By Clifford Ndujihe, Politics Editor
ALL Progressives Congress, APC, National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, yesterday, denied endorsing or asking anyone to step down as local government chairman or councillorship aspirant on the platform of the APC in the July 22 council polls in Lagos.
Speaking to reporters shortly after the South-West APC briefed the press on the state of the nation, Tinubu asked those interested in contesting the local council polls to follow APC’s guidelines and pursue their aspirations.
In a statement by his media office, Tinubu said: “The Lagos APC Governance Advisory Council, GAC, meeting of Friday, May 21, 2021, discussed ways to ensure the fairness of the party primaries for the polls.
“Unfortunately, people intent on sowing discord and undermining democracy within the party have begun to spread lies and rumours that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the GAC have a list of preferred candidates for the upcoming primary elections and that the party will skew the primaries to benefit these people. We state, categorically that, there is no such list nor are there any plans to influence the primaries in any manner. These stories are false and mere-spirited attempts to hurt the party.
“Asiwaju Tinubu would like it to be known, by way of this statement, that he has no preferred candidates for the upcoming local government primaries. He has no intention to endorse any of the people contesting for the party nomination in any election, whether for chairmanship or councillorship positions. “On this matter, Asiwaju believes he can speak for the rest of the GAC regarding their belief in the impartiality and transparency of the internal party process.
“Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the other GAC leaders seek a free, fair and transparent process in which the candidates who emerge are those who gather the most support among the party rank and file. Only in this manner, do we best prepare ourselves for the general election.
“The APC Constitution directs that the party’s candidates should emerge through direct or indirect primaries or by consensus. In order to reduce tension and avoid discord and in-fighting, aspirants should embrace consensus wherever possible.
“However, where consensus is not possible, fair and clean primaries must be held so that party members have a chance to choose the candidate they want from among the competing aspirants. All aspirants, however, must realize that only one person can win any given contest. While we encourage everyone to compete with zeal and energy, we encourage all aspirants and party members to respect the results of our primaries. Once the primaries end, we must unite as a party so that we win the general elections thereby ensuring the continuity of progressive governance at the local government level throughout the state.
“In this vein, Asiwaju appeals to party leaders in all the local governments to allow democracy to flourish. He urges them to do everything humanly possible to protect and promote the democratic process.
“Asiwaju Tinubu’s interest is in a free, fair and peaceful process. He has no preferred candidate in the primaries. In the Lagos APC, democracy not devious rumors must be allowed to flourish.”