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EXCLUSIVE: Lagos LG Polls: APC Explains Why Tinubu, Fashola, Ambode Shunned Election

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Lagos LG Polls

…You Deployed Violence, Victimization, Rigging To Win- PDP Accuses Ruling Party

…Councillorship Seats Won By Opposition Shows Process Was Free, Fair- APC Reacts

Last Saturday’s local government election in Lagos witnessed a poor turnout of voters in almost all voting centres across the 57 councils, while major stakeholders from the two main political parties in the State were conspicuously missing at the polls.

In a handful of voting centres monitored by our correspondent, only a few voters turned out to participate in the exercise, a development the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) attributed to voters opting to jettison their civic responsibilities for intangible reasons.

From Orile, Mile 2, Isolo, Ikorodu, Ikeja, Ojokoro and a few others, the ad-hoc officers of the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) had practically nothing to do as only a few voters turned out to cast their votes.

At the end of the voting and counting process, the APC polled a total of 584, 619 votes as against Peoples Democratic Party, its closest challenger which polled 80,719 votes.

This figure is a far cry of the 739,445 votes the State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu polled to beat PDP’s Dr. Jimi Agbaje, who scored 206,141 to finish second.

In April 2021, the party said it registered at least 2.5 million members in the State across the 20 local governments and 37 local council development areas (LCDAs), suggesting that only about 25 percent of APC faithful participated in last Saturday’s council polls.

On Election Day, three former governors of the State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Babatunde Fashola and Akinwunmi Ambode shunned the exercise, raising eyebrows among stakeholders in the party.

Journalists and party faithful who had besieged the polling centres of the trio at unit 047 unit, ward 3, Sunday Adigun Street, Alausa; Unit 002 State Junior Grammar School, Eric Moore and Ward A5 polling unit 033, Ogunmodede College, Papa, Epe area, respectively, were left disappointed after waiting in vain for them to come out to vote.

Asked why the ex-governors decided not to be part of the election in their various wards, Publicity Secretary of the APC, Seye Oladejo in an interview with Thepledge said, “Well, I think the former governors you referred to might be in a better position to address that question but at their level of politics, participating in the electoral process goes beyond casting their votes on that day.

“For someone like Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who is a national leader and the de-facto leader of APC in Lagos, it was a measure of his confidence in the ability of his men to deliver on the D-Day whether he was there or not. But be that as it may, participating at their level goes beyond just casting their votes, it extends to organising the party properly for the elections and once you put your house together, I’m not too sure that those of them will be the ones running around on the day of the election to deliver for the party. So, it’s really a non-issue for us.”

Speaking on the voter apathy that overshadowed the election, Oladejo said the low turnout of voters was worrisome and a cause for concern for the party.

Offering explanation as to what led to voters shunning the exercise, Oladejo said youths who should be more interested in the governance at the grassroots prefer to take to other pleasures rather than be part of the electioneering process.

“On that day, a lot of people stayed at home, youngsters were playing soccer on the streets, some were watching Big Brother Nigeria, Olympic Games and the rest of it, while an election that could be a determinant of what the future holds was taking place. For me, that was not good enough.

“So for us to get a better turn out in future, everybody has a stake, a role, the media, security agencies, NGOs and the umpire all have a role to play to ensure that we have reasonable number of people in the electoral process.”

He also blamed the low turnout on the weak opposition parties in the State as well as the rampaging Covid-19 pandemic that has affected every sector not only in Nigeria but across the world.

“It is also imperative to note that we had a very weak opposition that is not bringing anything to the table. It was even virtually impossible for them to print posters and banners and to reach out. On the day of the election, you will find out that in most of the polling units, they could not even mobilize enough people to be their agents. So, in such a no-contest, what was the motivation for people to desperately want to come out and inconvenience themselves for something that was actually a no-contest.”

Oladejo however urged the youths to see elections as a way of influencing positive change which they grave for rather than shy away from it.

