With less than 55 days to National Assembly elections, billed for February 14, 2015, political parties have already picked their standard-bearers that will contest elections into the Senate and House of Representatives, across the six states in the South-West. Howbeit, even though candidates from the two dominant parties in the country, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and the All Progressives Congress, APC, have lined up their campaign arsenals to slug it out, other parties like the Labour Party, LP, Social Democratic Party, SDP, National Conscience Party, NCP, Accord Party, AP among others can not be underestimated, as they are also blowing hot countdown to the polls.
In this report, Vanguard examines the strengths, weaknesses, as well as the prospects of the various aspirants across the six South-West States.
By Ikenna Asomba
Ondo North Senatorial District
Dr. Bode Olajumoke, who was was in the senate between 2007-2011, won the PDP’s primaries and will have to slug it out with the incumbent Senator Ajayi Boroffice, who was elected in 2011 under Labour Party but defected to the APC. Olajumoke’s strength is based on the fact that he has the backing of Governor Olusegun Mimiko and is set to bid Boroffice bye-bye to the Senate.
As for Boroffice who sent Olajumoke packing in 2011, his chances is said to be slim because his party members and leaders says he is very tight fisted.
Akure North/Akure South
Chief Tayo Alasoadura, a former Finance Commissioner for six years under the late Dr. Olusegun Agagu, defeated an incumbent House of Representatives member, Hon Ifedayo Abegunde for the party’s ticket. He will slug it out with PDP’s candidate, Dare Aliu who is said not to be popular in the district.
Incumbent Senator Ayo Akinyelure of the PDP will slug it out with other aspirants of the APC and other parties. His Achilles heel is said to be his widely reported blunder in supporting the controversial girl-child marriage bill.
Ondo South Senatorial district.
APC’s Barrister Morayo Lebi, a philanthropist and lawyer from Akotogbo in Irele council area of Ondo state will represent is contesting in this senatorial district.
House of Representatives
Ilaje/Ese Odo Federal Constituency
APC’s Lucky Aiyedatiwa is a politician to watch in House of Representatives race. He will slug it out with PDP’s Kolade Akinjo.
PDP’s Bamidele Osakuade, a former Commissioner for Culture in the state wants to represent the Iffedore/Idanre Federal Constituency in the House of Representative. His choice is widely accepted by both old and new PDP leaders and supporters in the state.
Odigbo/ Ile-Oluji/ Okeigbo
PDP’s Mayowa Akinfolarin, a former Deputy Speaker in the state House of Assembly is another man to watch.
As the clock ticks fast to February 14, 2015, for aspirants to contest seats into the state’s nine federal constituencies of of the House of Representatives, several lawmakers have defected to another political parties.
While five of the nine aspirants have defected to the SDP, two remained in the APC, even as the remaining two have dumped their parties for the PDP.
Those who left the APC for SDP include: Hon.Adekunle Adeyemi who represents Ifo-Ewekoro, Babatunde Olabode from Ado-Odo, Abiodun Abudu from Ijebu-North/Ijebu-East /Ogun Waterside and Bukunola Buraimo representing Ikenne/Remove North /Sagamu federal constituencies. The two national assembly members who remained in APC are Hon. Segun Williams from Abeokuta South and Odeneye Olusegun from Ijebu-Ode/Odogboolu/Ijebu-North-East. While the remaining two who are in the PDP are Abiodun Akinlade from Yewa South/Ipokia federal constituency, who dumped APC and Adewusi Rasak, who was elected on the platform of Peoples Party of Nigeria, PPN, defected to PDP.
In all the nine, only five members have secured their seats while the fates of the remaining four are still hanging in the balance, among whomn are Abiodun Akinlade and Razaq Adewusi.
The major contenders for this race are wife of Chief Owolabi-Salis, a serial governorship contestant in the state, .Mrs. Olabisi Owolabi-Salis of the PDP and the incumbent, Senator Gbenga Ashafa of the APC.
Mrs. Owolabi-Salis major strengths is that she is said to enjoy the support of the PDP establishment in this senatorial district, which has made her promised to significantly deplete Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s political hegemony in the state, if elected. However her major undoing is said to be her relatively obscure personality and her seemingly lack of the required financial muscle to match Ashafa.
Ashafa, a former Director-General in the Ministry of Land in Lagos State, who took over from Senator Olorunnibe Mamora in 2011, on the other hand, is said to enjoy the support and backing of APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, having agreed to drop his governorship ambition in the state. But his major Achilles heel is said to be his being the least popular among the three sitting senators from the state.
In this district, PDP’s Mr. Ade Dosunmu, a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Security Agency, NIMASA, and his party’s governorship candidate in the 2011 gubernatorial election in the state, will be slugging it out with Mrs. Oluremi Tinubu, wife of APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
What is said to speak for Dosunmu is the fact that he was a former governorship candidate on the platform of a major political party like the PDP, the support of political gladiator like Chief Bode George, alongside the Presidency. This many believe is enough to make his political rivals shiver. However, his major weakness happens is said to be that his major opponent, Oluremi Tinubu, apart from being the incumbent senator, is also a political heavyweight and a darling of Lagos media because of her widely-reported empowerment programmes in the district.
