Crisis looms in Lagos APC as Benue PDP faction goes to court
As preparations for the forthcoming local council election threaten the unity of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State, former governor and National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has appealed for calm among members.
At a stakeholders meeting where he affirmed the position of the leadership to retain the 18 council chairmen who were promised automatic ticket in the exercise slated for July 22, Tinubu pleaded for their understanding.
A groundswell of opinions among a cross section of local leaders and youths, who described the decision as undemocratic imposition of candidates that is capable of tearing the party apart, is however rising against the decision.
In Surulere, Lagos Island and Alimosho where opposition to the party decision is most intense, many groups are claiming their rights to challenge what they called illegal imposition that is allegedly aimed at denying them their rights to elect preferred council administrators.
Speaking yesterday during the Lagos APC stakeholders meeting held at Acme Road, Tinubu while urging members to accept the decision of the party said, “As agreed earlier, the 18 chairmen who were promised automatic ticket for their efforts in the party and the state would be allowed to return, while the Sole Administrators, who took over from Executive Secretaries (ES) of the councils and the Local Government Development Areas (LCDAs) would not be allowed to contest in the election.”
He also directed party leaders in all the 57 councils to give special concession to youths and women, while also urging members of the party in Surulere to give peace a chance and drop all forms of public disorder.
But one of the aggrieved sources in the party reacted that the party’s primary and the election would have been free, fair and credible if Tinubu has not shown clear interest in some local government.
The source however called on the national headquarters of the APC to intervene and to also allow true democracy and choice of the people to stand.According to the source, “APC is a mega party and not defunct Action Congress (AC) or Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) where Tinubu gives order. Unfortunately, people like former Governor Babatunde Fashola and his successor; Akinwunmi Ambode could not talk because they would be told that they were also product of imposition.”
Responding to issues raised by party members that the executive secretaries should be disallowed from contesting, Tinubu said: “Doing such would amount to denying them their rights having left office more than a year ago. It is just like saying that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode or Senators and other party leaders should not be allowed to run for second term.”
He also commended members of the party for supporting Ambode in the 2015 elections, and urged them to also support the party’s candidates in the coming poll.
Tinubu, who described the 2015 exercise as the most challenging election for the party, recalled how the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and erstwhile President Goodluck Jonathan moved to take over Lagos by all means including spending huge cash as APC members resolutely stood their ground and ensured the victory of the party.
MEANWHILE there are indications that the local council elections scheduled to hold in Benue State on June 3, may be disrupted by a legal battle between the two factions of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
A faction led by John Ngbede has instituted legal action against the umpire, the Benue State Independent Electoral Commission (BESIEC) for refusing to accept its candidates for the exercise.
It would be recalled that following the declaration of Senator Ali Modu-Sherrif as the National Chairman of the party by the Appeal Court, it was assumed that all the state and zonal executives committees that were constituted before the aborted May 21 controversial convention in Port Harcourt should be recognized.
The electoral body however rejected the list from the Ngbede faction and accepted that of Dan Ale who belong to the Ahmed Makarfi’s faction.This prompted institution of the legal action in a suit filed by a team of lawyers who urged the court to stop BSIEC from holding the elections into the 23 local councils pending when the commission accepts their own candidates for the poll.
The faction also prayed the court to compel BESIEC to recognise its Chairman, John Ngbede and his executive as the authentic PDP leaders in the state and stop forthwith, all recognitions for the other group.