Tony Osauzo and Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
The leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State is rejecting the list of elected executives from four local government areas where parallel local government congresses were held on Saturday.
Parallel congresses were held in Owan West due to a tussle between factions loyal to Prof. Julius Ihonvbere and former Deputy Governor Reverend Peter Obadan on one side, and Hon Ojo Asein and Frank Ilaboya on the other side.
In Owan East, the congress was not held as there were conflicts of interest between Deputy Whip of the House of Representatives Hon. Pally Iriase and the Council Chairman, Andrew Osigwe, supported by one Alhaji Lawani Ganiyu.
Two persons were injured in Owan East as hoodlums, allegedly on the instruction of the council chairman, disrupted the process.
In Ovia North East, party leaders who refused to agree on harmonisation and consensus, presented two lists of elected executives.
Some APC leaders were said to have deliberately avoided the local government congress in Egor local government area for reasons yet to be known.
A top government official, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that the decision to reject the lists was as a result of flouting party directives, which had asked members to opt for harmonisation and consensus rather than conduct parallel congresses.
The source said the Edo APC believed in people participating in the election of leaders instead of one person writing a list from the comfort of his bedroom.
On his part, Hon. Iriase said the way out of the log jam in Owan East was for leaders to sit down and resolve the issue based on the directives of APC National Executive Council (NEC) that the present zoning arrangement should be maintained.
He reiterated that no congress was held in Owan East because some persons rejected the present zoning arrangement.
Iriase said it was too late for positions to be re-zoned in Owan East.
“In our own specific case, a very large group says we cannot continue on the path of impunity. The retaining of zoning formulate worked out in the ward congresses and there was peace,” he said.
“The gathering today was meant for merrymaking and healing the wounds that arose from the way the local government elections were held. You can see that those who do not want this party to grow in peace have turned it to something else. The contentious issue in Owan East is that NEC has said zoning should remain and we should use it at all levels.
“The sticking point is that a group is saying we must jettison the decision of the National Executive position. I cannot see why any person is saying we should forget what the NEC said and go back to re-zoning at this late hour. That is the bone of contention. Until we resolve that, you cannot start filing names on the basis of consensus.”
In other parts of the state where the congresses were peaceful, Monday Osoh was elected Chairman of APC in Esan South East, while Mr Ogbejele Idojei was elected chairmen of Esan North East local government.
Leader of the party in the locality, Prince Joe Okojie, said the peaceful congress has shown that the party is repositioned for electoral victory.
He said the party members were happy that they were carried along during the consensus arrangement.
In Ovia South West, Mr Peter Ajayi was elected chairman.