The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State has been enmeshed in a crisis after its national leader and former governor of the state, Bola Tinubu, and other stalwarts secretly obtained Lagos West senatorial nomination form for Mrs Idiat Oluranti Adebule, a former deputy governor of the state.
SaharaReporters gathered that the form was obtained for Adebule after all senatorial aspirants had been screened.
Documents obtained by SaharaReporters also show that the former deputy governor wasn’t among the aspirants who bought and submitted nominations forms.
Speaking to SaharaReporters on Monday, a source said Adebule had been moving from one ward to another to canvas for the votes of delegates despite not being on the list of those screened to contest the primary.
“It’s ridiculous that former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Idiat Oluranti Adebule has joined the race to represent Lagos West Senatorial District in the Senate in the forthcoming general elections.
“As you earlier published, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu had made several moves through the national leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to obtain a nomination form for her, after the closure of sale of form and screening of aspirants.
“Our people at the National Secretariat of the APC revealed that only three aspirants namely; Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, Mr. Kayode Opeifa and Mrs. Joke Orelope-Adefulire obtained nomination forms from Lagos West.Whereas both Obanikoro and Opeifa submitted their forms and were thereafter cleared by the screening committee, Orelope-Adefulire neither submitted the form nor presented herself for the race.
“There was never a time before and during the processes of submission of forms or screening that the name Adebule came up, having not obtained the expression of interest and nomination forms in the first place,” the source said.
SaharaReporters had earlier exposed how Tinubu and other leaders of the party were fraudulently planning to obtain the senatorial nomination forms for one of their stooges after their preferred candidate, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, withdrew from the race.
Orelope-Adefulire had stepped down her senatorial ambition to retain her current appointment as the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Sustainable Development Goals.
SaharaReporters on Monday learnt the form had been obtained through the backdoor for Adebule and she had already started campaigning for votes from delegates.
“Not pleased with the inability of their preferred candidate- Adejoke Orolope-Adefulire to contest the Lagos West Senatorial race, the Lagos APC leader has embarked on illegal means of obtaining a new form for a new aspirant,” a source had said.
“You know that the trio of Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire and Kayode Opeifa had obtained the forms to contest for the seat in the red chamber but only Obanikoro and Opeifa attended the screening exercise while Orelope stepped down her ambition to retain her current appointment.
“Meanwhile, not satisfied with the chances of the remaining aspirants at the primary, the National Leader in collusion with the National Chairman of the APC is on the verge of obtaining a form through the backdoor. However, how a man like Adamu Abdullahi with his pedigree will allow such illegality to be perpetrated under his watch, is left to be seen.
“It is believed that the new form (if successfully obtained) will be for either of these three persons. Top on the list is his sister-in-law; Dr. (Mrs) Lola Akande, a commissioner in the cabinet of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat or the former Deputy Governor, Mrs. Idiat Adebule.
“Tinubu is attempting to leverage the perceived relationship formed between Idiat Adebule who was a member of the APC reconciliation committee headed by Adamu Abdullahi, to have his way.”
Speaking on Monday, the source further noted that “it is therefore obvious that the aspiration of Idiat Adebule will suffer a huge loss, especially if the party goes ahead to present her as its candidate after its primaries, once it is tested in a competent court of jurisdiction”.
“Indeed, it is fatal to the party. Adebule is challenged to publish the teller or e-receipt of the transfer of the expression of interest and nomination forms fee she paid to the party as well as the receipts issued to her by the national secretariat as done for other aspirants.
“There is no gainsaying the fact, therefore, that Dr. Adebule’s form was obtained illegally and anything built on illegality is bound to fail. How then can a non-aspirant become a candidate? What is more worrisome for members of the party in the Senatorial District and by extension Lagos State is that it appears their party has not learned from past experiences where it lost to the opposition party, even in some cases, having won in the general elections.
“The case of Zamfara State comes to mind, in this instant – indeed, this is even worse-off. The party, at the national, state and local government levels does not need to be enmeshed in any illegality in the course of its primaries, considering the anticipated challenges it will face in the general elections, since its popularity among the Nigerian electorate has further dwindled in recent times.
“Tinubu and Adebule may have their way on this, but the national secretariat should be wise enough to stamp its feet on the ground and do things in accordance with its own constitution, failure of which will lead to another seat already lost for it in the red chamber even before the conduct of the election. This is glaring illegality which must be condemned in its entirety,” the source added.