By Dipo Alaje
Associate Editor (Special project)
Of the 6 states that make up the Southwestern part of Nigeria there would be no election in three States in 2019. These states are Osun, Ekiti and Ondo. Two of them had their election recently and the third would not be due until 2021.
In the remaining three states of Lagos, Oyo and Ogun where elections would be holding, Christians are the front line candidates.
By this time last year none of these candidates would have known that they would emerge as the candidates of their various parties.
Some people say it is coincidence, but this statement is not operative in the Christendom. We like to call it divine arrangement. However, this cannot be done until they all emerge winners in the main election that comes up in May 2019, then we can ascribe the word Divine to their emergence.
These aspirants are Babajide Sanwoolu of the APC, Jimi Agbaje of PDP, Dapo Abiodun of APC and and Bayo Adelabu of PDP. As at the time of writing this only Lagos state seem so certain of fielding Jide Sanwoolu and Jimi Agbaje as APC and PDP candidates respectively. The APC finally picked Dapo Abiodun as its candidates in Ogun State. This may distort the equation in the political climate in Ogun State.
Church Times has however decided to unveil the Lagos Candidates of PDP and APC, how they emerge as candidates of their various Parties and ultimately, their chances of becoming the next governor of Lagos State.
Babajide Sanwo Olu……….
He entered the Lagos political space when he was appointed as the Special Adviser to the 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 Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Babajide Sanwoolu worked in three different ministries in Lagos State as Commissioner under Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Babatunde Raji Fashola. Some schools of thought believe that the experience he acquired serving under two distinguished Governors would count for him if he eventually emerged as the Governor of Lagos State.
His emergence as APC candidate in Lagos State.
It all started as a rumour until it was confirmed when he collected the APC nomination form for the governorship ticket. This was an indication that indeed, something was in the offing.
However, the incumbent governor of Lagos State Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode and Dr. Hamzat also collected nomination forms making the primaries a three-horse race.
As the day of the Primary election drew near, Dr. Hamzat stepped down and endorsed the candidature of Babajide Sanwo Olu. With this, the contest was between the incumbent and Babajide Sanwo Olu..
The Sunday preceding the Primaries, Governor Ambode addressed a press conference, where he alleged that Babajide Sanwo Olu had previously been arrested in the United States of America for spending fake Dollar and that he had undergone some form of rehabilitation at the Gbagada Hospital in Lagos. This, in the opinion of many, made Akinwunmi Ambode lose a number of supporters while it won Babajide Sanwo Olu sympathy that subsequently translated to votes for him at the primaries.
Eventually, the Primary election took place with Babajide Sanwo Olu having over 970,000 votes while the incumbent governor had a little over 70,000 votes. Thus, Babajide Sanwo Olu emerged the gubernatorial candidate of APC in Lagos State. The margin of victory was unprecedented and many described the election as a REVOLUTION. Can he win the main election? Only God can answer this question. However, from previous contests APC has remained the party to beat in Lagos. Lagos has historically been an APC State with an awesome structure that flows from the state to ward levels.
All the 57 local councils are under the control of APC this includes 98% of counselors. The incumbent governor has since conceded defeat and promised to support Babajide Sanwo Olu.
What the aforementioned translates to is that all the State and local council’s machineries would be deployed to support the campaign of Babajide Sanwo Olu.
It was further reasoned that if he could get almost a million votes during the primaries and possibly sustain the figure at the least, then Victory may be a foregone conclusions.
However, people that are very close to Babajide Sanwo Olu are united in their conviction that his most potent weapon is’ PRAYERS’ which is the signature of the church ( Mountain of Fire and Miracle Ministries) he attends.
The conclusion drawn by many analysts is that except something unusual happens Babajide Sanwo Olu may emerge the next Executive 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 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 one single 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