..As aspirants in Lagos lobby party chieftains for endorsement
By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Ahead of the 2019 general elections, the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC and former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has dispelled news of possible collapse of the ruling party, saying the current travails confronting it would be converted into opportunities.
This came as apprehension continued to grip aspirants over their future under the APC, Lagos chapter, following declaration by Tinubu of decision to adopt direct primaries for picking flag-bearers in the forthcoming 2019 general polls.
Tinubu made the remarks during a stakeholders and consultative meeting, held recently, at the Secretariat of APC, Lagos chapter, Acme, Ogba, when he reeled out various measures as pre-requisite to be followed for emergence of party flag-bearers.
Tinubu explained that the meeting was to set an agenda for members towards the preparations for the next general elections with the aim to continue with the winning streak for President Muhammadu Buhari and across the state, particularly, Lagos State.
Some of the chieftains and leaders of the party in attendance were: Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, and his predecessor, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, APC Lagos State chapter chairman, Tunde Balogun, Chief Lanre Rasaq, members of Governor’s Advisory Council, among others.
Apparently, speaking in the wake of defections by stalwart members of the party and the current situation in the National Assembly, Tinubu, assured that despite daunting challenges APC would come out victorious.
Addressing a mammoth crowd, Tinubu said: “We are committed to the values of broom revolution. We want to sweep away sponsored violence, killings or otherwise. We are holding on to our principles. Everything we stand for is for the progress of Nigeria and we are committed to survival of democracy and APC.
“We are not moved nor despair by defections. The party (APC) belongs to the people and not the few. We abhor violence going across the country and the challenges are clear, we are up to it. We remain resolute to democratic values.
All the defectors, prostitutes have nothing to offer APC, they cannot shake us, in APC. Conspiracy is their cause and anyone who wants to leave should leave and the party will remain solid and not depleted. We are aware that some people are forming opposition to us, they will not stand.
“We know, corruption will fight back but we will surely convert all the challenges in to opportunities.”
On PVC collection, membership registration
Tinubu said, the party has resolved to elect candidates who will fly the flag at the next year’s general elections through direct primaries which would involved all members of the party and not through delegation as done in the past.
He explained that the party had concluded plans to immediately commence the process of registering new members, while the old members who have registered as well as the new ones would all be issued membership cards.
Tinubu said: “It is gratifying to report that the party has resolved to register additional members, and membership register will be opened to facilitate the process, which eventually would be used for direct primaries.
“We appeal to all our members to update the membership registration and embrace the direct primary that has just been introduced and adopted by our party.
“We have embraced democracy and you have your decisions to be made but you have to be members of our party in the first place.”
Dismissing the insinuation that the party is divided in the state, Tinubu said besides, the party at the State level had passed a resolution, commending Vice President Yemi Osinbajo for taking decisive actions to save the party and the nation from any embarrassment during the invasion of National Assembly: “We commend his efforts; we stand with him; and we stand with all members of our party,” just as the party commended all the steps taken so far by APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.
He equally, urged members to get their Permanent Voters Card (PVCs) before the expiration of registration deadline by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Tinubu however, warned members of the party to be wary of those using his name as endorsement to canvass for support, saying, “in such a situation you have to verify the claim before throwing your weight behind such aspirant(s).”
In his remarks, Ambode commended Tinubu for kick-starting the revolution for direct primaries, saying the process would go a long way to deepen democracy in the country.
He said: “There is no better time to appreciate our National Leader (Tinubu) than now. What we have just witnessed is the beginning of a revolution about the deepening of democracy in Nigeria. People might not understand what is going on but we are giving power to the people and it is starting from APC.”
Meantime, it was gathered that most of the aspirants have started ulterior moves to lobby party chieftains and leadership for endorsement.
One of the aspirants who spoke to Vanguard on anonymity said: “The decision of the party to adopt direct primaries has caused panic in the folds of aspirants in Lagos. We are left in the dark that is why some aspirants have put on hold their ambition and begun moves to get Tinubu endorsement.”