Lagos 2015: Tension in Lagos as APC governorship aspirants push for suspension of primaries

Akinwunmi Ambode

With less than 24 hours to the primaries to select the governorship candidate for the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Lagos State, aspirants are pushing for a suspension of the exercise, PREMIUM TIMES has learnt.

At a meeting at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja, which ended on Wednesday evening, the aspirants insisted that the procedure used to select delegates to Thursday’s primaries is defective.

“Congresses held in April were based on 57 local councils, but the party’s Constitution recognizes 20 local governments. Now they are trying to merge the 57 into 20,” a source who was present at the meeting told PREMIUM TIMES over the phone.

“Also, under INEC’s delineation of wards, we have 245 in the state. But under the party’s arrangement, it is 327. What happens to the excess number?

“So it cannot fly. It breached both the Electoral Act and the 1999 Constitution.”

The source, who does not want to be named for fear of victimization, said that 11 of the 13 governorship aspirants and some party executives from Abuja were present at the meeting.

Abayomi Sutton and Tokunbo Agbesanwa, the only woman in the race, were the two gubernatorial candidates who could not attend the meeting. While the former was said to be held up in Badagry, the latter was said to have lost her father.

Peter Obadan, a former Deputy Governor of Edo State (under John Oyegun, the APC Chairman), chaired the meeting.

The aspirants, PREMIUM TIMES learnt, were also angered by the fact that none of them – except Akinwunmi Ambode – knows the delegates to Thursday’s primaries.

Mr. Ambode is the candidate reportedly ‘anointed’ by Bola Tinubu, a former Lagos State governor and one of the APC’s national leader.

“We (aspirants) don’t even have the delegates’ list. If they bulldoze their way to the primaries tomorrow, any one of us can void,” the source said.

As an alternative, the aspirants reportedly settled for either a direct primaries or a consensus candidate.

“But they are not comfortable with the direct primaries or consensus because they can’t control the system,” our source said.

On Monday, some party members, led by one Olorunfemi Oluwatoin, filed a suit at the Federal High Court in Lagos seeking a cancellation of the primaries.

Joined as respondents were the aspirants, the party, and INEC.

“We have been told to await further directive from Abuja, this night,” the source said.

“But we have already written to INEC, putting them on notice. The party is bigger than what we had in ACN.”

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