‘Why APC aspirants are working for Ambode’
THE Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) may have successfully discovered the strategy to deal with and resolve internal crises threatening the unity, stability and electoral fortunes of the party in the state.
One of the most recent crisis that posed a great threat to the party in the state, was the one that followed its governorship primaries in last November when no fewer than 10 of out of the governorship aspirants threatened to pull out of the primaries and indeed went ahead to hold a joint press conference where they denounced the primaries which was simultaneously going on with the primaries at Onikan Stadium.
Following the successful holding of the press conference, most observers had concluded that the party was set for implosion and massive defection by the ‘aggrieved’ aspirants to other political parties as it was the case for the then Action Congress of Nigeria in Ondo State in the run off to the 2012 governorship election in the state when many of them defected to other parties in protest over the emergence of Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) as the party’s governorship candidate in for the election.
What bear testimony to the fact that the state APC has successfully resolved this crisis without allowing it to rock its boat, was that not only have the aspirants including the ‘aggrieved’ 10 remained in the party, most of them have already dissolved their campaign structure into the party’s governorship candidate, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, many of them have in addition joined his campaign, going round the state with him to woo voters.
Among the former aspirants that have taken the extra burden to join his campaign train are Tokunbo Wahab, Lanre Ope, Dr Hamzat Obafemi, Dr Tola Kasali and Lagos State House of Assembly Speaker Adeyemi Ikuforiji.
One of the ‘aggrieved’ aspirants, Tokunbo Wahab in an interview with The Guardian in Lagos said as a responsible member of the party, he and his former co-aspirant are responsible people who firmly believe in the supremacy and superiority of the party to members, irrespective of status or class.
According to Tokunbo, personal interest must never be elevated above collective party interest if the overall objective of using political parties as platforms to serve the superior interest of the electorates.
His words “I am a well bred party man and I am still a party man because I’ve no option, I’ve said this to most of our supporters, no matter what happened, the party must not fall, it must not collapse at all. I am still in the party and I am working for the victory of the party. That’s what we, including my other co-aspirants have been doing.”
“You see, the party is greater and bigger than individuals, and as party men, we are working towards the same goal. Last week, I was in Epe, my ancestral home town, for the party’s rally, I remember the Speaker of the House, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, other former governorship aspirant were also there. I remember Dr. Tola Kasali was there, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat and Lanre Ope were there. That should send out a strong message, that, for all of us, this party is more than our personal and individual ambition. And I want to tell our people that there are occasions in life we must be ready to sacrifice our personal and individualistic concern for the bigger picture and the greater humanity.”
“We are party members, we have to work for the party, we have to keep our heads under the ambit of the party rules and regulation, the party has rules and constitution and within that limit, we are working it. And that is why I said, we shall continue to put our resources together both material and human behind the structure.”
“If I may ask you, what option do we have? To go and work for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)? We can’t do that. We cannot even afford to cede an inch of the territory (Lagos) to them. The illegalities we’ve seen in Ekiti in the past few months, we cannot afford them in Lagos, look at what those illegalities have resulted into.”
Wahab lamented what he called the failure of the federal government under the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan and said that the people of Lagos would not want that to be replicated in the state, adding that that is why the former APC aspirants have decided to put their differences aside and are working for the common interest of the party and people of the state.
“You see, in case people failed to understand where we are coming from, people must be aware that Lagos is the economic capital of Nigeria and whatever happens in Lagos will automatically affect the whole country.
Lagos controls whatever happens in this country, politically and economically. Lagos has always been progressive, so why do you want to change that?”
Just as he emphasized during his campaign while seeking the party’s ticket, Wahab re-affirmed his belief in the capacity of youths in the state and in the country at large to the true agent of change that his party is desirous of.
“My unique selling point goes beyond the fact that I belong to a generation that has 65 per cent and above in the demography of the country. I strongly believe that we can harvest this capacity and make it positive. If we don’t do it by engaging them in agric and mining otherwise we will be sitting on a keg of gun powder.”
“Interestingly, the Lagos government has done something like that in the state, which has been well managed by the Commissioner for Agriculture and Cooperative, Mr Gbolahan Lawal, we need to now raise the bar, we need to make Nigerian youths have a sense of belonging, we need to also start giving them a sort of re-orientation. That is what I represent and that is what I believe in. What we are doing now is to galvanize them so that they would put this party (APC) on an equal pedestal and make the right choice. They should grab their PVC and use it to bring that change we’re all yearning for.”
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