The crisis rocking the ruling All Progressive Party (APC) may be far from over owing to the grievous occurrences during and after the last State primaries. In this interview with one of the influential member of the party Mr Akin Bashiru with The Alimosho Mail, Mr Abel Lazarus he bares his mind on the issues of imposition, impunity, prejudice and why independent minded members of the party are constantly shut out political position.
TAM: Can we meet you sir?
HAB: My name is Akin Bashiru a member of All Progressive Congress and have been active in Alimosho politics since year 2000. and currently an aspirant for the Lagos State House of Assembly to represent Alimosho Constituency 01, am educated with multidisciplinary background, and about one time vice chairman of Alimosho LGA and have had responsibility as far as governance is concerned. Am a consultant in marketing communication, capacity building in governance development . I have made my contribution my small ways to developing my politics first time I joined politics until this moment and have made attempts to becoming the council chairman but of course the same prejudice for people like us who they believed to be independent minded and are not seen as pliable that is available to be pushed around. So those who claim to be in charge have always used their powers and authority that it do not happen, I was equally listed to be part of the current carbonate of Mr Akinwunmi Ambode but along the line about few days to the announcement the powers that be also showed and said its not going to happen as God will have am today Akin Bashiru that’s me.
TAM: Talking about powers that be in APC, are you not worried?
HAB : com c com sir When we say powers that be I want to see it in the context of those who have the opportunity to guide and paddle the affairs of the party and used in that context it might be positive if procedures are duly followed for consideration that are seen to be fair and common to members of the party consideration that is seen to be fair, consideration that everybody will agree that for God’s sake necessary factors have been put into consideration, the issue of experience, contribution consensus in the real sense of it but when the powers that be choose to do the opposite without proper responsible consultation without due regards to the individuals their level of competence and of course the representativeness of those who aspire for public office immediately procedures are turns upside down then such powers that be will be seen as negative . In a nutshell in every community there are people that are in charge but how well have they been able to manage issues over time will determine consequences.
You raised issues on how you were stopped from emerging LGA chairman, Executive Secretary, member of the cabinet and candidate for LAHA representing Alimosho constituency 01, are you therefore saying there is impunity in APC?
HAB: Off course there is high class impunity and imposition in APC and there is no body in this country today who will say there is no crisis in every state it terribly everywhere, you saw what happened with the so call primary even you as a non politician you won’t say there was primary, there no procedures no materials the confidential of people’s vote were not there you saw a section of the party were debarred and prevented from voting by hoodlum carrying guns and knives anybody perceived to be in the other section were not allowed so will you call that a primary which a section of the party was shut out , basically there was no primary, can anyone come out and show us the ballots papers.
TAM: APC Lagos agreed to adopt direct primary so what was wrong with what happened?
HAB: Direct primary has procedures which means every member of the party must participate in the primary, the procedure is to line up, get a ballot paper then secret vote, cast your vote in a ballot box afterwards the votes are sorted and counted. This never happened.
TAM:We were made to understand that direct primary was for members to line up and physically counted?
HAB:Direct primary says all members did that happen obviously no, there was no primary.
TAM: We are aware that Mr Akinwunmi Ambode later accepted and congratulated his opponent in the said primary?
HAB: I am not aware if he did that and even if he did that his personal decision, I did not context for governorship but he did, and you could recall that even before the election the governor of the state came out to say he does not have his party membership card.
TAM: We are aware of video showing the chairman of the party saying he has been looking made efforts to reach out to the governor to collect his card?
HAB: That’s stupid can you believe that, does he need to are there no other protocol he could of reach the governor” the truth is that the so called card they distributed you would want to ask a question where is the party register, there was none, did you see any membership register displayed or people called for identification rather people were brought from the road to line up and vote without any form of identification as party members, what are we talking about and am happy that the courts of the land have been upturning most of the primary results. The cards used were printed by a principal of the party those perceived to be in other faction were not released.
TAM: How would you assess governor Ambode performance in office?
HAB: Akinwunmi Ambode performance even the blind can see it quote and unquote
every where you go you see sign of the government.
TAM: For most people Gov. Ambode’s second term in office was like a done deal as his choruses were sang in every quarter “le kan si” with endorsement from even the three State senators, caucus of Lagos state Members of House of Representative even the members of Lagos State House of Assembly and others but all of a sudden the song changed and here we are’ could you tell us where he went wrong in less than three months?
HAB: You may have to go and ask those that decided he should not come back, may be they will say his performance dipped in less than three months after their endorsement, and should have allowed party members to vote instead of the charade call primaries. As far as am concern there were no primaries and the interesting thing is that the public is aware of the impunity in the party where one man wakes up to determine what happens, if a performing governor can be changed over night for not meeting with demands of the principal and he is dropped and be replaced with another, they will defiantly ask if the new person will be able to deliver since it’s obvious he is coming to represent certain people hence there will be lack trust.
TAM: The national leader of the party Asiwaju Bola Tinubu said the party members said they don’t want him.
HAB: That can be true, if it’s true they should have allowed members to vote without intimidation and see if Ambode will be voted out and am telling you there will be consequence.
TAM: Are expecting implosion in your party?
HAB: Has it not exploded already, there must be consequences for all the impunity going on in the party. You must also note that there are two factions of the APC nationwide and here in Lagos we have Fuad Oke and Tunde Balogun and before Oshiomole came the national working committee declared the faction of Tunde Balogun illegal and that of Fuad Oki as legal but one way or the other some manipulation came into it and Tunde Balogun faction was recognized and for the fact he was recognized does not mean it is legal and mind you there cases in courts and who knows what the outcome of the case will be but the document that the party made available for the primaries were not distributed and the report of the national working committee said the primary was illegal, as it was organized in 57local government as against the constitutionally recognized 20 local governmen and you can see today that those faction no longer operate in 57 local government rather in 20 local governments they have retraced their steps to now follow constitutionality so you now want to ask yourself if what they did was right why do they have to shift position but we can leave that to court. So what am saying is that the crisis have been there and the attempt of the primary to produce candidates the shut out Fuad Oki led faction from participating in the primary and if you are shut out what happens, you will be drenched by rain and beating by the sun and some many other things and the next thing to do is to seek shelter elsewhere so as not to continue the sufferings.
