Mr Wale Oluwo, the Lagos State Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, has resigned his appointment and quit the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Oluwo made the announcement in a letter dated December 3 and delivered to the party’s secretariat on Wednesday.
In the letter addressed to the APC Chairman in the state, the former commissioner said the outcome of the party’s primaries held in October informed his decision to abandon the party.
He alleged that the exercise was characterised by disenfranchisement, undue influence, violence, and intimidation among other activities that violated the Electoral Act 2010(as amended).
“My decision to resign is not unconnected with the events of the last few weeks, which have created a heavy moral burden on me.
“I have found it rather difficult to come to terms or rationalise the party’s conduct of the October primary elections, which were largely characterised by massive voter disenfranchisement, intimidation, and non-compliance with all known principles of democracy,” he said.
Oluwo said that the manner in which the governorship primaries was conducted had diminished the reputation of the state as a reference point for free and fair election.
Recall that the state party primaries saw the incumbent governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode losing the nomination ticket for re-election to Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Shedding more light on his action on Wednesday, Oluwo said that he would, in a few days, join the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to support Mr Jimi Agbaje, the party’s governorship candidate.
The former commissioner said his resignation from Ambode’s cabinet and the APC was owing to what he called poor internal democracy in the party.
“Yes, I have quit the cabinet of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and have even written to the APC to notify the party of my exit.
“I am quitting the APC because of the poor internal democracy in the party.The last primaries party which was characterised by imposition, violence and intimidation attested to the fact that APC does not follow democratic ideals.
“In the particular case of the gubernatorial primary,the open ballot system was used in contravention of the party guidelines which prescribes the open secret ballot.
“I can no longer remain in a party where merit, competence and passion are sacrificed at the altar of political expediency. And I think it is my right of freedom to quit to join the party of my choice.
“I will in a few days be joining the PDP to support Mr Jimi Agbaje. That is my choice and destination,” he said.
Oluwo, a close ally of Ambode, said the governor was not happy about his leaving his cabinet and even did a lot to persuade him to stay in APC when he notified him.
He said he had to avoid the governor to the extent of not picking his calls so as not to make it difficult for him to finally quit the APC.
Oluwo thanked Ambode and APC for the opportunity to serve, saying his exit was inevitable.
Reacting, Assistant Publicity of APC in the state, Mr Abiodun Salami, said it was the right of the commissioner to quit and join the party of his choice.
He, however, said that the excuse that he was leaving because of the way the party conducted the primaries in October was not defensible.
Salami argued that Oluwo was wrong to have claimed that the use of the open ballot in the primaries was unconstitutional, saying the party guidelines provided for both open and open secret system.
“Well, we can only say it is his right to leave the party; it is his decision.
“But what we find shocking is the reason he gave for leaving. The claim that there is no internal democracy in the party and that the open ballot was used in the last primaries instead of open secret.
“I think the commissioner is ignorant of the party’s constitution. He probably did not know that the constitution of the party provides for both the open and secret system.
“That he is leaving because results did not go in the way he expected shows that he is not a democrat. I am not sure he is even a card-carrying member of the party because we didn’t bring him into government.
“He is going to where he truly belongs, PDP, the conservative party where things are done as they please. He should leave the APC in peace and stop the blackmail,” he said.