By OKUNADE ADEKUNLE
The rejection of three of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s Commissioner-nominees by the Lagos State House of Assembly on Monday is not unconnected with the intense power struggle among the contending political forces in the Asiwaju Bola Tinubu political dynasty, WESTERN POST can reveal today.
Those rejected were Ms. Adekemi Ajayi-Bembe, Mr. Samuel Obafemi George and Prince Olanrewaju Sanusi.
It was learnt that before their nomination, there was a serious battle among the three contending forces.
One of the forces is headed by former Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who is now Minister of Interior, and Senator Sikiru Osinowo aka Pepper while another power bloc is spearheaded by former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro.
The third bloc is said to be headed by a staunch Tinubu political associate and All Progressives Congress Leader in Lagos Central, Prince Tajudeen Oluyole Olusi.
According to sources, the Aregbesola/Osinowo bloc was seriously opposed to the initial recommendation of the trio by their various leaders as commissioners as they had their own loyalists from the local governments where the rejected nominees came from.
The sources further disclosed that Aregbesola/Osinowo felt aggrieved that some local governments where some staunch members of the Mandate Movement who are loyal to them and who worked tirelessly for the emergence of Sanwo-olu came from were not accommodated in the list.
They were therefore waiting to use the House of Assembly to edge the nominees out since the Aregbesola/Osinowo camp has an edge in the House where their ally, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, is Speaker.
Sources said: “What happened at the House of Assembly was a show of strength between Tinubu boys. Some of his strong foot-soldiers are not happy that their own people were not carried along. The Aregbesola/Osinowo camp is bitter and ready to crush any contending forces in the Tinubu political dynasty to continue to determine who gets what in the state and party.
“I want to let you know that the House of Assembly is populated by strong loyalists of Aregbesola/Osinowo bloc and they are ready to do their bidding anytime any day. Tose dropped are alleged to be the candidates of the other two blocs.
“One of the two blocs is headed by Senator Obanikoro who returned to the progressives fold and to Asiwaju Tinubu’s political group early last year and some Justice Forum leaders while the last group is controlled by core Lagos Indigenes and the Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC) members whose face is Prince Tajudeen Olusi.”
The sources added: “You would remember that during the screening exercise, Sen. Obanikoro and the White Cap Chiefs followed one of the rejected nominees, Ms. Adekemi Ajayi-Bembe, to the House of Assembly to witness her screening.
“Obanikoro personally sat close to the screening committee to boost the confidence of the Lagos indigene and to give her soft landing. The screening chairman, however, did not allow the White Cap Chiefs into the screening chamber.
“On the last day of the screening of the first batch, Sen. Osinowo came to witness the exercise.He may have used the opportunity to lobby the lawmakers, being a former ranking and influential member of the House,” the sources added
It was further learnt that one of the rejected nominees, Prince Olanrewaju Sanusi (PLS), was recommended by the Obanikoro camp from Amuwo-Odofin Local Government.
But his problem is accentuated by the fact that he was not backed by the two local governments chairmen and some Mandate Movement leaders in the two councils loyal to Aregbesola/Osinowo power bloc.
The leaders have their own choice in the person of Hon. Risikat Adegeye, a former member of Lagos House of Assembly and the APC House of Representatives candidate in Amuwo-Odofin in the last general elections.
The sources explained that PLS was not seen as part of them in Amuwo-Odofin and so they believe he can’t be forced on them as their representative in Sanwo-olu’s cabinet.
“The ears of the leadership in the area have been inundated with complaints and there was serious pressure on them to take the decision,” said the sources.
Political analysts opined that the rejection of the trio by the lawmakers would further intensify the power-play among the three political forces contending for relevance and supremacy in the Tinubu political dynasty.
They are of the view that if not well managed, the crisis may rub off on the Sanwo-Olu administration as the three contending forces may take their battle to governance particularly in respect of the sharing of government’s largesse.