Kunle ADELABU, Wale JAGUN & Jare OLUKOTUN
-Consensus prevailed in Igbogbo/Bayeku, Imota
-Electoral officers arrested for irregularities
The All Progressives Congress (APC) Ward Congress in Ikorodu Division brought back the memories of the 2017 Local Government (LG) Elections across the division as individuals and groups’ interests overshadowed that of the party.
About 10 months after the controversial LG Congresses, the Congresses held on Saturday, May 5, 2018, at the Ward and Local Government levels of the party have again placed the ruling party on the brink in Ikorodu division.
From Ikorodu Local Government to Ikorodu West, Ikorodu North and Ijede Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs), the conduct of the Congresses were marred with crises and gross irregularity.
However, the situation was different in Igbogbo/Bayeku and Imota LCDAs.
There were cases of disagreement which consequently led to violence, irregularities by the electoral officers, hijack of congress materials and late start of process.
Ikorodu Local Government :
The Congress, which started in an orderly manner in most wards of the council, ended in fiasco as members of the party in different caucuses failed to manage their disagreements.
In many of the wards, it was clear that some representatives of different caucuses did not want the congress to hold because of fear of losing.
According to the report, some of the members of these caucauses were also opposed to consensus arrangement or what some observers called ‘sharing formula’ among the major combatants to forestall violence.
In Ward A, it was gathered that the Congress failed to hold due to violence.
At Ward B Congress held at Etunrenren Primary School, the situation was the same. Our reporter gathered that the Congress, which started peacefully, was allegedly scuttled by a serving Supervisory Councilor in Ikorodu Local Government who was later whisked away by the men of the Onyabo Vigilance Group and Nigerian Police.
An elected political office holder was also alleged to have purchased the voting papers from the electoral officers but the intervention of eagle eyed delegates scuttled the arrangement. It was gathered the suspect, after discovering that he had been seen, quickly passed the materials to a security agent who helped him smuggled it out of the congress venue.
At the Ita-Elewa Sports Centre, the venue for Ward C Congress, there was also no election as delegates rejected the officials sent by the party to conduct the election .
It was alleged that one of the officials is a member of the ward and also belong to one of the caucuses there and as a result, the people complained that he would not be fair.
When our reporter visited the venue at 1.43pm, delegates were seen sitting under four different canopies which indicated where they belong to.
Hon. Omotayo Awolesi, Ward C Councilor, while speaking with our reporter, confirmed that the officials were rejected by the delegates and that the party chairman, Alhaji Taiwo Longe, and the Council Chairman, Hon. Wasiu Adeshina, visited the venue and assured them that new officials would be sent.
By 2.30pm when our reporter was leaving the venue, no official has been sent to conduct the congress.
At the Ward D Congress held at Jamatul Primary School, the process was scuttled by a section of the delegates who were insisting that the Congress would not hold while others were calling for the election.
Our reporter, who was on ground, saw one Alhaji Ajalogun demanding that the election must go on as planned. His attempt to convince the security men who arrived the venue to provide security for the conduct of the election failed as the police and the local vigilance team on ground were seemed helpless.
It was also gathered that the party Chairman, Hon. Taiwo Longe, was assaulted by one a party member.
THE IMPACT gathered that the the Xhairman had visited the venue after a distress call was made to him to come and prevail on the other faction which was preventing the congress from holding to allow peace to reign.
Also, there was no congress in Ward D due to the crisis that engulfed the venue.
When our reporter got to Ward E by 1.06pm, delegates were seen queueing in front of their candidates raising up their cards.
Hon. Adebowale, the Councilor representing the Ward, told our reporter that the accreditation started around 11am, a position which was also confirmed by many delegates.
At 1.10pm, a patrol van of the Mobile Police Officers and two vans of the regular policemen arrived the venue and this led to the opening of the gate by the security man at the Anglican Primary School venue of the Congress and delegates, who had been prevented from gaining entrance, found their ways into the school premises.
The election commenced around 1pm with some pockets of protests. The process and protests were still on when our reporter left the venue few minutes after the police vans had left the venue.
When our reporter visited the venue of the Ward F Congress at the Technical College, Ikorodu, he was subjected to a thorough search by the female police officers at the gate and was only cleared to enter the venue after identifying himself. Meanwhile, accreditation was going on peacefully as at 12.40pm.
Tosin Mabunmi informed our reporter that the accreditation started about 40 minutes earlier.
The Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ikorodu Local Government informed our reporter that the Congress was supposed to start by 11am with accreditation of members with their party’s identity cards after which they would be given accredited slips which they would use to vote.
The problem that engulfed the congress was started by a member of the party. He was alleged to have insisted that one of the delegates is not a member of the party on the ground that he has not been attending party meetings.
