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EXCLUSIVE: Party Leaders, GAC Members In Battle Royale As Crisis Rocks APC Ahead Lagos LG Polls

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…Faleke, Odunmbaku Clash In Ikeja As Olusi Lock Horns With Ojora In Lagos Island

…I Have Not Endorsed Any Aspirant- Tinubu Insists

Things are no longer at ease for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State as the July 24 Local Government Elections has degenerated into a free for all, as party leaders are currently locked in a battle for supremacy, to pave way for their choice candidates to emerge as the party’s flag bearer.

In the last three weeks, there have been pockets of crisis in some local governments arising from the build-up to the party primaries slated for May 29.

But Thepledge gathered that a major crisis is brewing in Ojodu Local Council Development Area (LCDA) where a House of Representatives member representing Ikeja Federal Constituency, Mr. James Faleke is currently at loggerheads with a member of the Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC), Cardinal James Odunmbaku, popularly known as Baba Eto over the chairmanship candidacy for the council.

While Faleke is pulling enough weight for his own aspirant, Alhaja Funmi Layeni, Odunmbaku is bent on ensuring that his son, David Odunmbaku (who is currently the Council Secretary) emerges as the next chairman of the council.

Thepledge gathered from a top party member that Faleke, a former two-term Chairman in Ojodu LCDA and Odunmbaku had engaged in a shouting match due to their disagreement on the issue while neither of the duo is ready to back down.

A recent statement from Faleke to his supporters had read, “I have received calls and messages from most of our APC members from Ikeja Federal Constituency to ‘confirm if it is true that our governor has written a list of some aspirants as his anointed candidates?’

“I want to put on record all I have told those who called me that Governor Sanwo-Olu is the governor for all and has no special or anointed candidates within our Ikeja Federal Constituency or the state. All party members are for him.”

“Please disregard any pressure from anyone using his name or sending any list to all of you in the constituency.”

Faleke’s grouse, according to a top member of Layeni’s campaign team was that “they cannot serve the father and also serve the son”, referring to Baba Eto’s strong influence in the political structure of Ojodu LCDA.

The statement did not go down well with those in Odunmbaku’s camp who felt it was directed at them.

Odunmbaku on his part has insisted that his son is eminently qualified to contest.

Speaking at his son’s declaration for the chairmanship position a few months ago, Odunmbaku said, “I chose my son at the very last. You know I have been sponsoring other people with all my strength, politically and financially with the permission and blessing of Asiwaju Tinubu, putting people in respective positions in politics, ministries, local government administration, but I decided to sponsor my child in the final analysis, and not without the blessing of Asiwaju.”

A close associate of Odunmbaku’s son who preferred not to be named told our reporter that it was unfortunate that Faleke who Baba Eto supported to rise to limelight politically is now the one spearheading opposition against Baba Eto’s son.

“That is the height of betrayal. What does Faleke want again? He has been Chairman of Ojodu LCDA twice, he has been a member of the House of Representatives for two terms and this is the same Baba Eto that supported him, why is he now against his son’s ambition. This is the height of ingratitude; he is stabbing the back of the man who fed him. But Baba Eto is not perturbed by the conspiracy against his son. Besides, David is meeting critical stakeholders in the council and is focused on the task ahead,” the

In Lagos-Island Local Government, Prince Tajudeen Olusi, the party leader of Lagos Central Senatorial District who is also a member of the GAC has also come under fire over his alleged involvement to ensure that his son, Adetoyese Olusi, who is the incumbent chairman returns for another term despite accusations from several quarters over his lackluster performance in his first term.

But Olusi’s plan has met a stumbling block as party members have vowed to oppose the move.

Besides, another aspirant, Prince Taorid Adewale Ojora, who enjoys popularity among the people of Lagos Island, has resisted attempts from emissaries from the party hierarchy to step down his ambition for Olusi’s son and has vowed to contest the primaries.

In Surulere Local Government, there is a cold war brewing among party members as two viable aspirants, the incumbent Vice Chairman of the council, Suleiman Yusuf and Idris Aregbe are currently in neck to neck to grab the chairmanship ticket.

While Idris Aregbe, who is currently the Youth Organising Secretary of the APC in Lagos enjoys the support of the party’s national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Yusuf on the other hand has the backing of key grassroots’ leaders and members of the party in the local government, including the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, who hails from the council.

