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Lagos APC, PDP intensify drive for non-indigenes’ votes

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AGBAJE AMBODE

Lagos state governorship candidates, Ambode and Agbaje

AHEAD of the April 11 governorship election, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos are making frantic efforts to secure bulk votes from non-indigenes, especially Igbo residents, who form considerable percentage of voters in the state.

While the APC is emphasising the need for continuity, based on what it terms the 16 years of achievements by the Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the Babatunde Fashola administrations, the PDP is harping on the need for change. It argues that “the ruling APC has outlived its usefulness in government” and that the party “has done very little in infrastructure development, which is grossly below the income accruable to the state in the last 16 years.”

Yesterday, a Lagos monarch (names withheld) read the riot act to Igbo leaders in the state, over alleged plans to scuttle the ambition of the APC candidate, Akinwunmi Ambode, at the polls on Saturday.

The king said he was aware of such plans by Ndigbo and he was prepared to make life miserable for any group of people that sabotage his efforts to ensure that Ambode is elected as next governor of state.

The PDP in the state is also appealing to Lagosians to vote out the ruling party, which it accused of anti-people policies, draconian laws, corruption and a one-man show.”

In the same vein, Rivers and Imo states, which are controlled by the APC, but were lost to the PDP in the presidential and National Assembly polls, are battlegrounds.

The Rivers APC has since petitioned the National Chairman of INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, asking for immediate redeployment of the State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mrs. Gesila Khan, which it accused of colluding with the PDP and security agents to rig the Presidential/NASS elections.

Coming from the backdrop of the outcome of the presidential election, which placed both parties on a very tight rope in Lagos —though the poll favoured the APC — where the party also conceded some National Assembly seats to the PDP, particularly in some Igbo-dominated areas, a reliable source disclosed to The Guardian that the ruling party has since summoned the Igbo community to a meeting in Ikoyi for deliberations on how they could vote en masse for the APC.

According to the source, “The APC leaders and some traditional rulers, who were irked by the outcome of last Saturday’s presidential results in Lagos, made it clear to the Igbo’s that it would not be in their best interest if the state should slip into the hands of the PDP, which would be in the opposition as from May 29 when the APC would have formed the central government.”

Apart from the fact that the APC leaders directed the Igbo people to go back and talk to their people to make the right choice, the directives did not go without some measure of conditions that the representatives of the Igbo were made to accept.

Although the source did not disclose the conditions given to the Igbo leaders, it however, has to do with the investments of the Igbo people in the state, “which were huge and expansive.”

Reacting on the governorship election, Spokesman of the APC in Lagos, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, said the victory of President-elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, has foreclosed any serious contest between the Lagos PDP and APC. “I can assure you that our governorship candidate, Akinwunmi Ambode, is going to dust Jimi Agbaje.”

Igbokwe said many of the people, who voted against the APC during the presidential election, did so solely because President Goodluck Jonathan was in the race. “Now that Jonathan is out, the majority of them have shifted allegiance to the APC. There is no contest again and I can also assure you that next Saturday will be the end of the PDP, because it will cease from existence. I can see the party losing in Lagos, Kano, Imo and others on Saturday.”

The APC spokesman, however, dismissed insinuations that the leadership of the party is intimidating the Igbo community for support, saying: “There is no iota of truth in the statement.”

Calling on the citizens of Lagos to vote for progress and change, former PDP National Deputy Chairman, South West, Chief Olabode George, re-iterated that Lagos would continue to be run as a one-man show, “where an individual dominates and decides what happens.”

He said it was high time Lagosians liberated the state because the power that enthroned the outgoing governor of the state against the desires of even the APC members has succeeded again in foisting Ambode on the party. “It is only the electorate that could reject this one-man show through their votes,” said George.

George added that no party or individual could intimidate anybody to get his or her vote. “There is freedom of vote and expression,” he insisted.

