By OLASUNKANMI AKONI
LAGOS — As the search for Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State successor in 2015 continues, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, has indicated readiness for the race if endorsed by party leaders.
It will be recalled that Senator Ganiu Solomon, representing Lagos West Senatorial District in the Senate and House of Representatives member, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila have earlier indicated interest to contest for the exalted post come 2015.
Senator Ashafa, who represents Lagos East Senatorial District in the Red Chamber of the National Assembly, made the declaration, weekend, during an end of the year party for children of the senatorial district, tagged: ‘Senator Ashafa’s 2013 Kids Fiesta,’ at Eleko Beach, Ibeju- Lekki of the state.
The senator who had been touted as one of the gubernatorial contestants in the state, officially, opened up on his ambition, saying; “it all depends on the party leadership.
“And don’t forget as a one term senator, I have achieved quite a lot in several sectors of the economy. I have sponsored important national bills in the Senate, among other welfare packages, for the masses.
“More important, it is our people who want me to be the next Lagos State governor, and I will not shy away from it.”
Speaking with newsmen on his ambition, Ashafa, simply said: “Well, I will not say I am not qualified to be the next governor of Lagos State.
“As you are well aware that the next governorship slot in the state had been slated to the East Senatorial district by the party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, which I am a member, so I am qualify to contest.
“Actually, I have been consulting with party leadership and whatever their decision is, it will form my next step of action.
“APC is the party that will take the people of the state to the next level and sustain the current development renewal being championed by incumbent governor Babatunde Fashola, SAN.
“I will implore the people of Lagos State to continue to show unalloyed support for APC, as it remains the only credible, valid party that can guarantee their desire in good governance.”
However, it was a carnival-like atmosphere in Ibeju-Lekki area of Lagos as no fewer than 600 Lagos kids converged at the famous Eleko Beach to play, win prizes and catch fun, feeling the aura of nature.
And for about seven hours the fiesta lasted, “it was fun all the way,” the kids said.
In his address to the fun-loving kids, accompanied by adults, elders of the community and party members, Ashafa said the idea of hosting the children at this yuletide period was “borne out of my own personal concern, love and care for the children.”
He said: “Their innocence, genuineness and tranquility should occupy our minds and be ready to help channel their destiny towards a brighter future.
“But, this would be a big task without, first, making them happy; show them that they are also important; and of course, that truly, they are our future leaders.
“I am highly delighted that this is happening today, and that we are the one doing it for them, while I enjoin all to emulate it,” Ashafa said.
Beyond mere merry-making or a piece of jamboree, the Senator advised that; “The occasion should also be a time to celebrate our children and to show them that it is not only the adults who deserve to wear our party crested shirts.”
He added that though the initial plan was to host adults but he also recognized the fact that majority of children in the senatorial district were often in doors and never had the opportunity to see city life and fun beyond the beam of their television sets.
“So, we are here today to make them see the larger picture of nature. The truth is, our kids are not different from those we see in England, Ikoyi, Maryland or anywhere else. They know about computers and therefore, they can compete anywhere in the world. So, they deserve some bit of exposure and feeling with one another,” he said.
All Progressives Congress (APC) member in the Local Government, Bayo Soniyi said the convergence was an evident of quality leadership and effective representation of the party that Ashafa is known for.
Soniyi said: “We can attest that this is the first time we are seeing such large gathering in Eleko and we are grateful. Ashafa knows that real followership starts with the children, and that is what he has shown here today,” Soniyi said.