By Bolaji Buhari
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says the belief of the All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain, Chief Bola Tinubu, that it will win nothing in the forthcoming council polls in Lagos is unfortunate.
Mr Taofik Gani, Publicity Secretary of the PDP in Lagos State, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Friday that the party, despite some internal problems, would put up a good show in the elections.
He said that the electorate, and not the APC chieftain, would decide the outcome of the elections, and the PDP still had its followers in the state.
Gani said that the PDP would continue to insist on free and fair elections.
“PDP is a party to reckon with in the state, we are watching them and we will not allow them (APC) to have their way,“ he said.
Gani said that the Moshood-Salvador camp of the party was working for the unity of the party and would do everything within its powers to ensure members stayed as one.
Tinubu had on Wednesday while addressing a crowd of APC supporters at a stakeholders meeting said that the PDP would win nothing in the July 22 election, as APC would sweep the polls.
He said that though the party lost some state and national legislative seats to the PDP in some constituencies in the 2015 elections, the APC was working to win back support in the affected councils.
“We have asked our leaders in those local governments to examine what went wrong and work together to chart a new course to ensure APC win back those councils,” he had said.
Meanwhile, the two factions of the PDP in Lagos are accusing each other of stalling efforts being made to present a united front ahead of the July 22 local government elections.
The Chairman of a faction of the party in the State, Mr Segun Adewale (Aeroland), alleged that the Moshood Salvador faction of the party was not working for the success of the party in the forthcoming election.
Adewale told NAN on Friday in Lagos that the Salvador faction, aligned to the Ahmed Makarfi-led national PDP Caretaker Committee, had frustrated all reconciliatory efforts to present a strong showing of PDP at the polls.
“I am the authentic chairman of the PDP in the state because the court has pronounced the Ali Modu Sheriff faction to which I belong as the authentic national leadership.
“That is the status quo and I remain the state’s chairman except the apex court gives a contrary judgement.
“Even with that, the council polls are coming and I have made reconciliatory efforts to the Salvador’s faction so that the council can do well at the poll,’’ he said.
According to him, the Salvador faction has, however, kept on frustrating the efforts.
Adewale, who contested the Alimosho Federal Constituency seat in 2011 and Lagos West Senatorial seat in 2015, losing to Sen. Olamilekan Solomon on both occasions, said his faction was, nonetheless, doing all its best for the PDP to do well at the polls.
He urged the party’s supporters to remain steadfast, urging them to work relentless for the success of the party at the polls.
Reacting, Gani described the allegations by Adewale as falsehood.
Gani said the Salvador group was the first to initiate a peace process ahead of the polls but that the Adewale group shunned all efforts and boycotted meetings arranged by Salvador.
“If there is any faction frustrating the peace process, it is the Adewale group. We were the first faction to initiate a peace process and we arranged meetings at Protea Hotel to ensure we do well at the polls but the other group boycotted.
“While we were doing that, the Appeal Court pronounced the Sherrif Group to which Adewale belongs as the national leadership of the party, and this made the issue more problematic.
“The other group started seeing themselves as the faction with legitimacy and leverage at the party in the state; they started dictating to everybody even when the matter is at the Supreme Court.
“They invaded the secretariat with some people and forced people out. They did not have respect for us and the elders of the party and are scuttling efforts for the party to be one,’’ he said,
He, however, said the only way forward for the party to come together and put up a strong showing at the council polls was for both parties to recognize and respect each other to achieve a common goal.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) has fixed July 22 for the poll and July 29 for runoff.