Crisis rocks Lagos APC as 174 LG aspirants threaten showdown over non refunded fees
CITIZENS COMPASS– FEW days to the Gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections in Nigeria, about 174 local government chairmanship aspirants under the All Progressives Congress, APC, at the 2021 in Lagos State, have threatened showdown with the party over failure to refund their Nomination fees of over N2m each.
The aspirants said the fees were used to purchase the chairmanship aspirant forms in 2021.
According to them, having paid over N2 million each for purchase the forms, they were allegedly edged out by the party leaders in the state to pave way for their favourites who didn’t buy form but were allowed to contest and win the elections.
Some of them who spoke with our Correspondent, said the party promised to refund the fees but till date the promise is yet to be fulfilled.
They also said while aspirants for the National, House of Assembly and the councilorship have got their money refunded, they are yet to get back theirs .
One of the aspirants simply identified as Mr Niyikun said, “Our problem within the party started after the concocted local government primaries that were historically highly contested with large numbers of aspirants, mainly youths.
The leadership in Lagos noted there were discrepancies so they removed the former chairman, Alhaji Balogun but failed to pacify members of the party especially those that purchased forms.
To now rob salt on our injuries, people who lost at primaries for state and national assembly positions were refunded.
Winners of councilorship elections and immediate past councilors were given N1million each while 2021 aspirants that made payment to state coffers were left out despite that they were being robbed of the electoral process.
“While we pledged our continued loyalty to the party and the assurance to work tediously for the re-election of our governor, I will also advise our governor to immediately refund the 2021 affected Chairmanship aspirants their money and also ensure all councilorship aspirants within same period are refunded,” he said.
Also reacting, another aggrieved member, Mr Wale Shibi said: ” We met at the party Secretariat at Acme, Ikeja , with the former Vice Chairman, Hon ibirogba, where we tabled our grievances and the agreement reached, and the party chairman promised that our money will be refunded a week after the presidential election.
The incumbent Vice Chairman Hon. Maiyegun told us, he wasn’t aware of the agreement, but he heard about us and said the governor will pay us but we need to exercise patience and later said he will discuss the matter with Mr Governor.
He also said we should be hopeful as the money will be paid hopefully before the next election on March 11, 2023 but we are yet to be paid till now.”
Another aggrieved aspirant, Mr Kunle Ogunlade, said the leadership of the party in the state is not alive to its responsibilities.
Truth is bitter. Our party slept on their bed the way they laid it and woke up accordingly.
” Is it not the governor that selected the LGA Chairmen without due process?Many of them are people not accepted by many of the people in their LGA’s including the party members.
“Many LGA Chairmen are not taking care of the party members and have turned themselves to God and above the party. They have disenfranchised many party members. Like I said, the governor is benefiting from his handwork.
“We the aspirants that the majority accepted are the ones now begging the governor and the party leaders to accept us and consider us. We are even begging for our money they took unjustly.
“With the illtreatment meted on us, we still stand by the party. On the day of the election, I moved around from one polling unit to another spending the little money I had to entertain and encourage people while the LGA chairmen stayed in their offices.
“We keep showing love but God of justice will judge everybody. Many of us are party faithful and have no other place to go. So they are capitalizing on that but God of justice is watching. Let them increase the dollars given to the above mentioned people maybe they will do better.
“All these are aside the millions of Naira given to leaders in each LGA’s for the election that did not get to the people.God will see us through.
We will keep fighting because we can not afford to let Lagos get to the hands of another party. We have become slaves of circumstance,” he lamented.
Another aspirant simply identified as Mr Abiodun said : ” While we were showing understanding with the party and governor to refund our monies after the presidential elections, the governor paid $10,000 each to the unpopular imposed council chairmen, commissioners and others to embark on mobilization for the election which they pocketed without doing anything.
“One gets demoralized when you get such information on an election you went all out for including spending one’s personal money. Let them talk about our refund first, otherwise I will move nowhere for no kind of mobilization.”
Also in his reaction, Mr Oluwatosin Onala, said: ” Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is a gentleman of worth and dignity, an uncommonly humane and modest person, who says and makes it a reality.
I will personally be voting for Babajide Sanwo-Olu in the March 11th governorship elections but cooperation of all former chairmanship aspirants is needed.
“How many elderly people or traditional elders did we see on the day of the presidential election? We are pleading with the governor and executive of our great party in Lagos state to fulfill their promises on the refund before 11th March 2023. We believe that teamwork is very important in the coming election and it shall end in praise.
As at the time of filing this report, all efforts to get the reaction of APC Chairman in Lagos, Cornelius Ojelabi were unsuccessful.