Hope dims for Lagos PDP as protests rock Imo delegates primary
Indications have emerged that the recent defection of the immediate past chairman of the Lagos State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Moshood El Salvador, alongside about 5000 of his supporters to the All Progressives Congress (APC), might have dimmed PDP’s hopes of dethroning the ruling party in next year’s gubernatorial poll.
This comes on the heels of massive protests by various camps to express their dissatisfaction with the conduct of the three-man ad-hoc delegate primaries yesterday by the Imo State chapter of the party.The protesters alleged irregularities, such as snatching of electoral materials, imposition of candidates and diversion of results sheets, last Wednesday at the party’s secretariat along Okigwe Road, Owerri.
The exercise was seen as the window to test the popularity of governorship aspirants. As such the protesters set burnt tires on the road, in front of the secretariat, causing panic, which took the intervention of the police to disperse the protesters, largely youths. Major gubernatorial aspirants in Imo are the former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Emeka Ihedioha and the Senator representing Imo East (Owerri Senatorial district), Chief Samuel Anyanwu.
Although unconfirmed reports said Ihedioha had the upperhand at the primaries over others, the protesters loyal to the two major aspirants out of five others, allegedly thwarted the election of the national delegates, earlier slated for the day. Some PDP chieftain, who spoke with The Guardian, expressed displeasure over the alleged irregularities, even as national officers charged with the conduct of the election were said to have received specific directives on the election of the national delegates.
Speaking during the ceremony to mark his official defection to APC held at the Agege Stadium on Saturday, Salvador said by virtue of his leaving the PDP to APC, Lagos has unofficially turned into one party state, stressing that his defection with his supporters has not only sealed the hope of PDP in the state, but also given the ruling party strong assurance of winning the next election.
Salvador promised his hosts, led by the Lagos State chairman of APC, Alhaji Tunde Balogun, that he would generate 2.5 million votes for APC in the 2019 gubernatorial poll and 5 million votes for President Muhammadu Buhari for the presidential slot.He said: “In the last 19 years, the governorship election in Lagos has always been a battle between the ruling party and PDP but now that we have collapsed the structure of the major opposition into APC the 2019 contest is as good as over.”
While encouraging the people of Osun State to vote for APC during next governorship election, he said APC has set a pace for development in Lagos, which other states in the southwest must emulate, since according to him, the only way to achieve this is to give the party a chance to continue in the state.
In his remarks, Balogun commended Salvador for taking a bold decision to join the progressive forum of APC, saying, “In the last 19 years, APC has transformed Lagos into a mega city and the third largest economy in Africa.”He noted that the great ideas of Salvador would be appreciated in APC for further improvement of the state and its people.
Similarly, the former Minister of Works, Prince Adeseye Ogunlewe, said the ruling party might likely win the next gubernatorial election due to the huge financial resources at its disposal and not necessarily because of Salvador.
Ogunlewe, while reacting to the defection of Salvador to APC, said the ruling party does not necessarily need the new entrant to win the 2019 governorship election.“Just like the previous elections in the state, the ruling party is going to deploy money to have its way. Salvador’s exit from PDP will not change any equation in the state’s polity ahead of the next governorship election,” Ogunlewe added, regretting that poverty foisted on the polity has undermined democracy in Nigeria.
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