The major political parties have picked their candidates to contest the National Assembly elections across the six states in the South-west. With that, the battle is already drawn in the election into the Senate and House of Representatives in the six states. OLAOLU BILAU and SAMUEL OGUNDIPE who have been monitoring developments in the states present the first in a three-part report on the candidates, their strengths and weaknesses…
PC and PDP till date remain the two dominant parties in Lagos State, though there are other parties like Labour Party, Social Democratic Party, etc who are also contesting the 2015 elections in the state. In the Senatorial race in the state, there are two incumbent Senators and one member of the House of Representatives, all running on APC platform. Only Senator Ganiyu Solomon (Lagos West) who contested and lost the APC governorship ticket to Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode is not vying again for the Senate.
The three senatorial candidates on PDP platform are: Mr. Segun Adewale (Lagos West), Mr. Ade Dosumu (Lagos Central) and Mrs.Olabisi Owolabi-Salis (Lagos East) while APC’s candidates are: Hon. Solomon ‘YaYi’ Adeola (Lagos West), Senator ‘Gbenga Ashafa (Lagos East) and Mrs. Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos Central). All the candidates are promising to champion essentially the same policies if elected. Hence, we’ll weigh their chances based on their personal appeals rather than where they stand on issues…
Mrs. Olabisi Owolabi-Salis (PDP)
Wife of Chief Owolabi Salis, a serial contestant for the position of governor in the state. She defeated Mr. Gbenga Osinowo, a famous legal practitioner, in the primaries conducted last week. The candidate who pulls majority of votes in Ikorodu, Epe and Kosofe at the poll will likely win this senatorial district.
Mrs. Owolabi-Salis enjoys the support of the PDP establishment in this senatorial district. She has promised to significantly deplete Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s political hegemony in the state, and believes that defeating Senator Ashafa is the first step towards realising this. “Ashafa will go down. The people of Lagos East are fed up with Tinubu’s unceasing grip on their future,” she said. “We’re currently working on dismantling Tinubu’s power and I want to make Ashafa the first casualty,” she added.
How her gauzy rhetorics will go at preventing Senator Ashafa from mustering enough votes to return to the Senate for a second term is yet to be seen. She is relatively obscure. She also seem to lack the required financial muscle to match Ashafa.
Senator Gbenga Ashafa (APC)
Former Director-General in the Ministry of Land in Lagos State, Gbenga Ashafa, has been Senator in the district since 2011. He took over from Senator Olorunnibe Mamora.
Senator Ashafa enjoys the support and backing of APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. He had wanted to contest for the governorship but was told to settle for his senatorial seat and he agreed and dismantled his campaign outfit for the governorship. The APC leadership is expected to move behind him.
Senator Ashafa is the least popular among the three sitting senators from this state. But this may not matter much in the race though as he is expected to overrun his challenger in the district.
Mr. Ade Dosumu, a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Security Agency (NIMASA) and PDP’s governorship candidate in the 2011 gubernatorial election, is slugging it out with Mrs Oluremi Tinubu in this district.
Ademola Dosumu (PDP)
Dosumu is not new to politics. The fact that he was a former governorship candidate on the platform of a major political party like the PDP is enough to make his political rivers shiver. In his run for a seat at the Nigerian Senate, he has the support of political gladiators in both Lagos and Abuja, prominent of whom are Senator Musliu Obanikoro and Chief Bode George alongside the presidency.
In total honesty, Mr. Dosumu’s major weakness happens to be his opponent in this race, Oluremi Tinubu. Apart from being the incumbent senator, Dosumu’s opponent is also a political heavyweight and a darling of Lagos media.
Senator Oluremi Tinubu (APC)
Oluremi Tinubu is amongst the few politicians with unwavering public support. Which is unusual for someone who’d spent the last 16 years in the public domain, with the last four as a senator. She’s still very popular amongst her constituents who say they usually leave her monthly town hall meeting largely satisfied. Her husband’s political capital should handily deliver the senate seat to her for the second time.
Alas, Madam Tinubu’s strength, as consequential as it is, may also be her Achilles heel: The PDP has been screaming at the mountain top that her husband, the source of her political relevance, is mortgaging the future of Lagosians, including the generation yet unborn, to fester his political nest. And it seems they’re beginning to listen. Mrs. Tinubu should pray that the Lagosians continue to dismiss the opposition’s perpetual outcry.
In Lagos West Senatorial District, which comprises Agege, Ikeja, Mushin and the almighty Alimosho, to name but four, it’s déjà vu all over again as Aviation Executive, Mr. Segun Adewale, once again faces Hon. Solomon Adeola, who currently represents Alimosho Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives.
Hon. Solomon ‘YaYi’ Adeola (APC)
He’s expected to campaign on his legislative experience. He’s relationship with Governor Bola Tinubu is also deep enough for the former governor to give him a very significant support.
His political adversaries say he’d failed give account of his four years in the National Assembly to his constituents. His open association with Senator Ganiyu Solomon could turn out pyrrhic. Tinubu may not be physically fit enough to stump for him on the campaign trail, leaving his campaign vulnerable to being taken over by the mediocre. His limited financial resources could be his undoing.
