Storm In Lagos APC Over Sanwo-Olu’s Cabinet

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LAGOS – The recent announcement of Commissioners and Special Advisers-designates by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, is already brewing discontent in the Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Governor Sanwo-Olu had last month released a list comprising 25 commissioners and special advisers’ nominees that had been screened by the state House of Assembly. The governor also released another batch and final list of 13 nominees last week Tuesday.

However, some party faithful especially in Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Shomolu and Ifako-Ijaiye have kicked against the lists, alleging that none of their representatives were included in the proposed cabinet despite working assiduously for the party’s victory in the just concluded elections.

While appealing to party leaders, especially the National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to address the injustice, the aggrieved party faithful, who have been grumbling silently over the issue, have also threatened to embark on peaceful protests to the party secretariat located at Acme Road to register home their demands.

Addressing a press conference at the weekend, the APC youths in Ajeromi-Ifelodun led by Barrister Hakeem Babalola, said it is worrisome that no representative of the local government is included in the cabinet despite their contributions to the party’s victory both in the Presidential, National Assembly and State House of Assembly elections.

He added that in 2015, the two House of Assembly seats in the local government, the House of Representatives seats and the governorship election was won by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He, however, said with concerted efforts of party leaders and members, all the elections conducted recently were won by the APC, including the governorship election where Governor Sanwo-Olu got 43,975 votes as against 14,690 votes scored by Jimi Agbaje of the PDP.

“All Progressives Congress youths of Ajeromi-Ifelodun is demanding the inclusion of a party faithful from the Local Government to be included in the ongoing formation of the Lagos State Executive Cabinet from the Governor, H. E. Mr. Babajide Sanwoolu and Lagos APC Leaders.

“It was to our utmost displeasure over the recent lists of Commissioners/Special Advisers that were forwarded to the House of Assembly by the Governor, which had no one nominated from Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government. When the initial list was released more than four weeks ago, we thought we were going to be considered in the second list. But to our utter dismay, no person from Ajeromi-Ifelodun, was listed neither in the first nor in the 13 names made public on Tuesday, August 13, 2019, which was termed as the ‘final list’ by the governor’s media aide.

“The last time we had a cabinet member in Kalejaiye Adeboye Paul was in May 2011, and throughout the second term of Gov. Babatunde Fashola and the only tenure of his successor in office, Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode, we had no one representing and fighting for our collective interests as a LG in the Cabinets. Ever since, we have had no new state government projects, with practically no state government presence. In the build up to the last General Elections, the atmosphere was highly tensed. Our Local Council Development Area (LCDA) was involved in a fracas during the Ward Congresses held in May 2018 that led to the loss of life of a Party faithful.

“In the primaries, we endured a torrid time with the direct mode of nomination, which also claimed some lives of party members. We had the toughest elections so far in our Local Government with the House of Representatives election, conducted twice, though with a success crowned in the end. It was turbulent and all leaders and members toiled day and night before we could grind those wins out. We struggled, suffered, sacrificed a lot of things and kept pushing for the party to come out victorious. A number of militating factors have always contributed to our woes and are sometimes why we find it difficult to win elections and get the people on board.

“Complaints of underdevelopment, neglect, bad roads, dilapidated schools, general infrastructural deficit are some of the problems our people are facing on daily basis year in year out, and all these can be surmounted if we have a continuous reliable representation in the State Cabinet to fight our cause. But, sadly, this is not forthcoming and we cannot continue this way.

“We are regarded as a second string Local Government and is a shame that being the second most populated with diverse ethno-cultural as a mini West Africa, we are yet to produce a commissioner after 24 years of our existence. The highest cabinet member we had was a Special Adviser for five years plus only, which is a portfolio that is junior to the Commissioner. Our leaders cannot continue to jeopardise our chances at the polls when the necessary structures are not put in place.

“We call for a review of the decision made by our governor and the leaders on the composition of the Cabinet and expect the Governor picks a nominee from our LG. We would be very elated if the merits of this demand is looked at and considered as that would go a long way in restoring our confidence in our revered leaders and assuage or appease the lost souls. If our demand is not meant within reasonable time, we shall be left with no option than to explore other means to bring home our demand,” Babalola added.

Also speaking, another chieftain of the party, Bilyaminu Faniran alleged that one of their leaders in Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Kamal Bayewu who has contributed immensely to the sustenance of the party contested for the senatorial election in 2015 but was prevailed upon by the party leaders to step down.

“As a loyal party man, he promptly complied with the directives and asked all his supporters to queue behind Senator Solomon Adeola (Yayi). He also did that in the 2019 elections but till now, he was not compensated for his loyalty. Even President Buhari admitted mistakes in his cabinet formation in 2015 and said loyal party members will be compensated now. Our leaders in Lagos APC should do the same,” said Faniran.

In Ifako- Ijaiye and Shomolu, party leaders also claimed they feel their efforts towards the success of the party in the last elections, are not appreciated.

“We feel marginalised in Shomolu. When the final list was released on Tuesday, angry party youths threatened to storm the party secretariat to register their grievances but we appealed to them to be patient that the party will look at it,” a party leader who spoke on condition of anonymity said.

However, speaking with our correspondent, Alhaji Tunde Balogun, the state chairman of the party said with just 40 cabinet members, there is no way a member can be picked from the 57 local government areas and local council development areas

While appealing to the party members to shelve the planned protests, he said the party leaders will look into their complaints and ensure they are accommodated in subsequent appointments that will still be made by the governor.

“It is not possible to pick cabinet members in all the local governments because we have limited number of positions. Do you know how many local government and LCDAs that we have? 57 in all and the number of people in the cabinet should not be more than 40. So, definitely it can’t go round the 57 councils.

“But next time, some of them will be considered for what they want now. Some of them have also served in the past while others who are picked now did not. So, we have to make sure it is equitably done so that nobody will feel marginalised”.

“For those who are aggrieved, if this time around, nobody was picked from their local government, that shouldn’t be the end of the world. There are other appointments that will still be made. Appointing cabinet members is the prerogative of the governor and other party leaders but we will ensure that every local government will be taken care of.

“If cabinet positions doesn’t get to them now, we will ensure that they benefit from other appointments that will be made. So, they should shelve their protests. Their grievances has been noted and we will do what we can to address it,” he said.

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