The controversy that trailed the October 2 All Progressives Congress’ (APC) state primary primaries in Lagos, is beginning to take a toll in the party, as key member of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s cabinet and commissioner for energy and mineral resources, Wale Oluwo has resigned his appointment and membership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos.
Curiously, Oluwo, who stood firmly behind Ambode during the controversial primary election, which Ambode lost to Babajide Sanwo-Olu, is moving to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), to work with Jimi Agbaje, the party’s governorship candidate, in the “Free Lagos” struggle.
“I, Olawale Oluwo, will be joining the PDP to work with my friend and brother- Mr. Jimi Agbaje in the struggle to Free Lagos. Free Lagos Now, Stand with Jimi,” Oluwo said on Wednesday while confirming his resignation to BusinessDay.
The former commissioner, in his letter of resignation from the APC, dated December 3, 2018, and addressed to the state chairman of the party, alluded to the undemocratic conduct of APC’s primary election, which he alleged was characterised by widespread violence and harassment of people, leading to the disenfranchisement of thousands of party’s members.
Joe Igbokwe, spokesperson of the APC in Lagos, reacting to the development, said Oluwo was never a member of the APC.
“He was never an APC member in that cabinet. Let’s just close that chapter,” Igbokwe said in a telephone interview on Wednesday.
Also reacting, chairman of the PDP in Lagos, Agboola Dominic, said he was not surprised by the resignation of the commissioner and his decision to join the PDP, stressing that it was a confirmation that Lagosian were tired of the APC and the Tinubu’s led cabal which had held the state captive for years.
Dominic said more members of the Lagos cabinet would resign and join the PDP.
In the resignation letter seen by BusinessDay, Oluwo said: “A few hours ago, I submitted to the Governor of Lagos State, a letter of resignation of my appointment as commissioner for energy and mineral resources, and consequently as a registered member of the All Progressives Congress.”
“My decision to resign is not unconnected with the recent events of the last few weeks, which have encouraged a moral burden for me. I have found it rather difficult to come to terms and rationalise the party’s conduct of the October 2018 primary elections, which were largely characterised by massive voter disenfranchisement, intimidation, violence, undue influence and non-compliance with all known principles of democracy.”
“The integrity-deficient nature of the primary has significantly diminished the hard-earned reputation of our state as a reference point for a free and fair democratic practice,” Oluwo said.
Oluwo further explained: “The indifference of the APC to the continued use of an arm of government by a powerful group within the party, to intimidate critical institutions of democracy in the state, undermines the doctrine of separation of powers, creates at an atmosphere of uncertainty and impairs government’s ability to implement policies and programmes that will benefit the majority of the people.
This is in conflict with my strong held belief that group’s interest, no matter how powerful, must be subordinated to the interest of the majority. I am convinced that the present atmosphere of the encirclement will not abate anytime soon. I therefore resign my membership of the APC immediately.”
Meanwhile, another member of the state cabinet, told BusinessDay that Ambode was unwilling to accept Olowu’s resignation from the cabinet.
According to the official who craved anonymity, “Ambode had since put the primaries’ controversy behind him and now working for continuity in the state and the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari/Yemi Osibanjo ticket at the national level.”
JOSHUA BASSEY & INIOBONG IWOK