Lagos APC leadership in eye of the storm | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Lagos APC leadership in eye of the storm

Posted: Apr 24, 2015 at 2:15 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Temidayo Akinsuyi  – L agos


The general election has come and gone. There were significant upsets here and there. Some mighty men of valour in the Nigerian political landscape fell by the wayside, some survived with bruises while some new set of leaders were made.  The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) metamorphosed from being Nigeria’s ruling party to opposition party while the All Progressives Congress (APC) will soon become the ruling party. This, needless to say, has adversely affected the fortunes of the party which has hitherto claimed it would rule Nigeria for the next 60 years as its fair-weather friends have continued to desert it for the APC.

Henry Oladele Ajomale

Henry Oladele Ajomale

But it is not all tale of woes for the PDP. The party was able to make inroads into some states where it has been playing second fiddle for some time. One of such states is Lagos, widely regarded as the political base of the APC and home of its National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.  Though the party failed to clinch the most important political office in the state which has remained elusive since 1999, it won five seats in the House of Representatives. The party also won seven seats in the Lagos State House of Assembly. One of the casualties was Ladi Ajomale, the son of the State party chairman, Henry Ajomale. Another is the Deputy Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Kolawole Taiwo.

Some have also argued that but for the threat by the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, who vowed to deal with the Igbos if they voted against his preferred candidate, Akinwunmi Ambode of the APC, the PDP and its candidate, Jimi Agbaje, would have won the governorship election.

Piqued by the dismal performance of the party, some leaders of the APC have queried the performance of the state’s executive council under Ajomale’s leadership. Last week, a chieftain of the party and elder statesman, Ayo Akande, said Ajomale should resign with immediate effect “for his dismal performance in the just concluded elections in the state.”

Akande, in a statement titled ‘Slow and Sloppy leaders should quit APC,’ said Ajomale had no moral right to remain as party chairman, given that the APC lost to the opposition in all the contested seats in the March 28 and April 11 elections in his unit, ward and the entire Oshodi Isolo Local Government Area. He said that Ajomale’s report card in the just-concluded elections in the state had shown clearly that he had lost his credibility as a leader and as such he should resign as the chairman of the party.

According to Akande, the continuation of Ajomale in office, as the state chairman, will demoralise party members and efforts for the second term of the Governor-elect, Akinwunmi Ambode, will be difficult. He however, commended the national leader of the party, Bola Tinubu, for his doggedness and sacrifice for the victory recorded by the party at the presidential level.

“If a leader or party chairman should lose his polling unit in all elections for state assembly, Federal Constituency and the governorship, such party chairman should resign. Our party cannot continue to be old-fashioned, things are changing and the party had to follow suit. The APC leadership should not develop clay feet or whip up sentiment to deal with failures or reward performance in the party as the expectations of the people from the party are high,” Akande said.

But Ajomale, in his reaction, described Akande as an unserious person who should be ignored by all well-meaning Nigerians. Speaking through his Special Adviser, Adekunle Olayinka, Ajomale said he did well by ensuring the overall victory of his party at both the presidential and governorship elections in the state.

According to Olayinka, “Chief Ajomale is not a ward chairman but the chairman of the entire Lagos State chapter of the APC. Out of 20 local governments, he ensured the victory of the party in 15 local governments during the March 28 and April 11 elections. In Oshodi/Isolo, the Igbo population is over 55 per cent and the candidates presented by the PDP were Igbo; so, of course, they voted for their kinsmen. But Chief Ajomale led the APC to victory and that is the most important thing.”

Also corroborating Akande’s claim, another chieftain of the party in Kosofe, Adewale  Dada said Ajomale has tried his best but should be honourable to quit his position because his best is not good enough. He said if all other leaders have lost their ward and council like Ajomale, APC would have become the opposition party in Lagos by now.

“I think I support Chief Akande on his claim that our party chairman should resign. There is need for change in the party hierarchy in the state. I read a statement by one PDP group where it said PDP in Lagos, rather than mourn for losing the governorship election have every reason to be proud for defeating the son of the state party chairman and the Deputy Speaker. I think that is a slap on the face of the party and this has to be urgently addressed.”

Daily Independent findings revealed that Tinubu was angry with the performance of the party executives especially in the Senatorial districts. Those who may feel the wrath of the national leader, according to informed sources, aside Ajomale, include Prince Rabiu Oluwa, the party leader in Lagos West and Badagry Division.  It was learnt that the internal crisis within the district, especially Ajeromi- Ifelodun led to the party losing the House of Representatives ticket and both Houses of Assembly ticket to PDP. Sources said Oluwa failed to properly manage the crisis before the election and the opposition capitalized on it.

Akande, in another statement however said that his calling for Ajomale’s resignation is not vindictive but a matter of fact and truth, not subjective or witch-hunting or hatred. “Things are changing. The plan must be put in place now for Ambode’s return. For instance, how can the chairman, whose constituency did not contribute to his election, relate with the governor? It will be immoral. What level of confidence would he have to pull all members of the party together for effectiveness?

“The House of Assembly discusses in Yoruba every Thursday. Now that there is one non-Yoruba man, what will the House of Assembly do? Reverse the legislation or drive the non-Yoruba out? This non-Yoruba is from Oshodi/Isolo, the chairman’s constituency. Another person should take over from him. The party should not apply sentiment. He has done more than eight years. It is in the interest and success of the party that should prevail,” he added.