2015: APC, PDP in fresh battle for Lagos

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Oyeboh, who insisted that the arrest of his men was uncalled for said, “The aggression was planned, they came fully prepared. Before we knew what was happening, policemen had started firing into the air, while others fired teargas canisters into our compound, giving way for the thugs to loot our office.”

The incident, according to pundits, is a repeat of the feud between former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; and a former Minister of Works, Adeseye Ogunlewe in which the latter deployed task force officials to federal roads and warned LASTMA and other state officials to keep off. Lives were lost while properties destroyed. Although the federal task force claims to be apolitical, its involvement in the PDP rally that held a few days ago at the Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Park, Ojota, stirred a fresh set of allegations by the APC.

The federal task force officials were seen providing security for all the PDP governorship aspirants and leaders that were present at the rally. In fact, they constituted a large number of the crowd that cheered Ekiti State Governor-elect, Mr. Ayo Fayose, who came to campaign for the PDP and advised the Lagos PDP governorship aspirants on how to wrest Lagos State from the APC.

According to an anonymous source within the APC, the federal task force will not only be used as thugs next year but “may be given army uniforms and pose as soldiers manning the various polling units.”

The Publicity Secretary of the APC in Lagos, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, told our correspondent during an interview that by setting up a parallel task force in Lagos State, the PDP was provoking a possible bloodshed ahead of 2015. He said the presence of the taskforce officials at the PDP rally last Friday confirmed allegations that the task force was set up to fight the cause of the PDP.

He said, “We have been talking about this task force and their role in next year’s election. They have even had confrontations with KAI and LASTMA and we saw it coming. Their presence at the PDP rally is evidence for our claims. They are part of the PDP’s plan to capture Lagos. We have let them know it might cause confusion and bloodshed in Lagos and we have informed the Federal Government. The governor has raised the alarm. The whole thing is similar to what Ogunlewe did during the Tinubu administration. He brought them under FERMA and people were killed and maimed while properties were destroyed. This new task force is just for 2015. But Lagosians will not be deceived.

“If the PDP does not disband those hoodlums, there will be trouble. They will meet force with force in Lagos like when Ogunlewe was there. The task force hoodlums are increasing in number every day. I pity the youths that are being used by the PDP.”

Igbokwe said the intention of the taskforce was also suspect because it was only operating in Lagos. He said the APC was aware that the task force was also working personally for PDP leaders as domestic servants at their homes.

However, the PDP’s Publicity Secretary in Lagos, Mr. Taofik Gani, said the APC was making baseless accusations because it knew that its days were numbered in Lagos. Gani, who admitted that the taskforce officials were part of the PDP rally, said the task force had freedom of association and did nothing wrong by being at the rally.

Gani said, “The APC in Lagos is acting like a drowning man and they will be desperate to hold on to anything and we expect more blackmail as elections approach. I will not be categorical as to whether a group has sympathy for the PDP or not. However, we are surprised that the APC-led government in Lagos, which has the highest number of uniformed personnel, would make such accusations. They have LASTMA, KAI, Neighbourhood Watch, Boy’s Scouts, Man ‘O’ War and others. The task force did not carry banners at the rally. That they were at the rally does not mean they are PDP supporters. However, there is freedom of association as long as they are working within the confines of the law. We have been put on alert by the threat of the APC. We are, however, concerned that the APC is seeing the recruitment of unemployed youths into the taskforce as political. Why can’t they ever see anything good in government policy? It is an employment opportunity for our youths.”