A party member from the local government who spoke to our correspondent said the party leaders are queuing behind Yusuf for obvious reasons and are confident of his candidacy producing good benefits for the people of Surulere, however adding that the party’s decision on who gets the ticket will be respected.

“Yusuf is our preferred candidate of choice. We respect other aspirants but that is our decision. Even the Speaker of the House of Representatives has given his blessings to him (Yusuf) and we are going all out to ensure that he emerges as the candidate during the May 29 primaries.”

But a top party source told Thepledge that Aregbe, who enjoys popularity within the party hierarchy and with the State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu is pulling heavy strings to land the party ticket and is confident of emerging the party’s choice.

“Aregbe will do better if he emerges as the candidate, but the big question is can he upset the odds against him? The battle is not between Aregbe and Yusuf, but against Aregbe and Gbajabiamila, because the Speaker of the House of Representatives is calling the shots in Surulere.

In Agboyi Ketu LCDA, the quest by the incumbent chairman, Mayor Dele Oshinowo to earn a second term ticket looks to be going according to plan after earning endorsement from members of the GAC in Kosofe including Otunba Bushira Alebiosu, Omoba Muyiwa Sosanya, and Dayo Bush respectively.

Lately, the lawmaker representing Kosofe Federal Constituency, Rotimi Agunsoye also threw his weight behind his candidature.

Thepledge however gathered from a reliable source that it is not yet Uhuru for the council boss as his ambition is currently a subject of debate among the party hierarchy in the GAC and leaders in the council, some of whom are opposed to his returning as chairman.

Despite the internal challenges plaguing the APC, a top party source told our correspondent that the party is confident of sweeping the council polls as the main opposition party in the state, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), according to him, is still grappling in the dark.

“If the PDP were on ground in Lagos, it would have made our party sit up and fix all these issues you have rightly pointed out as far as the Local government elections are concerned because such issues are capable of causing disaffection among party members and also have some effect on the likely outcome of the polls. But that is not the case,” the source said.

In Ejigbo LCDA, incumbent chairman, Monsurudeen Obe is in a race of his life in his bid to secure his second term ticket.

What earlier seemed as a coast-clear race for him became a hard nut to crack after Peter Ajayi, a senior aide of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, threw his hat into the race and is fast gaining ground and bagging endorsements from the who’s who in Ejigbo as well as in the party hierarchy.

Thepledge learnt that Ajayi also has the full backing of Sanwo-Olu’s Chief of Staff, Tayo Ayinde (a former ADC to Tinubu) and is poised to cause an upset in the primaries.

But the development has not gone down well with loyalists of the incumbent chairman who feel it will be a great disservice to the council if Ajayi is imposed on them.

“We have decided to stand on our mandate which is for a second term for Obe. All the politicking from Alausa which we are fully aware of will come to naught. Recently they were circulating rumour that APC leaders who are backing Obe are doing so in order to return Ambode for second term in 2023. This is the height of propaganda and lies from the pit of hell. They have failed in their bid and are clutching to any straw to save their already dead political ambition”, a member of Obe’s campaign team told Thepledge.

Last Friday evening, Thepledge also learnt that top APC leaders were locked in a crucial closed-door meeting at the residence of Tinubu in Lagos.

Among those who were present at the meeting include Tinubu, Gbajabiamila, Sanwo-Olu and other members of the GAC. A source privy to the meeting said the meeting was called on the instance of Tinubu ahead of the May 29 primaries.

The party hierarchy, the source said, are concerned about the bad blood the crisis is generating among its members, noting that such could be inimical to the ideals of the party, especially going into a grassroots election.

Speaking to journalists on Sunday on the outcome of the meeting, Tinubu dismissed reports that he endorsed his preferred candidates for the upcoming council polls.

The APC Chieftain then urged all aspirants to compete with zeal, energy and to respect the results of the primaries.

Part of the statement read: “Asiwaju Bola Tinubu would like it to be known by way of this statement, that he has no preferred candidates for the upcoming local government primaries.

“He has no intention to endorse any of the people contesting for the party nomination in any election, whether for chairmanship or councillorship positions.

“On this matter, Asiwaju believes he can speak for the rest of the GAC regarding their belief in the impartiality and transparency of the internal party process.

“Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the other GAC leaders seek a free, fair, and transparent process in which the candidates who emerge are those who gather the most support among the party rank and file.

“Only in this manner do we best prepare ourselves for the general election.”

