Despite the violence which erupted at the Lagos All Progressive Congress rally on Tuesday, the Chairman of the party, Tunde Balogun had described the event as “very successful.”
He wondered why some groups who had scores to settle would use the occasion as their battle field.
Naija News reported that a leader of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Mc Oluomo, was stabbed, three reporters were injured, while two people, whose identities are yet to be disclosed were feared killed after hoodlums, said to be members of the NURTW, invaded the Skypower Ground Ikeja venue of the campaign with guns, daggers and other dangerous weapons.
However Balogun in a chat with some newsmen last night said, “We had a very successful outing but some people decided to use the venue of our rally to settle scores. We know nothing about the disruption.”
He apologised to the media organisations whose reporters were injured.
State party spokesman, Joe Igbokwe, described the gathering as “unprecedented” in the history of Lagos politics.
“We only have our teeming supporters and the leadership of the party in the state to thank for displaying absolute trust, loyalty, commitment and affection for the party they have cherished for years and still continue to cherish till date.
“His Excellency and our own Governor Akinwunmi Ambode was on ground to boost the morale of the party and its candidates. We all witnessed an electrifying moment as the governor and the candidates drove in together to the venue.
“Some 63 chairmen of other political parties in the state added beauty and glamour to the great event by coming out en masse to endorse the candidates of APC, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Obafemi Hamzat.
“However, we regret that towards the end of the rally two factions of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) engaged themselves in a brawl that led to some people sustaining various injuries. We deeply regret this ugly and unacceptable rude behaviour with a firm promise that such an incident will not repeat itself again in the cause of the campaigns.”
The party leaders took turns to address the crowd of supporters at the venue where no fewer than 63 political parties under the aegis of the Coalition of Progressive Parties in Lagos endorsed the Sanwo-Olu/Hamzat ticket.
The crowd was massive. Brooms filled the air. On the band stand was ace musician Wasiu Ayinde, who thrilled the crowd with partisan songs. The party’s candidates were accompanied by their supporters.
In another development, the leader of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Col. Folorunso Ibrahim (retd) and former Lagos State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) deputy chairman, Ola Apena defected to the APC during Tuesday’s disrupted rally.
Receiving the party flag from Balogun, Apena, who described himself as a foundation member of the PDP and deputy chairman for six years, lamented that he was in a wrong party.
He said he defected to the ruling party to contribute his quota to the APC’s victory at the polls.
The Accord leader, Otunba Fatukasi, who led the 63 opposition parties to the rally, said the opposition leaders resolved to work for Sanwo-Olu in the interest of Lagos.
He said: “We members of the opposition are behind Sanwo-Olu. We will support him. We will use the powers given to us by God to work for Sanwo-Olu across the 57 councils. On November 8, last year, 45 political parties endorsed Sanwo-Olu. But, today, from 45, we have risen to 63.”
Hailing the defectors for taking the right decision, Balogun said it was unprecedented.
Adefuye in his speech urged party members, particularly from Lagos West, to learn from the 2015 experience when the opposition defeated the APC during the parliamentary polls.
He said: “In the last elections, we lost in in the House of Representatives. That should not happen again. By this time in March, we will gather to rejoice over our victory.”
In his remark, Basorun called for unity and cohesion, urging aggrieved members to bury their grievances and differences. He enjoined them to return home and work for the success of the candidates at the polls.
Rasak, Balogun of Epe, advised Lagosians to vote wisely, stressing that the return of the PDP to power will be a disaster.
He said: “For 16 years, Atiku’s party, the PDP did nothing for Nigerians. Don’t vote for thieves.”
Balogun added: “The progressives have turned Lagos around. Through solid financial engineering initiated by Asiwaju Tinubu, Lagos from a partly N600 million has moved to N36 billion monthly. Lagos has become a mega city. Asiwaju Tinubu and Babatunde Fashola have done well to Lagos.
“On May 29, Sanwo-Olu will continue to deliver dividends of democracy. Sanwo-Olu is qualified. He has experience. There are many parties. Vote for APC after sighting the broom on the ballot paper, using the index finger. Vote for Osinnowo in the West, Oluremi Tinubu in the Central and Olamilekan Adeola in the West