TAM: Talking about seeking for shelter elsewhere do you mean defecting from your party?
HAB: As am talking to you I still remain in the APC and that’s a result of what I said earlier there are cases in courts so status quo ante, more so there level of reconciliation going on , so let’s see where such reconciliation will take us to unlike the type some people were given. If the reconciliation can actually produce good and responsible outcome we will look at it if not , am not alone I belong to a group and at the appropriate time we will take a decision. The issue of defections not a strange thing, are there no defections everywhere, so is a common thing even though am hearing already that Akin Bashiru has defected those are speculation and the group said earlier that some people have moved to PDP but till today they are still in APC. But this is a bit difference because we are talking about elections and if you think you not properly treated and the processes that whoever has been declared is not right you have every right to reject such .
TAM: With the many issues to be resolved in your party going into the election how do you see APC doing in the general election?
HAB: There issues which if properly sorted out we can look forward to the elections like I said there is reconciliation on going.
TAM: Talking about reconciliation just few days age some governors raised a vote of no confidence on the national chairman what do you have to say?
HAB: Oshiomole doesn’t have business being in office, it was his national committee that sent committee members to Lagos for the primaries, they were on ground and said there was no elections that even the materials were yet to be distributed and the state chairman announced a result and after the national working committee rejected the result the next thing was that Clement Ebiri recanted through an order from Oshiomole and company saying the election the NWC committee had declared no election actually happened which was stupid and what they did was to take the result presented to them by a factional chairman of the party which is even wrong as it is not the function of the state party chairman to conduct primaries, but here the state chairman announces a result and it was accepted, the scenario happened in Ogun state and that result announced by the governor of the state was rejected here you are now talking about using two different yardsticks to attend to very similar situation okay! In another breath you said those who supports the party at the National Assembly will go back in Lagos state; Remi Tinubu is going back, Solomon Adeola has been given ticket then you asked what happened to Ashafa,so am just telling you that the double standards adopted are going be consequences, what has been done now is that you have shut out let’s say in minimum about 50% of party members and they know that they are in majority when you talk about party members and that was why they will never allow a proper primaries to have taken place, the cards the gave to party members those of us who are not part of their faction, they kept our own cards and did not distribute them because the cards were processed by an interested party who is a principal of the faction. So, and don’t forget the public are more conscious and interested in what happens in the political parties; they now have idea of impunity, they have an idea of how parties are been run and see what are the outcomes of party activities don’t forget that party members are essential members of the larger communities. So whatever happens to me affects so many others in the community and cross the state and even across the country. Whatever happens to me can influence others depending on how he or she sees it and again the decision not to allow Ambode to go back what have you been hearing among the populace because everybody knows that he (Ambode) is a performer, and a party that tell you that such a person is no longer fit; what does that tells you.
TAM:What would you say is the challenge you are prevented from occupying political position?
HAB: They undertakers of the sits down with their view on personal interests and when such interest supersedes common interest, the interest of the generality there is a problem, people are in charge believe that whoever they want to put in charge are people they can control, manipulate anyhow, you know there is a differenc between been responsible and being organized and been manipulated and been pushed around, what do I mean people like us are seen as “those ones you can control them” and I asked why do I need to be controlled. Nobody has controlled me while developing the party but they are looking at those that they asked to sit down and they will respond Yes sir, but me I don’t have reasoning and does not mean I cannot be reasonable and that’s how they get their dividends, but they see me an one who is independent minded, and knows that you are quite popular in the party and thar there are no ways any of their candidates would have beaten me in any wlell organized primaries and am sure they are now saying he is going to another party as he has been calling ward and executive meetings and what the could do was to start going round their faction announcing that Akin Bashiru is going to another party people should not follow him are they the one to control my followers. Party members are aware of what has happened and at the right time they will express their dissatisfaction. Members would have loved a process that is good enough and the result would have been satisfactory to everybody rather than tell me to be part of the charade; it is our responsibility to determine who governs us yet you did not allow people to come in and exercise their franchise.
TAM: Does that mean there was no House of Assembly Primary also?
HAB: There was no primaries, my constituency has seven wards out of the seven wards it only in my place here that they could not prevent my group to come in because they know is my hood in other places anybody under our faction were not allowed in, they were shut out how can you go to them and say come and be part of what you were denied participating that is common sense.
TAM: Did you file petition to the appeal committee?
HAB : There was no need since we have no confidence in them, if the NWC could say there was no election and it upturned of what essence will the appeal be and amount to a waist of time but am sure cases are in courts from our own end and we will watch to see how they end but like I said every individual has a right to express his interest legally and politically expedient manner.
TAM: What is your assessment of the Alimosho LGA Chairman Hon. Jelili?
HAB: It will be difficult to asses them because they are not running an inclusive government hence it is quite difficult to asses his administration but you can do the community people have been living with that stagnant water for well over two months fine there is construction on going but the minimum safety should be guaranteed our health is our wealth. But I can also not pretend that some things are being done take for example the expansion of the health center at Vulcanizer it’s a welcome development but he needs to do more as all the inner roads and infrastructure for instance for over two months sign post were installed for the rehabilitation of roads yet we are yet to see work commence. The roads are the basic thing that will affect everybody as its not possible for all to get contracts but when the roads are people ride freely.