A civil society group, Grassroots Democracy Forum (GDF), which is an amalgam of over 25 civil society organisations, reserved hard knocks for the Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), deriding the party’s recently concluded primary into elective offices at the local government level as a sham.
In a statement by its Convener, Comrade Mutiu D. Bankole, the GDF said, “the recently stage managed local government chairmanship primaries of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and describes it as a charade, provocative act, injurious to national sensibility, mockery of democracy and a threat to societal peace.
“It is a known fact that democracy has been generally acknowledged as the best form of government because of its recognition of the peoples consent as a cornerstone. It is also not in doubt that in a multi party democracy like ours, internal democracy is key to engendering public confidence and deepening democratic ethos in the polity.
“It will be recalled that the Lagos State chapter of the All Progressive Congress (APC) scheduled its primaries to choose the party’s flag bearers in the 57 LG/LCDA’s for the forthcoming local government elections for the 27th of May, 2017 and was expected to comply with democratic norms and practices in the conduct of the exercise.
“But alas, reverse was the case as there were no guidelines for the exercise as party members drawn from the ward executives across the 57 LG/LCDA’s gathered at the venue, Teslim Baogun Stadium in Surulere Lagos, only to receive the shock of their lives when the election primaries chairman Senator Tokunboh Afikuyomi, emerged at the podium and started announcing the names of local government chairmanship candidates who were handpicked without the conduct of any democratic process in line with the constitution of the party and provisions of the Electoral Act.
“There and then violence broke out as party members were provoked by the brazen violation of the party’s constitution as a result of the non conduct of election to choose the party’s flag bearers whose names were being announced to the chagrin and consternation of all. The outbreak of violence at the supposed primaries venue, in which election never held, brought proceeding to an abrupt end as people fled for dear lives.
“Again, on Monday 29th May, 2017, the APC conducted its local government councillorship primaries across the 57 LG/LCDA’s of the state and despite the exercise going on well in some places, but recording challenges in other areas, we at (GDF) have been assailed with series of petitions by aggrieved candidates who emerged victorious at the primaries but have been shortchanged as their names have been replaced and substituted with names of some persons who never participated in the exercise or names of contestants who lost in the primaries as the party’s candidates to the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC). (A valid case in point is Amuwo Odofin LG whose results are attached based on our findings and a communiqué issued by concerned stakeholders of the party in the local government).
“It is in this vein that we in (GDF) join voices with adherents and lovers of democracy in condemning in totality, the charade and mockery of democracy acts of the All Progressive Congress (APC) local government chairmanship and councillorship candidates lists, particularly in Amuwo Odofin LG and in other LG/LCDA’s where crisis has engulfed the party as a result of release of results without conduct of primary election of whatever form.
“We are hereby calling on all men and women of goodwill and conscience to prevail on the leadership of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Lagos State which is a party that promised Nigerians Change prior to the 2015 general elections, to immediately retrace its anti-democratic and unconstitutional steps because of the danger posed to our nascent democracy and public order by ensuring that the anomalies perpetrated against democracy by the party in picking its candidates for the forthcoming local government elections is corrected.
“We want to serve notice that if our patriotic call is not heeded, we will be joining forces with other progressive interests both within and outside the party to pursue other legitimate and civilized means of seeking justice against this assault on democracy and societal peace.”