He said it is important people of the state vote for change on Saturday because the APC has failed to develop the state commensurate to what it has earned in terms of Federal Allocation and internally generated revenue in the last 16 years.”

George added: “Agbaje has all that it takes to develop the state to the expectations of the citizens, instead of the one-man show we have all witnessed in the last 16 years.”

Visibly enraged, the Lagos monarch, who had summoned all the Igbo Ezes in Lagos to his palace, said the support of their kinsmen for the opposition party in the state could frustrate current efforts being made in all quarters to ensure that it is no longer in opposition to the Federal Government.

His words: “On Saturday, if any one of you goes against Ambode, that is your end. If it doesn’t happen within seven days, just know that I am a bastard and it’s not my father who gave birth to me.

“By the grace of God, I am the owner of Lagos for the time being. This is an undivided chair. The palace belongs to the dead and those coming in the future. On Saturday, I swear in the name of God, if anyone of you goes against my wish that Ambode will be the next governor of Lagos State, the person is going to die inside this water.

“For the Igbo and others in Lagos, they should go where the oba heads to. When they were coming to the state, they didn’t come with all their houses. But now they have properties in the state. So they must do my bidding. And that is the bidding of the ancestors of Lagos and God.

“I am not ready to beg you. Nobody knew how I picked Ambode. Jimi is my blood relation and I told him that he could never be governor in Lagos for now. The future belongs to God. I am not begging anybody, but what you people cannot do in Onitsha, Aba or anywhere you cannot do it here.

“If you do what I want, Lagos will continue to be prosperous for you; if you go against my wish, you will perish in the water.

“I am for the progress, growth and development in Lagos. Ambode is highly cerebral, he’s a symbol and he is going to deliver the message, which I have said. And he will govern the state for another eight years.

“He is going on a mission and God will give him the wisdom and knowledge to fulfill that mission. Almost a year ago, I declared that Ambode will be the next governor of Lagos and it will not change.

“From time immemorial, the previous occupiers of this house will say what they wanted after consultation with other people. And this hasn’t change and it will not change at this time.

“If not for the appeal from Asiwaju and my highly respected maternal father, the Awujale of Ijebu-Ode, all that is happening today would not have happened.”

On General Muhammadu Buhari’s victory, Akiolu said God chose him. “And God, who chose him, will be with him. It is God who decided the outcome of the polls. The trust, which Nigerians bestow on him, he must not let down.

“All that Lagos has lost since 1960 till now, with this, God has opened the way, and it will begin to come. I know he (Buhari) is a capable hand and God will be with him. It is government of progress.”

Responding, Dr. Gordian Dimojiaku the Eze Ndigbo of Amuwo-Oriade, Lagos, said they would do the bidding of the monarch and support the APC candidate.

In a swift reaction, spokesman of the PDP in Lagos, Taofik Gani, warned APC against intimidating or inducing opposition supporters from voting according to their conscience.

Gani called on the APC leaders to learn from what President Goodluck Jonathan did when he accepted defeat and immediately congratulated Buhari.

“Our party did not use federal might to intimidate or force anybody to vote against his or her wishes. It is, therefore, unacceptable and undemocratic for anybody to intimidate our supporters,” he stated

He said the ruling party has lost touch with the masses and may be voted out of power on Saturday.

“That is why they are resorting to intimidation and cause to force our people either to vote for their party or not to vote at all. This we will not accept and if for whatever purpose the outcome of the governorship election contradicts the wish of the majority, we will not accept it,” he stated.

Gani, however, appealed to the party’s supporters to remain calm and vote according to their desire. He posited that Lagos has always been in the opposition camp since the history of democracy in Nigeria “there is no cause to change that tradition now.”

A source in the Rivers APC told The Guardian that the party is concerned that if the REC is not redeployed, the party might suffer electoral misfortune.

The APC has intensified radio advert, which has been advocating for the people to vote for its gubernatorial candidate, Dakuku Peterside, as the state cannot afford to be governed by an opposition party as Buhari is to takeover from President Jonathan next month.

