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EXCLUSIVE: LG Polls: APC, PDP Talk Tough As Parties Renew Rivalry In Lagos

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…We Will Cause A Major Upset, Humble Ruling Party- PDP Boasts

…It’s Not In Their DNA To Win, They Are Serial Losers- APC Replies

…LASIEC In Race Against Time To Perfect Preparation, Distribute Logistics

Barely 48 hours to the local government elections in Lagos, there is palpable confidence brewing in both camps of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as well as the opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party, on their chances in the elections slated for Saturday, July 24.

In the last few weeks, both parties stepped up campaigns across the 20 Local governments and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs), in its bid to control the local governments ahead of the 2023 general elections.

While the APC will be seeking to sustain its 100 percent grip across the local councils in the State, the PDP is keen on making inroads to reduce the total control of the ruling party.

Thepledge observed that several campaign rallies were launched a fortnight ago by the APC, while the move was stepped up this week, including wards rallies, door-to-door rallies and flooding the streets with campaign posters.

In some councils observed by our correspondent, though the turnout was less impressive, expectations are high that the party will sustain the momentum of sweeping all council elections in the State.

Councillor representing Ilamoshe Ward in Ejigbo Local Council Development Area, Hon. Olanrewaju Akinbowale, in a phone conversation with Thepledge said the confidence level was high and efforts were ongoing to ensure the party delivers all the elective positions to the APC.

“It’s very obvious, we are prepared and ready for the elections in Ejigbo. We are working hard and as I speak to you, we just finished having Ward rally in Oke-Afa. We are preparing for Ailegun Ward rally now and tomorrow we are having Ifoshi Ward and Ilamoshe Ward. Having done that, it will mean that we have covered all the wards and we have been able to talk to our people to make them see reasons why they should vote for APC.

“We are on ground and we are fully prepared. By God’s grace we will sweep all available seats. We are very confident of that. To the best of my knowledge, only PDP is in the opposition. But we have tried our best in the last four years and our work will speak for us.

“In my Ward in Ilamoshe, I have been able to facilitate a brand new primary school in my ward; we have done roads, empowerment and health programmes. We do not see them as a threat. I am very optimistic that we will win the elections,” Akinbowale, who is also the Leader of the 4th Legislative Council in Ejigbo, said.

But the opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is gearing up for a battle to finish and are talking tough on their chances this time to cause a major upset in the council polls.

Publicity Secretary of the PDP in Lagos, Taofik Gani in an interview with Thepledge, expressed confidence in his party causing an upset in the council elections, noting that the party intends to use the exercise to show its capabilities ahead of the 2023 general elections.

“We are very ready, we are the major opposition in the state and by all expectations we are the alternative government in the State. We are not taking the Local government election for granted, we want to show from this local government election that we can win the 2023 general elections in the State.

“We will cause an upset. I will leave my gun powder dry and not mention specifically the areas, but I can tell you that there are some areas that we are convinced that we will win. It is not whether PDP has won or the APC has won, what everybody should be looking at is that anybody who eventually wins should form part of the government and work together with others.

“Councilors should be ready to work with the chairman and the chairman should be ready to work with the governor. That’s the only way we can grow, but when we continue to be so interested that it must be an emblem that wins the election, that is where we always get it wrong. We are expecting that we will show surprises, we will humble the APC in so many areas,” he vowed.

But he expressed concerns on what he described as “systemic failure”, which according to him has hindered the process of free and fair elections, not just in Lagos, but across the country.

“The only thing that will hinder us is that we do not have free and fair election, if we can have that, we can begin to show that we can win whatever office in the state from this election.

It is not really about LASIEC, it is indeed worrisome, it is not something that anybody should deny; it’s a fundamental administrative issue where governors will conduct local government elections and then sweep all including councilors and chairmanship.

“It is not peculiar to APC, for the sake of this interview, it is not just peculiar to Lagos, even other states where other parties control. It is not something that anybody should take as one of those things. It is unfortunate; there is no way democracy can grow if we continue that way.

“If you are the best in the community, if you don’t belong to the APC in Lagos, your chances of winning is very slim. You have less than 10 percent chance. The worst person will be in the APC in Lagos and will win. So, it’s not because we do not have confidence in LASIEC or the Governor, it’s because there is a systemic failure that needs to be caged as quickly as possible,” the PDP spokesman said.

But responding to the PDP, Publicity Secretary of the APC, Seye Oladejo totally dismissed the threats by the PDP to cause an upset, saying the party will sustain its firm grip across the 57 councils.

“We will absolutely win all the elective positions, we have been very consistent as a party since the inception of democracy in Lagos State and this will not be different.

“It’s not in their (PDP) DNA to win. They should be used to losing now and this is not going to be different. They will lose again and they should know that,” Oladejo said.

When asked about the calls for the resignation of the Lagos APC chairman by Lagos4Lagos, a formidable group within the party, the APC publicity secretary said, “We are mainly focused on the local government elections. No distractions.”

Meanwhile, the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) is in a race against time to fine-tune plans for the conduct of the elections.

Thepledge gathered that the Commission in the last few weeks has been meeting critical stakeholders to get their buy-in in order to ensure the exercise is free and fair.