Oladejo also deflated claims by the PDP that the election was flawed with irregularities, adding that the fact that the ruling party lost two councillorship seats in the exercise to the PDP and also to Young People’s Party was a proof that not only was the election free and fair, but that the umpire was also unbiased.

“It’s not a hitch (losing two councillorship seats); it’s only a confirmation of the fairness of the process that the umpire was fair and unbiased. It’s an expression of the will of the people and the result is also a reflection of the strength of all the gladiators and all the parties that participated.

“So contrary to what some sore losers want people to believe, it showed that democracy was truly in action and it reflected the people’s will during the election and that is a welcomed development. It is also good for our democracy to have a very strong opposition that will not just throw in the towel. We are happy to have those who councilors on board,” he said.

But the PDP accused the APC of deploying violence, victimization and malpractices to win the elections, a situation, Taofik Gani, Publicity Secretary of the PDP said was an overkill.

“The election was supposed to be as free as possible, but it yet ended up to be an overkill on the side of the APC. The same way they are in control and they could have gone ahead to win, because they have the resources. For them to now introduce violence, victimization and blatant rigging on that day was just an over kill. For us, it has come and gone, we don’t waste our time on such issues, we will prepare better for coming elections.”

On the next move for the PDP after coming out of the election with just one councillorship seat, Gani said, “As a party we do not have that position (to challenge the results), but as individuals those who contested, they are at liberty. If they are so convinced that they can have their mandate back.

“We are looking for better days to come. We know that without an iota of doubt, we need to get more united, stronger, and then let the confidence people have in us be shown at the ballot points. It’s not just to call ourselves a political party and we don’t win. It gives resentment and frustration to people who are your voters. We are worried as well, we are concerned, but we hope it gets better.”

Responding to allegations of malpractice, Chairman of LASIEC, Retired Justice Ayotunde Phillip, denounced as untrue, reports of malpractices, said to had allegedly characterised the poll, saying such reports were based on mere rumours, as nothing of such was reported to her office.

Recall that several videos went viral online shortly after the election suggesting that some officials of the Commission had been recruited by the ruling party to compromise the election.

But Phillips while presenting Certificates of Return to the winners on Tuesday described the election as ‘pretty good’, though with few pockets of hitches, adding that the exercise was peaceful and without any major uprising and rioting.

“A lot of these things are just hearsays and rumours. Nothing has been reported to me. It is until the matter is reported to me officially in writing before I can take action. I have received no such report up to this minute that I am talking to you. So, a lot of these things are just rumours and trouble-making and fishing for unnecessary information. I am not aware,” she said.

On voter apathy, Phillips urged political parties to re-sensitise their followers to be participating in elections.

“All of them have large followers, both on social media and in the real life. They are the representative of the grassroots, so, they know how to reach them (voters) most. The bulk of the job really lies with them not with us,” she said.

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Entertainment

Leaking Someone’s Nudes Is A Criminal Offence, BBNaija Star, Angel Blasts Critics Behind Tiwa Savage’s Sex Video

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Former Big Brother Naija Shine Ya Eye finalist, Angel, has slammed critics who blamed singer Tiwa Savage over her alleged sex tape which recently surfaced online.

The reality TV star took to her Twitter page to call out critics, adding that the act of releasing the video was a criminal offense.

Last month, Tiwa Savage had revealed during an interview with American OAP, Angie Martinez of Power 105.1, that she was being blackmailed by an unknown person who threatened to release a sex tape that featured her and her current lover.

The Koroba singer revealed that the blackmailer demanded money from her so as not to release the sex tape but she has decided not to pay the money.

A few hours ago, a sex tape leaked online. While the face of the man involved in it did not show, the lady in the video bears a close resemblance with Tiwa Savage.

As the video has gone viral, social media users on several platforms have taken to their accounts to air their opinion on the situation, and some wasted no time in blaming the singer.

