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Lagos LG Poll: Row Over ACN Candidates’ List
Accusations and counter-accusations over the forthcoming local government election in Lagos in the state chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has set some party faithful on the edge, reports SOJI JIBOLA.
There is fresh rumbling in the Lagos State chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). The latest crisis is over the list of candidates for the forthcoming local government election in the state.
Various caucuses are up in arms against some powerful and influential party leaders for allegedly trying to thwart and frustrate the wishes of the majority on their choice of candidates for the position of local government chairmen and councils in a number of places.
The crisis got to a boiling point during the week with many party men and women taking their cases to ACN state secretariat in Ikeja and the governor’s office in Alausa. They have also sent petitions to the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) demanding diligence in scrutinising the documents made available by some candidates to prove that they are qualified to run for the positions of their choice in the elections.
Thus, all these are bound to put to test the constitutional powers and readiness of the commission to conduct the election in the 57 local government areas, including the Local Council Development Areas.
The heat generated by the creation of the 37 LCDAs in 2003 by former governor of the state, Chief Bola Tinubu, undoubtedly, still lingers. The Federal Government under former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2003 withheld the allocation of the constitutionally recognised 20 local government areas. This development later became subject of litigation. But while the LAISEC is battling with the issue of constitutionality, the ACN is enmeshed in the simmering crisis of who becomes its standard bearers. Some party members are pointing fingers at the leadership of the party from the ward to the national level for the problem. They are accusing them of undermining the party’s constitution and the rules for the election which emphasises the need for a level play ground for all the aspirants through the conduct of primaries at wards and local government levels. It was gathered that the party had set up an 11-man screening team to determine the fate of the aspirants.
The decision of the screening committee has sparked off controversies in some wards and local government areas of the state, as some aggrieved candidates alleged their leaders had turned the party to “family property.” This development led to a series of protests on the streets, party secretariat and the House of Assembly in Alausa, with the protesters threatening to dump the party if their grievances were not attended to by the party’s leaders.
So far, a number of factions have emerged in the party after its leadership released a list of candidates for the elections, with some camps claiming to be loyal to ACN the National Leader, Senator Tinubu. The other splinter groups are challenging an alleged overbearing influence of the former governor on the party, as he was alleged to have made sure that only his stooges made the list. So, a body called the Concerned Group in Iba Local Council Development Area has rejected what it described as the imposition of Ramota Oseni for chairmanship.
The group, led by Chief Aruna Gbadamosi, is insisting that the popular choice of the people is Hon. Saheed Taiwo, who was once a member of the state House of Assembly. Also, stakeholders from Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government Area have rejected the re-nomination of Mr. Kamal Ayinde Bayewu for the chairmanship election because of his alleged current poor performance in office. Similarly, ACN members and other residents of Lekki in Ibeju-Lekki Local Government Area are opposing the re-election bid of the chairman of the Local Council Development Authority, Mr. Ganiyu Olaiya Raheem. Describing his tenure as a failure, the Oni Lekki of Lekki, Oba Olumuyiwa Ogunbekun, lamented over infrastructural decay in the council, in spite of the monthly allocation from the Federation Account and the internally generated revenue.
The effectiveness of the ACN broom is also in doubt among the people of Ifako/Ijaiye Local Government Area, as they have rejected the imposition of one Mr. Toba Oke as the chairmanship candidate for the party. Representing the interest of the ACN Elders Assembly in the area, Chief Z.O. Akinde maintained that they had followed all the laid-down processes initiated by the senatorial leader, Alhaji Olatunji Amzat, to the letter, which led to the recommendation of Kayode Aremo as the acceptable chairmanship candidate. Displaying a copy of the report, the chairman, flanked by other members of his group, said
Aremo had been recommended for the chairmanship and urged lovers of democracy to abide by the decision. According to him, the contestant was the most experienced and acceptable among the aspirants. He said: “The recommendation of the selection committee, which put forward the candidature of Aremo, has been sent to the National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the state chairman, Chief Henry Ajomale; Alhaji Olatunji Amzat and Cardinal Omolaja Odunmbaku for ratification.
Suddenly, we were surprised when the news filtered out that Oke has been chosen. This is what happened in 2008, when the incumbent, Doherty, was imposed on the council. The excuse then was that he is the only slot of Governor Babatunde Fashola and we agreed.
In Iba LCDA, most ACN members rejected Oseni. The coordinator of the group, Chief Aruna Gbadamosi said since the creation of the council eight years ago, a section of the area and a particular town had dominated political power at key elective and appointive levels. He alleged that both the positions of council chairman and vice chairman had been monopolised by the sons and daughters of the same town, whereas there are four other wards and towns in the LCDA. The stakeholders in Agbado Oke-Odo have equally kicked against the imposition of the incumbent chairman, Pastor Kenny Okunmuyide. The spokesperson of the group was Alhaji Muyideen Baruwa.
There are anger and frustration among party members in Coker/Aguda Local Council Development Area too. They have accused some powerful forces of substituting the name of the incumbent chairman of the local government, Mr. Yomi Giwa, with that of a female aspirant, Adetututu-Obe. The screening committee had recommended Giwa to the party, but Adetututu-Obe’s name was included as third on the list because she was allegedly the anointed candidate of Tinubu.
In their pursuit of justice and fairness, the aggrieved party members have sent petitions to the state governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, the party’s state secretariat and LAISEC.
But while the ACN is trying to wriggle itself out of internal crisis, the Alliance for Democracy (AD) is accusing the state electoral body of depriving its members of their constitutional rights, and thereby threatening legal action. Its chairman, Kola Ajayi, stated that attempts by the members to collect nomination forms were frustrated by the commission on the ground that the party was still enmeshed in crisis.
The AD accused the ACN leadership of destabilising it in the state by using a few of its disgruntled members to create factions in the party.
The crises over the list of candidates for the election may fester since the aggrieved camps have threatened to stick to their guns, while the party leaders are vowing to deal with anyone seen to be undermining the party.Share