Governments election, the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) has disclosed that it would recognize Senator Ali Modu Sheriff’s faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) under the leadership of its state chairman, Segun Adewale.
Making the disclosure in a telephone interview with The Guardian yesterday, the LASIEC boss, Justice Ayotunde Philips (rtd.) said, “In line with the position of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which currently recognizes the Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff’s national chairmanship of the PDP, based on the verdict of the Port Harcourt Court of Appeal, the commission will also recognize the faction loyal to Sheriff, which is the Adewale-led group, pending the decision of the Supreme Court.”
The position of LASIEC has however put to rest, at least for now, the controversy over which of the Lagos PDP factional groups between Adewale’s, and Moshood Salvador’s, which is loyal to the Senator Ahmed Makarfi Caretaker Committee, would contest on the platform of the party.
However, Salvador at a media parley held in Surulere yesterday appealed to all lovers and sympathizers of the PDP to cast their vote for a Labour Party/PDP alliance by voting for LP in the exercise.
He disclosed that the arrangement is an alliance and not defection adding, “we never decamped to any party. We never declared for another party and we never dumped our dear PDP. We are the PDP strength in Lagos. In this pre-election, we have 342 councillorship candidates and 52 chairmanship candidates.
“As from this very moment, I now declare that all our candidates must start pasting their posters, commence the house to house campaigns and educate electorate on the circumstance of our using LP for this council election only.”
He directed that all the local governments, LCDA and ward chairmen must henceforth “start work tirelessly to educate the public on our circumstance of this council election and work closely with all their LP counterparts and candidates in their various local governments.”
Explaining that political alliance with the LP is not the first time in Lagos, Salvador alleged that by extension, the Sheriff group in Lagos PDP, with the special interest of Senator Buruji Kashamu, who represents Ogun East, took advantage of the crisis; connived with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to reduce the chances of PDP success in the coming council election.
According to him, “They came with several violent actions to disturb the smooth running of Salvador-led PDP administration in Lagos. But we refused to be distracted and they failed their plans.”
He also accused Adewale of reneging on the promises he made last month to accept his (Salvador) leadership and readiness to be vice chairman, saying, “This Sheriff group broke the promises immediately it was made. They knew that they are less than 10 per cent of the PDP membership in Lagos while Makarfi controls over 90 per cent of the party’s membership.”
However, Adewale dismissed the call for alliance between the PDP and LP, saying his faction has already offered those aspirants loyal to Salvador some reserved nomination slots at the poll describing Salvador’s pleas as a failed attempt to undermine the PDP at the polls.
Reacting to the allegation that aspirants in the PDP loyal to Salvador and Chief Bode George may have defected into other political parties to contest in the election, Adewale disclosed that the party has constituted a disciplinary committee to be chaired by Alhaji Wahab Owokoniran, to investigate issues surrounding such behavior.
He alleged that PDP nomination forms were printed by Salvador without authorisation from the national headquarters of the party adding, “These forms were sold and the money went into private purse, not a kobo was remitted into the party’s purse. Over N33 million was alleged to have been realized from this illegal act.
“We have credible information that those aspirants that bought the illegal forms have now defected into LP to contest with a PDP nomination. We can’t fold our hands and allow these deliberate acts of illegalities go unchallenged. Whomever that is found culpable by the committee will be dealt with in accordance to our party’s constitution and the laws of the land.”
He however encouraged members to embark on aggressive membership drive towards building a new formidable PDP that derives its power from the grassroots and without imposition.
When approached for reaction yesterday, Chairman Lagos LP, Pastor Biodun Popoola denied having any form of alliance with the PDP or Salvador. He urged the electorate to disregard Salvador’s appeal alleging that se it is baseless and mere attempt to blackmail.
Although he confirmed discussion with some leadership of the PDP on the basis of the modalities for the council election, he denied any agreement “with Salvador in regard to any alliance.”
According to him, “The only recognised PDP in Lagos today is the one headed by Adewale of the Sheriff’s group, pending the outcome of the Supreme Court decision.”
Popoola disclosed that the LP had conducted its primaries and elected its candidates “and as a matter of fact, the doors of LP, which is party of the workers, the masses and all human rights activists, are opened to all Nigerians including Salvador, Adewale, Makarfi, Sheriff and everybody.”