Lagos Commissioner Resigns from Ambode’s Cabinet, Endorses Agbaje

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Olawale Oluwo

Gboyega Akinsanmi

Lagos State Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr. Olawale Oluwo, wednesday resigned from the State Executive Council, citing anomalies and irregularities that characterised the outcome of the governorship primaries.

Oluwo, who contested governorship election with Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi on the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in 2007, also announced his defection to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), expressing support for the PDP candidate, Mr. Jimi Agbaje in the forthcoming election.

This was contained in two separate letters he addressed to the state governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, and the Chairman of Lagos APC, Mr. Babatunde Balogun, yesterday, announcing his resignation from the State Executive Council and his defection from the APC to the PDP.

In the letters, Oluwo accused the leadership of the ruling party of being anti-democratic in the process through which former Commissioner of Establishment, Pensions and Training, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, emerged as the APC governorship candidate for the election scheduled to hold on March 2, 2019.

Oluwo said the governorship primary had diminished the reputation of the APC in the state, alleging that a powerful group in the APC had been violating the principle of separation of powers and intimidating critical institutions of democracy in the state.

Oluwo’s letter to the party chairman reads in part: “My decision to resign is not unconnected with the events of the last few weeks, which have created a heavy moral burden for me. I have found it rather difficult to come to terms or rationalise the party’s conduct of the October 2018 primary elections, which were largely characterized by massive voter disenfranchisement, intimidation, violence, undue influence and non-compliance with all known principles of democracy.

“In the particular case of the gubernatorial primary, which was conducted using the “open ballot” option in violation of the guidelines of the APC that specified the open-secret ballot option, it is clear to me that the core principles of merit, competence, justice and fairness have been sacrificed by the APC on the altar of political expediency.

“The integrity-deficient nature of the primary has significantly diminished the hard-earned reputation of our State as a reference point for free and fair democratic practice.

“I have struggled for weeks to understand the rationale for the apparent desperation and brigandage brazenly displayed by the party apparatchik in the various elections. I had never thought such vicious attack could be unleashed on the progress that the state had made in its steady democratic journey.

“The indifference of the APC to the continued use of an arm of government by a powerful group within the party, to intimidate critical institutions of democracy in the state, undermines the doctrine of separation of powers, creates an atmosphere of uncertainty and impairs government’s ability to implement policies and programmes that will benefit the majority of the people.

“This is in conflict with my strongly held belief that group interest, no matter how powerful, must be subordinated to the interest of the majority,” Oluwo wrote.