By Gboyega Akinsanmi
As the National Working Committee (NWC) of All Progressives Congress (APC) set the stage for the Lagos State governorship primary election, competent sources have alleged that the chairmen of the 20 local government areas (LGAs) and 37 local council development areas (LCDAs) are intimidating the party members to vote against the state Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode.
An APC chieftain from Kosofe Local Government Area, who spoke with THISDAY in confidence, confirmed the development Tuesday morning, alleging that the State Executive Committee (SEC) and State Working Committee (SWC) “are not ready to conduct credible and transparent primary”.
Specifically, the source alleged that every council chairman held an emergency meeting with all ward chairmen, ward executives, councillors, supervisory councillors and party members at large Monday night, directing them to vote for Ambode’s main challenger, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
The source also alleged that the council chairmen told their members that the SEC and SWC had already discarded the open secret ballot system contrary to the guideline the Electoral Committee of Lagos State Governorship Primary Election had approved for Option A4 at a stakeholders’ meeting with the party leaders Monday night at the Lagos APC Secretariat, Acme Road, Ogba.
With Option A4, the THISDAY source said, the council chairmen warned that all members would be tracked and monitored, adding that any member that queued behind Ambode contrary to the directive of the APC National Leader, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, shall face the consequence of their action.
Besides that, the source alleged that the Chairman of Lagos APC, Prince Babatunde Balogun, had directed all electoral officers at the 377 wards in the 20 LGAs and 37 LCDAs not to accept membership slips, which according to him, indicated that members who registered between 2015 and 2018 would not vote.
According to the source, the directive is already generating mixed reactions, indeed palpable tension all over the state already.
“There are no ballot paper and voting materials across the state. These people have set the stage for manipulation. We will not be a party to illegalities,” he said.
Another APC chieftain from Oshodi Local Government Area confirmed the meetings of council chairmen with ward party executives, members and political office holders Monday night, noting that the chairmen at the meetings instructed the APC members to vote for Ambode’s opponent.
“In Oshodi, for instance, there were two distinct meetings. Chairman of Oshodi Local Government Area, Mr. Bolaji Ariyo, held a meeting with all ward executives, political officers and members last night on the directive of the APC national leader. He told them at the meeting that Tinubu had given directive that all meeting should vote Sanwo-Olu,” he said.
The source also noted that the Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Oshodi Branch, Musiliu Akinsanya (a.k.a MC Olu Omo), held another meeting with area boys in Oshodi, directing them “to use intimidation and violence to cow Ambode’s supporters”.
“Across all LGAs and LCDAs, NURTW leaders held similar meetings with area boys Monday night with a clear directive to ensure that Ambode’s supporters do not come close to the voting centres. The trend may spark violence if the situation is not properly handled,” he said.