10th December, 2010
As the polls draw nearer, the battle for the soul of Lagos State between rivalÂ groups loyal to former governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his successor, Mr. BabatundeÂ Raji Fashola, SAN, may have commenced fully as people presumed to be loyal to theÂ governor were allegedly sidelined in the ward and local government congresses heldÂ across the state.
The move Political Platform learnt, may be a signal that ex-governor Tinubu’sÂ loyalists are bent on demonstrating their hold on the affairs of the party ahead ofÂ next year’s election.
Although, ACN leaders in the state were said to have opted to maintain the statusÂ quo in order to avoid division, the faction believed to be loyal to Fashola hasÂ condemned the manner in which the matter was handled by the party leadership.
An evidence of the internal rift within the rank of the party was seen on TuesdayÂ when aggrieved party members trooped to the state secretariat of the ACN to complainÂ of disenfranchisement during the ward and local government congresses.
The protesters alleged widespread manipulation of the partyâ€™s membership register toÂ favour stooges and lackeys of the partyâ€™s leadership in all the local councils inÂ the state.
The party members complained that delegates were imposed and not elected during theÂ congresses, a plot they fear would reduce the chances of the incumbent governor ofÂ clinching the partyâ€™s gubernatorial ticket.
Chief David Abidakun, the chairman of Lagos West Senatorial District stakeholdersâ€™Â group, which has widespread presence in ten local government areas in the state,Â said â€œa cabal wants to impose some people on the party as delegates for their ownÂ selfish end,” adding that the imposition is against the wish of the members of theÂ party.
Reacting to the allegations of irregularities and lack of democracy during theÂ congresses, the chairman of the congress committee, Bashorun Alabi said the exerciseÂ went on smoothly, adding that he was unaware of any protest.
“When it comes to selection in any party, such is bound to happen because we haveÂ groups, we have caucuses, there ought to be complaints here and there. So if youÂ donâ€™t getÂ something like that, it means something is wrong.
â€œBut what we did was simple. We told them that if they felt that they were beingÂ marginalized, they should not fight but report to us and we will look into it andÂ take appropriate steps. We even told our returning officers that if their is problemÂ in any ward,Â they should come and report to us.”
He added that the response to the congress was overwhelming and the people were veryÂ happy about the whole process.