BY DAPO AKINREFON
IT is D-Day in Lagos State for the major contestants participating in today’s gubernatorial and State constituency elections. The two major contenders are the Action Congress of Nigeria ACN and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Labour Party which has dissidents from the ACN is also making an issue out of its contention for some positions.
Mr Babatunde Fashola is flying the flag of the ACN while Dr Adegboyega Dosunmu is representing the PDP in the contest. While the two men are on the surface the contestants in today’s gubernatorial election, behind the scene it is also a contest of wills by their respective godfathers, Chief Bode George, the acclaimed godfather of Dosunmu and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the political godfather of the incumbent governor, Fashola.
Given the nationally acclaimed infrastructure development projects and the efforts of Governor Fashola in putting a new face to Lagos in virtually every facet of governance in the state, it had been generally presumed that Fashola was in an unassailable position. But the politics of intrigues and backstabbing has made it that the incumbent has up till election eve been on war footing.
Indeed, during the last National Assembly elections in Lagos State, the ACN swept all the seats in both chambers of the house, while the PDP failed to live up to expectations.
But during the presidential elections, the PDP was able to deliver the state for President Goodluck Jonathan.
Owing to this feat, the party has boasted of emerging victorious during the polls, but on the other hand the ACN is not relenting on its oars to, again, sweep all the votes for its candidates.
It was perhaps in anticipation of securing itself against any electoral mishap that the party recently raised allegations over plans by the PDP to rig elections in the State of Excellence.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the ACN national publicity secretary, said the plot involved a war chest of N200 million, out of which a “token” of N30 million had already been released, in a bid to compromise the 20 Electoral Officers (EOs), by offering each at least N2 million.
But in its defence, the state chapter of the PDP dismissed the claim maintaining that there is no such plans by the party to rig.
While it is generally assumed that Governor Fashola has performed creditably, the PDP is hoping to bank on sentiments that the Governor has underperformed given the resources available to it.
The PDP is equally playing on sentiments that the ruling party in the State has been able to mortgage the resources of the State in actualising the political interests of the ACN in other States and also serving the financial interests of Fashola’s patrons.
While the PDP blasts Fashola on his dependence on Tinubu, the ACN has sought to play up the ties between George and Dosunmu.
While eyes are focused on the gubernatorial contest, the State House of Assembly elections in the state promises to be equally exciting. While many of the parties may not have been able to extend contention to the gubernatorial level, they are, however, making stronger impact at the state constituency contests.
Indeed, the Lagos state constituency contests has also been brightened by the involvement of some none indigenes who are making some level of impact in the contest.
One of them who made some impact during the campaigns is Mr. Metu Augustine Ejike, an aspirant for Amuwo Odofin who spoke of his emotional urge to represent the people of the constituency and improve the state of infrastructure in the area.
Ejike who is contesting on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP during an interaction with newsmen last week cited what he described as the chaos in the Mile 2 area of the constituency as one of the primary issues that he would address if elected.
Ejike, an Ibo man waved aside ethnic considerations as a disadvantage as he affirmed that he was even in good position as an Ibo man to aspire to the highest office in the state in 2015.
“But I want to say that I am not only going to be very proactive, I am going to be consistent and conscientious in making sure that whatever is due my constituency is not sacrificed on the alter of selfishness or self ego. My constituency must come first. If you go to Mile 2 it is not yet rainy
season but the roads there is an eye sore. I want to make sure that within the limits of what the government can do, people will live in a habitable area,” he said.
“If you come to Amuwo Odofin, the Mile 2 area you have a lot of industries there but these industries cannot access their offices because of the bad roads. Those are things that I am going to look into,” he said in an interview.
Given the confidence of Mr. Ejike it is not surprising that Fashola and other ACN chieftains are seemingly anxious even in what is regarded as their comfort zone.