Aregbesola’s 2019 Senate Ambition Divides Lagos APC
By SOLA SADIQ
The alleged ambition of Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State to replace Senator Olamilekan Adeola as the lawmaker representing Lagos West in the National Assembly in 2019, is generating ripples within the Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
To realise his political agenda come 2019, the governor, it was gathered, has in the last two years, been determining who occupies political offices right from the local council level, state and the National Assembly.
His latest move was the victory of Mr. Olaitan Akinwunmi to replace the late Dr. Elijah Olawale as the lawmaker representing Ifako Ijaye federal constituency in the House of Representatives at a bye election held last week. Olawale died a few months ago in Abuja.
Akinwunmi’s victory at the APC primary election reportedly did not go down well with many stalwarts of the party, with many alleging that other aspirants in the election were “forced” to step down at the last minute.
About ten aspirants expressed interest, but six of them were allegedly coerced to step down by Aregbesola, while two others, Hon. Owolabi and Moshood Salvador declined.
But 24 hours to the primaries, Salvador was disqualified by the party’s screening committee, while Owolabi was cleared.
At the primary election, Akinwunmi scored 210 votes to defeat Owolabi, who got 166 votes. The outcome did not go down well with many APC members who alleged that the result was not a true reflection of members of the party in Ifako Ijaye.
Following Akinwunmi’s victory, the two major caucuses in Lagos APC, the Mandate and Justice Forum are now engaged in a superiority contest ahead the 2019 general election.
While Mandate is headed by Aregbesola, JF is controlled by Oba Hamzat, father of Dr. Kadri Olawale Hamzat, the former Commissioner for Works in Lagos State.
Mandate, it was learnt, boasts over 90 percent of state and federal lawmakers, commissioners, and local government chairmen in Lagos, while the JF, which was the platform used by ex-Governor Bola Tinubu to clinch the governorship in 1999 has been left in the cold.
There are strong indications that if Tinubu dumps the APC as it is being rumoured, the JF may not follow him to his new party. Members of the group, according to sources, have vowed to remain in APC and are banking on the support of some ministers who have the ears of the Presidency.