Peace, unity still hanging in Lagos APC
For the second time in less than three months, leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos East Senatorial District have again endorsed Governor Akinwunmi Ambode for reelection in 2019.
At a rally organised on the directives of the National Leader of the party, Bola Tinubu in Epe, following their initial endorsement of the governor in December last year, the leaders said there is no alternative to Ambode in 2019 “because of the tremendous job his administration is doing.”
But like the usual near election period crises, which the ruling party in Lagos is synonymous with since its days as Alliance for Democracy (AD), some subtle and undercurrent threats are likely to create challenges for the party in the presentation of Ambode if not handled on time.In his remarks to the gathering, former Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji tasked the party to embark on a reconciliation exercise to appease aggrieved members ahead of the next election.
But Ikuforiji’s boldness contradicted the position of other leaders who didn’t have the courage to agree that divisions are springing up among the members. According to him, “It was imperative of the National Secretariat and the Lagos APC, to start reconciling all aggrieved members. All cannot be assumed to be well in the Lagos chapter when the likes of former Commissioner of Agriculture, Olusanya Kaoli, former Commissioner for Health, Dr. Tola Kasali, Chiefs Adenrele Olowu, Bode Oyedele, Bayo Osinowo in Kosofe and other prominent leaders are absent in this gathering.”
He said although he had foreseen as far back as May 2016 that Ambode might not have serious challenges in seeking reelection, it was important for him not to relent in the current speed of performance and to touch other areas that needed attention.“While we endorsed him (Ambode) for second term, we expect him to continue to carry members and leaders of the party along. The governor should also ensure that the ongoing construction of Epe Expressway is extended to Itokin and Ikorodu and Ibeju Lekki. It will not be out of place if he constructs an airport for us in Epe,” Ikuforiji said.
In a communiqué issued after the meeting, which was endorsed by the Governing Advisory Council (GAC) and raised by Chief Lanre Razaq, the district resolved to fully support the activities of the Lagos APC under the leadership Tinubu.The district also called on all members of the party to give maximum support to the state executive led by Henry Oladele Ajomale and the leadership of the party in the East zone under the leadership of Bushura Alebiosu.
The district also commended the performance of its senator, Ggbenga Ashafa for his impressive performance with a vote of confidence and declared that all aggrieved members of the party be reconciled to create a common front for 2019.Three days prior the Epe gathering, former Director General, Lagos Safety Commission and Convener of Broom United Movement (BUM), Fouad Oki spoke in line with Ikuforiji concerning the grievances among members of the party.
Oki, who was the director general of all the campaign organisations that produced the governors in Lagos under the APC platform, said at a press briefing that his movement was out to address lack of internal democracy in the party. He also decried the personalization of party politics, which he said BUM was in place to de-emphasize.
Speaking on the development yesterday, the Lagos APC Deputy Publicity Secretary, Abiodun Salami said there was no move or directives to suspend Oki, saying, “The news of his purported suspension must have been fabricated by mischief makers to tarnish the image of the party or by some people who wants cheap publicity.”
According to Salami, “The movement is alien to the party and all the issues raised by the convener were never discussed within the party to talk of being addressed. Going by Oki’s position within the party nothing ought to have stopped him from raising those issues if actually they were genuine. Therefore as we speak, BUM is not known to Lagos APC, the issues are strange and the convener is not under suspension or investigation whatsoever.” Efforts to get Oki to confirm if he is under investigation or suspension were not fruitful.
However, from The Guardian investigation, there were more to the acclaimed unity and peace in the Lagos APC as declared by some Lagos East leaders at the Epe gathering than meets the eye. For instance, the party is yet to react to some of the issues raised by Oki while the zone is yet to state reasons why the leaders mentioned by Ikuforiji were absent.
The party would also need to clarify the allegation that the incumbent administration deliberately sidelined some members since it came to power while the rift between the executive and the National Legal Adviser, Dr. Muiz Banire, who was expelled by his Ward in Mushin, allegedly on the order of the governor and Tinubu, is still unresolved.
The Guardian also learn that some party members were uncomfortable with the arrays of Ambode’s reelection endorsements, which seem to have foreclosed the chances of those who may be interested in going for the primary.For instance, the state executive that is expected to be neutral until consensus is reached is being accused of being neck deep in the saga, which a source said, “Is contrary to the party’s constitution.”
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