FRESH TENSION, PROTESTS OVER LAGOS ACN PRIMARIES
Tinubu and Fashola
Aggrieved aspirants at the just concluded primaries of the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, in Lagos, determined to achieve their political ambition have started defecting to other parties like the Labour Party, LP.
Similarly, a state Assembly aspirant in Lagos Mainland II constituency who did not want his name in print said he had been holding consultations with party members at the grassroots since 2008 only to be dumped by the party.
'I can't count how many times I met with members and supporters of the party since 2008. I spent my money gathering information from them and equipping myself with all the necessary information on how to better their lots when I eventually get the ticket to serve them in the House. I have been assured by the members that I would get their votes regardless of the party platform I contest under,' he said.
Party members from Oshodi- Isolo constituency II, Lagos Island II, Ikorodu II, Ifako-Ijaiye federal constituency and Lagos Island II, Surulere Constituency, Agege, stormed the ACN secretariat on ACME Road demanding that the result be cancelled and fresh primaries conducted as the candidates were imposed on them.
One of the aspirants, Mrs Olayemi Odugbemi, seeking the party's ticket for Oshodi-Isolo II, told newsmen that she was rigged out of the contest.
Results at a glance
Some of the results read: In Amuwo-Odofin constituency, Olukolu Tunji polled 61 votes over Oyewo Oluwagbemiga's 15; in Apapa, it was a victory for Olawepo Olukayode who had 31 votes against Olabanji Olayemi's 22; Badagry, it was Mrs. Rafikat Arinola who won with 54 against Amida Abudu with 20.
In Epe federal constituency, Lanre Odubote polled 52 votes to beat Omoseyindemi Olubumi with 30; Eti-Osa constituency saw Akinloye Babajide polling 49 while his close-up rival Kolapo Osunsanya had 10; Ayoola Abdulkabir won 22 votes to beat Adekoya Rufus with 6 votes for Ibeju-Lekki constituency.
For Ifako-Ijaiye, it was a joy for Otunba Michael Ogunnusi who had 72 votes over his close rival Ajibade Sulaimon who had just 10 votes; Ikeja, James Faleke polled 61 votes to beat Adebayo Odulana; in Ikorodu, Abike Dabiri scored 34 and Osikoya Olorunsogo had 20; in Kosofe constituency, Yakub Alebiosu polled 51 votes against Olatubosun Adedeji's 34 while the former Head of Service in the state, Yakub Balogun had 79 votes over serving representative Jumoke Okoya with 44 votes for Lagos Island constituency.
For the Lagos Mainland constituency, Batola polled 45 to win Bunmi Leshi with 24; Abayomi Kako-Are had 71 to beat Alli Taofeek with 28 for Mushin constituency I; for Mushin II constituency, it was a victory for Ganiyu Hamzat with 69 votes while Samuel Omosule polled 21.
For Ojo constituency, Isiaka Suarau 93 over his runners-up, Cornelius Ojelabi had 5; Fatai Akinderu was unopposed with 30 votes for Oshodi I; in Oshodi II, it was one of governor Fashola's protocol officers, Muniru Abiodun that polled 35 to beat serving representative Kayode Ajatta with 12.
In Shomolu, Ayodeji Jakande had 45 votes over the duo of Adefuye Adedayo and Sulaimon Akeem who scored 12 each; a serving representative Femi Gbajabiamila was returned with 39 votes to beat St. Wonder Olusegun with 11 votes in Surulere I constituency, while Akinyemi Adetutu had 40 votes over Aliu Kazeem who had 15 for Surulere II federal constituency.
However, in the state Assembly, only 26 of the 37 members including the Speaker, Adeyemi Ikuforiji made it back to the House.
Such grievances bound to happen-State chairman
Reacting to the development, Chairman of the state chapter, Chief Ajomale said such grievances is bound to happen in a situation like election because some candidates will lose why others will win.
He said those who won have done their home work very well, adding that those who lost have the opportunity to wait for another four years, 'its never over until its over.'
Ajomale, however, urged them to be calm as the party hierarchy is ready to listen and address all their grievances if given the chance.
How it all happened
Over 3,000 accredited delegates of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Lagos chapter filed out last Wednesday, January 12th, to elect their aspirants who intended to contest various political offices into the Senate, House of Representatives and State House of the Assembly on the platform of the party in the April General elections. Alas, what was planned to be smooth sailing exercise was almost marred by various protests that played out at the end of the two-day primaries, held at the party's Secretariat, Acme Road, Ikeja.
Aspirants cry foul
Aspirants as well as party supporters in Lagos have continued to cry foul and expressed displeasure with the process in the ongoing primaries, saying the victors were imposed on them. The protest became intense following what the protesters described as unbelievable and impossible results churned out against their candidates by the special committee set-up to conduct the exercise by the party leadership
Some of the contestants, who refused to disclose their names to Vanguard at the party's headquarters, venue of the event, complained over the conduct of the primaries which they termed, 'a mere jamboree.' Some of their grievances were that the primary lacks internal democracy; delegates are not free to vote for their candidates, imposition of candidates by the party leadership, saying that the results of the ongoing exercise had already been predetermined.
