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Crisis Hits Lagos PDP As Jimi Agbaje Allegedly Sidelines Party

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With about six weeks to the conduct of the governorship elections, crisis is currently rocking the Lagos State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as its governorship candidate, Jimi Agbaje, and the state executive members, led by Dr. Adegbola Dominic, are believed to be working at cross-purposes instead of uniting to forge a common front against the All Progressives Congress (APC).

A chieftain of the party, who spoke with Daily Independent on Wednesday on condition of anonymity, said since his emergence as the party’s flag bearer, Agbaje had been running a one-man show, believing that he could do without the leadership of the Lagos PDP or party elders in the state, such as Chief Olabode George, a former Deputy National Chairman of the party.

He said while Agbaje had been running his governorship campaign with the team he set up without carrying the state PDP along, he also picked his running mate, Mrs. Haleemat Busari, without consulting the party leaders.

According to him, many party leaders who only heard of Busari’s choice in the media were angry and made attempts to kick against the decision but were prevailed upon by the party’s leadership to refrain from doing so in order not to create the impression that the party was disunited.

The source said: “The reality is that there is no unity in Lagos PDP and this may mar our chances in the forthcoming governorship election. Jimi Agbaje and the state exco of the party are not working as a team.

“If you remember, majority of the state exco members are loyalists of Chief Bode George and, as such, they don’t like Agbaje whom they see as a traitor for daring to contest against his benefactor for the national chairmanship of the PDP.

“Agbaje himself has not helped matters. Since becoming the governorship candidate of the party, he has constituted his campaign team and neglected the leadership of the party who are the key drivers of the party.

“Can you imagine Agbaje never consulted the party before picking his running mate, Mrs. Busari? Many of our party members and leaders were shocked when they heard about the news in the media.

“You can imagine the anger of many party members on account of this. The issue would have gone out of hand but for the appeal by the leaders of the party such as Chief Bode George who implored them not to make the issue public so that the APC will not capitalise on it.”

When our correspondent contacted Adegbola Dominic, the state chairman, on the allegations that Jimi Agbaje was not carrying the party along in his campaigns, he said: “That is not exactly correct. It is true that there may be some intra-party differences, but we are resolving that. We are working together and we will achieve victory in 2019.”

Similarly, Agbaje denied the allegations, saying he enjoyed a harmonious working relationship with the Dominic-led executives.

Speaking through Felix Oboagwina, his spokesman, Agbaje said he notified all the party leaders before choosing his running mate but added that what some complained against was that she was not a prominent member of the party who was known to all.

“It is not true that party leaders and state exco have not been carried along. When the deputy governorship candidate, Haleema Busari, was chosen, all stakeholders were carried along.

“Before the announcement was made, everybody who was a chieftain of the party knew about her. All they can complain about is the fact that she is not a frontline member of the party.

“Before her announcement and final selection was made, several names had been bandied and then she was zeroed in upon. Of course, it is normal that it is only one person that will be picked at the end of the day.

“From the day she was picked, she became a product of the entire party. On the issue of party excos and leaders not being carried along, we don’t know where that is coming from.

“There is a structure that the national leadership of the party has put in place in all the states that are holding elections in 2019. The structure is called the Campaign Council and the instruction is that it should be headed by the governorship candidate of the PDP in the state while the state PDP chairman will serve as the vice-chairman.

“In Lagos, the PDP Chairman, Dr. Adegbola Dominic, fills that role and he is doing it very well. He is being carried along and they hold regular meetings.

“There are about 10 people in the Campaign Council in Lagos State and because of the structure that was in place somebody like Rahman Owokoniran, a very close lieutenant and confidant of Jimi Agbaje, who was the last Director-General of the campaign, had to drop from the council to accommodate every other member of the party who are part of the structure.

“According to the structure that PDP is using, the campaign structure is also duplicated at the local government area level where a prominent member of the party in the local government area heads the council in the local government area.

“The same is also replicated at the ward level. At all these levels, the candidates for Senate, House of Reps, and House of Assembly are part of these structures. So, all these talk about disunity is the handiwork of mischief makers who want a divided party before the elections,” he said.

POLITICS

INEC Releases Guidelines For Conduct Of 2019 General Elections

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday released the regulations and guidelines for the conduct of the general elections.

The 33 pages document obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, said Smart Card Readers (SCRs) and Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) would be used for the forthcoming elections.

It reads, “Voting shall be in accordance with the Continuous Accreditation and Voting System (CAVS) procedures as specified in these Regulations and Guidelines, the Election Manual and any other Guide issued by the Commission.

“No person shall be allowed to vote at any Polling Unit/Voting Point Settlement/Voting Point other than the one at which his/her name appears in the Register of Voters and he/she presents his/her permanent voter’s card to be verified by the Smart Card Reader (SCR), or as otherwise determined by the Commission.”

It added that each voter shall cast his/her vote in person at the Polling Unit/Voting Point Settlement/Voting Point where he/she registered or was assigned, in the manner prescribed by the Commission.

It also stated that separate queue shall be created between men and women, where the culture does not allow the mingling of men and women.

It added that Presiding Officers would also create a separate queue for People Living With Disabilities (PWDs).

According Section 10 (b) of the guidelines, “accreditation and voting shall commence at 8.00am and close at 2:00pm, provided that all voters already on the queue by 2:00pm shall be allowed for accreditation and voting.

“(d) The accreditation process shall comprise reading of the Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) and authentication of the voter’s fingerprint using the SCR; checking of the Register of Voter.”

Section 11 (v) of the guidelines also requested a voter to remove his/her cell phone or any photographic device before proceeding to voting cubicle.

