Aggrieved APC members stage protest in Lagos

By Wole Oyebade
Cracks in the All Progressives Congress (APC) were again obvious on Monday, as some aggrieved members of the party protest what they described as “stolen mandate” in the last ward congress.
The protesters, from Ward B, C and E, in Ikeja Local Government Area (LGA) of the state appealed to the Lagos State government, especially the Lagos State House of Assembly to investigate the matter and make their votes count “for the sake of peace and tranquility.”
No fewer than 150 members of the party defiled the scourging afternoon heat to storm the Lagos Assembly with placard either calling their Lagos leaders unprintable names or seeking “true change”.
Some posters read: We want true change… APC: We want true congress in Ikeja LGA… Let us use the broom to sweep corners of our room first… APC Ward C Ikeja LGA was clearly won by us…


The aggrieved protesters alleged that their ward congress, held penultimate Saturday, was fraught with irregularities, alleging that a Chieftain of the party, “Kemi Nelson stole our mandate.”

One of the protesters from Ward C, Yinka Banjoko noted that the congress was to enable party faithful elect their representatives through free and fair election, but it was to their disbelieve that the deciding votes was stolen to force some Ward chairman on the electorates.

She said: “They are not thinking of that ‘change’ as preached by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and it is unfortunate. In good faith, we all went to the ward congress and mobilised our women, but Kemi Nelson stole our vote. That is why we are here.

“We want our mandate back. Enough is enough. We’ve had enough of the same wrong people leading us for 13 years, we want change and it begins from the ward,” Banjoko said.

Another protester, Segun Orji, observed that Ward C congress rekindled rivalry between two factions of the APC – Justice Forum (led by Kemi Nelson) and Mandate Group (which the protesters belong).

According to him, “The election was initially transparent. But by the time the votes were counted, starting with theirs (Justice Forum), they had 196 votes. Ours (Mandate Group) was already 297 and still counting, before it was disrupted by thugs.

“Their police started shooting, forcing everyone to run away. It was later that we heard that Kemi Nelson had won the election. How can that be possible, with 196 votes against 297 and still counting? They are a collection of losers that we no longer want,” he said.

On efforts that had been made to report the matter to top hierarchy of the party, Orji alleged that the APC Chairman in the state had also compromised in the matter.

“We were told to meet Demola Seriki, aide to Asiwaju, and he told us that Asiwaju said status quo must stand. We don’t want to believe that is coming from our leader. It is the hands of Nelson and the Lagos APC chairman at work,” he said.

Women Leader in Ward C, Abiola Balogun insisted on transparent election, adding that they must not be denied of their mandate. She noted that the faction did not participate in last Saturday’s LGA Congress in protest of the outing at the ward congress.

She said: “Until our mandate is restored, we will ensure there is no Ward meeting. We appeal to the Lagos Assembly to come to our aid for the sake of true democratic practice, peace and tranquility in Ikeja.”


JUNE 12 As An Industry In Nigeria

By Tope Templer Olaiya, Assistant Lagos City Editor

Hope '93

Hope ’93

JUNE 12 was yesterday elevated to an industry as five southwestern states, comprising Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun and Ekiti declared the day a public holiday to mark the 20 years of the annulled mandate of late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, who died in detention on July 7, 1998.
Commemoration of the historic date, preserved in Nigeria’s history as the freest and fairest election ever conducted in the country, took centre stage in Lagos as the June 12 movement and pro-democracy activists took over popular event centres in Lagos to reminisce on Abiola’s struggle to reclaim his mandate and sacrifice his life for democracy.
Those who wanted to be reminded of Abiola’s place in history were spoilt for choice as June 12 events organized by different pro-democracy groups, held at Airport Hotel, Ikeja; Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja; Blue Roof Hall of Lagos Television, Ikeja; Excellence Hotel, Ogba; Freedom Park, Lagos Island; Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos; and most importantly, Abiola’s residence in Ikeja.

