From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) on Sunday approved and issued an updated schedule of activities and guidelines for the conduct of the party’s nationwide Ward Congresses scheduled to commence Saturday July 31, 2021. 
The statement signed by the National Secretary, APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), Sen. John James Akpanudoedehe, revealed that purchase of nomination forms for Ward, Local Government Area/Councils and State Congresses will take place from July 19 to August 28, 2021.
It further revealed that the screening of aspirants for the Ward party’s positions will commence from July 29 to July 30, 2021 while ward Congresses will hold July 31, 2021 and Appeals arising from Ward Congresses will hold between August 2 to August 7, 2021.
According to the notice; “In line with Article 11:A sub-section (i-xiii) and article 16(i) of the Party’s Constitution (as Amended), the APC will be organising its congresses across the 36 states and FCT to elect its Wards, Local Governments and States Officials. Only Wards and Local Government Areas stipulated in Sections 156 of the Electoral Act and in part I&II of the First Schedule to the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as Amended) are recongised.
“The Caretaker Committee of the party, in a bid to ensure open, credible and fair congresses that reflect the sanctity of internal democracy in the party, issues a guiding regulation for the nationwide congresses of the party. It is binding on all persons coordinating and participating in all Congresses,” the statement read.
On Ward Congress Committee (WCC), the ruling party noted: “Each state of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) shall for the purpose of the party’s 2021 congresses have a committee of seven persons who are to be selected based on their proven integrity.”
“They shall be appointed and supervised by the Caretaker Committee. This committee shall be referred to as the Ward Congress Committee (WCC). The members of the committees will be posted to places outside their states of recruitment. It shall be composed of a Chairman, Secretary and five other members, One of whom shall be a woman (where possible). The committee shall be responsible for the conduct of the Ward congress exercise in their place of posting.
“The WCC shall appoint three persons from any other part of the State other than the Ward in which they will serve (to be referred as Local Ward Congress Committee (LWCC). Who shall be responsible for the conduct of the Screening/Congress in their assigned Ward under the directives/supervision of the WCC. The WCC shall ensure that the exercise is all-inclusive,” it warned.
On Appeal Committee, the Caretaker Committee noted: “There shall be an Appeal Committee for the Wards. Each state and FCT shall have a 5-member Ward Congress Appeals Committee whose members are recruited from outside their states of origin by the CECPC. They shall be responsible for the hearing of appeals arising from the Ward Congresses.”
It also wrote on the venue for the Ward Congresses, noting: “The election venue shall be the APC ward offices where they exist. Where none exists or the existing one for any reason, becomes unsuitable, the WCC shall identify a convenient and conducive venue for the congress (provided it is not a private residence or place of worship or office). The general public must be notified of the venue at least 12 hours before the commencement of the congresses.”
On the cost of the forms, it noted: “Aspirants for the position of Ward Chairman will purchase forms at the cost of N10, 000. Forms for Ward Vice Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer positions cost N5,000. Other offices cost N2,000. All delegates will pay N1,000 for the form.
“On the composition of Congresses, the Ward congress shall consist of all registered members of the party in the ward. All newly registered members from the updated 2021 party membership register are eligible to participate in the Ward Congress.”
“Congresses Special Provisions, the Ward party registers/membership registration forms shall serve as the Voter Register, while the Registration slip serves as the Voter’s card in each voting precinct (Ward). Aspirants contesting for any post in the party must have INEC Voters Card.
“In addition to waivers granted to officers seeking re-election, Waiver is hereby granted to persons who joined the party recently to vote and be voted for, provided that their names are in the Ward Registers.
“Accreditation of intending party voters for all congresses shall be conducted and approved by the respective National Congress Committees at all levels.
“The Caretaker Committee reserves the right to cancel any election in areas where there are irregularities or violence in the conduct of election. It is the final appeal authority in all election disputes.
“Any aspirant that is indicted of any irregularity, violence or electoral malpractice shall, subject to a fair hearing, be either suspended or expelled from the party and shall forfeit his/her right to participate in any future elections of the party for any position.
“The WCC shall respectively display/announce the names of candidates vying for party positions in Wards congresses and the positions they are vying for before the conduct of the election.
“The National Executive Ccommittee (NEC) has granted waivers to new members ( those who applied for such) and also to all Officers at Ward, Local Government and State levels in line with the provision of Article 13 (4) xv, provided that no officer elected in this exercise shall serve in the same capacity beyond the maximum term prescribed in Article 17 I & ii of the APC Constitution (as Amended) a member who started or continued with litigation against the Party after the directives of NEC is not eligible to vote or be voted for in the respective congresses.
“Without prejudice to these guidelines, all aspirants with valid court Judgement(s) with respect to previous forms purchase are eligible to participate in the exercise. All persons vying for the position of youth leader must be persons aged between 18-35years. All Aspirants must show evidence of financial membership of the party,” the statement read.