Teargas fired as preparations for Lagos PDP congresses turn rowdy

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There was a rowdy situation at the Lagos State Secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Monday as ward officials came to pick up materials for the rescheduled ward congresses.

Some party members and ward officials who had been at the secretariat as early as 9.00 a.m. gradually became restless when they had yet to receive materials as at 2.00p.m.

Some members became restive and disorderly and the police had to resort to the use of tear gas to restore order.

A group of young men, also overwhelmed the security at the entrance, stormed into the secretariat, causing commotion.

The security men, however, reinforced and brought the situation under control.

The materials for the congresses were finally distributed to party leaders at the wards (ward chairmen and secretaries) to go and conduct the congress.

The distribution of materials ended at about 4.00p.m.

The Chairman of the PDP reconstituted a three-man panel for Lagos State Ward Congresses, Adamu Waziri, spoke with journalists at the end of the distribution of materials.

He said the panel would ensure that the errors that led to the cancellation of the initial ward congress were not repeated.

“We may have kicked off late, but no election the world over starts and ends at specified time.

“We needed to put in place a practical process whereby the iniquities identified in the former congress are not repeated.

“The ward leaderships conducting the congresses have till tomorrow to send in their reports, even if they had to do it all night to get it right,” he said.

Also speaking, the State Chairman of the Party, Tunji Shelle, attributed the rowdy scene at the secretariat to the party being a “beautiful bride’’.

“The PDP is the beautiful bride of the 2015 elections in Lagos. We have bright chances and everyone wants to be a part of it.

“But, we will ensure fair play and hope that one day, fights will end in Nigerian politics,” Mr. Shelle said.

However, the State Publicity Secretary, Taofik Gani, said that the party had identified some of those involved in the fights as non-card carrying members.

“They were sent by our detractors to unleash terror on members and cause confusion.

“We foresaw it which was why we tried to fortify the secretariat with heavily armed policemen, but unfortunately they overwhelmed the security.

“We have learnt our lessons and will put in place measures to forestall future occurrence,” Gani said.

Meanwhile, the delay in receiving materials led to a long wait by many party members in different wards in the state.

In Somolu Local Government Area, Johnson Araoyinbo, a party member, said they are still waiting for the electoral officers as at 3.10 p.m.

Mr. Araoyinbo said that the delay was because the electoral officers had gone to the state secretariat to pick up materials to be used for the elections.

He said that once they arrived, the congress would commence and the ward delegates would be elected according to the rules.

He said some members were also waiting around for the exercise to kick off.
The situation was the same in some areas visited in Alimosho Local Government Area.

Members from six of the wards in the local government gathered at the Abesan Estate to conduct their election.

The accreditation, however, began at about 3.00p.m. and the election began thereafter as members lined up behind contestants of their choice to elect the delegates. (NAN)



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