THE excitement triggered by the emergence of two challengers to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode for the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship ticket is good for internal democracy, party Chairman Tunde Balogun said yesterday.
He spoke at the ACME Road, Lagos secretariat of the party during the inauguration of a seven-member panel to screen aspirants into the State House of Assembly ahead of the primary scheduled for October 4.
Balogun said that the emergence of two former Commissioners – Mr. Jide Sanwo-Olu (Establishment & Training) and Dr. Obafemi Hamzat (Works & Infrastructure) reflected the beauty of democracy.
Assuring that the governorship candidate would be determined by party members at the primary, Balogun described the APC as a truly democratic party which had redefined governance in the state.
He named Moshood Salvador as chairman of the panel to screen the aspirants.
About 230 aspirants jostling for the state’s 40 assembly seats are to be screened by the committee.
Salvador was, until recently, chairman of the Lagos chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He defected with members of the state executive to the APC.
Other members of the screening panel are: former Lagos Deputy Governor Femi Pedro; former House of Representatives member Wale Oshun; a member of the Governor’s Advisory Committee (GAC), Dr. Yomi Finih and Commissioner for Health Dr. Jide Idris.
He told reporters after the closed-door inauguration that the setting up of the committee was in preparation for the state assembly primary.
The committee, which, according to him, swings into action today, will conclude its job on Friday. It is to ensure that aspirants met the requirements to contest in the primary.
Each of the members of the committee will chair a sub-committee with members to respond to the high number of aspirants.
He said: “We have a large number of people who are to be screened to contest in the state House of Assembly primary.
“We have 40 seats in the state and over 230 aspirants are to be screened.
“This is a large number, and that is why each member of the committee is chairing a sub-committee to rise up to the challenge.
“We are prepared for this enormous job, and and we are even expecting members from the national secretariat to do the work,” he said.
He assured that the committee would carry out its responsibility without let or hindrance.
On the inclusion of Salvador in the committee, Balogun said it reflected the party’s promise that all defectors would be treated equally like the others.
The chairman said the APC would not renege on its promise to ensure new members were fully integrated.
The ranks of APC in Lagos State swelled yesterday as the former Lagos State Commissioner of Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Remi Adiukwu-Bakare was received into its fold from the PDP.
Other defectors were the National Chairman of the Mega Party of Nigeria (MPN), Mr Dare Falade and the Lagos State Chairman of Democratic People’s Party (DPP), Mr Tajudeen Yinus and their supporters.
Welcoming the defectors, Balogun said he was excited that progressives who left APC were coming back to the ruling party.
Adiukwu-Bakare assured the leadership of APC that she would work tirelessly to ensure the party has a good outing during the 2019 general elections.