LG Poll: Allegations of candidates imposition rock APC
Ahead of the October 8, 2016 Local Government election in Ogun State, allegation of imposition of candidates, has begun to rock the rank and file of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
According to feelers, if the situation is not well handled, it might negatively affect the chance of the party at the poll, as some of the aggrieved aspirants and their supporters are threatening to move to other parties to actualise their ambitions.
The Guardian learnt that against the normal norm, where party flag bearers emerge through primaries, candidates have been handpicked and their names forwarded to the electoral umpire, the Ogun State Independent Electoral Commission (OGSIEC), without involvement of party members.
Though majority of them refused to speak to The Guardian for fear of being victimised or sanctioned by the party, members who were not happy about the development pointed accusing fingers at the leaders of the party, especially Governor Ibikunle Amosun’s elder brother, Alhaji Abidoye Amosun, popularly called Alhaji Agba.
The Guardian learnt that he was instrumental to the emergence of a good number of the candidates across the 20 local governments and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs), as he was alleged to have planted his stooges in each of the council areas.
The area mostly affected by this development, according to investigations, is the Ogun Central Senatorial District, where the governor hails from. It was gathered that all the councils in the area, have their own share of what the aggrieved aspirants termed ‘injustice’.
For instance, in Ifo local government, the son of the former chairman of the party, Alhaji Tajudeen Bello, Hakeem Bello, was alleged to have been imposed on the people, against their wish.
In Abeokuta, a former council boss, believed to have had enough share of the post, has again been endorsed to take over the new LCDA.
The same scenario is said to be playing out in Ewekoro council area, as both the existing and the newly formed council have been embroiled in serious crisis. For the Ewekoro North LCDA, the much-acclaimed aspirant, Bidoun Adeleye, the immediate past vice chairman, believed to be the choice of the people, was allegedly pushed aside for another person.
Councillorship positions are also not left out. In Arigbajo ward, the leaders were accused of flouting the zoning rule, as they opted for the immediate past councilor of the ward, Dare Majekodunmi to return for another term.
According to a party chieftain, the earlier arrangement that Arigbajo zone will produce the next councilor has been reneged on. “For the first time the political arrangement of the ward was altered. It is a situation that can never be tolerated in the life time of Baba Akinyemi, late Onifade and others, thus it is now the turn of outer axis to present the candidate because it is never done in the political history of Arigbajo ward, that any councilor will return for the second term.
“We shall never agree to this, even Alhaji Abidoye Amosun is imposing candidates in some of the wards in the council area, including Arigbajo because when we met him on the matter, his body language reveal that he is with them, he said the ward exco will handle the issue of the councillorship selection, knowing full well that 65 per cent of them are on their side, and constitution stated that card carrying members of the party shall elect the councilor.
Our grouse is that they’ve forgotten the zoning formula because of money.”
The source noted that there is no doubt that the issue would force some of the disappointed members, especially aspirants to join other parties. The defection of about 500 people to the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), at Ijuri/Agbara/Igbesa LCDA in Ogun West Senatorial District last week, gave credence to the crisis.
Efforts to speak with Alhaji Abidoye on the allegations were not successful, as he was said to have travelled to Saudi Arabia, to observe the ongoing hajj.
But the Publicity Secretary of the party, Sola Lawal, told The Guardian that there is nothing like imposition of candidates in the party, noting that primary election took place everywhere.
“Primary elections actually took place, but in some councils, leaders sat down and decided on candidates through consensus. As we speak, there is no petition from anybody at the state secretariat, if anybody tells you he is aggrieved because there was imposition, ask the person if he had complain, no single person has approached the party to complain in respect to imposition of candidates. So, the party is not aware that there is any imposition anywhere,” he said.