By Dipo Alaje
Of the six Southwest States in Nigeria, governors would be elected in only three states. The elections holds on March 9 . The states are Lagos, Oyo and Ogun. Two states, Ekiti and Osun held their election last year while Ondo State election would not be due until another two years
Intrigues played out in the political circles in Ogun, Oyo and Lagos States leading to the emergence of Christians as frontline candidates. It is expected that these would lead them to the government house of their various states.
Interestingly, about this time last year, none of these candidates would have ever believed that they would be in a vantage position to become the number one citizen of their respective States.
While a number of people have heard about these candidates, many Christians don’t have the details of their personality. It is therefore pertinent to highlight a few things about them.
- Prince Dapo Abiodun
He is the Chief Executive Officer of Heyden Petroleum Ltd. He forayed into politics by contesting for one of the senatorial tickets in Ogun State in the last political dispensation. He was said to have been encouraged by Governor Ibikunle Amosun who is believed to be his close friend. He however lost the election to Senator Buruji Kashamu of the People’s Democratic Party. Since then he remained a loyal party man.
When the contest for the APC ticket began, he was said to have supported Senator Solomon Olamilekan’s aspiration but when the Senator changed his mind and went back to re-contest in Lagos State, Prince Dapo Abiodun threw his hat into the ring with a strong determination to run in the race.
Many people were however not aware of his aspiration until he emerged as the candidate of APC against all political analysis and permutations. His emergence has been linked to the support of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and a former Governor of Ogun State, Chief Segun Osoba. The combined efforts of these men is believed to have given Prince Dapo Abiodun an easy ride to securing the party’s ticket to run in the race to the Oke- Mosan Governor’s office of Ogun State.
Why he may become Ogun State Governor
Prince Dapo Abiodun has since become a rallying point for many people that have been taken aback by the incumbent Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun
The Director General of his campaign organization was the same person that spearheaded Governor Amosun”s campaign in the 2015 elections. Invariably all strategies used to bring Governor Amosun into office may now be used against him.
The major campaign weapon that is however being used against Prince Dapo Abiodun is that of rotation. It is believed that the next Governor ought to come from Ogun West. Ironically, this may be to his advantage because virtually all other major candidates are from Ogun west and they may end up dividing the votes amongst themselves, while Prince Dapo Abiodun who has reportedly gotten the endorsement of the Awujale of Ijebu Land is likely to get a bulk vote from the Ijebu Axis.
Tolu Odebiyi, Governor Amosun’s immediate past chief of staff is the APC Senatorial candidate for Ogun West. He is a man of amazing network and net worth. He has a very rich political family background. He is perhaps would be the GAME CHANGER that would swing victory in favour of Dapo Abiodun in Ogun West.
Ogun State is also predominantly a civil servants State and Governor Amosun is not in the good books of civil servants in the State because of unremitted deductions made from their salaries and unpaid pension of retirees. To make things worse, the Labour Union Leader of Ogun State was sacked by Governor Amosun. Meanwhile, Prince Dapo Abiodun has succeeded in wooing the man to his camp. The workers feel it is payback period for Governor Amosun by not supporting his candidate.
Religion is a factor that has become predominant in Nigeria’s politics. Amongst all the frontline candidates, Dapo Abiodun is the only Christian. He is a member of the RCCG and belongs to a Province in Victoria Island, Lagos, where Ben Akabueze, serves as Pastor.
Recently, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria’s highest Christian political office holder stood on the rooftop of a moving motorcade side by side with Prince Dapo Abiodun on a campaign train. It is believed that the campaign would go a long way to sway the votes in favour of Abiodun.
Politics in Nigeria is very expensive and needs a lot of money. Funding is believed to be the least problem of Prince Dapo Abiodun’s Campaign Organization because he has an amazing war chest and is believed to be solely funding his campaign.
Governor Amosun is believed to have gone overboard with his recalcitrant posture and regard for the wish of the people. It is very unlikely that his candidate would make a good showing at the polls
Barring any unforeseen circumstance, Prince Dapo Abiodun is likely to emerge the next Executive Governor of Ogun State.
- Babajide Sanwo Olu
He entered the Lagos State political space when he was appointed as the Special Adviser to the then Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Femi Pedro who happened to be his boss at First Inland Bank. Subsequently, he became one of the Special Advisers to Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Babajide Sanwo Olu traversed three different Ministries in Lagos State working as Commissioner under Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Babatunde Raji Fashola.
When Ambode became governor, Sanwoolu became the Managing Director of LSDPC. Some schools of thought believe that the experience he acquired serving under three distinguished Governors would count for him if he eventually emerges as the Governor of Lagos State.
Will Sanwoolu emerge Governor?
While other States could not manage the crisis that emerged after the various primaries that produced gubernatorial candidates. Lagos State post primary crisis was effectively managed and the incumbent governor who lost to Babajide Sanwoolu did not only congratulate him, but also campaigned for him.
His choice of Dr. Hamzat as running mate is also believed to be another strategic political move. Dr. Hamzat is believed to be Babatunde Raji Fashola’s nominee. What this means is that there would be a combined support of both Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Babatunde Raji Fashola for Sanwoolu’s election.
Since the return to Democracy in 1999, Lagos has been under the progressives and an amazing political structure has been built over the years. It is this structure that would serve as a platform for an electoral victory.
The greatest revelation of Sanwoolu’s candidacy is his membership of Mountain of Fire and Miracles, MFM. He is also believed to be a regular face in the Anglican Church. The church is seen as a place where people that love fervent prayers find solace.
