Mr. Clement Ebri, the Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) National Working Committee Panel sent from Abuja, the nation’s capital, to Lagos to monitor the Governorship Primary Election between Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, has cancelled the exercise reportedly held on Tuesday.
According to report, the election, which was held across 20 local government areas of the state yesterday, was won by Sanwo-Olu, the aspirant who current enjoys the support of Lagos APC stakeholders including Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Mr. Tunde Balogun, the Chairman of the Lagos APC, noted that election was held across the 245 wards in the state under the supervision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), adding that it was free, fair and transparent.
“The results were signed by the agents of the two aspirants. The results were credible because INEC officials were there to witness the exercise; there was no violence,” he added.
Regarding whether the NWC members sent to Lagos were involved in the election, Balogun said he wasn’t sure because he didn’t go around wards checking. But he however reaffirmed his position that; “the election was properly conducted; constitutionally done and we leave the rest for the people. The conduct of the election was seamless and there was no chaos.”
Reports by some APC members however show that the exercise was marred with violence, adding that council chairmen went around wards with thugs beating up people apparently trying to vote for Governor Ambode.
Mr. Balogun, the Lagos APC Chairman, however insisted that; “the primary election took place in all the wards – 245 wards in Lagos State – and it was peaceful; not a single case of violence was recorded.
“The election stands because it was conducted according to the constitution of our party. The results were recorded under INEC supervision.
“I am the APC chairman for Lagos and I can’t disenfranchise about 1.5 million people that took part in the exercise all over the state. It will be unfair, it will be unjust to do so,” he said.
Mr. Ebri however in a statement on Tuesday in Alausa, Ikeja, the Lagos State capital, noted that the election could not have held because the committee was still expecting the full list of representatives of one of the two aspirants as at 4pm yesterday.
The Chairman of the panel noted that the committee was interested in a credible exercise that would not disintegrate the party; therefore the two aspirants would be given a level playing field.
Mr. Ebri, a former governor of Akwa Ibom State, apparently trying to prove that no election was held, displayed empty result sheets, saying, that was evidence that the primary did not hold officially.
“First and foremost, yesterday (Monday) we held a stakeholders meeting; certain submissions were made and on the basis of these submissions, I contacted the national headquarters and they asked us to adjust the procedures in line with the provisions.
“We had a session with the representatives of both aspirants, they were here as early as 8am and at that meeting, we discussed some of these modalities and asked them to furnish us with names of people who will act as agents for this exercise.
“So, we received the list from one party about one hour ago. At one point, they brought a list for seven local governments out of 20 and about five hours later, they brought list for 11. Even the other two local governments have not been provided till this moment (4pm). Do you blame me? Will you have expected us to collect 18 from one person and 20 from another person? No.
“This is all about fairness and equity and I think at the end of the day, what we did was the best. I couldn’t have collected materials and say because the other party didn’t come, I give to the other person and say go and conduct the election.”
He noted that a new date for the exercise would be fixed after contacting the APC NWC.
“Because of the political tension in the state, we decided to be very careful, very methodical and very meticulous. As party men, peace is more important to us than victory. We want victory that will be celebrated by both parties. We are ready to go to the field and execute this in clinical fashion so that at the end of the day we will not be accused of partisanship,” he added.
Chief Clever Egbejie, a member of the committee, further reaffirmed that the purported election was cancelled. “It has been cancelled. No election held,” Egbejie said.
The Governor Ambode Campaign Organisation on Tuesday also said that no primary election was held in Lagos State.
According to a statement released by the group, the guidelines and procedures which the NWC said must be followed to conduct a credible election were not followed.
“These include the usage of membership slips and membership cards by registered party members, as well as the adoption of secret ballot system which protects the electorate.
“The NWC came from Abuja with sufficient ballot papers which have yet to be distributed. As a loyal and responsible party member and a democrat, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode is guided by the process announced by the party and shall await the new date of the governorship primary election,” the group said.
Lagos APC declared Sanwo-Olu winner of Governorship Primary
The Lagos State Chapter of the APC, obviously and clearly displaying its support for Tinubu’s boy, Sanwo-Olu, around 9pm on Tuesday declared him winner, saying that he defeated Governor Ambode with over 890,000 votes.
“It is my pleasure and delight to read the result of the election conducted all over Lagos State in all the 245 wards to the public.
“The results are as follows: Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, recorded 72, 901 votes; Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu had 970, 851 votes. Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu is the winner of today’s primary election.”
APC National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole says Lagos Primary election under NWC control
Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, the National Chairman of the ruling APC, in his statement noted that the NWC was in-charge of the Lagos primary election, saying that the situation was under control.
“Everything that is being done is done under the control of and supervision and directions of the NWC,” he said, shortly after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Tuesday.
“I told the president that the primaries held as planned and everything is being done to ensure there is no violence because democracy doesn’t flourish with violence.
“Nigerians must begin to learn how to differ in opinion and in choice without fighting; this is something people have to acquire over time.
“I am excited that if we can do it in Lagos, we can do it anywhere.
“We actually had one but you know when things go peacefully, it appears our editors will be more bias towards what is called sensational news.
“Kano people trooped out two days ago and we saw a governor queuing with the ordinary people in his own ward to nominate a governor, all kinds of people participating because they are members of the party to decide who contest the next election, this is revolutionary.
“This time very ordinary people are to determine whether a governor should run again or not run again,” Oshiomhole said.
Tinubu reveals why he is fighting against Ambode
Bola Tinubu, the godfather in Lagos State, while casting his vote of Tuesday, said that Governor Ambode did well in office, but he was not a good party man.
According to Tinubu, the decision to support Sanwo-Olu was beyond him, adding that he was only following the wishes of the party.
“Who did I support in 2014? Ambode. Life is dynamic. The party members, who made me the leader of the structure in Lagos, say this is what they want; it is only if you have followership that you are a leader in a democracy.
“If I look back and I don’t find them again; if I don’t respond to them, if I fail to accede to their request, I would have failed the leadership test.
“This is not personal; it is beyond me as a person. Every democratic constitution is preceded by ‘we, the people.’ So, I had to submit myself to the wishes and the yearnings of our party.
“This is an elixir for the general election. Ambode Akin, he is doing well, yes; but he hasn’t been a good party man; not only the glamour, not only about brick and mortal. A talent is determined by character. For you to become an influential person, you have to respond to the yearnings of the people. This is politics; democracy, one man, one vote.
“It is yours today, tomorrow it may change, you have to abide by it. You don’t bring the roof down; you don’t bring the house down, except the foundation is bad.”
“The exercise you have witnessed today is equally good for the general election of the party. You see how they trooped out for Buhari’s endorsement to continue; 1.9 million votes,” he said.