While the Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is still basking in the euphoria of what it terms a hitch free ward congress on Saturday, the Lagos Island Ward C1 of the party has disagreed, as its members deny existing preliminary arrangements to elect its principal officers.
The congress, which saw hundreds of party stalwarts converge on a primary school facility in the area became rowdy and it culminated in assaults from security personnel on some of the members.
This came following a heated friction that ensued between some of the key players within the warring factions.
One of the party stalwart and member of Igba Laani faction, Ms Ola Williams popularly known as Iron Lady with some of her supporters was physically assaulted by soldiers contracted by opposition factions to provide security at the congress.
According to a source, four factions within the ward: the Igba Laani group, Atare Ajanakun, Atayese and Lukman Ajose group, Toluwalase, had earlier met to choose the ward executive officers but the meeting was deadlock as members could not reach agreement.
Recall that APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu had two weeks ago at the state party secretariat at Acme, Ikeja instructed members at ward level that those who had spent eight years and above should not recontest positions.
“Asiwaju, our leader had said members in this category who have spent more than eight years or more should allow new breed to contest and that we should all go back to our local governments and wards to see if we can harmonise to dialogue and if there is no conclusion in the dialogue we can go for congress to elect our leaders,” a member of the Igba Laani group, Oka told our correspondent.
Following the impasse, a congress was resolved to be held to elect the executive members.
However, the election did not further proceed as the different factions again decided to settle for consensus arrangement.
This however did not turn out well following a mix up in one of the positions.
The Woman Leader position which was earmarked for the Igba Laani group to be occupied by Ms Ola Williams aka Iron Lady was replaced by one Ms Yussuf Rukayat.
This development led to disapproval of the consensus arrangement as Ms Williams called for total nullification of all the approvals she and her supporters had earlier made.
“We don’t want this; this is a breach of trust and agreement,” Ms Williams shouted with her supporters in unison.
“The Woman Leader’s position is for Igba Laani and I am the one that was agreed to occupy that position. We will not accept the arrangement any longer because the agreement has been breached.”
Following the protest staged by William and her group, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the outcome of the congress as inconclusive.
INEC delegate Habeeb Onikoyi, who had earlier reeled out the names of the positions and their officers to the gathering, said his announcement of the names on the list was no longer valid.
“There has been a compromise in the arrangement; it is no longer valid because the agreement has been breached, so the outcome is inconclusive,” Onikoyi said.
Some of the names and positions include: chairman, Alh Shina Onilegbale; Olarewaju Lucas, vice chairman; Olawale Onibudo, general secretary; Ganiyu Adewale, legal adviser; Akiya Kabir, publicity secretary; Ismaila Oyeleke, youth leader; Yussuf Rukayat, woman leader and Aleshiloye Wasiu, welfare officer.
Others are Adedeji Babatunde, organizing secretary; Arolu Lukma, auditor; Rahamon Kudirat, financial secretary; Owolabi Jinadu, treasurer, among others.
Igba Laani group approved all the positions and their officers, except the post of Woman Leader, a development that left the congress inconclusive.
Meanwhile, after further deliberations at the local government secretariat to resolve the issue, the Igba Laani group who were not satisfied with the development, headed to the residence of the National Leader, Asiwaju Tinubu to express their position.
The leader of the group, Ms Williams who felt betrayed and cheated lamented that other faction were oppressing her group.
Williams, who was allegedly physically abused by military officers with some members of her group at the congress venue, urged Tinubu to intervene in the matter.
Meanwhile, our correspondent gathered that following the call on Tinubu, the National Leader has directed that the Woman Leader position should be given to Williams.
“Asiwaju has spoken; he said the position should be given to me,” William told our correspondent.
“Case closed. Since Asiwaju has spoken nothing can change it,” she said.
In his reaction, Oka, a member of Igba Laani and a supervisor for agriculture in the local government, said the three other factions teamed up against his group to acquire about 32 slots of the 37 positions.
He said the Igba Laani group which is led by the Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Adeniji Kazeem, had never held any executive position in the ward.
Oka maintained that Atare Ajanakun group which is led by Hon. Wasiu Eshinlokun, Deputy Speaker, Lagos State House Assembly; Atayese group, sponsored by Musiliu Obanikoro, the former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in Lagos who recently defected to APC; and Lukman Ajose group (Toluwalase) led by former chairman Lagos Island LG, had been dominating executive positions of the ward for about 16 years.
“Here in our side the other factions want to go with all the executive posts and the delegates so we sat down for about two days and we were unable to conclude.
They want to take majority of the 37 positions and we said no that; it cannot be done like that. They have been occupying the executive positions for too long. I am also a leader in this ward. I have been a chairman of board and I have had other political appointments.
“Kazeem Adeniji, Lagos State Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General is our leader while Wasiu Eshinlokun is leader of other three factions. He has been sending people to me to come and beg us in our group.
“The three groups teamed up against us. We have Igba Laani; Atare Ajanakun, which Wasiu Eshinlokun belongs to; we have Koro faction (Atayese) and we have Lukman Ajose group the former chairman (Toluwalase).
“What caused all these frictions is that when we met on Wednesday they gave my group two slots and also gave themselves two slots each, beside the Deputy Speaker’s faction which was given four. These numbers given to them is not added to the 18 they had earlier earmarked for themselves,” Oka said.
But it was further gathered that the Eshinlokun faction is making a peaceful move to negotiate with Igba Laani group.
Oka, who hinted to our correspondent about Eshinlokun’s move, said the DPO of Adeniji Adele police division called to inform him of the development.
According to him, Eshinlokun and his group have decided to negotiate with Igba Laani, adding that a deadlock of the proposed move would attract legal battle.
“The Adeniji Adele DPO called me this morning (yesterday) to tell me that Eshinlokun and his group want to negotiate. And they said if we don’t agree we will go to court. We on our part, are waiting for them. We will maintain our stand,” he stressed.