Tinubu wades in to save Lagos APC ward congress crises
National leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has moved to address the crisis that marred the party ward congress in Lagos.
Tinubu had recently at the state party secretariat in Lagos instructed members at ward level that those who had spent eight years and above should not recontest position.
But the congress that was expected to bring new executive on board led to series of crises where members sustained various injuries.
“Asiwaju had instructed the leaders of the party to immediately follow the majority decision,” a source close to Tinubu told our correspondent.
“For instance after the protest by some of the party members from Lagos Island local government to his house on Saturday, he called their leadership to give in to the voice of majority in order to avert internal wrangling. He also proposed to meet leaders across the state.”
The congress held by the Lagos Island Ward C1 went awry as members of the party at the ward level disagree on existing preliminary arrangements to elect its principal officers.
This came following a heated friction that ensued between some of the key players within the warring factions.
A party faithful and member of Igba Laani faction, Mrs Ola Williams popularly known as Iron Lady with some of her supporters was physically assaulted by soldiers allegedly contracted by opposition factions to provide security at the congress.
Four factions within the ward: the Igba Laani group, Atare Ajanakun, Atayese and Lukman Ajose group (Toluwalase), had earlier met to choose the ward executive officers but the meeting was deadlock as members could not reach agreement.
Following the impasse, a congress was resolved to be held to elect the executive members.
This however did not turn out well following a mixed up in one of the positions.
The Woman Leader position which was earmarked for the Igba Laani group to be occupied by Ms Ola Williams aka Iron Lady was replaced by one Ms Yussuf Rukayat.
This development led to disapproval of the consensus arrangement as Mrs Williams called for total nullification of all the approvals she and her supporters had earlier made.
“We don’t want this; this is a breach of trust and agreement,” Mrs Williams shouted with her supporters in unison.The Woman Leader position is for Igba Laani and I am the one that was agreed to occupy that position. We will not accept the arrangement any longer because the agreement has been breached.”
INEC delegate at the congress, Habeeb Onikoyi who had earlier reeled out the names of the positions and their officers to the gathering, said his announcement of the names on the list was no longer valid.
“There has been a compromise in the arrangement; it is no longer valid because the agreement has been breached, so the outcome is inconclusive,” Onikoyi said.
Igba Laani group approved all the positions and their officers, except the post of Woman Leader, a development that left the congress inconclusive.
After further deliberations at the local government secretariat to resolve the issue, the Igba Laani group who was not satisfied with the development, headed to the residence of the national leader, Asiwaju Tinubu to express its position.
The group leader, Mrs Williams who felt betrayed and cheated lamented that other faction were oppressing her group.
Williams, who was physically abused by military officers with some members of her group at the congress venue, urged Tinubu to intervene in the matter.
Our correspondent gathered that following the call on Tinubu, the national leader directed that the Woman Leader position should be given to Williams.
“Asiwaju has spoken; he said the position should be given to me,” William told our correspondent.
“Case closed. Since Asiwaju has spoken nothing can change it,” she said.
In his reaction, Iginla, a member of Igba Laani and a supervisor for agriculture in the local government, said the three other factions teamed up against his group to acquire about 32 slots of the 37 positions.
He said the Igba Laani group which is led by the Lagos state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Adeniji Kazeem, had never held any executive position in the ward.
Iginla maintained that Atare Ajanakun group which is led by Hon. Wasiu Eshinlokun, Deputy Speaker, Lagos State House Assembly; Atayese group, sponsored by Musiliu Obanikoro, the former Peoples Democratic Party, PDP governorship candidate in Lagos who recently defected to APC; and Lukman Ajose group (Toluwalase) led by former chairman Lagos Island LG, had dominating executive positions of the ward for about 16 years.
“Here in our side the other factions want to go with all the executive posts and the delegates so we sat down for about two days and we were unable to conclude. They want to take majority of the 37 positions and we said no that; it cannot be done like that. They have been occupying the executive positions for too long. I am also a leader in this ward. I have been a chairman of board and I have had other political appointments.
“Kazeem Adeniji, Lagos State Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General is our leader while Wasiu Eshinlokun is leader of other three factions. He has been sending people to me to come and beg us in our group.
“The three groups teamed up against us. We have Igba Laani; Atare Ajanakun, which Wasiu Eshinlokun belongs to; we have Koro faction (Atayese) and we have Lukman Ajose group the former chairman (Toluwalase).
“What caused all these frictions is that when we met of Wednesday they gave my group two slots and also gave themselves two slots each, beside the Deputy Speaker’s faction which is given four. These numbers given to themselves is not added to the 18 they had earlier earmarked for themselves,” Oka said.
It was also learnt that the Eshinlokun faction is making to appease to Igba Laani group after which the group threatened to go to court over the case.