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APC boasts of retaining Presidency, Lagos in 2019


[FILE PHOTO] President Muhammadu Buhari

• Accord Party members, Cole join ruling party
• Enugu chairman warns against violent rhetoric

Moved by the defection of not less than 1000 members of Lagos State chapter of Accord Party (AP) into the party, All Progressives Congress (APC) has expressed confidence that it would win next year’s election and retain the Presidency and Lagos State government.

While AP defectors pledged to vote for the party’s standard-bearer, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu in the governorship election, former Commissioner for Finance in Lagos and one time member of Lagos State chapter of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Michael Olawale Cole, reiterated that President Muhammadu Buhari and Sanwo-Olu would enjoy sure victories.

Also at another event, candidate of APC for Lagos Island Constituency 11, in the coming 2019 House of Representatives election, Prince Moshood Akiolu, dismissed allegations that his father, Oba Rilwan Akiolu and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu influenced the legislative primary elections to favour him.

He spoke yesterday at a ceremony held at Lagos APC Secretariat, Acme Road, Ogba, where the leader of Accord Party, Mrs. Ikero Omoye and Cole were handed APC flag by the state chairman, Mr. Tunde Balogun and other party executives.

Cole said his joining the ruling party was not to seek for position, but to join hands in building Nigeria as the current government is currently doing.

According to him, “I joined APC after a series of discussions with my friend, Dr. Yomi Finninh. My coming here is not to seek for post. I have been finance, works and other commissioners in Lagos in over 26 years. I have been president of several recognised institutions, including Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club among others and by the grace of God, I am simply here to give back service to the people.”

Cole, who is also an Awori indigene from Badagry section of Lagos, said it would not make sense for his people (Awori) to remain outside shouting that they were being marginalised by the ruling party, adding: “There is the need to join APC, which is the performing and winning team to contribute our quota to the development of Lagos and Nigeria at large.”

Cole also expressed appreciation for the “unparalleled integrity Buhari has demonstrated so far since he became President in 2015. The government means well for the country and he has the support of the people. I can assure you that the governorship election in Lagos is already a done deal for Sanwo-Olu.”

Omoye, in her remarks, said there could “be no other way to help in developing Lagos of our dream than to join hands with APC that has really done a marvelous job in moving the state ahead of other states in Nigeria since 1999.”

Balogun observed that APC is not just a party of top guns, stressing, “We are also going to ensure that Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is obliterated in the political map of Lagos. We have gotten their erstwhile state chairman, Mr. Moshood Salvador, and now Cole. We are looking forward to having more of their members in our midst.”

Reacting against the background of controversies trailing APC’s primaries across the country, especially in Lagos, where some members claimed that Tinubu deliberately doctored Lagos Island Constituency 11 primaries among others to appease Lagos monarch, Prince Akiolu said he got the party’s ticket based on personal popularity and acceptance among the youths and elders in the constituency.

In a chat with The Guardian, the younger Akiolu said 11 aspirants contested the primary, including the incumbent and former Head of Service, Alhaji Yakubu Balogun “but I won and other contestants have congratulated me.”

The 37-years old legal practitioner said if elected he would not only ensure adequate and quality representation, but would continue to agitate for special status for Lagos.

He added: “Three things are of great importance to me, namely enhancement of education quality, empowerment scheme for youths in my constituency and pursuance of special status for Lagos State. These are core areas I would want to concentrate on, especially how Lagos will get a better deal from the Federal Government.”

Meanwhile rival Enugu State chairman of the party, Deacon Okey Ogbodo, has warned against inflammatory remarks by some former political leaders, wondering why threats of war should preoccupy the minds of leaders instead of projecting their manifestoes to the electorate.

In a statement made available to The Guardian, the factional chairman stated: “I am constrained to condemn in the strongest term possible the resort to dangerous rhetoric by certain political actors, who use the platform of Enugu State chapter of APC ostensibly to heat up the polity. I am particularly miffed that a former governor of this state was widely reported to have threatened that “2019 polls will be war in Enugu….”

He contended that instead of “these dangerous and unwarranted rhetoric, these people who are supposed to be major stakeholders of APC ought to concern themselves with the challenge of solving the protracted leadership crisis in APC in the state, which they clandestinely foisted on all of us for their self-serving and insatiable greed for power and influence.”

Ogbodo lamented that those who parade themselves as APC leaders would not accept defeat at the May 19, 2018 state congress, stressing that they should “allow my team which emerged at that epochal occasion to exercise our office and execute without delay the onerous task of repositioning APC in Enugu State. The team I lead does not and will not subscribe to any form of “war” against our people. The mandate APC folks gave to us was one to change the course of our destiny for the better, not to wage war.

“Loose, unguarded utterances like the one ascribed to the former governor is irresponsible and clearly unwarranted and must not be repeated or emulated. APC Enugu State under my leadership is poised to achieve a change of government through peaceful, democratic means, not intimidation, the barrel of the gun, or self-destructive attacks on reliable pillars of the party like Chief Onyemuche Nnamani.”

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