By Dia Zamani
As the battle for the Alausa seat of government hots up, analysts and pundits are having a field day rationalizing over which candidate and what party will clinch the governorship seat at the end of the day.
The two major parties in contention – the PDP and APC – are going about picking their flagbearers quite differently. While Tinubu has more or less handpicked Akinwumi Ambode, the state’s Accountant-General during his tenure to lead the APC frontline, cabinet minister, Musuliu Obanikoro and grassroots campaigner, Jimi Agbaje are slugging it out to represent the PDP.
Many have written off Obanikoro’s chances of even securing the party’s ticket. This is primarily because Agbaje is the poster boy for grassroots politics in the state, having single-handedly built the machinery that is the DPA, across all of Lagos. It is so easy to forget that ‘Koro also knows how to handle the masses across all levels too; he has built a massive fan base from his days as LGA chairman, state commissioner to Ambassador, then now Minister. Also his son is currently an LGA chairman, mirroring his father’s successful and sustained rise to the top and packs his own set of loyalists who will definitely support the elder Obanikoro’s ambition.
Very few citizens remain politically relevant after serving the country as ambassadors or high commissioners but the case of Obanikoro follows a different pattern. His subsequent appointment as a minister is proof that President Goodluck Jonathan recognized there is still a lot for him to offer to the nation. As junior minister of defence, his visibility compared to Aliyu Gusau’s speaks volumes about a man committed to service delivery.
Another reason why Koro looks likely to win Lagos is that Agbaje is seen in many quarters as a Tinubu boy and APC mole who is a faux candidate that is looking to surrender the PDP reins if elected, to his real masters. Considering that Agbaje only just joined the PDP less than a year ago and has been seen fraternizing publicly with Jagaban in public on a number of occasions, the party delegates could decide to pitch their tents with an assuredly loyal party man instead.
Ambode, the man who is being imposed upon the APC faithful, is a technocrat like Fashola and the general perception is that he will hand the state treasury over to Tinubu and like his predecessor, implement anti-poor people policies. From the inconsiderate hike in fees at the state university to the partial ban on commercial motorcycling, the elitist nature of the APC is resonating with a loud bang all over the city-state. A combination of all this makes voting in Koro such a juicy deal.
At the recent Unity rally in Lagos, his supporters turned out in their hundreds to welcome President Jonathan and their man to Lagos, filling every available space at the venue of the rally and effectively convincing visitors that the other PDP aspirants are no match for their principal. The colorfulness and creativity of their flamboyant attires was a sight to behold and seems to be an atomization of the general atmospheric attitude pervading all of Lagos.
He may have lost Lagos in 2003 but 2015 seems to be the year of Musuliu Obanikoro.
Dia Zamani is the Opinion Editor at NewsWireNGR
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