More cracks in Lagos APC over ward congress
Convener, Broom United Movement (BUM), a group within the All Progressive Congress (APC), Mr. Fouad Oki, has demanded that the Lagos State Congress Committee, which conducted the ward congresses of the party last Saturday should, on behalf of the National Working Committee (NWC), reject any concocted results by the Local Organisisng Committee (LOC).
Addressing the media in Lagos yesterday, Oki who was the Director General of the Campaign Organisation of erstwhile Lagos State governors, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Babatunde Fashola and the incumbent governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode from 2003 to 2015 said the use of Local Organising Committee, which also introduced Senatorial Returning Officers (SRO) and Local Government Returning Officers during the ward congresses held across the state on Saturday was not only alien to the party’s guidelines but also encouraged a lot of irregularities and manipulations during the process.
According to him, “This was the reason there were violence and lack of transparency in several wards when members discovered that their votes were tampered with and their desired candidates were rigged out.”
The controversial vice chairman of the APC, representing Lagos Central Senatorial district also questioned the rationale behind the LOC’s introduction of the ward congresses being conducted on the basis of 57 local government and 377 wards instead of the 20 local government and 245 wards, which was recognised by the Constitution, the Electoral Acts and INEC guidelines.
Faulting the process and why the national headquarters should reject any concocted results particularly from the Lagos ward congresses, Oki said the introduction of the LOC was originally aimed to neutralize the State congress committee in the first instance. He also alleged that instead of the LOC to allow the original results sheets and election materials be used for the exercise, it rather sent photocopies of result sheets to the wards while it withheld the original result sheets, which it intended to write the names of anointed but unpopular candidates that would be submitted to the State Congress Committee.
He also accused the State Executive of denying the State Congress Committee to have a stakeholders meeting with the party members prior to the ward congress on Friday.Although, when some journalists visited the party’s secretariat of Friday, one of the executive members, Mr. Funsho Ologunde told them there was no stakeholders’ meeting.
Meanwhile, the Spokesman of the party, Mr. Ayo Salami said the congress was peaceful, fair and transparent as he also dismissed as total false and introduction of Senatorial Returning Officers and Local Government Returning Officers as claimed by Mr. Oki, saying, the onus is on the claimant to prove his allegation beyond reasonable doubt.
On the introduction of LOC, which Oki said was against the party’s guidelines, Salami said, “In the first instance, it wouldn’t have been convenient if not impossible for the eight man committee sent by the national headquarters of our party to move round the 20 local government and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDA) to conduct the congresses without assistance. This is not the first time such was introduced but the reason it became an issue Mr. Oki is hammering on now is strange to the party.”
Salami also faulted Oki’s allegation that the party conducted the ward congress based on 57 local government instead of the constitutionally stipulated and recognised 20 and also 377 wards instead of 245.According to him, “It was a well known fact that Lagos operates 20 local governments and 37 LCDAs, since the administration of erstwhile governor Bola Tinubu and the matter was argued even to the Supreme Court. For anybody to say otherwise now looks mischievous.”
While he urged Oki to abide by the outcome of the ward congress results as affirmed by the national headquarters, Salami advised that the interest of the party should be placed above other interest. He therefore appealed to all disgruntled members to join hands in ensuring that the APC provides better and quality governance to the people of Lagos and Nigerians in general.The party’s spokesman also described Oki as a bad loser, who was trying to shift the goal post after realizing he lost and may not likely return as the party’s vice chairman representing Lagos central.