As the All Progressives Congress (APC) holds its state congresses across the country tomorrow, Iniobong Iwok examines the aspirants who are in the race for Lagos State chairmanship position.
Although there were two parallel local government congresses held in the state, tomorrow will determine who indeed, replaces the out-going boss, Henry Ajomale. Below are some of the contenders.
Enilolobo is a seasoned grassroots politician, who is in control of the political terrain in Alimosho. He hails from Egbeda-Idimu Local Council Area of Lagos State and has been a close ally of the incumbent Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola. The Osun governor has been his political god-father and also the leader of the party in Alimosho, which used to be the biggest local government area in the state.
Enilolobo is currently an executive member and organising secretary of Lagos APC; he was formerly the youth leader of the party in the state and also heads the Mandate Group in the local government.
His interest in the chairmanship position did not come as a surprise, based on his large grassroots popularity. However, observers say that his alleged frosty relationship with Governor Akinwunmi Ambode may work against him. He is said to have recently spearheaded and ordered the council chairman to reject the secretary/supervisor list sent by the governor to the local council, saying that the council was not the governor’s territory.
Ologunde has been in the political terrain, especially in the camp of the progressives, since the Third Republic. He is a chieftain of the APC in the state and a close ally of the national women leader of the party, Kemi Nelson.
He was a former deputy spokesman of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the state and is currently Lagos West vice chairman. He is an astute administrator, writer and a gentleman.
Ologunde is said to have the backing and support of Kemi Nelson, who is said to be gathering her resources and lobbying relevant political leaders and stakeholders, including Bola Tinubu, the national leader of the party, for him to emerge the state chairman.
What may work in his favour is that he is conformist and loyalist to the core; however, he is seen as being ‘soft’; a politician who may not be able to galvanise the party through a tough political process next year.
Are has been a progressive for years; a former two-term Lagos Island Local Government Area chairman, he is a notable grassroots politician who has been a close associate of Tinubu for several years. Are is a loyal party man and believes in the party’s supremacy.
In the last four years, he has been a key ally of Governor Ambode and supports his administration’s programmes.
He was alleged to have hugely maneuvered the local government and ward congresses in the state in order to actualise his chairmanship ambition.
Are is a strong contender for the position, he is known to be a politician that can spring surprises, and is very popular among the leaders of the party in the state. Some observers say he may emerge as a consensus candidate.
Senator Ganiyu Solomon
Solomon elected into the state House of Assembly on the platform of the Democratic Party of Nigeria, (DPN) in 1998 but could not stay in the House due to the truncating of the political process by the late Sani Abacha.
He was also elected a former member of the House of Representatives in 2003 on the platform of Alliance for Democracy, (AD). He became a senator, representing Lagos West constituency in 2007 on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) replacing Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi.
Senator Solomon hails from a family that is politically inclined in Lagos, his father being a contemporary of Lateef Jakande.
He is a grassroots politician who has been in political saddles in the state for a long time.
He seems to be a unifying figure and understands the dynamics of Lagos politics. Pundits say that he is capable of leading the party to surmount the looming onslaught of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general election in the state.
Giving the current political permutations in the APC in the state, Solomon stands a good chance and most probably the best man for the position.
James Omolaja Odunmbaku
Odunmbaku is popular as referred to as Baba Eto in the political circles in the state, and is the current deputy chairman of APC in the state.
Perhaps, the APC chieftain is among the few men of God who is also into politics in the country, being a renowned prophet and evangelist. He is the founder and spiritual head of Soul Winner’s Ministry, Lagos.
For several years, he has been involved in the campaigns that brought many Lagos State governors into power.
He worked with Moshood Abiola and has been a close ally of Tinubu for several years now.
Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi
Afikuyomi has been in politics from the Third Republic era of the Social Democratic Party and National Republican Congress (NRC). He was a two-term senator, representing Lagos West in the upper legislative chamber having been elected in 1999 to 2007 on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy, (AD). He was also a former commissioner in the Babatunde Fashola administration who he contested the governorship ticket with but lost. He later defected to the All Nigeria People’s Party, (ANPP) and picked the governorship ticket but never campaigned and defected back to the AC and worked for the party in the election.
He was the head of the electoral organising committee in the last year’s local government election in the state. He has been a close ally of Tinubu for years and seems to be the man who would emerge as the state chairman, through a consensus arrangement by the party.
Ajose, a politician and public administrator, hails from Badagry in Lagos. He served as the head of service in Lagos State from 2004 to 2006 having been appointed by Tinubu into the position when he (Tinubu) was the governor of the state, retiring in 2006 when he reached the mandatory retirement age.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts, in Liberal Art and Science, majoring in Political Science from the University of Illinois United State and was also appointed as Tinubu as a special adviser.
Ajose is a strong contender for the position and may likely spring surprises tomorrow. Some observers say that he may be Tinubu’s man Friday.
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