Lagos is currently witnessing what could sum up to become a major political battle in the journey to the 2015 governorship election in the state, but the two major political parties, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), are undecided on the particular candidate to run on their tickets.
There have been speculations in the two major parties in the state, political stakeholders and possible candidates embarking on subtle campaigns. Both parties are also cleaning whatever mess could inhibit their chances of winning the much-coveted governorship seat of a state considered the commercial nerve centre of the country.
The APC, which was recently registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has begun re-launching the party in every ward and district within the state. This, the party members believe, will help to fortify the party and attract more members towards the 2015 elections into the governorship and House of Assembly seats in the state.
Crisis-ridden for a long time now, PDP has also been holding series of meetings in order to gather the required political might to take over the state and other states in the western part of the country. So far, sources with the party have told Huhuonline.com that there has been no endorsement of any candidate in any of the parties. However, it was learnt that PDP is not looking in the direction of Dr. Ade Dosunmu, its candidate in the 2011 governorship election in the state. Currently on the PDP platform are Ambassador Musiliu Obanikoro, a former Nigerian ambassador to Ghana, and Mr. Owolabi Salis, a practising lawyer and accountant.
Loyalists of Obanikoro in the party are latching on his antecedent, experience and popularity with the state. The former senator was a losing contestant against Governor Babatunde Fashola in 2007. But despite the loss, he has not stopped with programmes for the people of the state.
On the other hand, Barrister Owolabi Salis, who has always eyed the position, says he is well-prepared for the job on the strength of his solid educational background.
“Owolabi Salis is currently a Wall Street New York Attorney and Certified Public Accountant,” he wrote on his campaign website. “As an attorney, his work objective is to zealously create hope for the less-privileged within the bounds of the law. He has achieved great records in this objective.”
But PDP is seriously wooing Chief Jimi Agbaje, a notable pharmacist and former candidate of the governorship position on another platform. Though Abgaje lost the election, his popularity has anything but waned.
“Yes, we are currently seeing to it that we successfully get Agbaje to our party, then all other things would fall into place,” a PDP chieftain in Lagos told Huhuonline on Thursday. “There are other considerations, but we would cross the bridge when we reach it.”
In APC, Senator Ganiyu Solomon, a serving senator, declared his ambition last year. It was learnt that since the declaration, the senator has been going about various strategies to become the candidate of choice. Senator Solomon is well-loved by a section of Lagosians, but he is believed to be stubborn due his hardline handling of issue, which pitched him against the party sometime in the past.
Senator Gbenga Ashafa, another serving senator in his first term, has also declared interest, according to sources within the party. Before his election as senator, Ashafa spent eight years working for the local government before moving to the public sector, where he worked in the beverage industry. He later returned to the local government system and during his tenure there, he was part of Bola Tinubu’s gubernatorial campaign. He may however be confronted with a major challenge, as some people within the party have accused him of being a “sit-down-look” senator at the National Assembly.
About a month ago, it was reported that National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu had unofficially endorsed his former Aide De Camp and current Commissioner for Agriculture, Gbolahan Lawal to replace the incumbent governor. But some members of the party have denied the endorsement, saying Lawal, who had his way by being loyal to Tinubu, does not possess the clout, wisdom and knowledge required to govern a state like Lagos.
Immediate past Accountant-General of the state, Mr. Akin Ambode is also nursing the ambition of becoming governor of the state, just like former National Legal Adviser of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Dr. Muiz Banire.
Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji is believed to still be in the race, despite being hounded by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). His dilemma is widely believed to have resulted from his ambition to take over from Governor Fashola who had served just one term then.
According to sources, he was tipped for the seat by Tinubu who had a problem with Fashola prior to the 2011 election. He was used to fight the governor but was indicted later by the anti-graft agency, a legal battle that is believed to have humbled him.
Currently, citizens of the state are known to believe that Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat may be nominated when campaigns begin fully. He is seen to be a professional who has made significant contributions to the success of Babatunde Fashola’s administration.
A chieftain of the APC told Huhuonline.com that it may be difficult to just endorse anybody this time, as it would result in serious bad blood within the party. “Asiwaju and other party leaders are just watching and studying the situation,” he said. “At the right time, the right candidate would emerge naturally.”
Source: Huhu Online
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