Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
An All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Olawale Rauf Sulaiman, has raised the alarm of alleged plot to substitute his name as candidate of the Amuwo Odofin Constituency 11 ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Olawale, who petitioned the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, warned that at no time did he authorise or sign any letter of withdrawal of his candidacy to INEC.
In a letter written by his lawyer, Gbadeyan & Co, to the APC National Chairman, dated November 15, 2019, Olawale cautioned the party on what he termed; “unrelenting efforts by some persons within the Lagos state chapter of the party to substitute his name with that of Hon. Akeem Bello as candidate for Amuwo Odofin 11 Constituency of the Lagos state House of Assembly.”
The lawyer, in the letter, which was also copied to the APC Deputy National Chairman, South and the party’s National Legal Adviser, warned that Hon. Suleiman has not in any way relinquish his candidacy to any person.
“Sir, sequel to our earlier letters to you on the unrelenting efforts by some persons within the Lagos state chapter of the party to have the name of our candidate substituted/changed with that of Hon. Akeem Bello as candidate for Amuwo Odofin 11 Constituency of Lagos state House of Assembly, and taking into consideration the desperation being displayed by these elements, our client has again written to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to restate his stand to retain his ticket.
“To that end, our client reiterates that he at no time authored or caused to be authored, either did he sign any letter of withdrawal of his candidacy,” the letter read.
Also, in another letter sent to INEC, Olawale explained that he contested and scored the highest number of votes at the APC primaries held on October 5, 2018 to nominate its candidate for Amuwo Odofin Constituency II of Lagos State House of Assembly at the general elections scheduled for February 2019.
“He was duly declared the winner at the end of the poll and issued with a copy of the result sheet and the summary result sheet by the Primary Elections Committee.
“That our client was duly issued with INEC Form CF001. The personal particulars of person seeking election as candidate nominated by All Progressives Congress and affidavit duly sworn to by him while his name was forwarded to the Commission by the national body to the party alongside those of other candidates of the party for the forthcoming election in Lagos State as the Party‘s candidate for the said Amuwo Odofin II Constituency of Lagos State.
“That in compliance with the provision of Section 31(3) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), INEC published our client’s name at the INEC Secretariat in Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area. Many of the teeming supporters and members at the party in the Constituency including our client saw the said publication, while some made electronic recording of the publication at the INEC premises.
“That sometime around 12.00pm on November 11, 2018, our client received information that attempts are being made by some persons within the party to substitute/change his name with that of another person as the candidate of the APC for Amuwo Odofin ll Constituency of Lagos State despite the party having forwarded our client’s name to INEC.
“That on the November 13, 2018, a national daily published a story wherein it was mischievously and falsely stated that Hon. Akeem BeIlo was the All Progressives Congress’ candidate for Amuwo Odofin ll Constituency of Lagos State.
“That our client immediately wrote to the National Chairman of the Party to notify him and urge him to stop any unlawful attempt by anybody. Howsoever, described from changing/substituting my name as the duly nominated candidate.
“That our client, in the letter to the National Chairman of APC aforementioned, had unequivocally stated that he is neither withdrawing as the candidate of the party nor was he dead. We are thus writing to notify the Commission that our client is alive and kicking and has not in any way withdrawn or relinquished his candidacy.
“We have the unequivocal instruction of our client to inform the Commission that he has neither authored nor signed any letter indicating, implying or from which an intention to withdraw his candidacy as the standard bearer of the APC for the Amuwo Odofin II Constituency of Lagos State House of Assembly at the forthcoming 2019 general elections can be evinced,” the letter read.