By Benjamin Omoike
Ahead of the December 5 bye-election in Lagos, the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the state is in frantic mood, even as dissenting voices within the party have continued to threaten its victory at the polls.
While the APC candidate for the Lagos East Senatorial bye-election, Tokunbo Abiru, will square up against the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP), candidate, Babatunde Gbadamosi, the hierarchy of the party, a source said, is unsettled by the discordant tunes among the rank and file within the fold, especially from prominent members of the party.
According to the source, who is also a top official of the party in the state, but who craved anonymity, some core members of the party are not comfortable with the longstanding structure of the party, which rotates around the National Leader and former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and have vowed not to support the party’s candidate in next week’s bye-election.
“It is no longer news that some party leaders are not happy and can no longer stomach the current status quo in the party, where one man decides who gets what and who does not.
If he doesn’t like your face or your political alignment, you are at the risk of being sidelined, regardless of your qualification and experience,” the source said.
According to the source, the way and manner Abiru emerged as the candidate of the party for the Lagos East Senatorial election, to fill the vacant position, owing to the death of Senator Bayo Oshinowo, was seen as a slap in the face, by most of the aspirants and another planned scheme by Tinubu to foist his own candidate on the party.
“Even though they expected that kind of scenario to play out, they were still carried aback and shocked by the flagrant abuse of power by Asiwaju and the failure of the party leadership to reach out to aggrieved contestants, after they were deceived by the Governor’s Advisory Committee (GAC), that there would be a level playing field.”
The source further said the aggrieved party members are bent on using the December 5 bye-election to show their disapproval to the scheme of things within the party.
And to, also, according to him, serve as warning that it cannot be business as usual, as political alignments toward the 2023 general elections begin.
The Daily Times also learnt that it is not unlikely that some leaders of the APC are covertly working for the candidate of the PDP to pull an upset at the polls.
It was gathered that discreet meetings have been held, while Gbadamosi has received support in terms of logistics and other assistance, to pull the needed weight ahead of the polls.
“This move by some of the party leaders, is to spite Tinubu and send a strong message that it would no longer be business as usual.
The era of baba so pe is over,” the source said. Reacting to the development, APC spokesman in Lagos, Seye Oladejo, said that the party will win the elections convincingly, stressing that the possibility of an upset is a wild goose chase by the PDP candidate.
“Let me just say for starters, that we are winning this election, there is no need to be apprehensive. There won’t be any upset as far as this election is concerned.
The PDP candidate himself knows that he is a serial loser and he knows he is going to lose this election.
“The fact that he has been inconsistent and unstable, his political career is not lost on the people and the fact that he has a number of grey areas to clear on his educational background and qualification.
“He has contested elections, he has lost and I can assure you that he is going to lose again.
The APC family, we have a way of finding a common ground to unite whenever there is an election and this will not be different, we are going to win the election, we have nothing to fear,” Oladejo said.
He also downplayed the issue of acrimony within the APC fold, saying that the party has the right mechanisms to rally round its members and ensure that they work towards the common goal of achieving victory at the polls.
“The APC is united. All those who showed interest in the same senatorial position before the primaries with Tokunbo Abiru, are all working towards his success now, they are all members of his campaign team and they are leading from the front.
“So, all these acrimony and disagreement is a figment of the imagination of the PDP candidate.
If he is going to win at all, perhaps he will win in the state of his followers on twitter and I am sure you know that it would not amount to anything,” the APC scribe said.