Responding to the critics, Angel said, “The problem will never be the fact that someone made a sex tape or that someone took a picture naked, the problem will always lie with the person that decided to leak it. Stop victim blaming.And leaking someone’s nudes is a criminal offense. I hope one of you becomes a scapegoat.”

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PDP Charges Nigerians On National Rebirth

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The Peoples Democratic Party has urged those behind mindless killings and terrorism in Nigeria to have a rethink and retrace their steps.

The party also charged those in authority to redouble their efforts in finding solutions to the challenges facing the country.

This was contained in a statement in which the party felicitated Nigerians as they celebrate this year’s Eid-el-Maulud which marks the birthday of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad.

The statement titled, ‘Eid-el Maulud: PDP Felicitates with Nigerians, Urges National Rebirth,’ was signed by the PDP National Publicity, Secretary Kola Ologbondiyan.

It read, “The Peoples Democratic Party urges Nigerians to use the occasion of this year’s Eid-el Maulud for solemn introspection and make commitment towards a rebirth in all areas of national life.

“The party notes that Eid-el Maulud, the celebration of the birth of Holy Prophet Mohammed, presents a providential occasion for our nation to put behind, all issues that cause disunity, disaffection, strife and despondency and move to a new beginning by embracing the virtues of love for one another, tolerance, mutual understanding and forgiveness, in line with the teaching of the Holy Prophet.

“The PDP insists that such is the only way to move the nation forward under the present circumstance.

“Our party urges Nigerians to resist all forces that seek to disunite them for selfish reasons and continue to work together, especially in their determination to chart a new course for our dear nation on the platform of the PDP.

“The PDP also calls on Nigerians to use the occasion to make fervent supplication to God for divine intervention as well as show love by reaching out to one another, especially the less privileged and victims of escalated acts of terrorism in our country.

“The party also urges those behind the mindless killings and acts of terrorism in our country to have a rethink and retrace their steps, while charging those in authority to redouble their efforts in finding solutions to the challenges facing our nation at this critical time.

“The PDP felicitates with Nigerians and wishes them a happy Eid-el Maulud celebration.”

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Man City Place £67m Price Tag On Sterling Amid Barca Interest

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Premier League champions Manchester City have reportedly placed an £67million price tag on Raheem Sterling amid interest from Barcelona.

The LaLiga giants are desperate to improve their forward line either in the January window or next summer and have placed Sterling on their shortlist of potential targets.

As reported by Sportsmail last week, Sterling wants to remain at Man City but will consider his future at the Premier League champions if he continues to struggle for consistent games.

No player has ever appeared in more matches managed by Pep Guardiola at Man City, yet the 26-year-old has started only two league games since the opening weekend of the season after the £100m summer signing of Jack Grealish.

“I’m not a person that’s going to complain, I’ve not tried to make it a bigger deal than it actually is,” Sterling said earlier this month.

“I get on with my work, do what I need to do. And I’m just raring to go: playing football matches regularly, scoring goals regularly.

“At the end of the day, if football for me is not at a certain standard I’m not really at my happiest. If I want my happiness at a certain level I need to be playing football. I need to be scoring goals and enjoying myself.”

Sterling has 18 months remaining on his current contract at Man City but has opted against opening discussions over an extension until his short-term future is resolved.

Now, according to Spanish newspaper Marca, City have told any club interested in signing Sterling that they will have to pay £67m to get a deal done.

Barcelona’s need for a new winger is exacerbated by Ousmane Dembele’s contract situation – his deal is set to expire at the end of the season. The club could look to move him on in January for a cut price to avoid losing their £135million signing on a free transfer.

Recent reports in Spain have linked Barcelona with an initial loan move for Sterling because their financial woes mean they could not afford to pay a huge fee for the former Liverpool star at present.

The club are in financial ruin due to their debt, which stands at more than £1billion, which contributed to LaLiga slashing their wage bill to a maximum of £90m – equivalent to that of Watford – last month.

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