By Adeyemi Adeleye
Some aggrieved members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from Amuwo-Odofin Local Government in Lagos on Saturday protested against alleged substitution of Mr Dipo Olorunrinu as APC candidate for the forthcoming council poll.
The protesters, who chanted various solidarity songs at the APC State Secretariat, hoisted placards with inscriptions such as “Amuwo voted for Dipo Olorunrinu” and “Dipo Olorunrinu we voted, Dipo Olorunrinu we want”,
Others are:”Give us our mandate” among others.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalled that APC had on Friday unveiled the list of chairmanship and vice-chairmanship candidates, which was signed by the party’s Caretaker Committee Chairman, Alhaji Tunde Balogun and the committee’s Secretary, Mr Lanre Ogunyemi.
Consequent upon primaries conducted across the 20 Local Governments and the 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) of the state on May 29, the party unveiled Olorunrinu and Maureen Ashara as Chairmanship and Vice-chairmanship, respectively as APC flag bearers in Amuwo-Odofin council.
However, the protesters, led by Alhaji Hameed Ayodele, urged the party leadership not to make the mistake of substituting Olorunrinu’s name earlier announced.
Ayodele said that the group came to the party secretariat to confirm from party leaders the rumour making the rounds that Olorunrinu’s name had been substituted to return the incumbent Chairman, Valentine Buraimoh.
“We are here to make a statement that needed serious attention. We contested election on May 29 for chairmanship and councillorship positions in our local government-Amuwo Odofin, under the platform of APC.
“In spite of all attacks, we tried to be peaceful and at the end of the day, Hon. Dipo Olorunrinu, our symbol, won the APC chairmanship ticket when the party finally made the pronouncement and declared that he was the winner.
“It is so unfortunate that after this, we are hearing that his name has been substituted for the current chairman to return to office.
“We have the name of Dipo Olorunrinu released as winner of the primary, we want it to remain like that. We don’t want anything to upturn this mandate given to him. We want fair election and good democracy,” Ayodele said.
He said that the party members were waiting for the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) to publish Olorunrinu’s name as Amuwo-Odofin APC chairmanship flagbearer.
“We don’t want the outcome of the primary altered. We want the state chairman, Alhaji Tunde Balogun and Secretary, Hon. Lanre Ogunyemi to do the right thing. We don’t want war in Amuwo. We will not allow that.
“Majority of APC members that voted for Olorunrinu knew quite well that he can turn around Amuwo-Odofin for good. We know him and how he performed as a lawmaker,” he added.
He said that if the rumour was true, such could affect the fortune of the ruling party in the July 24 local government election in the council.
Also speaking, Mr Kingsley Nwanze, another leader of the protesters alleged that some party leaders had perfected substituting Olorunrinu’s name for the incumbent council chairman in the party’s nomination list.
“Dipo Olorunrinu is the person we all voted during the primary election here in Amuwo-Odofin. This has been affirmed by the state party Secretariat which published his name as the party’s candidate on Friday.
“This news is also in the Nation, the Guardian Newspapers and others today. We cannot explain what went wrong that made Dipo Olorunrinu’s name to be substituted again.
“Dipo Olorunrinu has been supporting the party in many ways and loved by majority of the party leaders here in Amuwo-Odofin.
“Even the last APC registration exercise, Dipo Olorunrinu made funds available for party members for mobilisations which the incumbent council chairman never did. Valentine Buraimoh is in the office for himself.
“So, we are appealing, it is an appeal we are making to our National Leader, Asiwaju to wade in for peace to reign in Amuwo-Odofin. Hon.Dipo Olorunrinu is known bridge builder and has affected so many lives,” he said.
The protest leader said that Olorunrinu had done so much for the development of the party in short time, hence the need to allow his mandate to stay.
“He has gotten the commitment of the the Igbo Community, Arewa Community to support the APC in 2023 general elections.
“So, we are appealing to our Father, our mentor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to allow justice and the expression of the will of the party members stay in Amuwo-Odofin LG,” he added.
The protesters were not addressed by any party officials as the police barricade could not allow them get to the gate of the party secretariat along ACME Road in Ikeja.