Speaking at a forum in Ikeja, Chairman of LASIEC, Justice Ayotunde Philips said measures have been taken to ensure the upcoming election is free, fair and credible, including “Oath of Neutrality” taken by LASIEC staffs which she said is an agreement that has been signed by their adhoc staff to ensure proper conduct during the elections.

According to her, misconduct from any staff will be sanctioned, warning that any misconduct from them will be dealt with.

She said that meetings have been ongoing with security operatives to ensure smooth voting exercise during the elections at all polling units.

Philips said that the reason for the forum is to interact and interface with all stakeholders of the elections adding that it is also an opportunity to ask and get information on elections and the electoral processes.

She underlined the need for people to participate more in the elections as there has been just about 17% out of the total registered voters exercising their voting rights during Local government elections.

Also, she said arrangements are already in place for the smooth distribution of non-sensitive electoral materials, while ad-hoc staff will be trained this weekend to familiarize them with the process so as to minimize hitches on Election Day.

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Blame Sanwo-Olu For Police Harassment Of EndSARS Protesters In Lagos, Adeyanju Insists

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Deji Adeyanju, an Abuja-based activist, has disclosed that Sanwo Olu should be blamed over the harassment of EndSARS protesters in Lagos State.

The convener of Concerned Nigerian advocacy group made the remark while commending the police and Department of State Services, DSS, for conducting themselves orderly in Abuja.

In a tweet, Adeyanju said police and DSS operatives should be commended for not violating the rights of Abuja residents.

According to Adeyanju: “The police and DSS in Abuja were professional today. They did not violate protester’s rights and this is a big win for the Federal Government. We have nothing personal against the Government.

“When they behave right, we will praise them. Governor Sanwo Olu is to be blamed for harassment of protesters in Lagos today.”

Police officers had brutalized and arrested some EndSARS protesters in Lagos State.

The protesters had filed out to mark the one year anniversary of the EndSARS massacre in Lekki tollgate.

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Grab Man United Job If Contacted, Domenech Tells Zidane

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Former France coach Raymond Domenech has urged Zinedine Zidane to accept the chance of managing Manchester United if the opportunity is open.

Domenech made this known in an interview with L’Equipe TV, where he said that the former Real Madrid coach has the capability to turn around the fortune of the Red Devils.

Recall that on Tuesday, Cristiano Ronaldo has reportedly approached Manchester United chiefs and recommended the club replace manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with Zinedine Zidane.

Pressure has mounted on Solskjaer following Manchester United’s 4-2 defeat at the hands of Leicester City over the weekend.

Although reports have indicated that Zidane has no interest in a move to the Premier League, Domenech is urging the former Real Madrid to have a rethink.

“What job is he made for when he’s been a multiple Champions League with Real Madrid? What’s left? [Manchester] City, United, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich? There’s five or six clubs. After that, if he takes another club, they’re a step down for him, for someone of his level.

“There comes a point when you can’t let that possibility slip. He’s also got, with [Cristiano] Ronaldo, a direct relay, a translator from Spanish to English.

“He’ll also get away from people who say he only achieved what he did because it was Real Madrid because he knew the players and he’ll prove he’s really a top manager. That’s why I tell him: go for it. Or stay in your comfort, but I don’t think that’s his desire.”

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Pregnant, Nursing Mothers Can Serve In Husbands’ State Of Residence, Says NYSC DG

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All married women who are pregnant and nursing mothers not deployed to their husbands’ places of domicile can now proceed to the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) camps within their spouses’ states of residence, the scheme has said.

NYSC, however, said the pregnant women or nursing mothers must present for registration in addition to other documents, evidence of marriage, husbands’ identity and evidence of husbands’ place of domicile.

Director – General of the NYSC, Brig Gen Shuaibu Ibrahim said this during a briefing on the 2021 Batch C Stream One orientation exercise which commenced Wednesday in all the 37 camps nationwide.

The director – general explained that the new policy was to ease the burden on the women, saying that the NYSC is “an organisation with a human face.”

“All married pregnant and nursing mothers not deployed to their husbands’ places of domicile can now proceed to the NYSC camps within their spouses’ states of residence but must present for registration in addition to other documents, evidence of marriage, husbands’ identity and evidence of husbands’ place of domicile,” the DG said.

The Director – General, who was represented by Director, Press and Public Relations of the NYSC, Mrs Adenike Adeyemi, insisted that only prospective corps members and camp officials who test negative will gain access into the camp.

According to the DG, officials from the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) would be present in the 37 orientation camps during the exercise.

He said: “Prospective corps members and staff are aware of COVID-19 rules and safety protocols. In addition, every PCM and camp official would be tested at the camp gate and only those who test negative will gain access into the camp. NCDC officials are present in the 37 orientation camps.

“All camps have been fumigated and decontaminated in readiness to receive prospective Corps Members.

“There will be compulsory use of face mask, 2-meter social distancing and other non-pharmaceutical interventions on safety protocols in all our camps; (a) The hostel arrangement is in compliance with this. (b) Staggered registration of PCMs in batches still undertaken to avoid overcrowding at registration points.

“Synergy with the NCDC is still on. This is to ensure the safety of all prospective corps members and staff including the general public.”

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