Electoral Chairman Runs For His Life As APC Primary Ends In Violence
Violence erupted midway into the primary election of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to elect chairmanship candidates for the July 22 council polls in Lagos State.
Reports say some aggrieved party supporters engaged one another in a free-for-all smashing ballot boxes over allegations of imposition of candidates.
Scores of delegates and others present at the Teslim Balogun Stadium venue fled as a result of the fracas, while some others sustained injuries.
The Chairman of the Elections Committee, Tokunbo Afikuyomi, was also attacked, with his top taken off by angry supporters who accused him of partiality.
He literally had to run away from the venue to save his life after security officials forced him out the grip of the angry youths and whisked him away.
Trouble started when some party members in Surulere and Lagos Mainland openly protested against the names of candidates being read out by Afikuyomi for endorsement as consensus candidates.
They alleged that the party leadership was foisting candidates on them and said the decision of the leadership to approve consensus candidates in 18 councils is wrong.
The aggrieved members initially vented their anger through protests, but it later degenerated into fracas between supporters of selected candidates and those who opposed them.
A party faithful, Wale Tokunbo, had told NAN shortly before the violence broke out that the substitution of Tajudeen Ajide for the Surulere Local Government Area Chairmanship for another candidate was unjust.
“The removal of Ajide’s name for the name of somebody we don’t know is not acceptable to us.
“If we talk about democracy, we should be able to practise it. This primary is a sham; we would resist it,” he said.
Another party faithful in Mainland Local Government who pleaded anonymity said party members were surprised at the mention of Yaba Local Government as one of the areas with a consensus candidate at the primary.
He said there were aspirants contesting for the post in the area and that nobody knew of the consensus candidate until they got to the venue.
“What consensus candidates are they talking about? We are just knowing that Yaba is one of them now. This is wrong,” he said.
Earlier in his speech, the Chairman of the party, Mr Henry Ajomale, had urged the delegates and other supporters not to be violent.
“I welcome you all to this election and I urge you all conduct yourselves in a peaceful manner.
“We have the information that some people are here to cause trouble. We shouldn’t allow them because they are saboteurs, “he said.