Igbo group strategies for Lagos governorship poll
With the emergence of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Mr. Jimi Agbaje as the standard bearers of the two main political parties, All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2019 governorship election in Lagos State, various support groups comprising non-Yoruba elements have started positioning themselves ahead of the campaigns scheduled to kickoff on November 18.
The development, which is more defined among the Igbo-speaking people in the state, seems to divide them on the basis of which platform, between APC and PDP, that could reciprocate their support if it wins the election.
While some Igbo groups believe that the South-East ambition of getting the presidency in 2023 under the current APC-led administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is more feasible, others are the opinion that the vice presidential slot already conceded to the region by the presidential candidate of PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, would place the zone at pole position to attain the presidency.
Investigation reveals that several Igbo groups have started lobbying the leaderships of both APC and PDP with promises to deliver the votes of the South-East people living in Lagos, but on the condition that the parties should finance their activities in support of their candidates.
One of such groups called The Igbo Leaders in APC Lagos, said it is important to rejig, refurbish, reorganise and reposition Igbo people in Lagos politics for the purpose of checkmating some fraudsters, who they said have made it a business every four years to extort money from leadership of political parties under the guise of galvanizing Igbo votes for governorship candidates.
While speaking to journalists yesterday, state Publicity Secretary of APC, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, said The Igbo Leaders in APC is undoubtedly the new and authentic leaders of Ndigbo in APC Lagos, a structure he disclosed comprises representatives of the five South-East states in Lagos.
While urging the leaders of APC in Lagos not to honour any other Igbo support group except those from The Igbo Leaders in APC, Igbokwe said the warning became necessary based on the fact that all manner of people gather themselves every election year with the intention of extorting money from across the state, promising to deliver Igbo votes to “our party in Lagos.”
He said over the years these funny characters, fraudsters, interlopers and political entrepreneurs, whose only aim is to make money, have been noticed and must be stopped, saying: “While these characters made money through this dubious act, the real people that work for the party are neglected.”
Igbokwe noted that the matter has been brought to the attention of the national leader of APC, Bola Tinubu and the party’s standard bearer, Sanwo-Olu, stressing that APC leaders in Lagos should see The Igbo Leaders in APC as the final bus stop to relate with to reach out to all Ndigbo in Lagos.
A member of the group and incumbent lawmaker in the state assembly, Mr. Jude Idimogu, said the 2019 election is crucial to the southeasterners because it would determine how near the zone is to getting the presidency in 2023.
Idimogu stated: “If the Igbo nation supports Buhari next year, there is hope of getting the presidency in 2023, but if we settle for vice president under Atiku, our hope may be extended for more than 16 years.”
He contended that the South-East has benefitted more under the current APC administration than what the PDP offered it in 16 years.
Other members of the group include Chief Chris Ekwilo, representing Anambra State, Chief Uche Dimgba (Abia) Baba Tata (Imo State), James Uche Ugwu, representing Enugu.