A party leadership tussle has ensued between two factions of the All Progressives Congress in Plateau state.
Recall that the immediate past Secretary to the Plateau State Government and one-time member of the State House of Assembly, Rufus Bature, was on Saturday named as the new state party chairman elected via consensus.
He emerged as Chairman-elect at a congress organized by the party with the State Governor, Simon Lalong in attendance in Jos Plateau state.
The congress however recorded notable absentees from some party leaders including the Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen and the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Ayuba Abok.
The consensus arrangement reached also produced other party executives to pilot the affairs of the ruling party in the state, however, another faction of the party led by a former Chairmanship aspirant for Jos North Local Government Area, Ishaya Itse held a separate congress where Itse emerged as Chairman.
Speaking to journalists, in Jos, on Tuesday, Itse described the congress which produced his rival, Bature, as an exercise in futility.
Hon Ishaya Itse said, “I am the only authentic Chairman of APC in Plateau state. We also elected over thirty-five other officials to run the affairs of the party in the state during our congress held last Saturday.”
Executive members of the Itse-led faction of the APC in a statement signed by its Secretary, Nanman Zhatau, said, “Contrary to the party’s guidelines for the conduct of the ward and local government congresses, what happened during the state congress in Plateau State was worse than what was witnessed at the local government congresses.
Zhatau alleged that while the police invaded the venue of their congress, the other faction was allowed to conduct one at the Crest Hotel. “The acclaimed winners (of the Bature faction) cannot show evidence of their bank tellers and when they paid their money for the various positions, because the last date for the purchase of nomination forms ended on Monday 11 October, 2021.” He said.
Attempts to contact Rufus Bature were unsuccessful. However, a former Acting State Chairman of the APC, Enoch Fanmak who is also a member of the Bature’s faction said, “If actually there is a splinter group, they should have known that officials from the National Secretariat are coming, they should know where they are to contact them for all the necessary information.
“We know from the ward congresses, we started with consensus and we have been working on consensus. It is surprising for some people to say they are not aware of the consensus.
“Anybody who is claiming ignorance of the consensus arrangement, I think he is not a member of the APC. They said their executives have emerged, who monitored their election, where did they conduct the election? As far as I am concerned, there is only one leadership of the APC in Plateau state headed by a former Secretary to the Plateau state Government, Rufus Bature.”
Also when contacted, the outgoing APC Secretary, Hon Bashir Sati, said there is no splinter group in the APC as it was made clear to all party members that the Congresses would be on consensus.