By Benjamin Omoike
The crisis surrounding the All Progressive Congress (APC), local government primary election in Lagos is yet to be doused, as more allegations against the leaders of the party have emerged.
Several members have expressed their displeasure and one of the latest aggrieved party member is the Local government chairman of APAPA LG, Owolabi Adele.
He has accused the chairman of the Party in Lagos State, Tunde Balogun, who is also from Apapa local government, of manipulating the election with use of thugs and causing unrest in the primary election that took place weeks ago.
“Honorable Tunde Balogun has caused so many unrest to the community due to his greed and imposition of the present vice chairman of the council to emerged as the chairman of the local government after the election, while the incumbent chairman won the election with evidence of results”
He also revealed that the Lagos APC Chair told him to settle for the position of the Vice chairman if he wants to be in the council, while the Present vice chairman becomes the chairman of the LG despite the fact that the election was in his favour.
In a signed letter, Honorable Owolabi Adele called on the election committee to intervene, while accusing the Lagos APC Chair of imposition, gross misconduct and thuggery in the just concluded LG Primary Elections.
Below is the letter to the election appeal committee:
Strong appeal to remedy the gross injustice and distribution of Apapa Local Government Chairmanship and Councillorship Primary Elections held on Saturday 29th of May, 2021.
The All- Progressives Congress Primary election which held on Saturday 29th May 2021, in the 20 LGs and 93 LCDAs of Lagos State commenced respectively in all the 5 words of Apapa Local Government but abstractly disrupted by thugs, cult members and miscreants hired by Hon. Tunde Balogun, the state party Chairman and his preferred and anointed aspirant in person of Kelvin Gabriel.
In view of this development, I am humbly seeking for the intervention of the Election Appeal Committee concerning the unwanted disruption of elections across the 5 wards of Apapa Local Government with the final aim of manipulating the process of choosing our party candidates in the upcoming general elections.
It came as a dismay to all party faithful that no primary election was held in all the 5 wards of Apapa Local Government.
The election day started well behind schedule as the training of the electoral officials and distribution of materials were delayed till past 12noon on Saturday.
After distribution, electoral officials and election materials were transported together in a convey carrying all electoral officials in the same vehicle instead of individual transportation to their respective venue. Some of the electoral officials and materials didn’t get to their various voting centers until about 1pm. This is one of many tactics deployed by the State Chairman (Hon. Tunde Balogun) for his preferred candidate(Hon. Kelvin Gabriel) and the house of representative member Hon. Mufutau Egherongbe and their group to thwart election processes in the local government.
Reports emerging reliably from Ward A was that Mr. Kazeem Giwa, Babatunde Kakawa and Jimoh Ohis (Hon. Tunde Balogun’s boys) ( with Pictorial evidence attached), disrupted all efforts to commence accreditation of party members so as to begin election process. All these occurrences took place right in front of police personnel that were deployed to ensure peaceful conduct of election. ( Pictorial evidence tagged annexure A1)
In ward B, when electoral officials eventually got to the voting centers at 12:35pm, party members were orderly lined up waiting for the election process to start. The faithful party members (Team Adele) who were ready to cast their votes overwhelmed the crowd of Hon. Tunde Balogun and his preferred candidate Hon. Kelvin Gabriel. It was obviously that if the electoral officers had conducted the election, I would have won convincingly.
After the set up of election furniture’s and just before the commencement, one Taiwo Adedipe (An aspirants and one of hoodlums of Hon. Tunde Balogun) announced that he has finally decided to step down for anothercandidate and demanded that all supposedly votes in his name should be counted for the person he stepped down for. After much deliberations, electoral officers decided that accepting his assertion will amount to electoral fraud, hence each vote counted will be registered against its rightful owner/aspirant.
While all this was going on, there was no form of violence until the electoral officers got calls from the local government electoral chairman that primary elections had been cancelled in all LGs and LCDAs in Lagos State and before anyone could do or say much, the materials and agents were hijacked by the same Taiwo Adedipe (agent &thugs of Hon. Tunde Balogun), who kicked the ballot boxes and carted away the rest of the materials.
There was no form of resistance from either the party members.
