2023 Elections: AA Governorship Candidate Tope Balogun Finally Reveals Details of Key Meeting with Aregbesola

2023 Elections: AA Governorship Candidate Tope Balogun Finally Reveals Details of Key Meeting with Aregbesola

  • Tope AbdurRazaq Balogun, the Lagos state governorship candidate of the Action Alliance (AA), said the APC was not the only party that made overtures to him before the 2023 elections
  • Balogun stated that Rauf Aregbesola, the former minister of interior, approached the AA to see how the opposition could work for the APC
  • The AA governorship candidate in Lagos state also spoke on his political future after losing the 2023 election

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Ikeja, Lagos state - On the eve of the 2023 gubernatorial election in Lagos state, Tope AbdurRazaq Balogun, the candidate of the Action Alliance (AA), said he held a closed-door meeting with Rauf Aregbesola, the former minister of interior.

During the meeting, Aregbesola, a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and representatives of the AA, reportedly discussed the 2023 gubernatorial election in Lagos state.

Aregbesola/Tope Balogun/AA
Tope Balogun said although the APC lobbied his party, the AA, he took an uncompromising stance concerning the 2023 governorship election in Lagos state. Photo credit: @raufaregbesola
Source: Twitter

Recall that Aregbesola had emerged from isolation to mobilise support for Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, his party’s candidate.

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Pictures of the meeting between Balogun and Aregbesola went viral, especially as the minister claimed the APC had struck a deal with the AA candidate to step down for Sanwo-Olu.

Denial from the AA camp swiftly followed, but to date, the full details of the meeting were not made public.

Legit.ng exclusively spoke with Balogun on Thursday, May 18, and he shed light on what truly transpired.

He said:

“Just like every inter-party lobbying and negotiations during elections, the ruling party and some other opposition parties sent several high profile personalities to us for collaboration and working relationships.
"His Excellency, Rauf Aregbesola, the Minister of Interior also approached us to see how we can work for his political party where we discussed so much on why we have maintained the stand that we will not step down for the incumbent, citing how the journey on the ambition started as well as how much we have gone to get to that stage.

“He agreed with us on so many things as details of my past experiences as a foundation member of the APC from the CPC extraction were laid bare while we also looked at other factors too that had led us into the project of wishful winning of Lagos state for the masses.
“Like I said, we held meetings with several people of varying political interest and our interest was always at the forefront of all the discussions.”

Furthermore, Balogun stressed that Aregbesola was not the only high-profile politician from the ruling party that approached the AA for an alliance, stating that his party was consistent with their viewpoints.

Tope Balogun: What next after the loss in March?

Balogun, 40, is a first-timer when it comes to sub-national elections. Immediately after the election, he said he went into self-isolation to overcome the negative effect of post-election loss trauma and also to personally reinvent himself to be able to make a better political decision in the near future.

He also vowed not to quit the political scene anytime soon.

Hostilities in Lagos during 2023 election

Tensions ran high in Lagos during the last general elections as incidences of intimidation sparked tension between indigenes of the state, other Yorubas and the Igbo.

Southeasterners and south-southerners in some areas went into panic mode after the open display of disdain for them at several polling units across Lagos state.

Many ‘outsiders’ alleged that they were stopped from voting because of a purported agenda to 'take over' Lagos through the Labour Party flagbearer, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, who was repeatedly linked to secessionists.

For Balogun, the 2023 general election changed the perceptions of many pessimists and overconfident people.

His words:

“The situation gave credence to our own claim on our research result that gave us the strong belief that the ruling party was winnable. But like many political successes thrive on propaganda, the ruling party strategists came up with a narrative that profiled some tribes leading to sympathy as well as psychosocial blackmail of many.”

INEC’s conduct of 2023 elections

Meanwhile, a lot of opposition elements condemned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC’s) handling of the February and March elections, saying that the conduct of the polls failed to meet the expectations of Nigerians.

However, Balogun said on a general scale of assessment, INEC “tried”.

Nevertheless, he pointed out that in some areas, the commission disappointed some political parties, candidates and the electorate.

On areas INEC can improve on, going forward, the AA candidate said:

“The issue of total cancellation of votes where disruption happened should be looked into deeply as rescheduling of votes with better security arrangement should be the decision in places of such occurrence.
“They really improved when we compare to the previous elections and we hope they keep improving till we reduce the loopholes to a large extent.”

Atiku makes fresh claims against INEC at tribunal over Tinubu’s drug, dual citizenship offences

Meanwhile, Legit.ng earlier reported that the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 election, Abubakar Atiku, told the presidential election petition tribunal in Abuja that INEC cannot defend president-elect, Bola Tinubu's drug-peddling and dual citizenship allegations.

Atiku made this call on Friday, May 19, insisting that the electoral body has no legal rights to defend the president-elect on his eligibility and qualification as a candidate at the presidential polls.

Source: Legit.ng

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