Also section 11(c) stated that “where a voter’s PVC is read but the name of the voter is not on the Register of Voters, APO II shall refer the voter to the PO or APO (VP) who shall politely request the voter to leave the Polling Unit”.

Section 11(d) also states that: “In the event that the PVC fails to be read by the Smart Card Reader, the APO I shall refer the voter to the PO or APO (VP) who shall politely request the voter to leave the Polling Unit.’’

Subsection (e) added that “where a voter’s PVC is read and the SCR shows the details of another person, rather than the details of the cardholder as printed on the PVC, the APO I shall:

“(i) Refer the voter to APO II to confirm that the details of the voter in the Register of Voters correspond to those on the PVC;

“(ii) APO II if satisfied that the holder of the card is on the Register of Voters, shall record the phone number of the voter in the appropriate box on the Register of Voters; and

“(iii) Proceed with the accreditation of the voter.

“(f) In all cases from 11(b) to 11(e), the Presiding Officer shall fill the appropriate forms in the PU booklet and make a report.

“Affected voters in 11(b) and 11(e) qualify to be issued ballot papers after consultation with Polling Agents.”

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POLITICS

Suspected APC Thugs Attack Saraki’s Ilorin Family Residence, Injure 11, Damage 50 Vehicles

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For the second time in four days, political thugs allegedly loyal to the gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Kwara State on Sunday attacked the Agbaji Ilorin family residence of the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki.

The rampaging APC thugs opened fire on residents of the area, wounding at least 11 persons in the process, a statement by Saraki’s media team alleged on Sunday.

They also destroyed about 50 cars parked at various locations within Agbaji Quarters.
It would be recalled that the alleged APC thugs had on Thursday unleashed violence on the people of Agbaji, Adewole and Pakata areas of Ilorin metropolis.

Four members of the Peoples Democratic Party were injured during Thursday’s mayhem.

The development eventuated a press conference that was addressed by the Senate President in Abuja, where he raised an alarm about threat to his life and those of his family and supporters.

Sunday’s incident, according to residents of the area, started at about 11:30am when fully armed thugs stormed their area and shot sporadically into the air to scare people away.

According to the President of Agbaji Development Association, Alhaji Musa Olanrewaju Yusuf, the rampaging thugs were allegedly led by Yahaya Seriki and Musbau Esinrogunjo.

Yusuf said 11 people, who sustained injuries from gunshots, were taken to General Hospital, Ilorin and a private medical facility for treatment.

He said: “The APC thugs came around 11:30am and shot sporadically into the air. In fact, they were provided cover by the DPO Adewole Division of Police.

“At least, 11 people received injuries from gunshots while about 50 cars including that of Imam Aliagan were destroyed.

“The thugs also carted away four motorbikes and stole money and jewelry from shops deserted by their owners.”

The statement said the APC thugs spread the violence to Ajikobi and Omoda areas of Ilorin metropolis.

Commenting on the development, the Director General of the PDP Campaign Council in the state, Prof. Suleiman Abubakar, said the orgy of violence was being perpetrated by the APC leaders in the state to instill fears in the minds of residence ahead of the coming general elections, having discovered that Kwarans have rejected them.

Prof. Abubakar called on security agencies in the state to within 48 hours arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of both Sunday’s and Thursday’s violence in Ilorin.

The state Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Tunde Ashaolu, said Sunday’s incident had validated the alarm raised by the Senate President on threat to his life and those of his family and supporters, “which the police made futile efforts to debunk”.

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POLITICS

Sanwo-Olu, Agbaje, Badamosi Slug It Out At Lagos Governorship Debate

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Lagos Gubernatorial debate put together by The Platform has ended with four governorship aspirants airing their varied opinions on how to move the state forward.

Partaking of the governorship election were Mr Bababatunde Badamosi (Action Democratic Party), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (All Progressives Congress), Mr Jimi Agbaje (Peoples Democratic Party) and Owolabi Salis (Alliance for Democracy).

The debate, on Sunday, had the aspirants speaking on issues ranging from gridlocks in the Lagos metropolis to power, down to the educational sector and to health.

While the candidates differed on the methods with which they will take Lagos to a higher echelon, they agreed that technology will play a key role in driving the process of transformation in the metropolis.

As regards gridlocks, Mr Badamosi said the traffic nightmare that Lagosians have contended with for years can be solved by focusing on three things – rail transport, use of barges and devolution of powers.

The candidate of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) said, “There are a number of ways to tackle this problem. The most obvious one is rail. Secondly, barges to lift containers from the actual wharfs and take them to lighter terminals all around Lagos, and, thirdly, devolution of powers. It’s time we started this discussion about the devolution of power.”

On his part, the PDP gubernatorial candidate, Agbaje said the key is to “get the local governments working again” adding that the grassroots play a great role in making state function optimally.

Agbaje said planning ahead is crucial if Lagos must overcome its problem with traffic jam.

He said town planning is very important in addressing the issue of gridlocks in Lagos.

“The idea is to have even development across Lagos state so that you are having less of movement from one end of Lagos to the other,” the pharmacist said.

Sanwo-Olu on his part promised to tackle the problem of traffic jams if elected into office.

The APC candidate vowed to make the gridlock in the Apapa axis of the state a thing of the past in less than four months.

“First on the list, I will tackle the traffic problem of Lagos frontally,” Sanwo-Olu said during ‘The Platform’s debate which held on Sunday in Lagos.

Also speaking on the traffic congestion in the state, Mr Owolabi Salis said he will revive the train system which has been “abandoned for 15years by the FG” adding that the government is not paying the necessary attention.

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