LG Election: Crisis Rocks APC In Epe As Party Leaders Accuse Lagos Deputy Gov Of Imposing Three Candidates

…Deny Incumbent Chairmen Second Term Tickets

…Party Leaders Seek Tinubu’s Intervention

The last might not have been heard of the crisis that trailed the conduct of the local government primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos, as party leaders in Epe have accused the Deputy Governor of the State, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat of circumventing the decision of the party hierarchy and imposing his choice candidates in the three councils in Epe.

Last week, the party released its final list of candidates across the 57 councils in the State, after reaching a decision to give first term chairmen automatic second term tickets in order, according to the party, to douse the tension that greeted the primaries in several councils across the State.

But fresh facts made available to Thepledge showed that the names of first term chairmen in the three councils in Epe, including Onanuga Samson Adeniyi of Ikosi-Ejinrin Local Council Development Area; Onanuga Samson Adeniyi of Eredo Local Council Development Area and Adedoyin Adesanya of Epe Local Government were conspicuously missing.

A reliable source who is one of the prominent party leaders in Epe, told Thepledge that the development ran contrary to the decision reached by the leaders’ days before the May 29 primaries, to give the three incumbent chairmen second term tickets on the basis that they performed well, most especially during the senatorial by-election in which Epe local government delivered the most votes for the party despite having the second least registered voters in the Senatorial district.

The source who did not want his name mentioned in print accused two lawmakers in the House of Assembly, Hon Abiodun Tobun (Epe Constituency I); Hon. Sylvester Ogunkelu (Epe Constituency II) of circulating false rumors that National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu had kicked against returning the incumbent chairmen, but that the rumors were soundly dispelled by the leadership of the party.

According to the source, Hon Ogunkelu, few days to the primaries had gone ahead to introduce an aspirant as the choice of the Deputy Governor contrary to the decision of the party leaders in Eredo LCDA.

“Hon Ogunkelu actually led his gang members to shoot randomly around the place even a day before the primaries so as to scare people away but he was shocked at the mammoth crowd of party faithfuls that trooped out on Saturday May 29. This is simply because leaders have signed their agreement to return the Chairmen”, the source said.

The source added that both Tobun and Ogunkelu continued in their plan to stop the incumbents and proceeded to feed the Deputy Governor with all sorts of falsehoods including the fact that the chairmen aren’t popular and that they are agents working for former governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, who had given them N20million each to “fight for the election”.

The source said that days before the primaries, in order to resolve the lingering issues, two members of the Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC) from Epe Division, Chief Shakiru Akanni (Seriki-Bamu) and former Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Adeyemi Ikuforiji, met with the Deputy Governor but Dr. Hamzat insisted on going ahead with the primaries, apparently, based on the false information he (Hamzat) was fed with by Tobun and Ogunkelu.

“A few days before the primaries, having realized that their candidates have no slightest chances in the primaries they decided to disrupt the primaries. The deputy Governor actually told Alhaji Bamu and the Speaker two days before the primaries that there’s going to be chaos at Epe during the primaries and true to their plans they disrupted the primaries in almost all the wards.”

Before the primaries was disrupted, the source said, the incumbent chairman in Epe Local Government, Adedoyin Adesanya won convincingly in Wards A4 and C1 where the exercise was duly conducted and completed.

“The question to ask is why is the Deputy Governor of Lagos State using his influence as the Chairman of the Local Government Election Committee to impose his people in the three councils in Epe? We, as leaders in Epe will not allow such travesty to stand.”

“Why will Epe be singled out for such? Out of 42 incumbents who are first term chairmen have been given a return ticket except for the three Epe chairmen. The question everyone in Epe is asking, especially staunch followers of our leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is why single out Epe?”, the party leader asked?

Asked what the next step will be to address their complaints, the source said they are patiently waiting for Tinubu to be back in town to enable them table their grievances to him.

When Thepledge reached out to the office of the Deputy Governor, one of the aides who spoke anonymously, laughed off the allegations against his principal, saying that the Deputy Governor was not one to get involved in such party politics.

“These are just spurious allegations. I can tell you for a fact that it is not true. Yes, he is the Chairman of the Election Committee for the Local government polls, but that does not mean that he will take advantage of such to tamper with the process. Anyone can make such allegations, but I can assure you that nothing of such is true,” the aide said.

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