Lagos APC: Buhari, Tinubu, Akande, stakeholders, electoral panel meet, disagree on election format
TO ensure amicable resolution to the crisis currently rocking the Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) over who picks the governorship ticket in the state, President Muhammadu Buhari, on Monday evening, met with the national leader of the party; Senator Bola Tinubu and the former interim national chairman, Chief Bisi Akande at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The meeting, held behind closed doors, it was gathered was a last-minute effort to resolve the political impasse between Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and Tinubu.
A jet was reportedly dispatched on Monday to pick up Tinubu and Akande for a meeting with the president in Abuja.
The meeting was also said to have been attended by the national chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole and other stakeholders.
Earlier on Monday, some supporters of Ambode and members of the APC also staged a peaceful protest over their inability to access membership cards in their wards.
Led by the deputy chairman of Somolu Local Government Area, Alhaji Ola Sheu, the protesters gathered at the party’s secretariat on Acme Road, Ikeja, chanting solidarity songs.
Meanwhile, the governorship primaries billed for today is not yet certain as the election monitoring committee and party stakeholders in the state failed to agree on the mode of the exercise.
Delegates from the National Working Committee (NWC), led by Mr Clement Ebri, arrived at the state party secretariat in Ikeja at around 5.00 p.m. and immediately into a closed-door meeting with party officials, led by the state chairman, Mr Tunde Balogun.
After two and a half hours, some other party stalwarts arrived and they proceeded to the main hall of the secretariat in order to begin another round of deliberations.
Those at the meeting included the majority leader of the House of Representatives, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila; another member of the House of Representatives, Honourable James Faleke; Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Honourable Mudashiru Obasa; chairman, Bariga Local Council Development Area, David Kolade and Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi.
At the end of the meeting, Ebri was reported to have told newsmen that it was an interactive session for party members to draw out the basic principles of the primaries scheduled to hold today.
“You need to have your membership card and your name must be on the register. If you don’t have your membership card and you have a slip, and your name is on the register, you will vote. I am not aware of the primaries that was held in some places in Lagos today,” he said.
But following his departure with the delegates, the state party chieftains held another closed-door meeting. At its end, Obasa told reporters the primaries might not hold as the state was not ready to abide by the position of the delegates.
Obasa said since the open direct primaries system, where members queue behind their preferred aspirants was successfully used in the presidential primaries in the state, it would also be suitable for the governorship primaries.
He said: “Members of the House of Assembly, representatives and party officials were briefed about the coming election. They told us they have directives from Abuja that we should adopt the use of ballot papers, which we, as stakeholders, have rejected. This is based on the fact that we have been earlier informed that the primaries would be a direct one and we have informed all the party members around Lagos.
“Our consideration is this, if we are going to adopt ballot papers for the primaries, there is no time to train the officials in all the local governments. We see that that is not feasible for now and we have told them our mind that here, in Lagos State, we stand for direct primaries.
“We also reminded them that the presidential primaries was conducted in the direct primaries process, even with only the use of slips. We have told them our mind and we believe they will listen to us. We haven’t reached a conclusion yet. They informed us they would get back to the national body and get back to us. It is possible the primaries does not hold tomorrow (today).”
Obasa also confirmed that elections were held in some parts of Lagos on Monday.
“Yes, the election that was held in Lagos today was successful. It was held in Mushin, Ifako Ijaye and Ketu. It was very successful. This is to show that going by direct primaries, there is no problem. It will be successful. Our people are ready and we must allow them.”