Ahead of All Progressives Congress (APC) Lagos Chapter local government primaries, youths have cautioned the Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and other political leaders against influencing the exercise and asked that they allow members’ choice to prevail over their own plans for the poll, particularly in Surulere.
The youths, under the aegis of Surulere Youth (SY), told Gbajabiamila and other APC leaders to listen to the yearnings of people particularly members, and allow their will prevail through the choice of candidate they chose to represent them at the council level.
The group, an umbrella body for progressive youths in the council, said that since the lawmaker rather than toe an alleged divisive line, it was important the parliamentarian serves as a unifying factor before, during, and after the council election, a task it claimed, was befitting of his status.
Speaking through a statement signed by its Chairman, Abdullahi Olawale, the youths maintained that the task before the lawmaker at the national level deserves more attention, particularly at a time when the country was battling with insecurity and other challenges, rather than allegedly dabbling in local politics while national duty was at stake.
In the statement made available to newsmen on Saturday, they further noted that Gbajabiamila’s alleged involvement in the council poll had unsettled the atmosphere, raised many eyebrows, and was already causing acrimony among erstwhile friends in the same All Progressives Congress (APC) family within the council.
The youths noted that they would not have interfered in party politics but the crisis that could arise during the primaries within Surulere formed reasons for their appeal to the speaker and other leaders not to interfere and allow members to elect their preferred representatives.
The youths noted that from their investigations, it was revealed that the preferred candidate among members was the APC Youth Organising Secretary, Idris Aregbe, a choice that did not go down well with the speaker who had anointed the incumbent vice-chairman, Sulaimon Yussuf.
“Sure, over the years, the speaker has been seen as an acknowledged panacea for winning elections in Surulere and unchallenged, but his choice-candidate this time around is not the acceptable choice of the people. So the best is for the leaders to allow all parties test their popularity among members.
“Already, the unfortunate acrimony, which is seen to portray the decadence of the polity, especially what some has rightfully termed “Manifestation of Greed of the Political Class”, has prompted thousands of our members that are APC members threatening “Thunder and Brimstone”, should their Choice-candidate, Aregbe, is side-lined.
“We know that the members know the contestants, they are all residents of the council which has afforded them to know their strength and weaknesses. We believe that their assessment will not be wrong considering the number of days spent on their assessment exercise. We believe if they want Aregbe, let them vote, and if otherwise, let the vote count”.
The group, which has floated the hashtag #begSpeakerGbajabiamila!, further said, “It will be denigrating and worrisome if the Speaker, who is seen as a father-figure to many youths, will allegedly stoop low in an attempt to wish away the people’s choice including the youths that look up to him for mentorship. Over the years we have watched him and believed that he is an upright man which resulted in his election as speaker and number 4th citizen of Nigeria. And we want to appeal that he steer clear and allow peace to reign”
Maintaining their stand, the #begSpeakerGbajabiamila!, youth-wing further noted that “there is absolutely nothing wrong if people compete with each other, but everything is certainly wrong, in fact, bizarre, when such competition eludes merit: especially via “Imposition” of unpopular candidates over the well-known.
“The encroachment on the rights of the people, especially party youths, to constitute their “choice” is unjustified. We, therefore, call on the Chairman, Lagos Governing Administration Council (GAC), Bola Tinubu, to prevail on Mr. Speaker to let go on this issue, so to speak. A stitch in time saves nine,” the statement added.