The Lagos State All Progressives Congress (APC) has banned its chairman, Chief Henry Ajomale, members of the state executive council, wards and local government executives that have served three or four terms in office from seeking re-election.
APC stalwart Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who announced the decision, said it was aimed at injecting new blood into the party’s leadership.
Tinubu, who spoke at the APC stakeholders meeting in Lagos yesterday, said party officials who have served three or four terms at the ward, local government and state levels should leave.
He said: “We want new breed, new development and new opportunity. Some of them have spent three to four terms at ward, local government and state levels. We thank them. The younger ones also want to move forward. If you have used eight, 10 or 12 years at ward, local government and state, we want to walk. Thanks a lot. We appreciate you. They should give us the chance, we plead.”
Hailing them for their performance in office, Tinubu said: “They never lost elections during their tenures. They all worked hard. Those who have spent one term, the leadership will decide with you. That will be a matter for the local government branch to sort out. You must go back to the local leadership and they will look at all criteria.”
The meeting became rowdy as supporters of some party chieftains were dancing and eulogising them. Some members displayed different placards with inscriptions such as: “We want open primaries”, “Enough of intimidation in Alimosho” and “Gbajabiamila deserves another term”.
Tinubu was able to restore order after asking the placards-carrying members to leave the scene. He said they did not come for the meeting. “If you come for meeting, you will listen to what we are saying. We are going to give you feedback. We are discussing about the congress not about the candidates for elective positions,” the party stalwart said.
Addressing the warring factions from Alimosho, Tinubu said: “I saw your placards; I read all your letters. I will give you a date when to meet you.”
Turning to Surulere members, he asked: “Why did you allow PDP to win in your constituency; noise-making will not solve your problem.”
He advised members from Ajeromi/Ifelodun and Amuwo, where APC lost elections in 2015 to go and reconcile with those who betrayed the party.
“Don’t fight them but beg them to vote for the APC,” he said.
He noted that the state chapter of the APC through the Lagos Central Leader, Prince Tajudeen Olusi, sent a message to the party’s national leadership in Abuja that they don’t want tenure elongation.
“Ever since, we have worked tirelessly. Now, the National Executive Council (NEC) has agreed that there will be congress. Congress committee members have been inaugurated with Jigawa State Governor Badaru as the chairman.
“We hope this congress will go well. We have been having meetings about this congress. This is a congress of unity.
“Four year ago, we conducted a congress. We didn’t kill anybody. We elected governor and President.”
Tinubu warned that where there is violence during the congress, the result will be cancelled.
“Now is another congress. I want to see the leaders of Alimosho – the two group writing open letters. I want to see all your leaders. All the copies of your open letters, I have read. We will give you dates so that we can talk.
“It is four years since the merger that led to the formation of the APC. We fought for the congress. We got it. We commend the leadership at the national level. All of you in Lagos, I want to appeal to you, we have heard series of things.”
He canvassed that women should be given greater opportunity to participate in politics.
In an interview with reporters after the meeting, Ajomale said he was part of the decision that young people should be allowed to take over the management of the party.
“If you have contested once, it is right to give you a second term. If you have been there since 1998 – that is about 18 years. We feel the younger generation should be given a chance. It is right and proper to allow the younger generation to take -over,” he said.
Party chieftains who attended the meeting include Senator Ganiyu Solomon, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro. Prince Tajudeen Olusi, Secretary to Lagos State Government Mr. Tunji Bello, Mrs. Modupe Sasore, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Jumoke Okoya-Thomas, Lagos State APC spokesman Mr. Joe Igbokwe, Lagos State House of Assembly Deputy Speaker Wasiu Esinlokun, Kamil Olukoya, Alhaja Kafilat Opara and the Igbo APC leaders.