If what is going round in the political terrain of Lagos state, especially Ifako/Ijaiye Local Government concerning the appointment of the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat as APC Local Government Screening and Council Election Committee Chairman and Primary Elections Committee, then extra care must be taken to a biased imposition of some candidates on the electorate during the primaries in the forthcoming local government election. Stake holders and party members in the above local government are crying foul over Hamzat’s shoddy appointment for very obvious reasons which the top hierarchy of the party at the local, state and national levels must take into full consideration to ensure a hitch free conduct of the primaries.
Party members in many local governments, especially in Mushin, Ifalko/Ijaiye and Epe are complaining bitterly of the undue and unfair appointment of Hamzat, given the fact that he is a party leader in Mushin and Epe LGs, and now wants to hijack Ifako/Ijaiye, where his younger brother is purported to be contesting the LG chairmanship seat; they therefore believe that the Deputy Governor will be partial. We refer to the averments of a chieftain of the party in the state, Chief Fouad Oki, where he condemned in very critical terms and asked Hamzat to as a matter of fairness and probity to step down as the council committee chairman
In Oki’s statement, ‘Hamzat is facing a lot of criticism already from many members of the party. Oki said many APC members considered Hamzat and other members of the committee “as a glorified surrogate and a hand of Esau and voice of Jacob in their selection. I demand on behalf of so many party patriots that the Deputy Governor recuse himself from the committee forthwith. The moral implication of his continued membership of the committee will come as a testimony that truly, Governor Babajide Sanwoolu will be denied the conventional right of first refusal next year. The insinuation out there is that Dr. Femi Hamzat was appointed to superintend the nomination of those who will guard and ensure his nomination as the party’s flag bearer next year, a classical case of people wanting to come to equity with very stained and blooded hands. Oki also called on the APC national leadership, the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission, political parties, security agencies, non -governmental organizations as well as the media to rise up and make sure that the forthcoming council election was free and fair. According to him, democracy and popular participation in elections in Lagos State in the last two decades have been facing a crisis of legitimacy and declining confidence. This lack of confidence in the state’s electoral process, he said, had necessitated the need for democratic renewal through increasing citizen participation and transparency.
He stated that from the history of local government elections in Lagos State since 2003 till press time, there had been challenges of free, fair and credible elections and citizens were losing the right to vote or the vote counting towards the final electoral outcome. This has caused a fait accompli hence citizen’s lack of interest to participate at elections, because their voices have been strangled and Lagos cannot breathe again, because its jugular has been locked down like it was done to George Floyd by officer Dereck Chauvin in Minnesota, USA recently. .
He said in many instances, party candidates especially in APC were declared winners without voting. In other cases, people who did not stand for elections were declared winners. In the particular case of the 2017 local government elections in Lagos State, the loss of franchise by citizens was very widespread leading to what was termed ‘Direct capture of the peoples mandate’ at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere.. He therefore called on the national leadership to rise up and intervene on the side of probity, free, fair, transparent and credible nomination process. I invite and urge all people of good conscience to rise up and keep a vigil on the election primary, which the party will organize to choose its flag bearers in Lagos State.
After all, Lagos is Nigeria and Nigeria is Lagos, political development and democratic ethos are measured in Nigeria by the political tempo of Lagos. We will not achieve any democratic progress in this country if Lagos continues to be held by its jugular; no meaningful electoral reforms or review will be attained if collectively we do not stand up to demand for a transparent and credible internal democracy in Lagos, particularly, from the leading political party that have created a hegemonic environment over the state.’’
It is therefore expedient of the party’s hierarchy to wade in positively and do the needful to avert an ugly development during the coming LG primaries. In another palpable development that called on the Deputy Governor to prove his Integrity by Ifako Ijaiye residents, APC stakeholders, the good people of Ifako Ijaiye Local Area and political stakeholders within the local government urged the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat and bonafide indigenes of Ifako Ijaiye to test run his integrity and write his name with golden pen. Hamzat has been alleged of plotting to do everything possible and as well use his power to install his younger brother, the present vice chairman of the council, Hon. Usman Hamzat as the APC candidate for the forthcoming election
According to a resident who confided in our reporter allegedly said, strong members of Usman Camp are saying openly and boasting that the Deputy Governor has assured them during their interactions meeting with him that his younger brother must be the candidate and that shows there must a foul play in the selection of the candidate by the committee.
The committee, inaugurated by the party’s Chairman, Chief Tunde Balogun following the release of the statutory election notices published by the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC.) Balogun reiterated that the announcement of the elections scheduled for July 24 has ignited political activities in the party, with various aspirants canvassing for support.
Hamzat had assured the party of living up to expectations and ensure that credible guidelines would be put in place to justify the confidence the party leadership reposed in him. He said the party would present the best candidates that would complement the efforts of the state government in providing the dividends of democracy. Other members of the committee are former deputy governor, Dr. Idiat Oluranti Adebule; Mr. Ademola Sadiq- the state legal adviser; Hon. Adewale Oshun; Hon. Daramola Abayomi; Alh. Ganiyu Sadiq; Mr. Ademola Olisa; Mr. Fatai Lasisi; Mr. Adebiyi Kehinde; Mr. Olabode Olaniyan; Mr. S. A. Sekoni; Mr. Tunde Lawal and Mr. Gani Bello. It is therefore incumbent on leaders of the party in Ifako/Ijaiye to come out and speak with one voice on issues like this by not allowing people with ulterior motive through imposition of candidates for elective offices in the local government, especially by allowing the right peg inside the right hole and by extension infusing transparency and probity in all decision-making processes.