• We will capitalise on Lagos APC crisis, says Jimi Agbaje
By Gboyega Akinsanmi and Segun James
Violence broke out in different parts of Lagos State yesterday during the House of Representatives primary elections of the All Progressives Congress (APC), disrupting the voting process and commercial activities in some areas.
This is coming as an aspirant for the gubernatorial ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, has said that the party would capitalise on the crisis in APC in the state in its effort to wrest the state from the continued stranglehold of the ruling party.
Suspected thugs attacked APC faithfuls in voting centres in Kosofe Local Government Area (LGA), Agbado Oke-Odo Local Council Development (LCDA) and Ikosi-Isheri Local Council Development Area, among others.
In Kosofe, an eyewitness account confirmed that a party chieftain, Hon. Ibrahim Mustapha, and few other persons narrowly escaped death when the suspected thugs invaded a polling centre in Anthony Village and attacked those exercising their civic rights.
THISDAY also gathered that thugs were moving from one polling unit to the other across Kosofe Federal Constituency brandishing machetes; attacking those perceived to be opponents and chasing them out of the voting centres.
Although no death was recorded in Kosofe LGA, the eye-witness said Mustapha was matcheted by some political thugs allegedly working for the Special Adviser to the Governor on Food Security, Mr. Ganiu Okanlawon, and a member of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Bayo Oshinowo.
According to the account, about five thugs descended on Mustapha with machetes and cudgels.
They hit him on the head and other parts of his body at Adebayo Mokuolu Street, Anthony Village.
The source explained that Mustapha was rushed to two different hospitals, but was rejected.
However, the source said, Mustapha was admitted at the Life Fountain Hospital where he is currently undergoing treatment.
In Ikosi-Isheri, mayhem broke out at Ward F where political thugs allegedly working for Oshinowo stormed the ward and scared voters with dangerous weapons before chasing them away from the polling points.
Oshinowo is contesting the Lagos East senatorial ticket with Senator Gbenga Ashafa, though reports said he had been disqualified from participating in the election by the screening committee in Abuja, thereby leaving Ashafa unopposed.
Another eyewitness account said most voters who were scared also noticed some political thugs from Mile 12 disrupting voting exercise with machetes, guns and axe, had to run to avoid being lynched.
The account said the primary election, which was supposed to hold at an accredited venue, was rescheduled to hold on Ekiti Street, the stronghold of one of the federal legislative aspirants, Hon. Rotimi Agunsoye.
In Agbado, THISDAY gathered that there was confusion everywhere, as groups political thugs working for different federal legislative aspirants took over the entire Ekoro road with machetes and guns, among others.
According to a source, residents ran into hidings while traders were closed their shops. Pedestrians sought refuge in canals and drainage channels. The thugs operated without let or hindrance and without fear of security operatives.
In a statement yesterday, a lawmaker representing Lagos East senatorial district, Senator Gbenga Ashafa confirmed the incident, alleging that it was fomented by some political thugs sympathetic to a member of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Bayo Oshinowo.
Ashafa alleged that a few persons were injured while several others were threatened by the thugs, noting that his ambition “is not worth the blood of any Nigerian and should in that light, call his supporters to order.”
He urged the Nigeria Police Force “to ensure the safety of lives and properties across the entire senatorial district. Thugs must never be allowed to disrupt any electoral process in our country and such people should be severely punished by the law.”
He said his supporters “have been resolute, refusing to be intimidated. They have been calm in the face of the growing violence. We urge all our supporters to go through highway to avoid any confrontation with the thugs.”
Meanwhile, an aspirant for the gubernatorial ticket of PDP in Lagos State, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, has said that the party would capitalise on the crisis in APC in the state in its effort to wrest the state from the continued stranglehold of the ruling party.
He said this soon after casting his vote at the venue of the PDP governorship primaries held at Oregun area of Lagos yesterday.
Agbaje who was the party’s governorship candidate in the 2015 election, is contesting the primaries against Mr. Deji Doherty, who is believed to have the backing by a former national Deputy Chairman of the party and a leader of the party in the State, Chief Bode George for the gubernatorial ticket.
Agbaje said that the PDP in the state is stronger and ready to contest the 2019 general elections unlike in previous elections in the country.
He promised to revamp the education sector in the State and improve infrastructure, adding that he decided to seek the gubernatorial ticket because of his belief in his ability to win.
“We would reap from what is happening in the APC and we are ready to do that. Our party is much stronger now unlike before,” he stressed.
“It is important to improve on the quality of our education in the state to meet up with the 21st century. By the time we address education properly, then a man who collects salary can give proper account of his income, he will have no fear about his children, health and education. These are some of the basic things that must be addressed”. Agbaje said.
Also speaking, Doherty, promised to run a prudent administration that would free Lagos State of debt, stressing that he would provide enabling environment that would attract more investment to the State.
“Everything in these primaries has been going well except for the crowd control which we had issue with but everything has been brought under control.
“PDP is a party of the people we prefer our delegate system rather that Option A4 of All Progressives wells (APC). I would try and improve the power situation in Lagos so that small business and investment can grow in Lagos,” he explained.