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    Friday, September 30, 2011

    Tinubu Collects N800M From Local Council Chairmanship Aspirants In Lagos

    As the forthcoming local government election in Lagos State is fast approaching, First Weekly has been exclusively informed of some underground moves within the inner circle of the ruling party in the state, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).
    Sources close to the National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu revealed last week that after assuring the chairmen of the 57 local councils and local council development areas, who have just spent only one term in office of automatic return ticket, he also asked them to part with some money before they could be cleared by the party leadership.
    Our investigations revealed that Jagan Borgu, as ex-governor Tinubu is also called, told the chairmen to pay a levy of N20 million each if they wanted to go back to their seats.
    The money, we were told, is non-refundable and the chairmen were allegedly told that anyone, whose record of performance is below expectation or who is rejected by his people, would not be fielded in the election slated for October, 2011.
    One of our reliable informant maintained that the affected chairmen have since paid the money and have faced the party's screening committee at the party secretariat on ACME Road, Ikeja, Lagos.
    Unlike in the past, when Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State was totally saddled with the responsibility of recommending those to be picked from the councils as chairmanship candidates, Asiwaju Tinubu is reported to be in-charge this time around and this is not for free as we were informed.
    “Tinubu told those interested in second term to pay N20 million each and they have no choice than to pay. This is apart from the fee they paid to the party for the nomination forms. Not less than 40 of the 57 local council chairmen are returning and that means the man must have collected about N800 million from the politicians and the money is non-refundable. If you are not given ticket by the party, it means you have lost out despite all the money you spent. You know Tinubu is now in-charge because Aregbesola who he used to trust with the job is now busy as the Governor of Osun State,” a source offered.
    That notwithstanding, intense lobbying is said to be going-on within the party as no one is sure of who would be picked ultimately when the final list is eventually released.
    There have been cases of some chairmen, who sources said have been told outright that they would not be fielded by the party in the election due to their abysmal performances.
    The ACN, sources said, is being more careful this time around as the main opposition party in the state, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is participating in the election unlike what happened in 2008, when the PDP opted out of the local council polls due to the inclusion of the 37 LCDAs in the election. The PDP has insisted then that election should take place in only 20 local government areas that are recognized by the constitution, but the ACN was adamant. The latter maintained that elections would take place in all the 20 local councils and 37 LCDAs, and the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) went ahead with the election as ordered by the state government. The rest is now history as the ACN clinched all the seats in the 57 local councils including the councillorship seats.
    To avert disgrace at the polls, sources revealed that the ACN has started taking stock and chairmen, who are believed to have performed below expectations, are being screened out.
    According to the grapevine, two of the six chairmen in the old Alimosho Local Government have been given red cards and have been told to start preparing their handing over notes.
    One of the affected chairmen, who is said to be a cleric, was told pointedly, according to sources, not to expect a return ticket as he could not boast of any development in the semi-urban council in the three years he spent in the office.
    The chairman, we gathered squandered council funds and he never bothered to listen to pieces of advice from council workers and party leaders.
    In Lekki Local Council Development Area, the residents had rejected the return of the incumbent Chairman of the council, Ganiyu Olaiya Raheem.
    Addressing pressmen recently, the Oni Lekki of Lekki, Oba Olumuyiwa Ogunbekun said that the traditional rulers in the area heard with utter dismay the proposition of Raheem as the returned Chairmanship candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the coming local government election.
    There are several other cases of maladministration in some other councils and the ACN is reported to be taking its time to stop any chairman, who performed below expectations.
    “It is not going to be business as usual. Tinubu has instructed those in charge of the selection to go round the councils and assess the development there and interview the residents as well as the party leaders in the councils. This will form part of the final decisions of the party and any chairman who is found wanting would not be given ticket to prevent the party from losing at the polls since the PDP is contesting the elections this time around,” said a source.
    However, an informant, who is close to ex-governor Bola Tinubu debunked the inducement allegation. He informed that the aspirants collected forms from the party and paid the necessary dues, adding that it would be an insult for somebody of Tinubu's caliber to stoop so low to ask the chairmen to give him money before they are cleared for elections.
    “Tinubu is an incorruptible leader. He has served well as governor for eight years and God has blessed him with resources, even before he became a public officer. He couldn't have stooped so low to ask some council chairmen to give him money. Where on earth does he expect the chairmen to get that kind of money? I don't think the story is true. ACN is a party of discipline and Tinubu is our symbol, any chairman, who is not selected at the end of the exercise may have performed below expectation and we will not pick someone we cannot trust with that office because local council is the closest to the grassroots,” he stated.

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