Violence has erupted at the All Progressive Congress (APC) primary election holding at Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere, Lagos, to select Local Government chairmanship candidates.
Fight broke out in different corners, minutes after the Party’s electoral chairman, Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi began to announce “consensus” candidates already endorsed by the party.
Supporters of aspirants who lost out got violent and moved toward supporters of those being declared as winner.
Broken bottles, plastic chairs, woods, stones, bottle water and sachet water were some of the weapons used to chase VIP delegates and other supporters out of the venue.
Recall that National Legal Adviser of the APC, Dr Muiz Banire, had raised alarm that the process of primaries was being manipulated through rigging “in favour of certain imposed candidates”.
Banire had also opposed the decision of the Lagos State chapter to conduct primaries election for all the aspirants in a single location.
He lamented that the decision was alien to the party and not in the APC constitution, warning against the holding the exercise in such manner.
In a letter addressed to the State Chairman, Henry Ajomale, Banire stressed that the Local Government Executives were empowered by the APC constitution to designate suitable venues for the exercise.
He said, “As the custodian of the party constitution, It is of utmost necessity for me to say immediately that this will not be in consonant with the letter and the spirit of the constitution.
“The (APC) constitution confers the power to designate the venue of such council primaries in the party Executive of the Local Government”.
Banire said in other states, local government primary nelections were never done in centralized locations including Benue State chapter of the APC that recently held its primaries.
He therefore asked the state chairman to comply with the provision of the APC constitution by stopping all arrangements for tomorrow’s centralised primaries and allowed the local government executives to designate venue for the exercise in their respective councils.
The APC legal adviser continued: “I must say that I do not want to believe that the essence of seeking to centralize the conduct of the primaries is to manipulate and rig the process in favour of certain imposed candidates.
“To avoid this, and in line with our great party’s practice of publicizing the conduct of primaries (right from the conduct of primary for presidential election to the primaries for election at the state level – gubernatorial and National assembly), the same tradition must continue with the primaries into local governments.
“I am also aware that the National body is sending monitors while observers are expected at the various venues.
“I urge transparency and fairness in the conduct of the primaries. It is necessary to avoid any exercise in futility”.