The Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Tuesday banned members who had spent a minimum of eight years as ward, council and state executive members from seeking re-election in its May congresses.
The National Leader of the party, Bola Tinubu, announced the ban in Ikeja while addressing party members at a stakeholders meeting.
He said the decision was to allow fresh people to occupy party offices at ward, local government and state levels with a view to taking the APC to the next level in the state.
The national leadership of the party had recently fixed May 2, 5, 9 and 14 for ward, local government, state and national congresses respectively.
The decision of the party to allow congresses followed appeals by President Muhammadu Buhari who had opposed the approval of tenure elongation for party executives at all levels.
With Tuesday’s pronouncement by Mr Tinubu, the chairman of the party in the state, Henry Ajomale, who had led the chapter for a very long period, will be unable to seek re-election.
Mr Tinubu said at the meeting: “We fought hard against tenure elongation, and now we are going to have our congresses.
“Some of you who have spent two, three, four terms as ward, local government and state executive members, it is time to go.
“We thank you, we appreciate you. But we want you to step aside. It is time for those who have been crawling for years to walk. It is time for the youths to take over.
“I mean if you have spent eight years, twelve years, you have tried. You should give us chance, let us now have new people.”
Mr Tinubu, however, said party executive members who had only spent one term were free to seek re-election, provided they did not have records of misconduct in office.
The APC leader, however, commended the affected long-serving officers of the party, saying they contributed immensely to the successes of the party in the state.
Mr Tinubu said arrangements were in top gear to conduct congresses at all levels in the state, and expressed the optimism that they would be successful.
He warned party members to abstain from violence before, during and after the congresses, saying any act of irregularities would be sanctioned by the party.
Mr Tinubu advised party members against infighting, urging them to learn to live in peace with one another for the progress of the party.
On the divisions among party members in Alimosho and Surulere areas over some issues, Mr Tinubu sued for peace, urging aggrieved members to channel their complaints to the secretariat of the party in the state for appropriate actions.
He, however, said it was wrong and premature for any member or groups to disagree over choice of candidates for the next election.
“We shouldn’t be talking of who and who should be the candidate for a particular position for the general election.
“We are at the congress stage, we have not even done the primary, so disagreements over candidate choice for the election should not arise,” he said.
He congratulated the National Convention Committee on their inauguration on Monday, expressing optimism that the committee would conduct a free and fair convention.
The party chieftain said the committee members, headed by Jigawa State governor, Mohammed Badaru, were people of character and he expected nothing less from them.
Mr Tinubu thanked party members for staying with him on his last birthday, saying he was honoured by their support.
He particularly thanked President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo,and Minister of Power and Housing, Babatunde Fashola for attending his birthday.
Reacting, Mr Ajomale described the decision to ban long-serving party officers as a welcome development.
He said the decision would allow young blood to take over the party leadership at all levels in the state.
The party chairman said he was fulfilled having piloted the affairs of the party to several electoral victories in the state.
“It is a good decision that people who have been in the executive for more than eight years should quit.
“I mean, if you have spent more than eight years as party executive, you should have done whatever you need to do.
“People like us have been around since the AD days to now that we are APC, so it is time to move on. I am fulfilled, as I have done my best for the party,” he said.
Mr Ajomale said he had no fear about who would take over from him, as there were many competent people in the party who could take it to greater heights.