Lagos LG Polls: APC members fight dirty over imposition of candidates

Nigeria desperately needs leaders with capacity, character -Gbaja

Less than 24 hours to the All Progressives Congress (APC) Lagos chapter chairmanship and councillorship primaries, party members have marched on the streets to kick against the speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila over his alleged imposition of candidates for Surulere Local Government Area.

The party faithful, who expressed their dissatisfaction over Gbajabiamila’s plans to handpick chairmanship and councillorship candidates for the party, appealed to the national leader of APC, Bola Tinubu, to intervene and direct the lawmaker to allow all aspirants have equal opportunities in becoming the party’s standard-bearer for the elections.

In Ojodu LCDA the situation is not different, where House of Representatives member, James Faleke is slugging it out with a member of the Governors’ Advisory Council, Cardinal James Odunmbaku, aka Baba Eto, the pendulum seems to be swinging in favour of the federal lawmaker.

While Faleke is rooting for Alhaja Funmi Layeni, Baba Eto is bent on ensuring that his son, Segun Odunmbaku (who is currently the Council Secretary) is the party’s choice.

A reliable source within the party hierarchy said a meeting by the GAC on Tuesday, May 25 held in Ikoyi focused on the crisis that has erupted as a result of the build up to the council elections.

But rising from the meeting, the GAC, which is the highest decision-making body of the APC in Lagos, took far reaching decisions to prevent further crisis before and after the May 29 primaries.

In Ojodu, the GAC was said to have asked Faleke to produce the council chairman, while Baba Eto will have to make do with his son emerging as the vice-chairman.

But Odunmbaku’s camp insists that Layeni is not qualified to emerge as chairman of the council owing to her alleged questionable academic qualification.

Besides, they alluded to the fact that the Ogba axis has produced many Council Chairmen in the last 12 years, saying that it will be an injustice to deny other axes from doing the same.

Rising from the meeting, we gathered that the GAC challenged the elders in the APC to intervene and resolve all the infighting among the aspirants in contentious councils, warning that if they refuse to solve the issues amicably and come up with a consensus candidate, then all aspirants will have to test their might at the primaries.

The source said the GAC members were of the opinion that incumbent chairmen who have performed in their first term should be given the nod to go for a second term.

“The concern of the GAC is that it is usually difficult to defeat an incumbent especially when they have performed. But the current situation with having several aspirants slugging it out with some incumbent chairmen is overheating the polity in the state and causing unnecessary crisis that will not benefit anybody,” the source said.

Meanwhile, despite a statement from Tinubu last Sunday distancing himself from backing any candidate and warning aspirants to stop attaching his name to their campaign, we learnt from an inside source within the party that a list consisting of choice candidates across the 57 councils has been sent to the former Lagos governor for ratification ahead of Thursday’s stakeholders meeting at the party secretariat.

A party leader from Somolu, who craved anonymity told this medium that the era of imposition is coming to an end because according to him, party leaders are becoming more and more sensitive to public opinion, which he ascribed to the social media. He said there is likely going to be a guided primary on Saturday.

“There will be primaries but it is likely going to be guided by powerful forces within the party. It is evident that the leaders are becoming increasingly sensitive to the wishes of the people which they are expressing in the social media. And that is why flagrant imposition of candidates is being avoided this time around, the source said.