To this end, Thepledge gathered that Tinubu has called for a larger stakeholders meeting at the party secretariat in Acme, Ikeja to resolve all the differences before the primaries.

But a top party source said Tinubu’s statement denying that he had his choice candidates was only a smokescreen, insisting that the party stalwart, like previous council polls in the state, will have the final say on the chairmanship slots across the 57 councils.

“Those who are familiar with his style of politics know that the statement he made was just to douse the tension out there. But the truth remains that the party leadership knows that Asiwaju will have the final say as regards who gets what. The council election is crucial and there is no denying the interest he has especially as it is the last council elections before the 2023 general election,” the source said.

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Ex-BBNaija Star, Uriel Oputa, Shoots Her Shot At Pere, Discloses Plans For Him

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Nigerian Reality TV star cum chef, Uriel Oputa, better known as Uriel Music star, has taken to social media to declare her interest in Former Big Brother Naija Housemate, Pere Egbi.

It seems the BBNaija See Gobe star has finally moved on from Anthony Joshua after losing him to DJ cuppy, unto Pere and she clearly isn’t letting anything stop her this time.

Uriel in a hilarious post on her official Instagram page today, Tuesday, 26th October, diclosed that Pere has caught her attention.

She then implored her followers to ask him how he likes his eggs prepared because she is a good cook.

In her words;

“Pere dey enter my eyes ooo.

Let me shut up.

Someone should ask him how he likes his eggs o, because I be magician inside kitchen.

And…Ok bye.”

Meanwhile, Uriel has called on people not to judge her by the kinds of dresses she wears, saying what she wears doesn’t define her or her personality.

She says, “If I post a bikini picture or even a video wearing shorts or so, don’t say Uriel is no longer a good girl. I’m a bloody woman.

“Even people who wear long skirts can be the most evil. If you judge people by their outward appearances then you are not exposed. I have learnt to live by my own experience, not by the expectations of others.”

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Crisis: Nigeria Will Find Solution When Buhari Leaves Office, Says Afenifere

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The pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, on Tuesday, said President Muhammadu Buhari’s exit from power in 2023 would signal an end to the crisis in Nigeria.

The group also said Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) can’t solve the myriad of challenges facing the country.

The Acting leader of the group, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, said this while interacting with newsmen after the group’s monthly meeting held in his Sanya-Ogbo residence, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State.

He said Afenifere had lost hope on Buhari solving the problems in the country.

The Octogenarian accused the President of having a vested interest in the activities of bandits whom he said, should have been declared terrorists .

Adebanjo insisted that the group might not be part of the coming election if the country is not restructured before 2023 election.

The Yoruba leader suggested a national government as part of the measures to solve the problems of the country .

He said, “The solution to the problem is for the man (Buhari) to leave the place.

“The APC has no solution to our problem. What we are talking about is to form a national government to implement restructuring. All areas of conflicts are embedded in restructuring the country.”

On the need for Buhari to declare bandits as terrorists , Adebanjo said, “We have told him long time ago. National Assembly and Commodore (Kunle) Olawunmi have also said it that he should declare bandits as terrorists.”

Meanwhile, Afenifere has described the visit led by its acting leader of the group to former Lagos Governor, Bola Tinubu, as “purely a humanitarian visit”.

The National Publicity Secretary of the group, Jare Ajayi, disclosed this while speaking with newsmen shortly after the meeting.

A delegation of the group had last Tuesday, visited Tinubu at his Ikoyi residence following his return from medical trip in the United Kingdom.

Ajayi said:” The visit of our leaders to former Governor Bola Tinubu is purely on humanitarian ground. He is a Yoruba son. We do not forsake ourselves.

“Afenifere members are Omoluabis and humanists. What the leaders have done is the hallmark of thoroughbred Yoruba men and women.

“We may disagree on principles but we are not political enemies. Even if there is a disagreement on issues, it does not mean that we should not relate.”

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Explosion Rocks Oyo Prison Days After Attack By Gunmen

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There has been a reported bomb explosion on Tuesday at the Abolongo Correctional Facility located in Oyo town, Oyo State.

This is the same facility that inmates escaped from after it was attacked by gunmen.

The Tuesday explosion was said to have caused panic among residents of the area occurred outside the prison facility.

However, no casualties have been recorded. Security operatives have visited the scene to assess the extent of the damage.

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