A cross section of youths, entertainment impresarios, contractors and artisans in Lagos State, Nigeria, have kicked against the plans to adopt the current Lagos State Commissioner for Finance, Ayo Gbeleyi, as the gubernatorial candidate for the All Progressive Congress (APC), in the next 2015 election.
The aggrieved Lagosians, especially contractors, decried the spate at which agents of the Commissioner demand and collect bribe on awarded contracts and commissioned projects around the state.
They alleged that Gbeleyi's agents demand kickbacks between 10 and 20 per cent on every project, all in an effort to enrich himself to prosecute his gubernatorial ambition. He is also accused by the Ministries Department and Agencies, (MDAs), of stifling them of funds.
Checks revealed not less than N8 billion must have been stashed away by the Commissioner. Other sources hinted about five of his mistresses have been engaged to keep funds for him. The contractors’ and staffers of the MDAs lamented that if the Finance Commissioner is adopted and given the ticket, his governorship will rubbish all the social infrastructures and lofty projects that have enjoyed critical acclaim and credited to successive administrations in the state.
The contractors’ complaint is coming on the heels of a statement issued by a youth organisation under the aegis of Awori Youths United, (AYU), condemning moves to adopt the Commissioner as a candidate for the next gubernatorial election in 2015.
The group, in a press statement released on Tuesday and signed by its National President, Hakeem Salako, said, any attempt to adopt any non-Awori candidate in Lagos is undemocratic and against the tenets of democracy.
The group condemned the infiltration of non-indigenes of Lagos contesting what it described as ‘exalted and sensitive positions’ in the state against numerous qualified citizens of the state.
“We are not oblivious of moves to adopt Ayo Gbeleyi as the candidate for the next governorship election in Lagos State. We are not happy about this and we condemn it totally.
“From our investigations, Ayo Gbeleyi is not from Lagos; he is from Igbesa in Ogun State. He has done enough in Lagos; he should take his service to his state of origin. We have more and equally qualified Lagos citizens for the exalted office.
“The group doubted the sincerity of those who are clamouring for the adoption of Gbeleyi as APC's candidate in the state, considering several qualified candidates among Aworis in the state.”
The group advised that the party should conduct a free and fair primary election to determine a true and popular candidate.
“It is only a transparent primary election that can determine a popular candidate for that post and if this is not done, the newly formed APC that is enjoying the sympathy of all and expected to fight for the cause of the common man, may lose its credibility.”