By Samuel Ogundipe
The gubernatorial primary election of Lagos State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is now underway in downtown Lagos, following a fracas that earlier ensued when suspected political thugs engaged the police in a gun duel.
The event, which was scheduled to start from 10 a.m. at Yard 158, Oregun, finally kicked-off at 6 pm with apologies from the organisers.
As at the time of filling this update, all governorship hopefuls on the platform of the party have arrived at the venue.
The six candidates are Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, Mr. Babatunde Gbadamosi, Mr. Deji Doherty, Tokunbo Kamson and Modupe Chukwuneke.
Speaking with journalists following his arrival, Obanikoro said he’d not stepped down for any candidate despite rumour that emanated from unknown sources earlier in the day.
“I resigned as Minister for State (Defence). I am here and you all can see despite the rumours that they have spread into the public space. I am here and there is no doubt in my mind that we are going to participate and see this to a surgical end.”
In his own words, Gbadamosi said he would “resist any attempt to impose a candidate on the rest of the aspirants by the leadership of the party.”
Another candidate that fielded questions from journalists was Jimi Agbaje who said,
“If there’s any reason people believe in Jimi Agbaje, it’s because they can see what we stand for and they’re aware of our ideas.”
He also denied any attempt by party leaders to impose him, saying he’s in the race strictly by virtue of his antecedents.
The race is largely seen as a toss-up between Obanikoro, the immediate-past Minister of State for Defence, and Agbaje, the establishment favourite.
Earlier, journalists, delegates and political observers were kept outside the venue for several hours without any official statement from the organisers. This infuriated some individuals suspected to be political thugs who began to lob broken bottles at the policemen manning the entrance gate.
The police returned with life ammunition and tear gas, forcing journalists and by-standers to scamper for safety. At least 8 people were left wounded in the ensued fracas.