…As Party chairman keeps mum
By Clifford Ndujihe, Evelyn Usman, Olasunkanmi Akoni, Dapo Akinrefon & Gbenga Oke
lagos—VIOLENCE, yesterday, marred the councillorship primaries of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Lagos billed for the 377 wards of the state.
At least one person was killed and scores were injured in the exercises in some wards.
While candidates emerged in many areas, disagreements led to postponement in some others.
Some of the councils rocked by violence include: Ejigbo Local Government Area, Ikeja, Mushin, Oshodi-Isolo, some parts of Agege and Amuwo-odofin.
Crisis marred the primaries at Shogunle area of Lagos following the killing of one of the leaders of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW popularly known as Hamburger, by a rival union and supporters of one of the aspirants in Oshodi/Isolo local government.
Vanguard gathered that fight broke out between the rival groups at Saka/Oposun area of the Shogunle, during a brawl between one of the groups led by Harmburger whose real name is Rasaq Bello and Golden group led by one Samson Agbetola, over which group was more powerful.
It was gathered that each of the groups was allegedly hired by APC aspirants identified simply as Tunde, Wasiu and Oriji.
Hamburger’s group, which has the largest crowd as gathered, threw its weight behind Wasiu, while members of Samson Agbetola’s group rooted for Tunde .
As the primaries got under way at a police post on Ago Owu street, supporters of the aspirants were reportedly chanting the praise of their respective aspirants.
An eye witness identified simply as Bolaji, said that a member of Golden group taunted one of Hamburger’s boys, an action that led to a free-for-all.
Said Bolaji: “A member of Golden group challenged one of Harmburger’s boys, boasting that they would overpower them in spite of their number. A heated argument ensued between both parties and before we knew it, bottles and other dangerous weapons were flying in the air. Harmburger was shot in the process by a member of Samson Agbetola group. He was rushed to Geo Hospital on Zuberu street, where he later died.
Two other persons were hit by stray bullets but they did not die.”
Pandemonium broke out when news of harmburger’s death filtered in, as his loyalists took to the streets in search of members of the rival group. Several persons were reportedly injured in the process with vehicles’ windscreens shattered.
A member of the rival group identified simply as Afeez, as gathered, was traced to a drinking joint around Oshodi where he was stabbed several. He was left in the pool of his blood while the assailants went in search of other members.
Before long, the crisis escalated to other parts of Oshodi as shop owners hurriedly locked up for the day while motorists avoided the route.
Politicians who assembled at the venue of the primaries hurriedly fled with some of them having their vehicles’ windscreens shattered.
One of the politicians, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said: “ I am for nobody. I only went there to vote for my choice aspirant. I had a narrow escape because I had to drive out of their midst.’’
The late hamburger was leader of the okada arm of NURTW. He was a lover of all. Infact, he was in support of the former local government chairman. He did not hide his full support for him as he posted his banners in front of his house. But nobody knew why he was the target”.
But for the arrival of policemen at the scene, more casualties would have been recorded. Three Police Armoured Personnel carriers and patrol vans were positioned in different parts of the area.
Vanguard gathered that several arrests were made. Among those arrested was a lady identified simply as Funke. She was picked up at her house on Ago Owu street.
Also, Amuwo-odofin recorded violence as opposing groups disrupted normal process of the primaries.
Officials of the Lagos State Independent National Electoral Commission, LASIEC, who were around to monitor the exercise were chased away by miscreants. It was gathered that Divisional Police Officer, DPO, in the area had early in the morning engaged stakeholders in a meeting on the need to maintain peace and avoid any act of lawlessness.
Irate youths at the weekend, had set ablaze the Amuwo-Odofin Local Government Secretariat, located in Festac Town, to protest alleged impartiality in the election exercise.
Some points in Mushin council were also thrown into confusion as miscreants took over the exercise.
Ejigbo Local Government exercise also witnessed chaos as miscreants prevented electoral officers from conducting the exercise which led to cancelation.
One of the councils where the primary election recorded smooth exercise is the Egbe-Idimu Local Council Development Area, LCDA, old Alimosho.
The Sole Administrator of Egbe-Idimu LCDA, Mr. Yakub Salami, described the exercise as peaceful.
According to him, the reason for the success recorded was mainly due to series of stakeholders’ meetings held earlier where consensus candidates were selected, “so there was no reason for any opposing views. Our leaders, led by Governor Rauf Aregbesola Osun State have done the needful to ensure rancour-free exercise.”
The exercise was also orderly and peaceful in Iba LCDA where there was a keen contest between Segun Otun and Kabiru Ododo for the APC ticket.
Mr Abayomi Joseph, a member of the party, who took part in the primaries said the exercise was hitch-free.
Olorunda LCDA holds peaceful primary
The Ward primaries of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Olorunda Local Council Development Area, Badagry was conducted in a peaceful atmosphere amid tight security.
Delegates of the party, from Ward A to E, in the LCDA converged as early as 10 am yesterday to elect Councillors, who would represent the area at the July 22 local government polls.
Accreditation of party delegates, which was held at LABOL events centre at Aradagun area, commenced at 10 am, while voting started by 1pm.
Vanguard gathered that only accredited delegates from each of the wards were allowed to cast their vote.
In spite of the violence that marred the chairmanship primaries on Sunday during which Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi, chairman of the APC Local Government Electoral Committee, was manhandled by aggrieved supporters over alleged imposition of candidates, the APC insisted that it would go ahead with yesterday’s exercises.
Asked to react on the development, Chairman, APC Lagos State chapter, Otunba Henry Ajomale declined comments saying he has not been briefed by the election committee chairman, Senator Afikuyomi.
“I can’t really make any comment on the outcome of the exercise at the moment because I have not been briefed by the electoral chairman. ‘I am sure they are still receiving reports across the councils for collation after which I will be briefed. At the appropriate time, I will make my comment on the conduct of the whole exercise.”