Lagos APC, PDP test strengths at Ifako/Ijaye bye-election
INEC assures electorate of free, fair and credible polls
The rivalry between the Lagos State chapters of ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), will again come to the fore tomorrow as the bye-election for Ifako-Ijaye Federal Constituency holds.
Following the demise of Mr. Elijah Adewale, who represented the constituency under the platform of the APC, on July 20, the PDP and APC, which are among the six political parties to slug it out tomorrow appears to be the two major contenders.
While the APC is harping on the fact it won the seat in the 2015 National Assembly elections and would be having same feat in tomorrow’s exercise, the PDP is hoping to cash in on the dwindling popularity of the APC, which has become prominent in the past one year.
Spokesmen of both parties in separate discussions with The Guardian yesterday said their parties would approach the election with all the determination to win.
The APC’s mouthpiece, Mr. Joe Igbokwe said there was nothing to fret over because his party is satisfied with the preparations so far made by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and would be looking forward to adequate security from concerned agencies to prevent any unforeseen circumstances.
Igbokwe’s only worry is that PDP members may likely make trouble “knowing fully well that their party has nothing to offer but as long as there are adequate security measures, there is no cause for alarm.”
He said the APC’s house is intact in Lagos adding, “we have an acceptable candidate, in the person of Akinwunmi Nurudeen Olaitan, who has all that it takes to win the election.”
The PDP spokesman, Taofik Gani expressed confidence that his party will spring surprises like it did in eight federal constituencies and six seats at the State Assembly during the 2015 elections where it defeated the APC “for the first time after 16 years.”
He however said the credibility of tomorrow’s polls depends on how the electoral umpire will conduct it and the way security agents will handle it because “that is of great concern to our party.”
Gani said, “We are hoping the APC will not deploy the use of Federal and State might to influence the outcome of the election. If the peoples’ will is allowed, the PDP is in a vantage position to win.”
But findings by The Guardian showed that the PDP might not go into the election as a united family, which of course poses a big threat to its chances.
The name of Mrs. Fatimo Mohammed, who allegedly won the PDP primary for the bye-election was substituted with another person whom The Guardian learnt, belongs to the Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff’s faction. This has been causing some bickering among the PDP faithful in the area.
The controversial removal of Mohammed’s name was however linked to the ongoing factional leadership crisis between Sheriff’s group and the Sen. Ahmed Makarfi’s Caretaker Committee.
A source within the party said, “Although, it was true that the issue may have link with the national leadership crisis because the person whose name was used to replace Mohammed allegedly belongs to the Sheriff’s camp, the truth is that there also a crisis of ego among the Lagos PDP executive members, which is the primary factor.” The source further disclosed that all efforts to resolve the issue before now were futile.
The National Chairman, African Democratic Party (ADC), Chief Ralph Nwosu said his party is hoping to take the shine tomorrow but all depends on how the election is conducted.He encouraged supporters of ADC to come out in a large number to vote for the party’s candidate, while he urged them to eschew any act of violence even at provocation.
Meanwhile, INEC’s spokesman, Mr. Rotimi Lawrence Oyekanmi assured the electorate that the commission is ready for the election and has also deployed necessary materials that would make the exercise successful.
In a conversation with The Guardian yesterday, Oyekanmi said the commission has cleared six political parties for the bye-election.According to him, “The parties and candidates cleared are Akinwunmi Olaitan of the APC, Babatope Akinyele of the PDP, Ajiboye Olorunnisomo of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Yusuf Fatai of the Action Alliance (AA), Adebayo Akanbi, Alliance for Democracy (AD) and Olugbenga Owolabi of the African Democratic Congress (ADC).
He also disclosed that INEC has 340, 634 registered voters for the bye-election and had also distributed Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) to eligible registered voters in the area.He assured that election would be free and fair, while he advised politicians and their supporters on the need to be peaceful and orderly during and after the polls.
There are 335 polling units and 687 voting points where accreditation and voting would be conducted simultaneously. The commission will also engage 50 Supervisory Presiding Officers (SPOs) and 3, 440 corps members for the election.