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No council primary elections in Surulere after thugs shooting, harassment

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

Following series of violence put up by cultists and thugs across Surulere Local Government Area during All Progressives Congress (APC), Lagos Chapter council primaries, the youths, party leaders, and other members have unanimously said that there was no evidence the chairmanship and councilorship primaries were held in any of the wards.

They said that the shooting, harassment and other shenanigans experienced during the exercise which claimed two people’s lives and disenfranchised genuine members of the party from performing their rights further indicated that there were no primaries held across the councils.

According to them, only three out of nine wards in the council were primaries held, and that these were wards of the House of Representatives Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, his anointed candidate, Sulaimon Yusuf, and one other which was also believed to be their stronghold within the council.

Aside from violence that enveloped the entire process forcing many to flee from the venues after cultists and thugs, who were touring the entire wards arrived, shooting and brandishing different ammunition, they stressed that the modalities set by the party leadership earlier before the exercise were not followed and that many adjustments were made that did not conform with the exercise before the thugs disrupted it.

The primaries designed constitutionally to select flagbearers for the next council election on Saturday were disrupted before it started after the cultists and thugs led by Deputy Chairman of Road Transport employee Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) Ojuelegba chapter, Sunday Aransiola, popularly called Baresi, stormed the wards at different hours and dispersed the genuine members as well as vandalised the voting materials.

As gathered, the mayhem started after some top APC politicians in the council received alerts from their loyalists that it was obvious that outcome of the exercise would not favour them considering that the party members have decided not to vote for their anointed candidates seeking to become APC flagbearer for the poll.

It was further learnt that efforts by the ward executives to swing the primaries in favour of some candidates that were alleged to have been picked by House of Representatives speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, also was unsuccessful, following party members demand that the process must be free and fair at each of the wards which resulted in deployments of thugs and cultists to different wards.

Some of the wards where there were completely no primaries for both chairmanship and councillorship include Ward E especially in E and E11; Adeniji Primary School and Shamsideen Islamic school where the members were dispersed completely.

In Wards F1, 2, and 3; Nathan Primary school, Teslim Balogun Stadium gunshots enveloped the air after members protested against plans by the returning officer to stop the process after accreditation, claiming that the exercise had been concluded.

Across WARD G, the ward that produced incumbent Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, all party members were forced out of the premises used for the exercise by the thugs, who claimed that the exercise has been completed, after been aided by the executives of the party members that further perpetrated several shenanigans to frustrate the exercise.

On why there were no primaries held within the council, a woman leader from Ward G2, Jamila Mu’azu-Olukosi, stated there was no record to indicate that party members participated in any of the exercises, saying we were prevented from exercising our rights.

Mu’azu-Olukosi added that the atmosphere at the wards were tensed and that she and dozens of members were forced to leave in other to avoid sustaining gunshot injuries and losing their lives after the thugs began to shoot sporadically, killing two persons.

Mu’azu-Olukosi added that the exercise was peaceful in her ward before the cultists and hoodlums stormed the premises and disrupted the voting process at the ward, forcing many to abandon their plans to scamper for safety.

She said: “We were at the ward to cast our vote for our candidate, preferably, Idris Aregbe, and suddenly, these dozens of thugs arrived and demanded that we all leave. And when we resisted, they started shooting in the air, not minding that people could sustain injuries from their actions.

“Realising the extent of gunshots with deafening sounds that enveloped the atmosphere, I had to leave to avoid sustaining gunshot injuries at the premises”.

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