Agbaje, hitherto a formidable member of the Democratic Peoples Alliance (DPA), officially unfurled the PDP’s flag this July. The party received a palpable boost in popularity amongst the people of Lagos, arguably the most politically-informed in the country.
In a nutshell, everything looked like George and Ogunlewe would easily have their way until Senator Obanikoro announced he would be resigning from Jonathan’s cabinet effective October. “When we met Bode George after Obanikoro said hewould be resigning to join the race for PDP governorship ticket, he looked visibly demoralised, like a man who’d just lost his life savings,” the source added.
Immediately after he left Abuja and returned to Lagos, Koro swiftly took to the campaign trail, telling anyone who cared to listen that Agbaje is not competent enough to defeat Bola Tinubu. “I know Tinubu and I am the only one who can tame him,” he said while picking up his nomination form at the party’s secretariat last month.
Koro’s major selling point is his vast political experience, which includes serving as chairman of two local government areas and also as a commissioner.
His major backers are largely unfathomable to average Lagosians. But he seems to be upping his attacks against George, accusing the party leader of bringing in Agbaje in order to thwart the party’s chances of taking over Alausa after 15 years of progressives hegemony.
Mr. Olujimi Agbaje is one candidate that has never served in public office. Although he’d featured prominently in the activities of Afenifere, the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, Agbaje has never been elected or appointed into political office till date. But not for lack of trying. In 2007, fresh from what he called a “bitter experience” after becoming one of the first victims of Governor Tinubu’s no primaries ordinance in the then Action Congress (AC), Agbaje subsequently joined the DPA where he unsuccessfully pithed an arduous campaign against Governor Fashola and Senator Obanikoro.
He quickly went underground and, like Obanikoro, he also had a hiatus in 2011 elections.
But the ecstasy that followed his intention-of-interest in the coming governorship elections revealed that although Agbaje lost the governorship election in 2007, he definitely wasn’t completely out. Indeed, most Lagosians still remember his fantastic performance during the debates that took place then. “I know Agbaje has never been in government, but he seems to know so much about governance that I feel comfortable entrusting him with the apparatus of my state,” said Ademola Coker, 61, a medical doctor, who’s practicing privately in Gbagada area of the state.
Agbaje does not seem to have much in common with his primary challenger. While Obanikoro is believed to be both financially and politically formidable, Agbaje is largely seen as political lightweight with limited warchest. Granted, money and political experience have historically been the major determinant of most successful political campaigns throughout the world, they’re not always the deciding factor.
It is unclear how Agbaje is trying to convince the delegates that he has both the financial and political wherewithal to successfully execute their mandate at the general elections where he would face a tougher challenge. We know he’s the Managing Director of Jaykay Pharmacy.
His only selling point has been that he’s not a long time member of the PDP. This is unlikely to work in his favour as he appears lost on the irony that politically savvy members of the party –meaning the majority of party delegates may decide to rally behind the devil they know in lieu of an angel they barely met. Based on the facts on ground, Agbaje’s path to victory may appear robust due to his public appeal, but he doesn’t seem to have the needed structure to independently execute his ambition. Which explains why he’s shameless about currying George’s favour.
Olasupo Shasore -Labour Party?
After he was roundly defeated in the APC primaries, some are saying former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice Shasore is heading for Labour Party, perhaps at the behest of Governor Fashola. Shasore’s ambition is being pushed by Governor Fashola and it appears the governor is ready to to give it whatever it takes to make sure that his most favourite protégé succeeded him in office. WESTERN POST reported last month that Fashola had made it clear to Asiwaju Tinubu that Shasore is the only person to which he can confidently bequeath Lagos State. No one has been able to distinctively deconstruct the reasons behind Fashola’s almost religious endorsement of Shasore, but close observers say it might not be unconnected with the fact that the two men had a relationship that dated as far back as their days at Igbobi College, a relationship made stronger by another pertinent interest the duo have in common law. Like Governor Fashola, Shasore is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN.
Following his meritorious exit as the Attorney-General of Lagos State (2007-2011), Shasore continued to serve Fashola’s administration in different capacity. He was made the chairman of Lagos Home Ownership Scheme. The governor also appointed him to lead the Lagos State’s delegates to the just-concluded national conference.
Although Shasore remains a relatively-obscure candidate, it’s still widely believed that he could fly Labour Party’s flag if he’s able to effectively parlay his bureaucratic experience with the successes of his strongest backer, Governor Fashola.
Abiola Ajimobi – APC
In Oyo State, the incumbent, Governor Abiola Ajimobi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Governor Abiola Ajimobi recently concluded a tour of the 33 Local Government Councils, a move analysts viewed signalled the commencement of his campaign to return to Agodi Government House. What Governor Abiola Ajimobi would be bringing to the electorate is his performance in office so far. The governor has consistently told whoever cared to listen that he is sure of victory at the polls because of the performance of his administration in the last four years.
Governor Ajimobi has to his credit his Urban Renewal Programme and is widely seen as a governor who transformed the physical look of the state as well as focused on building infrastructure.
However, the urban renewal programme had also been brutally attacked and criticised by the opposition as lacking in ‘human face’. Also, Governor Ajimobi seems to enjoy much popularity among the elites with very little grassroots appeal.
Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja – Accord Party
On his part, National Leader of AP, Senator Rashidi Ladoja has been involved in massive grassroots mobilisation and visitation just as these are now being intensified as the election draws nearer. Ladoja has visited Oke-Ogun zone and Ogbomoso among other parts of the state, where he has been meeting with community leaders and stakeholders, seeking their support towards realising his ambition of governing the state he once ruled again.
Ladoja’s Accord Party is seen as a strong political party with massive grassroots base just as the former governor too enjoys much local following and has a grassroots appeal. Ladoja, who came third in the 2011 gubernatorial polls in the state is seen as a major challenger to incumbent governor Ajimobi’s bid for a second term.
However, some have been saying the former governor is too old to contest the governorship and with his clout should have supported a much younger candidate, but the AP leader remained undaunted in his resolve to rule Oyo State again.
Teslim Kolawole Folarin
Though it is still unclear who will emerge the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which is yet to hold its primary election due to the current intra-party wrangling caused by inconclusive ward congresses. However, there are strong indications that former Senate Leader, Teslim Folarin would eventually win the ticket.
Folarin, currently holds the Oyo State PDP party structure in his hand and is widely seen as the anointed candidate of some powers that be in Abuja. He is a maverick politician perceived as Machiavellian in his approach. Also a graduate of the Adedibu political school, Senator Folarin does not create much noise on the political stage, however, those who know him said he prefers to work quietly behind the scene and achieve results. Some have dubbed him ‘master of board room politics’ due to his perceived closeness to some influential figures in Abuja who have close links to the powers that be.
What Folarin has going for him is the Ibadan factor and the strong backing of the Federal might, it remained to be seen whether he could win the support of other PDP aspirants to work with him to deliver the state to PDP.
Adebayo Alao Akala – Labour Party
Former governor Adebayo Alao Akala has been linked with a likely move to the Labour Party, following the crisis rocking the PDP in the state. The immediate past governor of the state is believed to enjoy a large following. He made a big statement with his talk-of-the-town guber declaration that attracted a mammoth crowd. Otunba Akala is not a pushover in Oyo State politics as he knows the intrigues of the game. He is formidable, has a fat pocket to run the race, including able lieutenants to do the foot work. Popularly called ATM, the Ogbomoso -born politician is perceived to be generous with money almost to a fault. He also has powerful contacts here and there and remains a strong force in his Ogbomoso and some parts of Oke-Ogun.
However, observers think Akala has an uphill task to realise his ambition of ruling the state in Labour Party.
Sharafadeen Alli – Labour Party
The immediate-past chairman of Oodua Conglomerates has also come a long way in the politics of the state. As Chief of Staff to former governor Rashidi Ladoja, Alli learnt the ropes. Though the duo later fell out, he later went on to romance Governor Abiola Ajimobi until both also went their separate ways politically.
Now set to vie for the ticket of LP and become the governorship candidate of the party, his main contention will be the fact that this will be his first time of contesting for such an elective post. Whether he has a solid political structure on ground is also unclear.
Ibikunle Amosun – APC
Governor Amosun is a strong contender for a second term in the office he currently holds and he is banking on his performance in office in the last four years, which had resulted in massive infrastructural transformation of the state.
But the governor has in recent times suffered a major setback in his political arsenal with the mass defection of three senators, Adegbenga Kaka, Gbenga Obadara and Akin Odunsi and House of Reps lawmakers plus state assembly lawmakers to Social Democratic Party (SDP), all led by former governor Olusegun Osoba who had been at loggerheads with the governor over the control of the party structure until the last straw that broke the camel’s back and their eventual parting of ways.
Amosun now has a strong force to contend with in the next elections.
Segun Adesegun – SDP
The current Deputy Governor of Ogun State has eventually declared his intention to vie for the exalted seat following his estranged relationship with his boss and current governor, Ibikunle Amosun.
The deputy governor had written an open letter that brought to limelight the frosty relationship between him and the governor
Adesegun is one of the ‘apostles’ of Chief Osoba, the godfather of Ogun State politics, at least in the last four years and would be banking on the support from the many followers of Osoba who defected with him to the SDP. He would be a major challenger to Amosun going by the forces behind him.
Gboyega Isiaka or Dimeji Bankole – PDP
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State is yet to hold its primary due to the disagreement between party leaders. But presently, the pendulum is still swinging between Alhaji Gboyega Nasir Isiaka (GNI) former MD of Gateway Holdings and former gubernatorial candidate of Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN) in 2011 and former Speaker of Federal House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Dimeji Bankole.
However, there are strong indications that Isiaka could emerge as the leader of the party in the South West and the chairman, PDP Mobilisation Committee, Buruji Kashamu and former governor Gbenga Daniel are said to have agreed on Isiaka’s candidature. Bankole on the other hand has been busy romancing the powers in Abuja.
Sina Kawonise – Labour Party
Sina Kawonise remains the only aspirant in that party. Kawonise was a former Lecturer, Media Consultant to governor of Niger state, also former Commisioner for Information in Ogun State, Former MD of Nigeria Compass News Paper and now involved in active politics. Kawonise had said recently in a statement that he refused to defect to PDP like Daniel because he wanted to stay with the people.