Aregbesola’s Senatorial Aspiration Tears Lagos APC Apart

  •  Reject party’s plan for peaceful co-existence

Osun State Governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola’s aspiration to contest senatorial election in Lagos West senatorial district in 2019 has started causing ripples in the rank of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, THISDAY has learnt.

Aregbesola had said he could contest election in any state of the South-west geo-political zone when his tenure ends in November 2018, though claimed he had not then made up his mind to pursue senatorial aspiration in Lagos West in 2019

But some APC chieftains in the state confirmed at the weekend that Aregbesola’s unwarranted interference in Lagos politics was the reason some council chairmen decided to dump the party’s plan to reconcile all interests and ensure peaceful co-existence in its ranks ahead of the 2019 general election.

A party chieftain, who spoke with THISDAY anonymously, revealed that Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode’s proposal “to ensure prudent fiscal management in 20 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) and that accountable local government areas /LCDA Executive Councils are constituted marked the genesis of the friction.”

He disclosed that the crisis was intense in six LCDAs in Alimosho where Aregbesola was the leader of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) before he became Osun State Governor in 2010 and four LCDAs in Kosofe.
Apart from Alimosho, the party leader noted that the crisis affected four LGA/LCDAs in where a four-time member of Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Bayo Oshinowo, was alleged to be working against Ambode’s plan to effectively replicate the strategic action programmes of his administration at the grassroots.

According to him, Oshinowo “is at the root of the crisis because he succeeded edging out Chief Bush Alebiosu and Sen. Olorunnibe Mamora as the APC leaders in Kosofe/Somolu. But Oshinowo is acting alone. He is acting on the dictate and instruction of Aregbesola. Both of them are strong members of Mandate Group, a support group loyal to the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.”

He, therefore, explained the rationale behind Ambode’s proposal, noting that it resulted from the irregularity and lopsidedness discovered after the appointment of Sole Administrators in October 2016, noting that most of the sole administrators that appointed in last year were nominated by Aregbesola’s group.

He disclosed that party leaders, especially Chief Oladele Ajomale; APC Women Leader, Chief Kemi Nelson; Sen. Olamilekan Adeola-Solomon and Hon. Bayo Oshinowo among others largely played key roles in the appointment of Sole Administrators that handed over the elected chairmen.

Consequently, the party chieftain revealed that the appointment of the sole administrators “showed that some LGAs and LCDAs did not have representation at all while some had had two and three in some cases. It was lopsided and unjust. It fuelled disaffection among party chieftains and members across the state.”

He noted that the anomalies “were discovered after the sole administrators were sworn in. As a result, both Tinubu and Ambode resolved to correct the anomalies with the election of council chairmen. Before the council election, almost all Aregbesola’s candidates got the party nomination. This caused disaffection and misgivings in the ranks of the party.”

Due to the misgivings, he said the party decided “to redress the anomalies by ensuring that all interests are accommodated in the constitution of the LGA/LCDA Executive Councils. The party thus directed that all council chairmen should send the lists of their proposed cabinet members to its secretariat.

“The lists were submitted to the secretariat. After thorough examination, it was discovered that the lists did not accommodate all interests in almost all LGAs and LCDAs. The party then consulted both Tinubu and Ambode, thereby presenting a proposal that will to accommodate all interests in each of the LGAs and LCDAs in order to promote peace and unity in the party.”

Another party chieftain disclosed that the party leaders had series of meetings “to reconcile all the lists the council chairmen submitted to the party and accommodate all interests in order to pacify those who lost out in the local government primaries. After the lists were reconciled, fresh lists of LGA/LCDA Executive Council nominees were produced. Tinubu and Ajomale allegedly approved the lists, which were then circulated to all LGAs and LCDAs in accordance with the law.”