The congresses in the 366 wards of the Lagos State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress held Saturday under a largely peaceful atmosphere.
Some party members, however, disagreed with the process and accused the leadership of manipulation.
In Agbado Oke Odo local council, accreditation of eligible voters started at about 1.30 p.m. at Ward C in Aboru-Ifesewapo was peaceful amidst a heavy presence of police officers.
Augustine Arogun, the council boss, lauded the peaceful conduct of the congress in the locality.
“This is one of the largest wards where we have a lot of votes in Agbado Oke Odo LCDA,” Mr Arogun said.
“You can see from the way we have been conducting ourselves that it has been peaceful so far. People came out en masse to vote for their delegates and the ward executive.”
At Ward A in Mushin local government, Toyin Aremu, a party official, told PREMIUM TIMES there was no record of fighting or violence.
“They have announced the result to the members of the party at the congress, it’s left for the leaders and some of the excos to monitor at the collating centres,” said Mr Aremu, National President, APC Change Volunteer.
The people do not need to come to where they are collating it; after they have announced the result in their various wards where they have held the Congress, the returning officer will then take the result to the headquarters.”
The Spokesperson of the Lagos chapter of the APC, Joe Igbokwe, said apart from some “minor issues here and there,” the congress in his ward was peaceful.
“There are little, little issues that we have that we are trying to thrash out before we go into the main collation,” Mr Igbokwe, who was at the Agunbiade Ward in Itire-Ikate local council, told PREMIUM TIMES.
“This is a local, bottom line election, it is not a big deal, it’s not supposed to be as elaborate as you people are thinking. Everybody wants to hold one position or the other, that is the problem we are having, nobody wants to be pushed to the background.”
A fight broke out at Ward C in Badagry local government after some members claimed that the list to elect the executive members was manipulated.
The timely intervention of police officers from the Badagry Division prevented the situation from degenerating into a full-blown chaos.
A party member told NAN that the list had been manipulated by party officials.
“The Congress cannot hold because we believe that the list has been compromised and we wouldn’t fold our arms and allow anyone to manipulate things. We would prefer it nothing holds than allowing this to happen,” he said.
As at about 4 p.m., the Ward Congress was yet to start in Badagry West local council.
The party members who converged at various centres waited in vain for officials of the APC to conduct the Congress.
In Ward B and C, the centres were filled with APC members who waited endlessly for the conduct of the exco elections.
The party member said they reported at the venue of the exercise as early as 7 a.m. and the exercise had not yet begun as at the time of this report.
Also, at Olorunda local council, party members were still expecting officials to conduct the elections and material have not yet arrived.
Fouad Oki, the APC Vice Chairman, Lagos Central, described the ward congresses in his locality as a charade.
“Really there was no congress because it is still the same thing,” said Mr Oki, who was recently reportedly suspended by the state leadership of the party.
“A situation where you have returning officers, people who voted in their wards don’t have the election results posted in the election sheets in their presence. Election sheet is now filled by the ward congress committee, they now hand over to a returning officer at the local government level who will now take the result to Acme (the party secretariat) to submit.”
Mr Oki accused party officials of manipluation and in-puting names of winners of the congresses into a result sheet from an already pre-determined list.
“On the result sheet, you are supposed to write the name of the contestant, number of accredited voters, total number of votes cast, the question is how would you in one ward have 5,851 members of the party? Which ward in Lagos State will you have 5,851 members?”
Mr Igbokwe, however, said there is nothing wrong with having a list of preferred contestants as long as a consensus was reached.
“If you have consensus, it’s allowed,” Mr Igbokwe said.
“Where you are looking for about 20 officers that will form the exco at the ward level, you now start picking 20 ballot boxes? These are the lowest of the elections.
“These things are allowed so long as they agree because the leaders would have sat down to do these things. Where we don’t have consensus, that is why some of them are still delaying till this time.
“Sometimes it takes time to achieve a consensus but it’s always the best.”