By Segun James
Coalition of Lagos Progressives in the All Progressives Congress (APC) has demanded that the party should allow the chairmanship of the party in the state to rotate to other senatorial zones.
The coalition said besides the position rotating, Chief Henry Ajomale, the state chairman of the party, should step aside after 14 years as chairman of the Action Congress (AC), the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the APC.
The group said there was need for change in the system not only in the interest of fair play, but in order to inject new blood in the system.
According to the group in a statement signed by Mr. Taoridi Jinadu Akapo, â€œLagos State is a state of extraordinary diversity and as such, one of extraordinary complexities. These complexities are a reflection of the avalanche of ethno-cultural and socio-political groups co-habiting the territory and the intricacies of interaction among them.
â€œIndeed, Nigeria adventure into pluralism of religious and ethnic diversities owes its origin to colonial conquest which permeatedÂ the entire continent of Africa begninng from the Lagos Colony which is presently known and called either Lagos Division or Lagos senatorial district.
â€œPerhaps cognisance of the existence of latest threats to the future political stability of the emergent nation-state, the founding fathers were desirous of a system of government that would neutralise the political threats and accommodate the divergent interest of the various socio-political groups. This desire eventually found expression in the power sharing/power rotation arrangement in its system of politics and government as a diversity management technique.
â€œBut it must be stated here that, with the advent of the 1999 political formation, there has been a profound change in the practice of party politics in the state in the sense that, the system has been practiced in an awkward manner and this has called into question the manner of a lopsided power sharing/representation formula.
â€œGiven this background and against the fact that the operation of the system per se started 1999, what is the continued relevance of the power sharing/representation idea in Lagos State? This is against the background of hiccups experience so far with the system and its attendant implications for political stability. Further to the above question, what are the sources of the present worry over adaptability of the system power sharing/representation in Lagos State and what are the future hopes for politically stability when the most prosperous part is being relegated into obscurity and odium?
â€œThe practice of liberal democracy is overshadowed by the clamours for political zoning and other power-sharing arrangements as mechanisms for zonal and administrative balancing. This has been alluded to the capacity of such informalities for conflict mitigation and consensus formation in plural societies. Drawing motivation from this, is a traditional paradigm of power rotation among the administrative divisions of Lagos State comprising Ikeja, Badagry, Ikorodu, Lagos and Epe (IBILE) Divisions. We base our demand on the conventional practice of zoning and rotational access to political power intersect with identity politics and the ideals of liberal democracy in Nigeria.
â€œWe affirm that the prevalence of zoning and power rotation as forms of political practice is built around two issues, one point toward a national and local appropriation and the second is an accommodation of the concepts. The practice has the capacity for maintaining peaceful political order, it has occurred more as an elitesâ€™ strategy to negotiate continued participation in the political process and access to the common wealth.
â€œThe practice of electing political leaders on the basis of sectional or administrative affiliations constitutes a feature of a democratic tradition that dates to the pre-independence era. Agitations for power or power shift are made on the need for every part of the state to have a â€˜sense of belongingâ€™ within the state, or to correct a supposed imbalance in the political configuration.
â€œThe evidence of power rotation as an entrenched political norm is found in the post-1999 era, which suggests an alternation of the position of president between the North and South even when such arrangement is devoid of constitutional legitimacy, rather it has become a norm in political calculus and shenanigan which we cannot shy away from in our pursuit to seek power.â€
They insisted that it is in the light of these that they take exception to the call by Senator Bola Tinubu, the national leader of the party, to insist on maintaining the status quo in Lagos State while calling for the removal of the national leadership of the party.
According to them, â€œWhy should Tinubu unilaterally make a proclamation to stop some people from aspiring to positions in the party and asking others to do so? Are there some set of rules for some aspirants and another for others? Or is this a signal of what to come in the next few months?,â€ the group wonders.
They complained that the general feelings of party members in the state is that Tinubu has decided to hold the party to ransom by his double speak.
They therefore called on â€œthe Governorâ€™s Advisory Council (GAC) headed by Tinubu to take more than a cursory look at this demand before the party has itself to blame at next general election, especially, against the background of un-popularity which the Governor Akinwunmi Ambodeâ€™s administration has caused the party. A stitch in time, they say saves nine.
â€œThe leadership caucus should take into consideration that it was in the wisdom of the founding fathers that power calculus should be balanced for all to have a sense of belonging but that purpose seems to have been jettisoned. Zoning is a weighty issue which demands immediate attention considering the fact that the country has not gone too far away from democracy and its institutions are still very fragile.
â€œWe seek a continuation of the zoning arrangement provided it would be the turn of Lagos central senatorial/administrative division. Refusal to this demand by our party leadership would lead to a macabre dance of the leadership that would expose their jaundiced act of going against the grain of conventions of power sharing and rotation.â€