Local Government Congress held by Lagos State chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC) held on Saturday turned bloody in Agege area of the state as one party member was reported died with five others said to be in critical condition, following the crisis that erupted at the venue of the exercise allegedly between loyalists of Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa and former council chairman, Hon. Jubril Abdulkarim.
The deceased’s name, according to the sitting chairman, Agege Local Government, Prince Sunday Ajayi, is Olanase Nurudeen, saying one Lukman Mohammed is in currently in a coma and about to die, but: “We are praying God to resuscitate him.”
He, however, said one Kadiri Garba that had gun wound on his leg had since been treated and discharged.
The Sunday Tribune gathered that the Congress equally had some challenges in Epe, Oriade, Apapa-Iganmu, Ojodu, Kosofe, Epe, Ibeju-Lekki, Ikorodu, among others, leading to late resolution or inconclusiveness of the exercise in those areas, just as it was learnt that the Fuad Oki- led group held a parallel congress in 20 local government areas of the state as against the 57 Local Council Development Areas slated by the Otunba Henry Ajomale led APC.
It was learnt that the crisis that marred the Agege exercise was said to have been caused by loyalists of former council boss, Abdulkarim as they insisted that they must enter the congress venue in Agege, whereas the police keeping vigil there had maintained they would only be allowed to the venue if their names were on the delegates list.
Those who died were said to have been shot at by the police, whereas it was gathered that hoodlums took advantage of the situation as they were said to have come to the centre with guns which they fired indiscriminately.
A source, who spoke on condition of anonymity told the Sunday Tribune that it was not the police that shot anybody dead but, hoodlums who took advantage of the crisis situation as the group belonging to the former council boss were insisting that the police must allow them in whether their names were on party’s delegate list or not.
“They (hoodlums) even shot at my car, broke my car lamp. The speaker was not around there so it was not between the speaker’s loyalists and those of Jubril Abdulkarim, the former council chairman.
“It was even God that saved a TV crew who was around to cover the event. The chairman of Task Force was there, the Police Area Commander was there. They have arrested those that were involved, they are with the police,” the source said.
In Ariade area of the state, where former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro was featuring, the exercise was disrupted and was yet to take off ground as at 4pm, as party leaders and members were said to be searching for a consensus chairmanship candidate, following alleged rejection of two aspirants that were initially in the race.
Earlier in Epe, the exercise was marred by controversies over alleged fake delegate list.
The accreditation exercise that took place at Epe Girls Secondary School, Recreation Centre, and was billed for 9 a.m couldn’t start until well after 11 o’clock, with security agents having a lot of problems controlling the unruly crowd.
An APC leader in Epe, Chief Lanre Rasaq (aka KLM, had decried the list, claiming that the list of delegates that was used before his arrival was forged.
Epe, according to findings, was also said to be having what could be described as Ward Delineation issues, with a ward belonging to former Prof. Femi Agbalajobi, said to among.
Speaking on the rejection, Chief Rasaq recalled that party leaders had agreed on consensus candidates with their names duly signed by the party leaders and forwarded to the ACME State Headquarters of the party, ahead of the Saturday’s exercise, maintaining that the list used for accreditation was different from what was agreed upon.
He, therefore, described the accreditation so far conducted as a nullity and should be cancelled, saying that the list used before his arrival did not represent the one submitted to the party’s state headquarters, which duplicate he kept with him.
“This exercise at this stage is a nullity. The list being used before my arrival doesn’t represent the one we submitted to the party’s state headquarters, which I have the duplicate with me”, he said, calling for total cancellation and a new exercise to be started afresh.
However, another party leader, a member of House of Representatives, Hon, Wale Raji, who spoke with the Sunday Tribune, said such skirmishes were to be expected in an exercise as the party’s congress.
“To me, this exercise is new to many of us, being the first of its type since the 2015 general elections. However, I think I’m satisfied with the accreditation exercise so far and I know for sure that the party leaders would handle any misunderstanding very well at the end of the day to the satisfaction of everybody,” said Raji.
Another party leader, the outgoing leader of APC in Epe, Chief Kehinde, also expressed satisfaction over the exercise.
Said he: “Although, what we are witnessing here may not be okay, but in any party that has a huge followership like our party, you can expect disagreement one way or the other. But the beautiful aspect of it is that we have the capacity to resolve our differences.”
However, it was a peaceful and orderly exercise in Ikeja Local Government Area as party delegates gathered for the congress to elect a 27-man council executive led by Alhaji Dally Adeokun, with his deputy being Mr Oluranti Olugbon.
The exercise, which took place at the Sports Centre, off Balogun Street, Ikeja, commenced around 10 in the morning and ended at 1 p.m, when the chairman, Local Organising Committee (LOC), Alhaji Sikiru Adesina Salisu, announced the results.
A total of eight women made the list of the 27-member newly elected party officials, consisting of ex-officials for the Ikeja LGA.
Reports reaching the Sunday Tribune showed that in Ikorodu, three groups were said to be pulling their weight, as the Mandate Group and Justice Forum were at loggerhead on who controls the soul of APC in the area.
The Mandate Group itself was said to have broken into two and trying to assert their influence in the party, while in Ibeju-iLekki, it was said to a battle between the group led by Bayo Balogun and another one headed by Surakatu.
The camp of APC National Legal Adviser, Dr Muiz Banire, held a separate congress in Mushin Local Government Area of the state.
Banire, it would be recalled, has been at loggerheads with the party leadership in the state, over alleged failure to follow the party constitution during the council election held last year.
It took the intervention of the Bariga LCDA chairman, Mr Kolade Alabi, to stop a face-off among protesting party members in the council area.
The protesters had stormed the council secretariat in their numbers to protest alleged anomalies in the exercise.
Spokesperson of Lagos APC, Mr Joe Igbokwe, said the party was still investigating the Agege killing and would not like to say much for now.
Reacting to the Agege incident, Vice Chairman of Lagos APC, Mr Fuad Oki, expressed sadness at the turn of events in the party, saying it had never been this bad for the party in the state, even as he said he heart goes to the family of the deceased.
According to him, “It is a lesson to our leaders to respect the rules of the party. Maybe we would not have witnessed this type of incident if our leaders had followed our own rules as enshrined in our party constitution. They should be respecters of law and orders and also sticklers of rules and laws.
“It has not been as bad as this for our party, last week, we lost two lives in Ajeromi area of the state and this week, we have lost another life. It is unfortunate. Maybe we won’t have been in this situation if had conducted our congresses in 20 local governments and 245 wards instead of 57 LCDA as we are doing now.
“I hope the leaders Abuja will step in to stop this wanton loss of lives.”