LG ELECTIONS: APC’s Chairmanship Primary Election Inconclusive As Members Protest Imposition of Candidates

-Ikorodu West LCDA, Others get candidates

-Party’s National Legal Adviser warned against centralized primary election, imposition

Jare Olukotun.

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Otunba Henry Ajomale, State APC Chairman addressing the delegates in company of other APC Chieftains at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere

 

Protest started by delegates from Surulere midway into the All Progressives Congress (APC) Local Government Chairmanship primary election on Saturday May 27, 2017, snowballed into a wild protest as delegates from Agege, Alimosho, Mainland and other councils also joined the protesting group to register their displeasure over the outcome of the election.

 

Trouble started at the Teslim Balogun Stadium venue of the election minutes after the Party’s electoral chairman, Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi completed the announcement of the 19 “consensus” candidates already endorsed by the party.

 

Princess Jumoke Jimbo, former Chairman of  Ikorodu West Local Council Development AreaLCDA) was among the 19 former Executive Secretaries returned as candidates before the fracas broke out.

 

Aggrieved party supporters of some of the chairmanship aspirants not favoured by the ratification adopted instead of election, protested violently as they threw sachet water and smashed ballot boxes and tables.

 

Dangerous objects like broken bottles and chairs were also thrown at the direction of the VIP delegates which forced them to scamppered for safety.

 

Sen. Afikuyomi  was also not spare of the the wrath as he was violently attacked while his dress was equally torn by angry youths who accused him of doing the bidding of some leaders of the party by imposing their candidates against the wishes of the delegates and residents of the affected areas.

 

Surulere delegates and other youths who found their way into the venue protested what they alleged as  substitution of Mr Tajudeen Ajide with another candidate for the Surulere Local Government Area Chairmanship.

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Sen. Tokunbo Afikuyomi before the eruption of violence.

Delegates also condemned what they termed as unfair and inhumane treatment by the members of the electoral committee.

 

Speaking with our reporter, a ward delegate from Ikorodu condemned the primary election and accused the party leadership of having hidden agenda

 

“We were told that we are coming here (Teslim Balogun) for the primary election. We were further assured after our accreditation and we saw ballot boxes on entering the venue. Unexpectedly, we just discovered that the electoral chairman was announcing names and calling for voice votes. That was how the whole thing started. People are opposed to imposition and I know all this while that these leaders have hidden agenda”, he alleged.

 

A party chairman from Ikorodu in his own reaction stated, “I have been here since 7.30am (Saturday) and it is  just as if we were brought here to suffer. It was not an easy walk from the National Stadium to Teslim Balogun and for hours nothing was done and we were under the scotching sun. It is not fair at all.”

 

A delegate from Ward A in Ikorodu Central in his own reaction queried the primary election.His words, “Why did they brought us here? Because from all indications, they (party leaders) knew that there is no going to be any election. It was a shoddy arrangement. They should have just announced their anointed candidates and we would have protested in our various councils without having to be subjected to this inhumane treatment.”

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Prince Jumoke Jimbo and supporters jubilating after she was returned as the APC Chairmamship candidate for Ikorodu West LCDA on Saturday.

Large numbers of delegates were seen protesting outside the stadium shouting against the imposition of candidates.

 

Otunba Henry Ajomale, in his speech before the fracas broke out,appealed to the delegates to conduct their affairs peacefully and warned against sabotaging the primary election.

 

In his own address, Sen. Tokunbo Afikuyomi assured the delegates that there would be elections in every council except those where consensus candidates have been agreed.

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It would be recalled that Dr Muiz Banire, the APC National Legal Adviser, had opposed the decision of the Lagos State chapter of the party to conduct primary election for all the aspirants in a single location.

 

He alleged that the process of primary election was being manipulated through rigging “in favour of certain imposed candidates.”

 

In a letter addressed to the State Chairman of the party, Henry Ajomale, Banire stressed that the Local Government Executives were empowered by the APC constitution to designate suitable venues for the exercise.

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He said, “As the custodian of the party constitution, it is of utmost necessity for me to say immediately that this will not be in consonant with the letter and the spirit of the constitution.”

 

“The (APC) constitution confers the power to designate the venue of such council primaries in the local government executives of the party.”

 

He asked the state chairman to comply with the provision of the APC constitution by stopping all arrangements for the centralised primaries and allow the local government executives to designate venue for the exercise in their respective councils.

 

The APC legal adviser stated in his letter: “I must say that I do not want to believe that the essence of seeking to centralize the conduct of the primaries is to manipulate and rig the process in favour of certain imposed candidates.”

 

“To avoid this and in line with our great party’s practice of publicizing the conduct of primaries (right from the conduct of primary for presidential election to the primaries for elections at the state levels(gubernatorials and National assemblies), the same tradition must continue with the primaries into local governments’ offices.”

 

“I am also aware that the National body is sending monitors while observers are expected at the various venues.”

 

Meanwhile,with the chairmanship primary election inconclusive, delegates from different parts of Ikorodu division have raised fears that  certain sections may eventually succeed in releasing the names of their candidates as the party’s flag bearers while others may not, since July 3, 2017, is the deadline for the submission of candidates’ names to Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC).

 

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