When Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu returned to the country last week, it was to ensure that his anointed candidate Akinwumi Ambode’s electoral wheel is set into operation. Ambode, a former Accountant-General of Lagos State is a major contender in the governorship race in the State. Other contenders on the platform of the APC are the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, former Commissioner for Education in the State, Dr. Leke Pitan, the current Commissioner for Works, Obafemi Hamzat, a Senator in the State, Ganiyu Olarenwaju Solomon, and a former Commissioner for Rural Development, Tola Kasali.
There should have been no problem on the path of Ambode’s emergence except for the fact that Incumbent Governor Babatunde Fashola supports the ambition of his commissioner for works, Obafemi Hamzat instead. The battle for 2015 has therefore taken a new dimension with many seeing it as a straight battle between Fashola and Tinubu. The other aspirants believe that the clash between the two top politicians in the state would pave way for one of them.
According to their calculation, as analysed by an aide to one of the contenders, they believe that when the clash becomes intense, APC would want to wade in by making sure candidates of the duo step down from the race.
“This would afford my boss and the others to be thrown up in the race,” the source close to Ikuforiji said to hubonline, expressing belief that his boss stands a better chance to be picked by the party in spite of allegation of misappropriation of fund against him by the nation’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
True, Hamzat, whose father is the current king of Ewekoro in Ogun State, was brought to Nigeria by Tinubu to support the development of Lagos. Apart from this, party members say Hamzat in government was to compensate his father for supporting Tinubu. Party members said that prior to 1999, Alhaji Mufutau Olatunji Hamzat, the Oba of Ewekoro, was in charge of the political structure in Lagos State which helped Tinubu become governor of the state. He was then the godfather of Lagos opposition politics.
However, as he finally moved over to Ogun State, he handed the structure over to Tinubu thus making Tinubu the new leader. Tinubu thereafter expanded his political horizon and brought Femi Hamzat, the brilliant son of the Oba, to become the state’s commissioner for works.
It was learnt that Fashola soon got close to Hamzat who became a kitchen cabinet member of the governor. His intelligence and ideas have helped the governor to succeed.Fashola is also impressed with the road projects constructed by Hamzat have always been adjudged some of the best roads ever constructed in state and thus believes more in him to continue from where he stops. Tinubu , on the other hand, prefers a candidate who would be loyal to him and not one whose loyalty could be to Fashola.
Another aspect on the road to the election in the State is the clamour against imposition of candidates by some members of the APC. There had been many protests by APC members who say there must be free and fair primaries to pick the party’s candidates for the different positions.
Chairman of the party in the state, Henry Ajomale, attested to the clamour when he attacked those opposed to imposition as hypocrites recently at an event in Epe.
In the statement where political watchers believe he was referring to Fashola, Ajomale said all those saying no to imposition should remember that they were imposed on others just to get to where they are currently. He therefore warned members against carrying out activities that could endanger the chances of the party in 2015.
“As the underground campaigns have started and the day is drawing close, how we resolve this looming crisis in the party would determine how we would succeed in the election. Remember the PDP is only waiting for our flaws to harp on,” a top party member said.