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|Nigerians Are Extremely Docile, It Can Be Frustrating –banire, APC Legal Adviser by Nobody: 9:13am On Jul 01, 2017|
Your party made a mockery of internal democracy at the recently held local government primary election in Lagos State, by trying to impose candidates. Was that the decision at the national level or the electoral committee and the state chapter acted alone?
As far as I’m concerned, there was no primary election, because the election didn’t take place at all. That is my own position, from my vantage position, from my observation and from the point of law. There was no primary, so nothing happened on that day.
But the drama at the Teslim Balogun Stadium that day was as a result of your primary election that was to hold.
That must have just been an assemblage of human beings, the purpose of which I wouldn’t know, but certainly not for primaries. My own view is clear, which is nothing personal. Our constitution is very clear on the way to go about it. If you look at Article 20 of our (APC) constitution, it says a lot about the procedure for nomination of candidates at all levels, from councillorship to the President and that is what must be followed. That has been my own position from time immemorial. If you recall the run-up to the primaries for the governorship election in 2014, that was the same posture I maintained, and all over the nation up till today, I maintain the same posture. The good news is that the Supreme Court in Nigeria has consistently been telling us its position that people must comply with the party’s constitution. That is why I always counsel to avoid this pitfall, and it is not peculiar to Lagos alone. So, for me, it’s nothing personal and what the constitution requires is not optional.
We have reports that high-ranking members of your party who should know what the law requires are guilty of that attempt to impose candidates on the people. For example, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was said to have reeled out those names even before the election. Is that the kind of practice APC wants to be known for?
Let me tell you my understanding. People said to me that Asiwaju had earlier announced some 18 candidates for chairmen. Even at that, I said he must have been misquoted because there is a difference between endorsement and nomination. They are two different things. I reserve the right to endorse anybody, but when it comes to elections, then I don’t have the right of imposition. So, I told them clearly that they must have been misquoting him because he (Asiwaju) certainly has a right to preference.
He wouldn’t have been misquoted because it was the names that were mentioned that were eventually announced as the candidates.
I heard he said 18, but what happened covered the entire state. Then, you yourself must have seen that the process was hijacked.
Can we say it was hijacked, when members of the party waiting to vote simply resisted imposition?
Let me tell you, there are so many godfathers, for selfish reasons, all about bread and butter and it is not in APC alone. It’s in all political parties and that is the essence of having a constitution because the tendency of every human being is to be domineering. It’s innate in us and that is why we agree as members of the same club to say we must have rules and regulations that would bind us and regulate our affairs. And having subscribed to it, then, you are bound by it. The APC is a bigger party, unlike AD, AC, ACN, etc. It’s a conglomeration of several interests and that is why for you not to have an implosion, you must consistently be bound by the rules and regulations.
But there is currently an implosion because some of the aspirants described the Lagos APC as undemocratic and fraudulent. Are those not clear signals?
They are signals. Personally, I think I owe it as a duty as the custodian of the APC constitution to ensure it does not happen. That is why I kept on saying and warning every day that don’t do this thing, do the right and proper thing. If we all agree that all these people are our party members, why discriminate against them. Allow all of them a level-playing ground. Whoever emerges is an APC candidate; simple and straightforward. Are the governor, the President and many others not proud that they went through the primaries before the 2015 election? In fact, part of what put our party on global map today was the presidential primary election we had; that everybody saw and witnessed it. We will not give up because we know it’s not easy for people to change.
One would expect that, as the National Legal Adviser, you would have advised them against that decision, because the imposition was already a matter of discourse before the day of the primary?
Yes, you’re right. That wasn’t our consensus when I attended their meeting. The meeting we had with all the local government officials, the stakeholders and the state executive, I was there and I advised them. They were very happy, they all subscribed to everything in the constitution. In fact, I was very proud of them that day, just for them to somersault suddenly because we had some scavengers who were able to profit from the venture; because people were just selling the party ticket all over the whole place. That was the problem. So, in order for me not to be guilty of standing by, that was why I even had to write them to say I heard something, please do not allow it to happen, follow the constitution.
Those who masterminded the charade are senior party men, like the party chairman in the state, Chief Henry Ajomale and Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi, who have tried to defend their action.
Well, I do not even see Afikuyomi as a senior party man; he’s just like any other party member in Lagos. He doesn’t hold any position in the party, and being the chairman of the electoral committee was only a transient thing. Several of them we appoint every day. Some mess themselves up and some will perform creditably and commendably.
In that duty, has he performed creditably?
As far as I’m concerned, he has not even done it or discharged the responsibility.
But he read the pre-selected names, which is part of his responsibility as the chairman of the electoral committee.
He announced names of people he felt that he wanted. As a person, did you witness any primary? Nomination presupposes voting, and was there any voting? Up till now, there was no voting and there must be. If any other person who succeeds me decides to introduce anarchy, so be it, but while I’m still there, I will ensure that the proper thing is done.
It seems criminal to sell forms to aspirants and still want to impose people on them. Is the party going to refund them?
It’s not even a matter of refunding them, it’s about allowing internal democracy to prevail in the party. People tend to trivialise this issue but it’s an issue that I’ve signed into. There has been several intimidation, harassment and deprivation every day, but I’m not bothered. As far as I’m concerned, all those issues won’t work for me, because my religion preaches dying for what is just and proper. For me, I suffer it every day, from the security agents to government and people all over; that I’m their stumbling block, but I’m nobody’s stumbling block. I only believe that proper things must be done.
|Re: Nigerians Are Extremely Docile, It Can Be Frustrating –banire, APC Legal Adviser by Paperwhite(m): 9:14am On Jul 01, 2017|
APC-"Change" being served red,red,hot. ."Change" in Lagos only means when the Lion of Bourdillon is in charge.
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