Kwara State All Progressive Congress (APC) on Saturday held a hugely successful and carnival-like ward congress across the state, with tens of thousands of party faithful gathering in various designated venues to affirm their choice of new leaders at the ward level.
The congress took place across the 193 electoral wards of the state, observed by designated officials from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the APC headquarters in Abuja.
The conduct of the congress was peaceful and carnival-like across the state, with members mesmerized with varying lyrics depicting the good standing of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq among party faithful and the people of the state north, south, and central of the state.
From Oro in Kwara South, to Gwanara in Kwara North, and Adewole and Asa in Kwara Central, members unanimously chose core loyalists of Governor AbdulRazaq to lead the party, citing a need for harmony, peace, and the giant strides of the administration and its increasing popularity among the masses in the last two years.
The party adopted a consensus arrangement across the state, as had earlier been announced, with officials announcing nominations of contenders and delegates affirming their acceptance of same.
Party insiders say the exercise was preceded by various intra-party negotiations and consensus building among stakeholders to arrive at a peaceful and rancour-free ward congress.
In Adewole ward of Ilorin West, the base of the Governor, thousands gathered in a carnival-like environment to affirm the nomination of Hon. Yusuf Bello from Akala zone of Adewole Ward as the chairman.
Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq commended process which he described as “hugely successful, credible and peaceful.”
“The impressive outing and the peaceful conduct of the ward congress again underscores the preference of Kwara people for peace, progressive and inclusive growth that our administration stands for,” the Governor said in a terse preliminary statement on the congress.
“I congratulate our party chieftains who have emerged from the exercise and I urge them to see this as an opportunity to serve and unite the party and deepen the democratic process.”
Most of the new ward executives have emerged as at Saturday evening while the process was still ongoing in some other parts.
Speaking with newsmen after the exercise, the state caretaker chairman of APC Alhaji Abdullahi Samari described the exercise as peaceful, credible and “truly representative of the wishes of our people and stakeholders.”
“We are happy with the reports about the congress of our party, the All Progressives Congress. We are also grateful that it has been peaceful all through. This is achieved because of the posture of the leader of our party in Kwara State, Governor Abdulrahman AbdulRazaq. He is a man of the people. He is a man who believes in democracy and allows party men to air their views. That’s why we had 100% perfection in congresses that took place across the state today,” he said.
“Our men went to the field with the objective of consensus all through as a preference that will further unite the APC family and exactly that is what we had today. We want to give kudos to our governor who has been able to initiate that. So, the reports filtering in indicate that there were no problems whatsoever and our people accept the outcome of the exercise.”
Special Adviser to the Governor on Political Matters Abdulateef Gidado Alakawa described the process as purely democratic and representation of opinion of the people.
Alakawa said that the process of choosing wards’ leaders for the party shows wide acceptance of the Governor as the leader of the party.
“What happened here is a consensus but it is not a consensus without normal procedure. Candidates were nominated, counter nomination was called which there was none. It is just an affirmation of the governor because his leadership has made us proud,” he said.
He urged the new leaders of the party to justify the confidence reposed in them and carry everybody along in the scheme of things.