Mixed feelings over Lagos APC LG primaries result
• Result Authentic, Final – Caretaker Chairman
It is now a week after the Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), conducted its primary elections to select candidates for the scheduled July 24 2021 local government polls. The State’s Caretaker Committee chairman, Chief Tunde Balogun and the Secretary, Lanre Ogunyemi, had in a statement on Friday, titled, ‘List of 57 Lagos State APC Chairmanship and Vice Chairmanship candidates for the forth-coming 2021 Local Government Elections,’ announced the results of the primaries. But the results had since been generating ripples in the rank and file of the party.
Many party faithful, including most aspirants who lost in the primaries, has alleged that aside from the violence and crises recorded across the 20 local governments and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs), the exercise was short of being free, fair and credible. They said, as a result, it could not have produced acceptable results as declared by the Balogun-led caretaker committee.
Most of the dissatisfied contestants, who rejected the results, claimed that the rejection was based on the fact that the exercise was marred by violence in many places where the election did not hold. They also observed that democratic tenets, which APC is known for, were jettisoned during the primaries. Some leaders were also accused of having manipulated the process to foist their choice candidates in many local governments rather than allowing the choice of party members.
In places like Ikate-Itire Local Council Development Area (LCDA) and Somolu Local Government, aggrieved party members expressed were confused as to how the Balogun-led Caretaker Committee came up with result when the Returning Officers, Mr. Lateef Ibirogba, and Amida Abudu, were attacked on their way to the venue of the exercise. The primaries were not conducted in the two places.
The result declared in Surulere, where two people allegedly died during the fracas that occurred while the primary was ongoing, is also in contention. In Surulere, the incumbent Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila was accused of having his candidate, who is assumed unpopular, foisted on the electorate. The development led to a crisis that later took the lives of two victims. There is also contention over the result declared there.
As of Friday when the result was made public, party faithful were still miffed over the fact that they could not exercise their franchise during the primary as voting did not take place. Majority of APC loyalists believe that voting did not take place in all the 10 wards, as there were disruptions and harassments over the wrong voter’s register. They expressed curiosity on how the party leadership arrived at the result declared when the exercise ought to have been cancelled.
Also in Agege, the base of the incumbent Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr. Mudashiru Obasa, wrong accreditation sheets were brought and the electorates could not find their numbers and names on the voters’ register. The exercise hardly took place there too. Though the electorate came out early in the morning, they were later scattered by some suspected hoodlums. This affected all the seven wards across the local government area.
The Ojodu LCDA result favoured the candidate and son of one of the leaders, Cardinal James Odumbaku against the preferred choice of the electorate. In Oriade, Ramotalahi Akinola’s last-minute collaboration with Senator Musiliu Obanikoro’s camp made her reemerge as a candidate by the whiskers.
In Alimosho LCDA, Sulaimon Adewale Jelili, who was among the chairmen that were suspended by the House of Assembly for disregarding local government administration laws, after he was pardoned, retained the nomination ticket in a curious manner against the preferred choice of former Deputy Governor of the state, Mrs. Joke Orelope Adefulire. The former deputy governor was said to have preferred one Johnson, who is regarded as the most popular contestant.
The Ikosi Isheri council was a stiff contest between the incumbent, Adolanle Bada and one MRT, whom the electorate preferred and expected to have been declared the winner by the caretaker committee.
Similar sentiment was raised against the return of Chairman, Ojokoro LCDA despite the widely acclaimed poor performance in the last four years. It was alleged that some of the incumbents seeking reelection used financial inducement to have their way. In Amuwo Odofin, incumbent Chairman, Valentine Braimoh was trounced by a convergence of politics by former Chairman, Comrade Ayo Adewale.
There is also contention over the result declared for Isolo where a candidate of popular Fuji musician, King Wasiu Ayinde Marshal (KWAM 1) was declared winner of the primary instead of the people’s choice.
A public analyst, Dr. Adedeji Aganga-Williams described what happened in Isolo as shameful, were a popular publicist stood up and contradicted the traditional ruler and his chiefs during a public discussion preceding the party primaries. Wasiu, at the meeting, presented his own candidate. The fact that his candidate scaled through the primaries despite objections from the indigenes is symptomatic of the prevailing rot in the party.
He also decried the event that took place at Lagos Island East LCDA, saying, “Sensing that his efforts might become fruitless, Saheed Salawe, an otherwise astute, competent and compassionate grass root politician, quickly threw in the towel in favour of the preferred and ordained candidate. That act took away from the constituency the opportunity of making a direct impact on who will emerge as the party candidate in the LCDA.
Reacting, Balogun, however, told The Guardian that the result released on Friday was authentic and that all others released before or asides that were fake and should be disregarded.
He also said the party has appropriately addressed issues of violence and others, saying, there was wild consultation and consensus before the result was released. He also disclosed that those who have issues would make their grievances known to the appeal committee.
According to him, “In a party as strong and big as APC, some little issues are expected but we have a strong internal mechanism to resolve the crisis, which we deployed to address what people felt would result in irresolvable challenges.”
Balogun further assured Lagosians that the ruling party is set to win the council polls come July 24 and that its candidates, after the election, will perform and also deliver dividends of democracy to people at the grassroots.”
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