Similarly in ward C, after the electoral officer eventually showed up at about 1pm, it iwas discovered that the electoral officer came with the wrong electoral register, being the one for 2014 instead of the recently conducted party re-registration register which took place earlier in the year. As a result of this, party members became agitated when they could not find their names in the register despite having their party membership slips with them at the electuions venues. (with videos & pictorial evidence). More so, hoodlums emerged from nowhere and started shooting sporadically into the air in an attempt to disperse party members from the venue. Again, these were part of the calculated plans to disrupt the election process in the local government by the Hon. Tunde Balogun.
In ward D, where the electoral officer had announced that the councillorship aspirant is running unopposed because the other aspirant was not cleared earlier before the election day, leaving only the election for chairmanship at stake.
Afterwards, two party members were eventually accredited and allowed to vote, only for one Mr. Kunle to announce that elections would not hold for reasons best known to him despite not being the assigned electoral officer, Thereafter, another well–known hoodlum used by Hon. Tunde Balogun known as Dada Ogunyemi [ A.K.A dada]. snatched the accreditation list from the electoral officer and ran away with it . After so much agitation from party members . one of the electoral officer was able to take the remaining electoral materials to the police, [Evidences tagger annexure A2 & A3]
There was a glimpse of hope but sadly, the mode of the operandi that were witnessed in other WARD reared its ugly head again to disrupt the processes in this ward too.
As usual, the electoral team even came later than as witnessed in other ward! The were being transported from ward before finally getting dropped at Ijor Olaoye Primary school which further delayed the process in ward E, thereby arriving at about 1.30pm.
The election process started peacefully despite the late arrival which can be attributed to the resolute determination of party members to cast their vote at a cost. Unfortunately, only 2 electoral officers out of 5 showed up for the exercise party member insisted for election to go ahead as they were prepared to be the councilor and chairmanship aspirant in this election to insist that election would not hold, thereby causing pandemonium at the venue.
In view of this development, Apapa electoral officer, Mrs. Adebayo Monsurat, was asked if the election should go ahead despite the absence of the other agents. Mrs. Monsurat therefore requested to make a phone call informed Mrs. Babatude Olaoluwa, who by their conversation on that telephone call informed Mrs. Adebayo Monsurat that the election had been cancelled state-wide.
Upon the announcement of the state-wide cancellation, party members became more agitated and made calls across the state to confirm the purported cancellation only to find it to false . it was after this that Mrs. Monsurat herself later admitter [on camera] that only Apapa Local government primary election were cancelled. The source of the authority of the cancellation is still unknown.
Party members decided there and then that their own ward elections would hold but unfortunately after several hours. This didn’t happen till they all reported themselves peacefully at the Area B police command in Apapa.
[Evidence tagged A4 where Samson Aromire was being begged by the deputy state chairman of NURTW- Alh. Sulaimanojora and Mr. Kunle Azeez.( Popularly as Kunle Poly for more than two hours to allow election take place).
After the materials had carted away, we decided that our followers (Team Adele) should continue to maintain the orderliness so that we would be able to count their numbers for the sake of future evidence that we were orderly, ready for election in massive numbers. As there was no way Team Tunde Balogun would have beaten that crowd of people.
These are the numbers of party members from Team Adele who were to cast their votes: Ward A = 233, Ward B = 323, Ward C = 397, Ward D =313, Ward E =1817.
The heinous act of the hoodlums as experienced in the 5 wards of the local government was discovered to bee a con pictorial attempt targeted at ensuring that the primary election process is truncated and eventually prevented from taking place as scripted by APC State Chairman, Hon. Tunde Balogun and acted by his co-conspirators, thereby undermining the sacrosanct internal democracy that the party is known for.
Hon. Tunde Balogun knew the majority of people were not on his side and that is why he chose this path.
Our appeal is that the will of the people prevails by declaring for another primary election in a well supervised and secured environment in the shortest time possible or alternatively declares me as the candidate of the party.
(Attached are evidence tagged as annexure B1 – B8 where our teeming supporters in respective wards were orderly prepared, waiting for election to take place).
There are videos evidences of all the election processes at the different ward and also written reports of other electoral officers at different wards.
Thank you for your assistance, while accepting the assurance of our best regards always.
Yours faithfully, Hon. Owolabi Elijah Adele. Executive Chairman.