A pressure group within All Progressives Congress, APC, under the auspices, Professionals for Change, has rejected membership of some personalties in the newly inaugurated committee by the leadership of the APC in Lagos to conduct the National Assembly, Governorship and House of Assembly primaries in the state.
The group, accused the leadership of bias, saying that the composition of the committee does not reflect a level-playing ground for all the contestants.
The Chairman of APC in Lagos State, Cornelius Ojelabi, had on Monday inaugurated the committee which is to be headed by the APC Zonal Organising Secretary, Lateef Ibirogba, but the All Progressives Congress Professionals for Change flayed the state chapter of the party for setting up the committee, describing it “as usurpation” of the functions of the national body which is constitutionally empowered to perform such duties.
The other members of the committee include: Olayinka Oladunjoye, Bola Badmus-Olujobi, Hakeem Odumosu, Gbolahan Idris, Adebayo Sanwo-Olu, Sodiq Ademola, Oluremi Shopeyin and Muritala Seriki.
However, the group alleged that many individuals in the committee have strong ties with some of the contestants thus allowing them to play the role of umpires could jeopardize the interest of other aspirants in the race.
The National President of the group, Hakeem Ogunsanya, wondered why an elder brother of Governor Babajide Sanwoolu would be named in the committee that would conduct an election in which his sibling will participate.
Ogunsanya, said allowing the committee, as presently constituted, to conduct the election could taint the integrity of the exercise which could ultimately affect the chances of the party at the poll.
He wondered why the state chapter of the party would be the one to set up the committee without the input of the national body, saying such a move is against the constitution of APC and should not be allowed to stand so that a bad precedent would not be set which could lead to further chaos in the party.
According to him, “The composition of the committee shows the desperation of some aspirants to subvert the process in their own interest. We have some elements in that committee who have close ties with some of the aspirants.
“It beats my imagination that our great party in the state would appoint the elder brother of the Governor to the committee that will conduct an election in which he is a contestant; this is like taking impunity to another level, what signal are we giving to other aspirants in the race? This is an aberration that shouldn’t be allowed to stand.
“Our concerns are to protect the integrity of our party and the process; it shouldn’t be the business of the state chapter of the party to set up primaries committee, it is an obligation constitutionally reserved for the national body.
“If we allow this aberration to scale through, we would be creating problems for the future because other states may want to copy that which will lead to further chaos.”
However, the group charged the national leadership of the party to dissolve the Ibirogba-led committee and reconstitute another one that will reflect neutrality in fairness to all aspirants.
“We in the All Progressives Congress Professionals for Change are calling on the National Chairman of our great party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu to take the bull by the horn and prevent the party from falling into a trap by exercising his powers to constitute a fresh primary committee according to the constitution of our party,” he said.
Mainland stakeholders kick
Also, some aggrieved stakeholders of the APC in Lagos Mainland (West) have petitioned the party’s National Leader, and Presidential aspirant, Bola Tinubu, alleging marginalisation in political office allocations since the return to democracy in 1999.
The group made their grievance known in a statement, titled, “Injustice, Oppression and Continuous Marginalisation of Ebute Metta (West) in the Political Affairs of Lagos Mainland Local Government,” yesterday, was jointly signed by the Chairman and Secretary of Lagos Mainland West Elders Forum, Baba Babs Fashina and Akibu Bankole, respectively, and copied to the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the Governance Advisory Council, GAC of the state.
The aggrieved elders and stakeholders,
at a press conference which had in attendance: Monarchs, community leaders, market leaders, members of various community development associations, religious leaders, youth development associations, among others, noted that in the interest of justice, fairness, and equity, the House of Representatives, Lagos Mainland Federal Constituency position should be zoned to Ebute Metta West.
They maintained that Ebute-Metta East and Yaba have had their candidates represent Lagos Mainland Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives.
According to them,’ Between 1999 and 2007, the Federal Constituency was represented by Wunmi Bewaji from Yaba; while from 2007 to 2011, it was by Bashiru Omolaja Bolarinwa from Ebute – Metta East: Monsuru Alao Owolabi from Ebute-Metta East from 2011 to 2015; and Jide Jimoh from Yaba from 2015 till date.”
They therefore, appealed that after zoning the position to Ebute-Metta West, Tinubu, Governor Sanwo-Olu, and the GAC should ensure that the candidate of the party must be a vibrant and intelligent youth below the age of 50 years, whose family must be well-known and must have contributed to the development of Lagos Mainland Local Government.
In their petition, they lamented that their unwavering support for the party from the time it was Alliance for Democracy to its present form as the APC, they had been unjustly sidelined and marginalised in the political arrangement of the Lagos Mainland Local government.
They continued, “It is disheartening that despite our contribution, support, and commitment to the party and its leadership, we have been treated unjustly, marginalised, oppressed, and outrightly sidelined in the political equation in Lagos Mainland Local government.
“It might interest you to know that since the advent of democracy in 1999, Ebute Metta West comprising of Apapa road, Otumara, Ilaje, Ilogbo, Abule, and Ijero has never held any major elective office despite our support for the ruling party in Lagos State.”
“Despite several protests and complaints, the marginalization and oppression of Ebute-Metta West persists till today, in spite of the fact that the area records the highest voters turn out in favour of the party from time to time,” they said.
They noted that the present political equation in Lagos Mainland Local Government marginalised them.
They noted that in the House of Representatives, Jide Jimoh Abdul, who is representing Yaba Local Council Development Area, had served as a councilor in Lagos Mainland Local Government and was a two-term member, Lagos State House of Assembly, two-term Executive Chairman, Yaba Local Council Development Area, and two-term member, House of Representatives, Lagos Mainland Federal Constituency.
“In the House of Assembly, brahim Ajani Owolabi is from Ward F Ebute-Metta East and he is representing Lagos Mainland Constituency one at the Lagos State House of Assembly.”
They added that at the Local Government level, Mrs. Rasheedat Omolara Essien was from Ward I Ebute-Metta East and was a former executive secretary of both Ikeja and Lagos Mainland Local Government and the current Chairperson of Lagos Mainland Local Government serving her second term in office.