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Confusion in APC as crisis rock Lagos guber primaries

Confusion in APC as crisis rock Lagos guber primaries

Confusion, accusations and counter-accusations yesterday marred the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primaries in Lagos State as party chieftains and members were divided over the conduct of the election.

The primary election which started early in some parts of the state like Ikorodu, Yaba and Ojokoro was cut short at about 10a.m. following the information that the process has been shifted by the national headquarters of the party to Tuesday. Some APC members who gathered at some wards in Agege Local Government Area were asked to return home by the party leaders, who told them that the election has been postponed till today.

APC in a statement issued yesterday by its Acting National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yekini Nabena, said that the party has rescheduled the gubernatorial primary elections in Lagos, Enugu and Adamawa. The statement reads in part: “The National Working Committee (NWC) of APC has rescheduled governorship primaries in Lagos, Enugu and Adamawa states.

“The mode of primaries for Enugu and Adamawa states has also been changed from indirect to direct primaries. “New dates for Lagos governorship primaries is Tuesday, October 2. Enugu and Adamawa is direct governorship primaries for Thursday, October 4.” The governorship primaries were said to have been postponed in Lagos State due to logistics, but New Telegraph gathered from multiples sources that the election was postponed to calm nerves in the party following the exchange of words between Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the two aspirants seeking the governorship ticket.

A source said the election was postponed because the accusation and counteraccusation between the two governorship aspirants raised a lot of panic in the party, which many thought could lead to breaking of laws and order. In what seems to be a deliberate move to prevent the breakdown of law and order at the party’s secretariat located in Acme Road, Ikeja about 200 security personnel, made up of police and para-military were on ground to guard the APC office. The security personnel who stormed the secretariat about 9a.m. in large number was heavily armed and they were instructed by a senior police official not to leave the venue whether the primary election holds or not.

“You are all assigned here for security purposes. I want you all to stay here; don’t leave this place whether the primary election holds or not. You must be fully on ground,” a top police officer told the security personnel during a parade within the premises of the secretariat. Meanwhile, some supporters of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode staged a protest at the Lagos secretariat of APC over what they called the party’s plan to manipulate the governorship primary to favour Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu.The protesters, numbering about 200, carried leaves and placards, expressing their displeasure with the electoral process. Mr. Daud Olasheu, who led the protest, alleged that the party leadership had already compromised the process with the adoption of Sanwo-Olu, even before today’s primary. Olasheu, Deputy APC Local Government Chairman in Somolu, said that the party was taking a number of other steps to ensure that Ambode did not win the election.

He said they were sure that Lagos residents wanted the governor because of his administration’s strides, and that he would win in a free and fair contest. “We are here today, first to show solidarity with Governor Akinwunmi Ambode ahead of the primary and to say we are solidly behind him. “We are also here to show our resentment over the partial role the leadership is playing in the process, especially with the endorsement of Mr. Sanwo- Olu. “We want to say the party leadership have already compromised the process even before the primary. “We do not believe in the process and we want the national leadership to do its best to make the primary credible,” he said. In another development, the factional chairman of the APC in Lagos State, Hon. Fouad Oki, condemned the alleged manipulation of the primaries by a section of the party and called on its NWC to intervene in the matter before it is too late. Oki, who faulted the membership cards and register that would be used for the primaries in the state, alleged that some members of the party would be disenfranchised in the process. “If the National Chairman of the party and its National Working Committee refuse to carry us along through the primaries what happened in Osun State would be a child’s play.

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