Some facts have emerged as to how two aides of Alhaji Tunde Balogun, the Chairman of Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), used his name to fraudulently collect money from some chairmanship and councillorship aspirants, with the promise to slot their names into the final list of the party.
A copy of a petition addressed to the national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, which was made available to our Correspondent by some of the affected aspirants, revealed how a large number of them (the aspirants), were deceived into believing that the state party chairman was willing to insert names of any aspirant who was ready to part away with large sums of money.
As it was gathered by our Correspondent, the letter was written to Tinubu before the controversial primaries were conducted on Saturday May 29, 2021.
The aspirants, who pleaded anonymity for fear of persecution within the party, disclosed that some of them parted away with as much as N3million.
The letter, which was titled, “Petition Regarding Extortion of Aspirants and System Abuse At the Lagos APC Secretariat”, also revealed how some aspirants parted away with huge amount of money but later discovered that they were deceived.
The letter, which was jointly signed by concerned APC stakeholders, majority of whom fell victims of the said defraudment, accused one Mr. Yekini Yusuff also known as Miliki, who is a special adviser to Alhaji Balogun and one Mr. Gbolahan Adepegba who is Personal Assitant to the state chairman of allegedly using the party’s chairman name to collect money from the aspirants.
Part of the letter reads: “We are compelled to forward this petition to His Excellency, the National Leader of our great party; All Progressive Congress (APC) regarding extortion of aspirants and system abuse at the Lagos State Secretariat.
“We are deeply concerned by the activities of some party staff and their cronies who are exploiting vantage positions and privileges at the Lagos State Secretariat of our great party; the All Progressives Congress (APC) to make unreasonable monetary demands on aspirants in the guise of rendering assistance to secure candidatures of the party.
“It is disturbing to note that the practice has become habitual for these privileged staff at Lagos APC Secretariat who in league with their cronies unduly demand financial inducements from aspirants during the process leading to primaries for selection of candidates for election by the APC.
“It is regrettable that this unwholesome habitual practice is again rearing its ugly head at the Lagos State Secretariat as our party is set to begin the formal process of selecting candidates for the forthcoming Local Government Election.
“We are worried because this practice is not only inimical to the genuine aspirations of loyal party stalwarts but constitutes huge threats to trust, loyalty and harmony within the party ahead of future engagements.
“We are therefore, by this petition, requesting that the National Leader of our party should take decisive steps to curtail the ugly trend, which presently casts huge aspersion on the leadership of the party in Lagos State.
“We would appreciate if the National Leader could draw the attention of the State Chairman to the nefarious activities of Mr. Yekini Yusuff aka Miliki and Mr. Gbolahan Adepegba in this regard with the view to correcting prevailing wrong impression against the leadership of the party.
“The intervention of His Excellency the National Leader of party has become expedient at this juncture to protect the image of state leadership of the party that may not even be aware of the organised extortion which is bound to impair due process of candidate selection on the basis of loyalty, grassroots acceptance and competence to deliver dividends of democracy in line with the goals and vision of All Progressives Congress (APC).”
The petitioners, however stated that they have absolute faith in the intervention and decision of the National Leader of APC, adding that they would therefore expect that the reprehensible practice of extortion and system abuse will stop henceforth.