Segun Adewale (PDP)
As the Chief Executive Officer of Aeroland Aviation Co., Mr. Adewale is expected to campaign on his private sector experience. “Our candidate is not a career politician, “he knows how to write a pay cheque and balance cheque books, unlike Mr. YaYi who’d been a political insider most of his life,” said Andrew Ogunbona, a PDP chieftain in the senatorial district. He’s also expected to campaign on his egalitarian antecedents, having constructed several portable water facilities amongst other social projects across the major parts of the constituency. His financial resources was described as “intimidating” by Mr. Femi Olusesi, a political analyst with keen interest on party politics.
Some analysts aver that the fact that Adewale is a successful businessman does not mean he’ll do well as a politician. Some cynical individuals in his camp also fear that electorate may feing allegiance to him in order to cash in on his massive campaign war chest after which they’ll desert him for the APC candidate.
Although the campaign season was officially opened several weeks ago, happenings in the political atmosphere continue to interest Nigerians in an unprecedented scale. Which, perhaps, explains why elections into several public offices are hotly still contested, including the National Assembly election in Ekiti State which is also scheduled to hold next February. DEMOLA ATOBABA examines the positions of the candidates running on the platform of the two dominant political parties in the state.
Chief (Mrs) Abiodun Olujinmi (PDP)
Olujinmi is expected to capitalise on her name recognition and political experience, having served as a former Deputy Governor of Ekiti State during Governor Ayo Fayose’s first governorship tenure that ended in an inglorious exit. But, luckily for the career journalist, her public image was left largely unscathed throughout the fiasco that culminated in Governor Fayose’s impeachment. She also has the support of his former boss who’d returned again to the position of governor, Ayo Fayose. She’s banking on her goodwill towards women and children who benefited from her social initiatives while she whilst she was a deputy governor.
While Ekiti people may be enamored by Mrs. Olujinmi’s humanitarian antecedents; her popularity within her political party has continued to deteriorate, especially following the controversy that trailed her emergence as the senatorial candidate. Aggrieved chieftains within the party claim she was imposed on them by Governor Fayose and are threatening to either hold their support for her or decamp to the APC where they vow to openly campaign against her.
Mr. Duro Faseyi (PDP)
He is the Governor Ayo Fayose’s anointed candidate for Ekiti North and a devoted PDP loyalist to the cure. Also, he has the experience as a two-time honourable member of the national assembly and this might give him an edge over his opponent in 2015.
Some people believe that another person should represent them from the district. For example, Senator Ayo Arise, who lost the ticket to Faseyi in the district primaries, is likely to work against Faseyi’s victory. He had this to say about the primaries: “I am not worried about this loss. I’m just worried about my party because it is people that win elections. So we are waiting to see what will happen. But I can tell you, judging from the elections that have taken place in this state in the last two weeks that there is a big problem on our hands in PDP,” which means he’s likely to decamp to another party where he’ll run again Faseyi.
Adetunmbi is expected to campaign on his legislative experience and the political power he wields in the Senate where he serves as the Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Interior. He also claimed to have carried out several community development projects in the district, dividends of democracy he said the people “will not want to cease.”
Senator Adetunmbi may find it difficult to return to the Senate owing to the recent overrun of his party by the PDP in the governorship elections conducted there in June. His financial backing is widely believed to be inconsequential in a district where his party ideas have become the antithesis of people’s interests.
Hon. Fatimat Raji-Rasaki (PDP)
She was a former first lady of Lagos and Ogun States. She represented Irepodun Federal Constituency in Ekiti State between 2007-2011. Her opponent was rumoured to have thrown a temper tantrum following her emergence, which was widely unexpected. The fact that she was able to defeat a millionaire financier of the PDP to secure the ticket is emblematic of her political viability in the state.
Like several primary races across the country, her emergence as the senatorial candidate in Ekiti Central was not devoid of excruciating controversy. She is believed to have cut corners in obtaining the ticket which had made some aggrieved members of her party vow to work against her.
Ambassador Gbenga Olofin (APC)
He’s a politician of international repute who’s expected to capitalise on his support base, the youths, to propel himself to senate.
His limited financial resources could render his large following useless, because logistics and political commercials are essential for a successful political campaign.
Hosea Agboola Ayoola – PDP Oyo North
Senator Hosea Agboola is currently the lawmaker representing Oyo North in the Senate and the Senate Deputy Whip. A long standing member of the Peoples Democratic Party in Oyo State, Agboola was a two-term Commissioner for Local Government Affairs and Chieftaincy Matters in the state.
A businessman with varied commercial concerns, Agboola is a grass root politician and today the most popular politician from the Oke-Ogun axis, where he commands a large following and wields immense political influence. He has reportedly attracted several development projects to the area and enjoys the support of traditional rulers across the Senatorial District.
Senator Agboola has the fat pocket, strong political structure and enormous grass root appeal that could work in his favour in the forthcoming polls.
