By Gbolahan Akintunde
AS predicted in my article few days to the conduct of Lagos State council polls, according to the final results declared by the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC), the All Progressives Congress in Lagos State won all the Chairmanship seats and 99% of Councillorship seats in the 20 Local Government Areas and the 37 Local Council Development Areas in a grand style, leaving only 4 and 3 councillorship seats to the PDP and Accord parties respectively.
In fact, in some Local Government Areas, candidates of the opposition parties, voluntarily stepped down for candidates of the APC, giving Governor Ambode’s unbelievable transformation of the local councils in terms of infrastructural development as their main reason. It is pertinent to give an x-ray of the success of the APC in the just concluded LG Polls.
I predicted in my last article that despite the seeming internal disagreement within the APC, which is a fallout of the primaries and fuelled by the intransigence of people like Muiz Banire, APC will still carry the day. These were my exact words, “I don’t see how the matters arising from the conduct of the last APC primaries would affect the fortunes of the party at the polls because the electorate out there are not unaware of the massive infrastructural transf ormation that is going on in all 20 LGAS and 37 LCDAS in the state. About 181 roads covering over 800 kilometres have been fixed. Primary and secondary schools have been built and renovated as well as healthcare centres and community halls even as many people in the grassroots have been empowered financially.” Needless to elucidateAmbode’s achievements in the local councils and the state generally.
My prediction was neither frivolous nor borne out of over confidence, rather, I was so sure that Lagosians at the grassroots cherish performance and would not hesitate to vote APC for the good works of Ambode to continue in their Local governments and LCDAs. Little wonder then that some candidates of the opposition who have seen the handwriting of monumental defeat on the wall, voluntarily withdrew from the race. What Ambode did in the local governments are enough campaign tools for the APC. In two years, Ambode has restored hope of a better life for the maximum number in the local councils.
The average voter out there was less concerned about the acrimony arising from how candidates of a party emerged but the quality and eligibility of such candidates. Voters in a local council election are swayed by the performance of a party at the State level and this will be a yardstick for measuring the performance of such a party at the local level. In the case of Lagos State, voters could see what Ambode is doing in their councils and it is only a fait accompli that the good works should continue through his party men at the helm of affairs in the councils.
The election is an assessment of the programmes of the government at the state level. Without a doubt, the people of Lagos state have spoken loudly by giving a pass mark to the Ambode administrationas well as in the leadership of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
This is a lesson for detractors like Muiz Banire who predicted that the APC would lose the election just as he predicted that APC would lose Lagos to the opposition in 2015 and went ahead to sponsor a candidate from another party against his own party. The same thing he did in the just concluded LG Polls. Just because he couldn’t have his way by imposing his candidates on the people of Mushin Local Government and Odi-Olowo/Ojuwoye LCDA, he sponsored the Accord party Candidates. Trust Lagosians, they were not deceived by Banire’s selfish motives and they voted against his candidates as shown by the landslide victory of the APC candidates in the area.
The APC in Mushin Local Government polled over 25,000 votes to defeat Accord Party candidates who polled over 9,000 and PDP 4,000 in the Chairmanship and councillorship elections. In Odi-Olowo/Ojuwoye LCDA, APC polled 17,000 to defeat Accord and Labour party candidates who polled 5,000 and 144 votes respectively in the Chairmanship and councillorship elections.
Governor Ambode won his Epe local government convincingly where APC polled 21,401 to Labour Party’s 948 and same goes for other leaders of the party. This is a confirmation of his popularity and a vote of confidence in his leadership.
Banire is a minus to the APC as he has not contributed to the fortunes of the party in his Local Government and the state, instead, he tried to destroy the party that was built by others and from which he has benefited immensely. It was for this reason that members of the APC in the area recently openly demonstrated against his treachery and called for his expulsion from the party. Banire who today complains of imposition has benefited from the same system since 1999 and it is the party that has elevated him to his present position as the National Legal Adviser after serving as Special Adviser and Commissioner respectively for an unbroken 12 years. I often wonder why human beings are so ungrateful and forget so easily how they got to where they are!
Meanwhile, another factor that aided the victory of the APC in the LG Polls is the confusion and apprehension in the camp of the PDP before the election concerning which faction will be confirmed as the authentic executive of the party by the impending Supreme Court judgment which was eventually delivered on July 12, 2017. Against all expectations, the Makarfi led faction was pronounced the authentic national executive of the PDP. This made all the candidates of the PDP that were of the Sherif faction null and void and threw confusion into the PDP camp. No voter would want to waste his or her vote on a candidate that may later be declared illegal by the court.
Akintunde wrote from Iyana Ipaja Lagos