His campaign strategy has also been unique because he has embarked upon engaging strategic stakeholders in the state on individual basis.
Except something unusual happens Babajide Sanwoolu may emerge the next Governor of Lagos state.
And then Jimi Agbaje
In 2007 Jimi Agbaje was of the front line contenders for the gubernatorial tickets of Action Congress (AC) if he had won the primaries, he would have emerged the first Christian democratically elected governor of Lagos in the state since 1999 when democracy was revived. But the then party leaders preferred Babatunde Raji Fashola.
Convinced about what he wanted Jimi Agbaje left the then Action Congress to join a new and relatively unknown party, Democratic People’s Alliance (DPA). He became the party’s gubernatorial candidate and ran one of the most robust and issue based campaign in the political history of Lagos State.
When the result of the election was released, he came third after the candidates of the then Action Congress that had the backing of the incumbent governor and the candidate of Peoples Democratic Party that had the backing of the Federal Government. Analysts were of the opinion that in reality, Jimi Agbaje actually won the 2007 gubernatorial election. They were relying on various public opinion polls which emanated from the governorship debates conducted in various electronic media. If the election was based on the opinion on many electorates in Lagos, Jimi Agbaje would have emerged the governor of Lagos State……
Although he lost the elections in 2007, Olujimi Kolawole Agbaje won the hearts of many Lagos State electorates. Many people that erroneously thought that his defeat would be the end for him politically were latter to realise that it was actually a bend that unveiled one of the best political brands that could emerged from Lagos State.
In 2011, Jimi Agbaje did not contest for the Lagos State Gubernatorial election. But by 2014, the ruling party PDP realised that they needed to WIN Lagos State if the party must continue to have any relevance. After much consultation, it was concluded that the only person that could turn the tide in their favour was Jimi Agbaje. He was offered the gubernatorial ticket almost on a platter of gold…..
He again ran an issue based campaign and got himself endeared to the heart of Lagos Electorates. When the result were released, he came second, but the margin of victory was believed to be the slimmest in the history of gubernatorial contest of Lagos State. Again, political analysts concluded that he may have won the contest if it was a merit based one.
If winning election was based on logic or progression of a candidate’s position in previous contest, it could be concluded that since Jimi Agbaje came 3rd in the 2007 election and 2nd in 2015, he would probably emerge the winner in 2019.
A number of indices are in support of the aforementioned, the first is that Lagos electorates are tired and wary of Baba sope politics otherwise known as the politics of Godfatherism where their governors were being chosen for them by an individual
The President, His Excellency Mohammed Buhari being a beneficiary of a perceived free and fair election has promised to abide by the rule of the game……
The current chairman of INEC is eager to prove a point that Professor Attaihiru Jega’s achievements can be surpassed and is putting measures in place that would make rigging practically impossible……
A summation of the aforementioned factors in addition to the unconfirmed human assumption in many quarters may make Jimi Kolawole Agbaje the next executive governor of Lagos State. Will that be a reality? Only time will tell
Engineer Oluseyi Makinde
Seyi Makinde is the gubernatorial candidate of the People’s Democratic Party in Oyo State.
Prior to his going into politics, he was in private practice and made a resounding success of his enterprise. He was also a philanthropist touching and impacting lives in his own little way.
Many people are of the opinion that he had a long term plan to eventually become the governor of Oyo state.
What perhaps endeared people to Engineer Seyi Makinde is the fact that he is seen as being independent and does not depend on any Godfather.
The ruling party in Oyo State is All Progressive Congress. What this means is that it would be an uphill task for him to emerge Governor of Oyo State.
But the following factors may work in his favour.
In the last two gubernatorial election in Oyo state, the margin of victory have always been very slim. The gladiators in the politics of Oyo State are the past governors of the state led by the incumbent, Isiaka Ajumobi, Taofeek Ladoja and Adebayo Alao-Akala. The three of them are deeply involved in the current gubernatorial election.
Akala himself is contesting while Ajimobi and Ladoja are sponsoring different candidates. Ajimobi would have been in a vantage position to install a successor but for the better part of his tenure in office, he was always at loggerheads with the civil servants in the state.
Meanwhile, Oyo State is a predominantly civil servants state and they are likely going to vote massively against the APC candidate, who is believed to be a stooge of Governor Ajimobi.
Former Governor Rasheed Ladoja has over time lost relevance in the political scheme of things in Oyo State. The fragment of influence that he still has in Oyo State may not be strong enough to swing victory in the favour of his candidate.
Alao Akala is perceived to be a sectional leader because most of his support base is in Ogbomosho axis of Oyo State. This may not be enough for him to win the governorship election.
As a past governor, people are of the opinion that most project he executed were substandard and only served as a conduit for siphoning states fund.
Beyond that however age and exposure factor are not in his favour.
Why Engineer Seyi Makinde may emerge winner….
Atiku Abubakar of the PDP has ensured massive building of political structures across the length and breadth of Oyo State. Engineer Makinde is expected to consolidate on the impact that was made in the presidential election which saw the PDP winning the state.
Votes in Oyo State are likely to be shared amongst the perceived gladiators while Seyi Makinde who seems to have age on his side and have built political structures across the state having contested a number of times for the governorship position may take advantage of the divided votes and possibly coasts to victory with a very small margin.
Makinde is also the only viable front line Christian candidate amongst the top contenders. He is likely to get sentimental support from the Christian fold while other contenders split the Muslim votes.
His best kept success secret is believed to be his PRAYING WIFE who is a member of RCCG. With adequate prayers and planning Engineer. Oluseyi Makinde may emerge Governor of Oyo State