Alhaji Fatai Buhari – APC Oyo North
Hon. Abdulfatai Omotayo Buhari is the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy in Oyo State and a one-time local government chairman in Ogbomoso. An indigene of Ogbomoso, Buhari, was a former member of the PDP and was a member of the House of Representatives.
Ayoade Adeseun – PDP Oyo Central
Currently the lawmaker representing Oyo Central in the Senate, Adeseun was elected on the platform of defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), having defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2011. But this year, Adeseun returned to the PDP and contested the party’s 2015 gubernatorial ticket which he lost to Senator Teslim Folarin.
In 2003 and 2007, Adeseun represented Ogo Oluwa/Surulere Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives and was elected twice as the Executive Chairman, Surulere Local Government Area of Oyo State between 1994 and 1998.
The Ogbomoso – born Senator is a grass root politician with enough material resources and foot soldiers to drive his ambition. He seem to have more following in areas outside his Ogbomoso domain than the two other aspirants
However, political observers opined he has serious contention in the Accord Party candidate, Bisi Ilaka and Monsurat Sunmonu of the APC both of whom hail from Oyo Town.
Bisi Ilaka – Accord Party Oyo Central
Chief Bisi Ilaka hails from the ancient town of Oyo and the Ladilu of Oyo. A former member of the PDP, Ilaka vied for the PDP Senatorial primary in 2007 and lost to Senator Teslim Folarin. He thereafter moved to Accord Party, where he contested for Oyo Central in 2011, but lost to Senator Ayoade Adeseun. Ilaka’s major challenge is attracting votes from electorate outside the four local government areas in Oyo zone.
Monsurat Sunmonu – APC Oyo Central
Hajia Monsurat Jumoke Sunmonu is the Speaker of Oyo State House of Assembly and the first woman to occupy the position in the history of the state. A former United Kingdom immigration official, Sunmonu, returned to the country in 2011 and contested the Oyo East/West State Constituency seat in the state assembly she won and was unanimously elected the Speaker of the House. She also became the Vice Chairman, Conference of Speakers in Nigeria.
Hajia Sunmonu is popular in the four local government areas in Oyo Town, where she’s embarked on development projects and people empowerment programmes. She could enjoy the support of the traditional institution in her town and as a result benefit from the far flung influence of the Alaafin.
Getting the votes from other local government councils outside Oyo Town could be the Herculean task ahead of her as Haji Sunmonu seems yet to connect with the electorates there.
Olufemi Lanlehin – Accord Party Oyo South
Senator Lanlehin currently represents Oyo South in the Senate. In 2011, he contested for the seat and won under the platform of defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), now All Progressives Congress (APC), having decamped to the party from the PDP. This year, Lanlehin again, decamped from the APC to Accord Party the very frosty relationship between him and Governor Abiola Ajimobi over control of the party. The son of late Chief Samuel Oweola Lanlehin, a former Treasurer of Action Group and Minister in Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s cabinet, Lanlehin was a member of the House of Representatives in 1992 under the platform of then Social Democratic Party (SDP). Senator Olufemi Lanlehin joined the Alliance for Democracy (AD) and became the Lagos State Legal Adviser of the party and later commissioner for Special Duties and Special Adviser to the then Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Lanlehin has a strong political base, adequate resources to pursue his ambition, he is also in a party that is fast becoming a darling of the people and he is the candidate to beat in the polls.
Kamardeen Adedibu PDP Oyo South
Kamardeen Adedibu is the son of the late PDP chieftain and strongman of Ibadan Politics, Chief Lamidi Adedibu. Having lived abroad for sometime, Kamardeen is very different from his late father and does not seem to share the political theories of the defunct ‘Adedibu School of Politics’. The younger Adedibu was the Senator representing Oyo South between 2007 and 2011, but lost the seat to the incumbent, Femi Lanlehin in 2011 after his father’s demise.
The emergence of Teslim Folarin as PDP gubernatorial candidate could be a plus for him as Folarin working in conjunction with Hazeem Gbolarumi is likely to rejuvenate the old Adedibu garrison group to which they all formerly belong.
Kamardeen is not seen as a grass root politician and is yet to make a personal statement or pull his weight in the political arena of the state. He was believed to have rode to victory in 2007 on the back of his father’s influence. Now that the Adedibu political machine is no longer intact or as formidable as it used to be, political watchers are keen on seeing whether he could spring any surprise and win the seat he lost in 2011.
Soji Akanbi – APC Oyo South
Hon. Adesoji Rilwan Akanbi popularly known as SOJ is a businessman with strong interest in politics. He was a former member of the House of Representatives and governorship aspirant under defunct Action Congress of Nigeria in 2011 and also a former economic adviser to the late former governor Lam Adesina. Akanbi was a leading aspirant in the 2011 guber election in Oyo State ACN and many had thought he would clinch the ticket before Governor Ajimobi eventually got the ticket to fly the flag of the party.
He is a grass root politician, well known in every part of Oyo State and has a strong political base.