Lagos State Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) is expected to release its guidelines on the proposed local government elections across the 20 local government areas and 37 Local Council Development Areas.
In anticipation of the release, chairmanship and councillorship aspirants declared their ambitions at party meetings and rallies at the weekend. Among chairmanship aspirants who declared their aspiration were the son of Second Republic Governor Lateef Jakande, Seyi, chairman of Ijede LCDA, Hassan Adefarasin, former vice chairman of Alimoso Council Shamsudeen Olaleye, Chairman of Yaba Council, Olajide Jimoh, and his Badagry West local government Joseph Bamgbose.
ACN chairman, Otunba Oladele Ajomale, The Nation that the party was prepared for the grassroots elections, adding that its victory in the exercise would affirm the popularity of the platform with Lagosians.
He said the aspirants would be subjected to party screening based on certain criteria to be set by the party, but was reluctant to disclose the conditions. However, reliable sources confided that basic minimum education, experience, good character, performance in office and contribution to the growth of the party would not be ignored.
Ajomale did not rule out primaries. But he said there may be no need for shadow poll in councils and wards where aspirants voluntarily step down for ‘consensus candidates.
Fierce contest is expected in some councils where the incumbent chairmen are completing their second term in office. Gender factor may also shape the exercise as the ACN has often reiterated its determination to broaden the horizon of participation for women. In Surulere, no fewer than 40 people are fighting slugging it out with the chairman, Dr Sodiq Folami.
Jakande, who is vying for the chairmanship of Odi-Olowo/Ojuwoye LCDA, told reporters at the weekend that he declared his ambition, following wide consultations with party leaders, members and people of the council.
He said: “Coming from this political background, I have the challenge to perform, if elected. It is a legacy my father bequeathed to the state. I will continue to build on it and pray for the grace to supersede my it”.
The aspirant said that thanked the ACN National Leader and former governor of the state, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, whose administration created the LCDA. He said the former governor’s decision was influenced by the need to spread dividends of democracy to the grassroots.
“By the grace of God, I will aggressively pursue developmental programmes and replicate the achievements of our party at the state level in our council. We needs drainages, good roads, schools and security in Odi-Olowo/Ojuwoye. We want an end to armed robberies, attacks and fear and panic due to insecurity of lives and property. These are my priorities”, Jakande added.
Olaleye, who is the Supervisory Councillor for Agriculture and Rural Development, said that he is fit to run the affairs of the local government.
“I started politics in school. During my undergraduate days, I was a leader of the student union. In the Third Republic, I was a staunch member of the National Republican Convention (NRC), served at the grassroots as ex-officio member at ward level in Mushin council, local government secretary at Oshodi-Isolo council, ward chairman, secretary of All Peoples Party (APP) and House of Representatives candidate at Oshodi-Isolo, Alliance for Democracy (AD) Assistant Secretary, constituency secretary, vice chairman of Alimoso Council, Supervisory Councillor for health and Secertary to the Local Government”, he added.
Olaleye hailed the contributions of past council chairmen, promising to build on good legacies. He also promised never to let the local government down, if elected as chairman, by pursuing novel developmental programmes.
He said: “I have lived in Isolo for 37 years and I know our problems. I have served without blemish. I have the experience and qualification. I thank people who have stepped down for me. They are eminently qualified. Together, we shall serve our local government and give happiness to our people”.
Bamgbose frowned at media report that he may not vie, contest that it is callous and mischievous. “I am still the preferred candidate in Badagry West because I have performed as chairman. The records are there. It is wrong to insinuate that I will not run. Indeed, I will run”, he told our correspondent on phone.
Ijede LCDA boss, Adefarasin, said: “I am not tired rendering diligent service to my people. I will submit myself to voters again”.
His Itire-Ikate counterpart, Hakeem Bamgbola, is expected to declare his second term ambition next week. He told our correspondent that “It is the wish of our good people here that I should forge ahead in the spirit of continuity.”
The campaign is getting more interesting as the election draws nearer.