, NPC and DPP, including others.
Since then however, it has been one action leading to another reaction among the factions of IPAC in the state, which has seen both wings disagreeing on virtually everything regarding the forthcoming local government elections in the state scheduled for November 18, 2017.
According to the larger wing of the party in a release after the exercise signed by its new chairman and publicity secretary, Comrade AbdulKareem Onagun and Mr Abolude Samuel respectively, made available to Pilot Politics, Onagun solicited the support from members of the council for a successful tenure, adding that everybody remain winners.
Onagun, who also doubles as the chairman of the Labour Party in the state, while giving his acceptance speech after the exercise, called for the postponement of the deadline for the submission of the nomination forms by chairmanship and councillorship candidates in the exercise and thanked the national representatives of the National Action Council (NAC), Alliance for Democracy (AD) and African Democratic Congress (ADC) and state INEC officials who monitored the exercise.
He gave names of other officers that emerged to include Vice Chairman, Kayode Olabanji of the Peoples Progressive Party (PPP), Assistant Secretary, Ajisafe Adeshina of Action Democratic Party (ADP), Financial Secretary, Bankole Adedeji Yusuf of Democratic Peoples Congress (DPC), and PRO, Abdullahi Bada, Young Democratic Party (YDP) and Treasurer, Prince Inawole Eyitayo of Democratic Alternative (DA).
“This request when granted will avail those candidates who are very far away from the township and whose terrain was bad the ample opportunity to participate.
“Also, some of the party’s candidates who are just returning from the Holy Land will also have the same opportunity. This is particularly necessary in the light of KWSEIC earlier reason to extend the exercise for two weeks to accommodate those that went for pilgrimage in the state who are contestants.
“We therefore urged you to consider this request based on its merit as all the stakeholders earlier agreed with your reason for the extension in the first place”, IPAC added in the statement.
But shortly after the statement went out, the 15 aggrieved parties under the name Congress of Nigerian Political Party (CNPP), disagreed, adding that the 2017 election must hold as scheduled by the Kwara Independent Electoral Commission (KWSEIC).
The body, which had earlier threatened to go to court if the election was shifted during stakeholders meeting with political parties at KWSEIC Fate road office, rejected the call for postponement as demanded by IPAC.
In a statement made available to Pilot Politics jointly signed by its chairman, Alhaji Adebayo Lawal, Secretary, Prince Olufemi Adeleke, PRO, David Abu Ifabiyi and Welfare Officer, Comrade Mobolaji Ibrahim, IPAC further rejected the election.
“The rouse of a news item being peddled via the back door by an extraneous group calling for the postponement of the forthcoming local government election is self-serving and uncalled for, hence, it should not be heeded by the electoral body conducting this very important election in Kwara State.
“On close scrutiny of the source of the call, we found a set of people making the false claim of being the newly elected officers of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Kwara State chapter and led by comrade Abdulmumin Onagun.
“As all political parties are by right members of IPAC, it remains on record that the last elections of the State IPAC was conducted last in September, 2016 by the officials sent for the people as usual from the National Headquarters in Abuja which produced the Chairman in the person of Alhaji Abdurahaman Omotosho of Kowa Party along with other State Executives of the body.
“To date, no official from Abuja headquarters of IPAC came down to Kwara State to conduct another election of the executive committee of the state IPAC.
“In fact, the whole of the North-Central zone elections of IPAC had been placed on hold untill further notice comes from headquarters of IPAC. In view of this, all the people parading themselves as the newly elected executives of IPAC are impostors who are hereby seriously warned to desist from the illegal act or risk prosecution in the appropriate court of law.
Also, their unfortunate pronouncements on the forthcoming local government election slated for November 2017 should be discountenanced as seriously lacking on merit. We are therefore calling on the Kwara State Independent Electoral Commission (KWSIEC) to go ahead with all the arrangements being made for the local government’s elections to hold peacefully, freely and fairly in accordance with their drawn-out schedule that had been distributed to all political parties in the state.
Hardly had the CNPP released its notice than the immediate outgone chairman of IPAC, whose election was alluded to by the aggrieved CNPP ‘ratified’ the election and advised the CNPP to stop misinforming the people on the IPAC election.
The KOWA party boss warned that those against the election of the new leadership of the body in the state risk sanctions from the national leadership of the council.
“As the immediate past IPAC chairman in Kwara State, the date of the election for all the states in the North Central geopolitical zone was Friday, 15th September 2017 and the elections of IPAC have been held in all the states in the geopolitical zone, including Kwara State.
“Those complaining were all informed of the election by my humble self, I was told to plead with the National officers who came to conduct the election from Abuja to postpone the exercise which is certainly beyond my capacity.
“Majority of the registered political parties in Kwara State were already present at the INEC office venue, Ilorin, hence they boycotted the election.
“The current state of IPAC headed by Comrade AbdulKareem Onagun of Labour Party and other six (6) exco members were duly elected, I was there as the state chairman then, INEC and national officers from Abuja did justice to the election.
“People, including those that signed the erroneous publication should desist from misinforming Kwarans and members of the public in general as they risk the sanctions of the National leadership of IPAC.
“The new officers of Kwara IPAC will soon receive their certificates of return as soon as other zones are done with their elections.
However, as the parties involved continue to trade blame over the issue, there seems to be no sign of the tempo of the tantrums being lowered for now, especially entering the final weeks leading to the local government election. But just as Onagun’s predecessor, Alhaji AbdurRahman Omotosho had noted, the Certificate of Return to the Kwara chapter by the national executives is very central to the whole issue on ground and how long will that take remain to be seen.