The party members and supporters stormed the venue as early as 6.30 a.m. across the 20 local government areas and 37 Local Council Development Areas, LCDA, with police having great task controlling the mammoth crowd. Journalists and some council chairmen were manhandled by stern anti-riot Policemen who stationed their armour tanks at two strategic ends of the area.
Hoodlums were all over the place smoking Indian hemps and hailing some of the delegates. The entire place was also rowdy. It took serious struggle before most of the delegates could gain entrance into the premises.
One of the aspirants (names withheld) contesting to get one of the party tickets for the House of Representative during the election said the primary would not represent the true wishes of the delegates. 'The way things are going, I don't think we are going to get true democracy because majority of the candidates that will eventually emerged will be on consensus.'
Wife of the former governor of Lagos, Mrs. Oluremi Tinubu, Lagos Central, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Lands Bureau, Mr. Gbenga Ashafa, Lagos East, both coming out for the first time and Senator Ganiu Olarenwaju Solomon, GOS Lagos West, were picked unopposed, that is on consensus for the three senatorial districts.
Also contesting are the former Lagos Head of Service, Yakub Balogun, who is contesting to obtain the party's ticket for the House of Representative in Lagos Island Constituency, Babatunde Adejare for Agege Constituency. He was also unopposed. Others in the category are Mr. James Faleke and Mr Solomon Adeola. Hon Abike Dabiri_ Erewa who later emerged winner after having a narrow win in a tough contest with Prince Lanre Balogun, Commissioner for Rural Development for the House of Representatives in the Ikorodu Constituency 1.
However, the current Speaker, Lagos House of Assembly grabbed the party's ticket for the House of Assembly under Ikeja Constituency havg been rejected in Epe. The move by Ikuforiji to seek return to the House through Ikeja constituency was said to have been motivated by the zoning of speakership to the constituency in the next political dispensation. Invariably, Ikuforiji is nursing to return to the house as the speaker.
Also in the gubernatorial primary, Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, as long expected was returned unopposed, grabbing a sole guber ticket. The gubernatorial primary was a mere formality to confirm Fashola as the sole candidate but only needed to go through the formal endorsement by party members.
Earlier, the immediate past Governor of the state, Sen. Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a week to the primaries finally endorsed the incumbent Governor Fashola for second term in office on the platform ACN.
Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Joe Igbokwe in his reaction said Fashola was simply endorsed through ratification and that what the party was doing was just to use the endorsement to thank him for repositioning the state and moved it to greater heights.
'Today is significant because no one is challenging the governor. This is a way of saying thank you and you are a faithful man. It is just an affirmation of the governor's second term bid.
'We want to see if it is possible to mobilise 6 million Lagosians to vote for Fashola at the coming poll using the Obama method. We will mobilize ordinary people to go and register and Lagos, with about 18 million people in Lagos, we should be able to mobilize between five and six million people to vote for the governor,' he stated.
Subsequently, aggrieved members of the party have since been making their grievances non to the party leadership even as far as taking it to Tinubu's House in Bourdillon, Ikoyi.
They alleged that most if not all the candidates that won got their ticket at Bourdillon and not from the people, hence the need to appeal to occupants at Bourdillon
A case in time was that of majority members of ACN in Constituency II of Ajeromi/Ifelodun Local Government Area of Lagos State who kicked against the candidature of Ladi Balogun saying his emergence smacks of imposition.
They maintained that the man picked by ACN which they coined as 'Asiwaju Party of Nigeria' to represent them at the state house of assembly is neither a resident and neither has he participated in the party politics in the area to warrant the ticket.
The aggrieved members under a leader of the party in the constituency, Kolawole Tijani, alleged that the candidate resides in Surulere Local Government Area.
'He does not reside in Ajeromi/Ifelodun Local Government and does not have any property in the council. He did not even participate in the 2010 party registration exercise. He only recently went to the state party secretariat at Ikeja to purchase the party registration form so that he can contest', they said.
They argued that given the constituency ticket to Balogun shows that there is no respect for hard work and loyalty within the party.
'This imposition has dampened the morale of the party members who have been working hard for the success of our great party'.
They therefore called on the party leaders in the state, particularly Tinubu to redress the anomaly, warning that failure to do so portends great danger to the party at the constituency.
'This political shenanigan is bound to affect the result of the forthcoming election in our constituency. We therefore called on the party leaders and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to correct this imposition so that we can have a candidate with popular representation so as to arrest the looming danger of the repeat of the scenario in Eti/Osa and Ikorodun Local Government areas so as to save our great party', they warned.