Fashola retains Lagos gubernatorial choice for April election as he remains unopposed
Governor Babatunde Fashola was elected unopposed in the primary election of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Lagos Chapter, on Thursday.
However, twenty-nine lawmakers, including two senators, fifteen House of Representative members, and twelve House of Assembly members fought a lost battle to retain their seats. Ganiyu Solomon (Senator representing Lagos West), eight House of representative members, and twenty-five House of Assembly members succeeded in retaining their candidacy. The unexpected twist is brewing different measures of aggravation among party supporters, especially the loyalists of those who lost their seats.
A major allegation against the party is its practice of candidate imposition and contrary to the expectation of the party’s supporters, who have been advocating for internal democracy, allegations of candidate imposition still persisted. For the senatorial seats, two senators, Mamora Olorunimbe (Lagos East) and Muniru Muse (Lagos Central), withdrew from the contest, while Gbenga Ashafa, the Permanent Secretary of the state’s Lands Bureau, and Aderemi Tinubu, wife of the party’s foremost leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, respectively picked up the two slots.
Another intrigue was the emergence of the current Speaker of the House of Assembly, Adeyemi ikuforiji, who represented Epe I during previous two terms, as a candidate of Ikeja constituency I, replacing Babatunde Ogala.
There were speculations leading up to the primary elections that all the pro-Fashola lawmakers, chief of which is Mr Ogala, will not be returned to the House. Others affected lawmakers are Adekunle Ademoye, Sadiq Abayomi, Ayoola Ahmed, Adelabu Onibiyo, etc.
The party’s favourable disposition towards gender balance also regressed a bit as the two female representatives from Amuwo-Odofin, Bola Badmus-Olujobi, the Deputy Speaker, and Risikat Adeniyi-Adegeye, also failed to retain their seats.
The governorship congress was a stark contrast of the legislative congress, which was devoid of any crowd control measure.
Unlike the case of the gubernatorial contest, which was concluded in the afternoon and recorded an excellent crowd control measure, voting, in the latter, did not start until late in the evening. The legislative congress also featured another drama in that all members of Mr Fashola’s cabinet, who sought federal constituencies, lost out. Some of them are Commissioner for Rural Development, Lanre Balogun; Special Adviser on Central Business District, Oyinlomo Danmole; and Special Adviser on Rural Development, Paul Kalejaiye.
A new horizon
In his acceptance speech, Mr Fashola thanked the party’s leaders for the trust reposed in him. While promising to take Lagos to a new horizon that has not been seen before in the state, he said the mandate “will commit him to keeping promises made to the electorate to improve quality of lives.” “In accepting it therefore, I assure you that Lagos has not seen anything yet,” he said. “I will work with our entire candidate going through every corner to renew our commitment.”
He however, blamed the federal government for having to organise voters register for every general elections, which is needless if the country has a functional national identity management system. “The PDP-led federal government must explain to Nigerians what happened to the registration of the last national ID cards project and the conducted national population census,” he said. “They must also explain to Nigerians why we must conduct voter registration every four years of election. If we have a reliable census figure, we will not have gone through this suffering, and school closure.”