The scenario created by the allegation, however, degenerated and eventually led to the confusion which stopped the Congress, that had started peacefully, from progressing.
The presence of party chieftains like Alhaji Omotayo Olufowora and Alhaji Musliu Animashaun (De – Cubano) could not salvage the situation.
The story was the same in Ward G.
Attempts to reach the party chairman in Ikorodu LGA proved abortive as at the press time.
Ikorodu West LCDA :-
Reports gathered by our reporter indicated that elections went on peacefully in all the wards of Ikorodu West LCDA.
Ikorodu North LCDA :-
In Ikorodu North LCDA, another volatile council in the division, reports gathered from all the five wards indicated that no congress was held.
At Ward E1, Odogunyan, four electoral officers were nabbed by the delegates for indulging in electoral malpractices and were subsequently handed over to the police.
The suspects were, on the order of the Lagos Commissioner of Police, Mr Imohimi Edgal, transferred to the APC State headquarters at ACME in Ikeja, where they would be handed over to the party for appropriate disciplines.
They were alleged to have presented photocopies of accreditation slips and result sheets which were said to be against the rules.
Hon. Mathew Adesanya, while speaking with our reporter, said that, “The Congress officials are expected to present original copies of all congress materials like accreditation slips and result sheets. But in this case, these men only presented photocopies of accreditation slips and result sheets”, he alleged.
“The original result sheets were even supposed to be in triplicate such that the congress officials, candidate agents and the security officers would go with a copy each after the conduct of the election and necessary sections filled and signed” he added.
“They confessed that they were given photocopies from our party secretariat and that they would come back to input the data into the original forms after the conduct of the congress. By that, these people have allowed themselves to be manipulated by some disgruntled elements who are hell-bent on scuttling the congress. They want to impose their will on our people through fraud”, he alleged.
Responding to our reporter’s questions after his arrest, one of the suspects, Mr Oduntan Wasiu who was in a police van, admitted the allegations but maintained that they were carrying out the directive given to them by party chieftains at the secretariat.
“We were given the photocopies by the party chieftains at the secretariat to conduct the congress”, he stated.
“We were also told that the data recorded on the photocopied materials would be inputed in the original forms when we return to the secretariat after the congress”, he added.
Arrested along Oduntan were one Fatai Ogidan and two other suspects.
At the Ward E2 (Erikorodo) Congress which was held at the premises of African Bethel Primary School, Maya, one S. Kehinde Olowolagba was alleged to have absconded with the congress materials.
Attempts to reach him on the phone proved abortive as at the press time.
We were also unable to reach Mrs Toyin Salau, the APC Chairman in Ikorodu North LCDA, for her reaction as at the press time.
Imota LCDA :-
The report from Imota LCDA indicated that the Congress elections went peacefully as political gladiators allowed reasoning to prevail by reaching consensus.
According to the information gathered from many reliable sources, the Congress has further entrenched Hon. Nurudeen Solaja, Member, Lagos State House of Assembly, and Hon. Wasiu Agoro, Chairman, Imota LCDA, in the politics of the area.
We gathered that the duo spare-headed the arrangement and managed the situation by carrying along all former aspirants, especially those in the chairmanship race in the council, in their quest to exert control over the politics of the ancient town.
Igbogbo/Bayeku LCDA :-
Accreditation commenced at 11.35am at Ward C1 Congress which took place at HOMAT Event Centre while voting started at 12.55pm.
The congress and the electoral process went peacefully and at the end, Sheu Lawal emerged as the Chairman.
Other officers were also elected at the congress.
The process was monitored by INEC staff and security officials.
An eyewitness told THE IMPACT that the Congress of Ward C3 also went well and that at the end of the process, Prince Adeneye Kayode emerged as the chairman through popular votes while other officials were also elected into other offices.
From the report reaching THE IMPACT, Congress elections in other wards of the council were also peaceful.
Attempts to reach the foremost APC leader, Asiwaju Basorun and the party chairman in Igbogbo/Bayeku LGA on the phone proved abortive as at the press time.
Ijede LCDA :-
The report coming out of the Ijede LCDA regarding the Congress elections was a case of mixed reactions.
While some accounts had it that no elections were held in some of the wards, others indicated that there were elections.
It was also reported that there was no accreditation as at 1.50pm when our reporter called some delegates to know about the process in Ward D.
Also, it was gathered that the process was unsuccessful as it ended in fracas and scuffle.
Fake party cards and members were also allegedly detected in some centres.
We equally gathered that the elections went well in Ward A and B where the duo of Azeez Shittu and Eso emerged as chairmen respectively.