From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos.
As activities gather ahead of 2015 gubernatorial election, scores of All Progressives Congress (APC) members across the state yesterday stormed Alausa Secretariat, protesting the plan by the leadership of the party to zone the gubernatorial ticket of the party to a certain senatorial district.
The group, under the aegis of New Lagos Movement (NLM) stormed the governor’s office, dressed in red T-shirts and armed with placards with the inscription: ‘Power is not served a la carte’, ‘Leaders are not rulers’, ‘There must be internal democracy’, ‘We say no to Autocracy’.”
However, the APC Lagos chairman, Henry Ajomale, while speaking to journalists at the party secretariat, Ikeja, said “I don’t know them. They are not members of the party. And if they said that they are New Lagos Movement, they are on their own and not on the side of the party.
President of the group, Mr. Niyi Akinsiju, said the aggrieved members of the party want the zoning idea scrapped, to give room for the best candidate to emerge.
He argued that all aspirants must be allowed to contest in the primaries rather than selecting one person as the flag bearer of the party in 2015.
Akinsiju added: “We also find abominable the recent declaration in which Asiwaju Tinubu unilaterally zoned the 2015 gubernatorial ticket of our great party to one religion and one part of the state, thereby denying us the opportunity of electing the most qualified in the state.
They also alleged that the former governor cancelled the results of their congresses held on April 5 and 26 and replaced it with that of his men.
This, according to the group, will enable the citizens in the state to elect the candidates of their choice as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution.
“It is in the light of this that we demand internal democracy in APC Lagos without any imposition of party officials and candidates. We also want an immediate reversal of the unfortunate zoning declaration and a full guarantee of democratic right to contest of all persons who are qualified to under the 1999 Constitution.
Responding, Fashola, who was represented by the Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello, while addressing the protesters said that he would ensure that the primaries holds. “And we will ensure that every man and woman that has the right to contest for the election will be allowed. Nothing will be imposed on you”, he stated.
Ajomale added: “Please ask them if they are registered members of the party. The party constitution does not allow establishment of creation of any group within the party. If anyone has any grievances against the party, our secretariat is open daily. They can make their complain known.
He said that no bona fide party member will go on the street to protest against what the party is yet to decide.
The chairman explained further, “The party is yet to ask anyone to indicate their intention. At the moment, more than 10 people are going around but none of them has come to me that they want to contest election. Everyone should wait until the National leadership of the party decides. There cannot be any imposition because we follow the directive of the party leadership. If anyone endorses any candidate, it doesn’t mean that the candidate will win at the primaries.”