For, Senator Oluremi Tinubu of the APC, her popularity among her constituents who are said to usually leave her monthly town hall meeting largely satisfied, coupled with her husband’s political capital, many believe would deliver the senate seat to her for the second time. However, her Achilles heel is that the PDP has been screaming at the mountain top that her husband, the source of her political relevance, is mortgaging the future of Lagosians, including the generation yet unborn, to fester his political nest. If members of her district are swayed by this, then trouble is lurking around for Madam Tinubu.
In the Lagos West Senatorial District, PDP’s Segun Adewale, an aviation executive will be facing APC’s Hon. Solomon Yayi Adeola, who currently represents Alimosho Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives.
Yayi’s major strength expectedly is his legislative experience and his relationship with former Governor Bola Tinubu. However, his political adversaries say he had failed to give account of his four years in the National Assembly to his constituents. This, coupled with his said limited financial resources could be his undoing.
As for Adewale of the PDP, the Chief Executive Officer of Aeroland Aviation Co., his private sector experience is expected to speak volume for him. However, political analysts opine that the fact that Adewale is a successful businessman does not mean he will do well as a politician.
In this district, Chief (Mrs) Abiodun Olujinmi of the PDP will engage in a battle royale with the APC candidate. Olujinmi is expected to capitalise on her name recognition and political experience, having served as a former Deputy Governor of Ekiti State during Governor Ayo Fayose’s first governorship tenure that ended in an inglorious exit, and as well as her goodwill towards women and children who benefited from her social initiatives whilst she was a deputy governor.
However, despite her humanitarian antecedents, it is said that her popularity within her political party has continued to wane, especially following the controversy that trailed her emergence as the senatorial candidate. Aggrieved chieftains within the party claim she was imposed on them by Governor Fayose and are threatening fire and brimstone to campaign against her.
Mr. Duro Faseyi of the PDP is expected to engage in an election fisticuffs with Sen. Olubunmi Adetunmbi of the APC, currently serving as the Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Interior.
While Faseyi will be counting on his experience as a two-time honourable member of the House of Representatives, as well as his being the anointed candidate of Governor Ayo Fayose for the district, his major undoing may be the disaffection from Senator Ayo Arise, who lost the ticket to him, and may decamp to another party where he will run against Faseyi.
However, as for Adetunmbi, he is expected to campaign on his legislative experience and the political power he wields as the district’s incumbent in the Senate. However, he may find it difficult to return to the Senate owing to the recent overrun of his party by the PDP in the state’s June governorship elections.
Here, Hon. Fatimat Raji-Rasaki of the PDP will slug it out with Ambassador Gbenga Olofin of the APC. Being a former first lady of Lagos and Ogun States and having represented Irepodun Federal Constituency in Ekiti State between 2007-2011, Fatimat Raji-Rasaki’s strength is weighed on the fact that defeated a millionaire financier of the PDP to secure the ticket. However, her major undoing is that some aggrieved members of her party who believe she cut corners in obtaining the ticket, have vowed to work against her.
For Ambassador Olofin of the APC, as a politician of international repute, he is expected to capitalise on his youths support base to propel himself to senate. However, his limited financial resources could render his large follower base useless, because logistics and political commercials are essential for a successful political campaign.
This senatorial district is expected to see Hosea Agboola Ayoola of the PDP lock horns with Hon. Abdulfatai Omotayo Buhari of the APC. Senator Hosea Agboola is currently the lawmaker representing Oyo North in the Senate and the Senate Deputy Whip. One of his major strength is that he is a grass root and the most popular politician from the Oke-Ogun axis, where he commands a large follower base. He also has the fat pocket, strong political structure and enormous grass root appeal that could work in his favour in the forthcoming polls.
On Buhari’s part, his being the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy in Oyo State and a one-time local government chairman in Ogbomoso will speak for him.
Incumbent Senator Ayoade Adeseun of the PDP is expected to engage in the electoral duel with Bisi Ilaka of Accord Party and Hajia Monsurat Sunmonu for the coveted spot come next year.
Adeseun, an Ogbomoso-born grass root politician is said to have enough material resources and foot soldiers in areas outside Ogbomoso to drive his ambition. However, political observers opined he has serious contention in the Accord Party candidate, Bisi Ilaka and Monsurat Sunmonu of the APC both of whom hail from Oyo Town.
Incumbent Senator Olufemi Lanlehin of Accord Party, will battle PDP’s Kamardeen Adedibu, son of the late PDP chieftain and strongman of Ibadan Politics, Chief Lamidi Adedibu and Hon. Adesoji Rilwan Akanbi of the APC for the coveted seat.
Lanlehin is said to have a strong political base, adequate resources to pursue his ambition, which is said to work for him and his party that is fast becoming a darling of the people. As for the younger Adedibu, the emergence of Teslim Folarin as PDP gubernatorial candidate in the state could be a plus for him as Folarin working in conjunction with Hazeem Gbolarumi is likely to rejuvenate the old Adedibu garrison group to which they all formerly belong to.
For Soji Akanbi of the APC Oyo South, his being a grass root politician, well known in every part of Oyo State with a strong political base is said to work for him.