By Augustine Akhilomen
…Odunmbaku’s Son Gets Ticket, Idris Aregbe, Ojora Miss Out
After nearly one week of controversy, violence, and protests that greeted the local government primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos, the party hierarchy at the weekend released its final list of approved candidates for the July 24 elections.
In a statement released by the party and jointly signed by its Chairman, Tunde Balogun, and Secretary, Lanre Ogunyemi, the party listed the Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of the 20 Local Government and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs).
A cursory look at the list of candidates shows that all incumbent chairmen who have served for only one term were given automatic tickets to contest for a second term, a development that will come as a relief to some of them who had stiff opposition from viable aspirants going into the primaries.
The decision of the party leadership also meant that strong aspirants including the party Youth Organising Secretary, Idris Aregbe, who was hoping to land the ticket for Surulere Local Government as well as Prince Adewale Ojora who contested against the incumbent chairman in Lagos Island, Adetoyese Olusi both lost out on their bids.
But in Ojodu LCDA, David Odunmbaku, son of Cardinal James Odunmbaku, a stalwart of the party and a member of the Governor’s Advisory Council will heave a sigh of relief as he was given the nod to be the party’s flag bearer in the council ahead of Alhaja Funmilayo Layeni, who was heavily backed by House of Representatives member and former Ojodu LCDA chairman, Hon. James Faleke.
But reaching a decision after the mayhem that trailed the May 29 primaries was not an easy task, a source from the party leadership told The pledge.
According to the source, the list was reached after extensive consultations to ensure that the interests of major groups were factored into the final decision.
The source added that consultations will continue as other interests and agitations would equally be accommodated in the sharing formula of other positions to prevent further protests from aggrieved members as aspirants alike.
On how the final list was decided, The pledge learnt that the National leader of the party, Bola Ahmed Tinubu met with members of the GAC and top executives of the party at his residence twice this week to reach a resolution and intimate agitated party members of their decision.
“That list was a product of extensive debate, lobbying, and weighing of interests and I can tell you that it was not an easy task to accomplish. You can imagine that what used to take few hours to decide took five days for a decision to be reached. Certainly, not everyone is happy with the decision, but in the interest of peace and to forestall any breakdown of law and order, it had to be taken one way or the other.
“If you recall, Asiwaju had urged party leaders in the council to come up with consensus candidates as much as possible, but it seems it fell on deaf ears. With what transpired at the primaries in some councils, it became obvious that it was no longer an issue to treat with kid gloves,” the source said.
Tinubu was also said to have reached out to some of the aggrieved aspirants in some contentious councils where a consensus could not be reached, to appeal to them to calm the nerves of their supporters and prevent any further breakdown of law and order, while assuring them that they will be sorted out in future elections.
When The pledge reached out to one of the aggrieved aspirants, he said he has accepted the party’s decision in good faith, however adding that the party must be ready to ensure that the will of the people prevail in future elections or risk the obvious consequences.
“The party’s decision is supreme. I have accepted it in good faith. This is our party and we cannot be the ones that will destroy it with our own hands, so we respect the decision and I have spoken to my supporters to go out and campaign as well as vote for the candidate the party has chosen.
“However, this issue of overlooking the will of the people and deciding the fate of the electorate behind their back must stop henceforth. It is not healthy for us as a party, it is not healthy for our democracy which we preach and if this continues in 2023, I cannot tell what will become of our party,” the aspirant who chose to remain anonymous said.