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There seems to be no end in sight for the crisis rocking the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Lagos State, as some groups within the party have vowed to challenge the outcome of the July 31 ward congresses in court.
The groups include Lagos4Lagos, led by Abdul-Azeez Adediran popularly known as Jandor, Democrat Group led by factional chairman of the party in the State, Fouad Oki and Conscience Forum led by Moshood El-Salvador and Akinwunmi Ambode Campaign Organisation (AAMCO).
The Appeal Committee had met with the representatives of the four groups a fortnight ago to listen to their grievances in order to reach amicable resolution.
But Thepledge learnt that all the four groups have gathered facts and documents to seek legal address on what they described as irregularities and injustice against their members during the July 31 ward congresses.
Irked by the adoption of consensus candidates for the Ward Congresses, the Lagos4Lagos group held its own parallel congresses across several wards in the State and then proceeded to submit list of its elected officers to the party’s headquarters in Abuja, a development that has thrown the party into what stakeholders have described as self-inflicted crisis.
Though the Governor Mai Mala-Buni-led Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) has set up a five-man appeal committee led by Mr. Ibrahim Akaje to look at their grievances, it has done little or nothing to appease the disaffection among the groups, hence their decision to go to court.
Aside from faulting the composition of members of the committee, some of the groups also picked holes in the choice of the Lagos APC Secretariat Ogba as venue for the sitting of the Committee.
Particularly, the Democrat Group wrote a petition to the CECPC alleging that a member of the appeals committee is a card-carrying member of Lagos APC, adding that the said member is a loyalist of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and a right-hand man to Chief of Staff to the governor, Mr. Tayo Ayinde, who according to them, was deliberately planted in the appeals committee to serve ulterior purposes.
Again, one of the group noted out rightly that it will only accept the committee’s recommendations on the condition that justice, fairness and equity is done, just as another said it will definitely approach the court, if the Lagos APC Excos fail to provide convincing evidence of how the ward congresses were conducted and how they sold nomination forms to aspirants among others.
By and large, the aggrieved groups have separately expressed reservations that the Committee will adequately address their grievances, hence the decision to pursue legal action.
Adediran, convener of Lagos4Lagos Group told Thepledge that as at when they submitted their list of elected Ward officers, the Lagos APC were yet to submit their list of consensus candidates to the Abuja secretariat.
He said his group is fully ready to contest for the State Congresses and will not renege in their quest to ensure that justice is served and that the era of imposition and godfatherism ends in Lagos.
Reacting to the allegations leveled by the groups, Spokesman of Lagos APC, Seye Oladejo dismissed the allegations noting that both Oki and Adediran are working together and they have the same sponsors.
“They should stop pretending as if they are separate groups. We understand their game plans,” he said.
He particularly flayed Adediran, insisting that the Lagos4Lagos has no locus standi to conduct parallel congresses and that whatever they did on July 31 was tantamount to electing leaders of their association and not for Lagos APC.
“Adediran cannot continue to parade himself like a unionist in the midst of a well-organised party. We are dealing with the life and destinies of the estimated 20 million population of Lagos to form a government and initiate policies that will improve the state. It is not about noise making and throwing tantrums.”
For Oki, the party spokesman said, “If Oki claimed he boycotted the meeting, it shows that he is as important as not being noticed at the meeting. Nobody felt his absence.”
Oladejo however appeals to Salvador to respect himself. “The party is still understudying his relevance since he joined in 2018 or thereabout. After all, what are his contributions since he joined?”
Thepledge however gathered that the party is currently making frantic efforts to resolve the crises before the State Congresses scheduled for September 4.
Thepledge also learnt from a reliable source that despite the absence of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, emissaries have been sent to the party stalwart to confer his position and the next line of action on the lingering crisis.
In the last one week, key leaders of the party including the Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Mudashiru Obasa and some other party leaders have met Tinubu at his residence in London, where he is currently recuperating after a recent surgery.
“The visit to Tinubu by some of the leaders is to seek advice from him on the way forward for the party in the wake of the recent crisis arising from the last ward congresses. With the State congress scheduled for September 4, the last thing the party can afford is another round of crisis. This will be disastrous for the party. Asiwaju is not new to resolving crisis, so it is only right that they seek his counsel on how to quell the dissenting voices,” the source said.