Race to pick candidate for Reps’ bye-election hots up in Lagos APC

AS the Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) plans to hold fresh primaries to pick the party’s standard bearer for the House of Representatives bye-election into Ifako-Ijaiye Federal Constituency of the state, the party appears to have broken into camps with each of the camps canvassing different position on how the exercise should hold.

The seat became vacant following the death of Honourable Adewale Oluwatayo Elijah, who died in Abuja on July 21.

While it was learnt that one of the leaders of the party is said to have preferred that fresh party primaries should be held for the three remaining aspirants out of the four that contested and lost to the deceased lawmaker, others within the fold wanted the exercise thrown open to allow new aspirants to join the race.

The late Elijah had four challengers for the party’s ticket. They  were Demola Doherty, Yomi Ogunnusi and Abiola Josiah, while the fourth contender, Mr. Moroof Adefolabi, died during the last Hajj exercise.

As the statutory 90 days allowed for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct bye-election to the vacant seat draws nearer and the party is yet to come out with a date for its primaries to pick a candidate, more aspirants have since joined the race.

It was gathered that while Tope, the son of the deceased lawmaker, is said to have indicated his interest to vie for the vacant seat, one Mr. Kayode Aremo, the personal assistant to the same former legislator is also said to have shown similar interest, a development which some political watchers see as possible indication of crisis within the late Elijah group.

Other new contestants, it was learnt, are Benjamin Olabinjo, who is currently the Special Adviser to the Governor, Ministry of Commerce and Mr Adekunle Olayinka, the Personal assistant to the Chairman of APC, Lagos State chapter, Otunba Henry Ajomale.

Responding, spokesperson of the party in the state, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, said the APC was resolved not to impose any candidate on the party and, therefore, committed to holding an open primary to pick the most acceptable person amongst the contestants.

Igbokwe, who assured that processes were on that would lead to holding of the primaries very soon, however, did not rule out the possibility of picking the party’s standard bearer through consensus arrangement, adding “If they don’t agree, we go for open primaries.”