MKO... Resting in peace 15 years after

MKO… Resting in peace 15 years after

At his residence on MKO Abiola Crescent, it was a solemn assembly of students, activists and politicians who gathered to pay tribute to the memory of Abiola. Held in his ground floor sitting room, which has been converted into a hall, the gathering coordinated by Olawale Okunniyi under the chairmanship of Chief Ayo Adebayo, took turns to make speeches about the June 12 struggle and life and times of Abiola.
At the end of the symposium, where members of the Abiola family were conspicuously absent, wreaths of honour were laid at Abiola’s tomb by dignitaries in attendance, which included the Commissioner for Information, Akwa Ibom State, Aniekan Umanah, who represented Governor Godswill Akpabio.
Once upon a time, MKO Abiola Crescent, tucked in the hearts of Ikeja, was paved literary with gold, as it served as a Mecca of sorts to the unending crowd of those who visited the man with a large heart to curry favours and tap from his wealth of knowledge and resources.
He was indeed, a man of the people and the pillar of strength not only for individuals, but also for groups, organizations and critical sectors of the country, most especially in sports and education. This was long before he won the hearts of the whole nation in the historic election that has become a benchmark in Nigeria’s history.
Twenty years after, as memories fade away and with pockets of democratic activists still gathering in remembrance of their hero, the family residence was stealthily quiet yesterday. Against the clatter from the streets, particularly Toyin Street and Allen Avenue, which encircle the expansive residence, the highbrow crescent was an illustration of tranquility with no unusual movement.

Mother of all gridlocks

Hell as multiple crashes lock down Lagos roads
By Tope Templer Olaiya, Assistant Lagos City Editor and Abdulwaheed Usamah

Stranded motorists in Lagos today (June 6, 2013)

Stranded motorists in Lagos today (June 6, 2013)

IT was like an apocalyptic scene yesterday on the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway after a ghastly accident, which occurred between Ikeja Along and Ile-Zik bus-stop locked down the heart of Lagos for many hours and left thousands of Lagosians stranded.
At least, two people lost their lives on the ever-busy Lagos Abeokuta Expressway when a trailer carrying a container crushed the driver of Eko Meat Van and his aide to death.
Eyewitness said six other injured victims were immediately taken to the hospital for treatment.
An eyewitness, who simply gave his name as Samuel, said the truck conveying a 20-feet container rammed into the Eko meat van when some policemen attached to the Rapid Respond Squad were chasing a commercial motorcycle plying the proscribed highway.
“I think the driver of the truck did not want to kill the Okada man. As he struggled to avoid running into the meat van, he lost control, swerved to the pavement and fell on the meat van. The driver and his assistant died on the spot,” he said.

Scene of the accident

Scene of the accident

Speaking on the incident, the Deputy Commissioner of Police Operations, Lagos, Mr. Tunde Shobulo, said he was not briefed that his men were chasing the Okada rider when the accident occurred.
His account of what happened was, however, different. According to him, the van was driving against traffic and crashed into the oncoming truck whose driver lost control, given the heavy load it was carrying.
The accident brought traffic to a standstill around Ikeja, Iyana Ipaja, Agege and Oshodi. According to other eyewitnesses, the collision involving three vehicles, including a fully loaded articulated truck, was caused by an Okada rider, who was trying to evade arrest from policemen at the scene of the accident. One of them told The Guardian that the policemen sped away immediately it happened in a white RRS Hilux with the inscription number 333.
For over seven hours, it was a hellish experience for motorists with the eight-lane expressway blocked on both lanes. 18-wheelers, fuel tankers and sedans, wedged bumper-to-bumper in both directions.

Curses and horn blasts pierced the exhaust-choked air. Brakes screeched as vehicles inched forward and cars rocked violently back and front at little intervals of movement.
It was the mother of all gridlocks, a spiraling effect, which left all the bus-stops along the route crowded with thousands of commuters, while stranded passengers decided to help themselves on foot by trekking long distances to their destination.
With the restriction on activities of motorcycles on the highways, which effectively banned Okada on the route, the only alternative left for commuters, which was to ply the trains, was also hitched, as the rail line passing through Ile-Zik was obstructed by the accident. This also shut down the trains from operating for most part of yesterday.
While the incident at the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway hampered movement in and around Ikeja, a string of multiple accidents in other parts of Lagos led to an emergency situation on almost all major roads in the state.

Stranded commuters at the bus stop

Stranded commuters at the bus stop

An accident involving a truck at Magboro junction going towards Ibafo on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway caused heavy traffic on the busy highway, which stretched to Arepo and Berger on both sides of the express. Also, another accident occurred at Ijora Olopa under bridge that locked down traffic along the axis.
It wasn’t until 4pm when a crane was used to remove the fallen truck that traffic eased at the Ile-Zik bus-stop, but the respite was only for a while on the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway as the daily traffic buildup of motorists returning from work heightened the gridlock, which extended to Agege-Mushin motor-road.