UNarguably, the fulcrum of the country’s economic power, Lagos State which until recently was fully imagined as the enclave of the All Progressives Congress, APC is witnessing what could be its most competitive election since 1999.
The state has since 1999 been in the political grips of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who governed the state between 1999 and 2003 and subsequently bequeathed power to a handpicked successor in the person of his former chief of staff, Mr. Babatunde Fashola.
Though Tinubu’s alleged imposition at that time stressed his former party, the Action Congress, AC, but the outpouring was quickly contained and the party moved on to victory, triumphing over the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP’s Musiliu Obanikoro and Jimi Agbaje of the Democratic Peoples Allliance, DPA.
Agbaje was reputed to have made a fashionable campaign but without a solid structure he was shoved aside by the dominant AC and PDP.
Ahead of the 2015 elections, one crucial factor that shadowed the thinking of political stakeholders was the matter of religion.
Tinubu and his successor are both Muslims and with the trenchant call for a Christian to succeed Fashola, Tinubu was quick to move ahead of the agitation and picked the one time accountant general of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode to succeed Fashola.
The primary contest was keen and laced with many subterfuges as many of Tinubu’s disciples in his new political platform, All Progressives Congress, APC rebelled.
The contest for the party’s governorship ticket turned out to be a democratic exercise contrary to the imposition many supposed it would be. Tinubu and Ambode worked for their victory. Asiwaju as he is popularly called, worked the phones, cajoled and begged and had his way despite the last minute push by some core associates of Fashola to position Olasupo Sashore as the APC candidate.
At the end Fashola and even the long time governorship aspirant, Senator Ganiyu Solomon accepted Ambode and it is thus interesting that the APC is going into the election as a united body.
In the PDP, party leader, Chief Olabode George remarkably was on the same page with his perennial foe, Tinubu on religion and sought for a Christian candidate.
In his search he also reached a rapprochement with his former party rival, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe and the two were able to woo Agbaje the 2007, DPA candidate to cross over to the party.
But Obanikoro, himself a popular grassroots mobiliser who had left office as minister of state, defence to again seek the governorship was unyielding.
With the support of George and Ogunlewe, Agbaje got the ticket to Obanikoro’s fury.
Obanikoro’s fury turned into toxic condemnation of George who retaliated in Lagos boy fashion until outside party elders intervened leading to Obanikoro’s withdrawal of his court action and acceptance of Agbaje. The icing for Obanikoro, however, is his possible return to the cabinet as a full minister.
With the APC and PDP going into the election with near unanimity in their respective camps, the stage is thus set for an unprecedented political showdown in the nation’s economic power base.
Vanguard Nigeria News