In a bid to gather support for the PDP governorship candidate, Nyesom Wike, from the riverine part of the state, two prominent members of the party, under the aegis of in Rivers Ijaw Peoples Forum, Ferdinand Alabraba and Silva Opusunju, have urged their kinsmen to vote against Peterside, who is also Ijaw.

They argued that Wike, the leader of PDP in Rivers State who, when it became necessary to be his brother’s keeper, rose to the occasion, stood for Jonathan, an Ijaw and son of the South-South zone.

“We are truly proud of our collective efforts as a party and congratulate ourselves. We note, with great sadness, that the APC leadership in Rivers State worked against the Niger Delta and the Ijaws in particular when it mattered most and collaborated actively in the conspiracy to scuttle the second term ambition of their Ijaw brother, President Jonathan.

“Rivers APC has, therefore, lost every right to seek the Ijaw support in the forthcoming elections,” they said.

“Forum urges all Rivers voters and Ijaws in particular and their friends to vote for Nyesom Wike for governor and our daughter, Dr Ipalibo Harry Banigo, for deputy governor, as this team has clearly demonstrated the capacity to unify Rivers State and promote the Ijaw interest,” they added.

God chose him. “And God, who chose him, will be with him. It is God who decided the outcome of the polls. The trust, which Nigerians bestow on him, he must not let down.

“All that Lagos has lost since 1960 till now, with this, God has opened the way, and it will begin to come. I know he (Buhari) is a capable hand and God will be with him. It is government of progress.”

Responding, Dr. Gordian Dimojiaku the Eze Ndigbo of Amuwo-Oriade, Lagos, said they would do the bidding of the monarch and support the APC candidate.

In a swift reaction, spokesman of the PDP in Lagos, Taofik Gani, warned APC against intimidating or inducing opposition supporters from voting according to their conscience.

Gani called on the APC leaders to learn from what President Goodluck Jonathan did when he accepted defeat and immediately congratulated Buhari.

“Our party did not use federal might to intimidate or force anybody to vote against his or her wishes. It is, therefore, unacceptable and undemocratic for anybody to intimidate our supporters,” he stated

He said the ruling party has lost touch with the masses and may be voted out of power on Saturday.

“That is why they are resorting to intimidation and cause to force our people either to vote for their party or not to vote at all. This we will not accept and if for whatever purpose the outcome of the governorship election contradicts the wish of the majority, we will not accept it,” he stated.

Gani, however, appealed to the party’s supporters to remain calm and vote according to their desire. He posited that Lagos has always been in the opposition camp since the history of democracy in Nigeria “there is no cause to change that tradition now.”

A source in the Rivers APC told The Guardian that the party is concerned that if the REC is not redeployed, the party might suffer electoral misfortune.

The APC has intensified radio advert, which has been advocating for the people to vote for its gubernatorial candidate, Dakuku Peterside, as the state cannot afford to be governed by an opposition party as Buhari is to takeover from President Jonathan next month.

In a bid to gather support for the PDP governorship candidate, Nyesom Wike, from the riverine part of the state, two prominent members of the party, under the aegis of in Rivers Ijaw Peoples Forum, Ferdinand Alabraba and Silva Opusunju, have urged their kinsmen to vote against Peterside, who is also Ijaw.

They argued that Wike, the leader of PDP in Rivers State who, when it became necessary to be his brother’s keeper, rose to the occasion, stood for Jonathan, an Ijaw and son of the South-South zone.

“We are truly proud of our collective efforts as a party and congratulate ourselves. We note, with great sadness, that the APC leadership in Rivers State worked against the Niger Delta and the Ijaws in particular when it mattered most and collaborated actively in the conspiracy to scuttle the second term ambition of their Ijaw brother, President Jonathan.

“Rivers APC has, therefore, lost every right to seek the Ijaw support in the forthcoming elections,” they said.


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