AFTER the seat of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in Abuja, the other must coveted seat in Nigeria is that of the governor of Lagos State.
The reason is not far-fetched. Lagos State is the commercial nerve centre of the country. It is the only state (alongside Rivers State) in the country that can survive without federal allocations.
Now that the All Progressives Congress (APC) has won the presidency and majority seats in the National Assembly in the March 28, 2015 elections leaving Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which has been in control for 16 years licking its wounds, the battle royale has been shifted to Lagos.
The two gladiators of APC and PDP are certainly the contenders in the battle for the governorship seat and the House of Assembly seats in the state.
ENCOMIUM Weekly takes a cursory look at the candidates, vis-à-vis their chances of winning the coveted seat of the governor of the state.
Going by the presidential and National Assembly elections of March 28, 2015, the APC candidate, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has an edge over his rival, Mr. Jimi Agbaje. By that election, APC won convincingly in 15 local government areas of the state leaving the PDP with just five predominantly inhabited by non-indigenes.
This trend is likely to continue in the governorship and House of Assembly election in the state. It is also certain that Mushin which APC lost one of the seats to Accord Party will be won by Akinwunmi Ambode. Surulere too will still vote for Ambode in the governorship election.
The local government areas where PDP candidate will make a good showing are Ajeromi/Ifelodun, Amuwo-Odofin and Ojo. Badagry local government area will still be a battleground between the two candidates.
Another factor that will determine the winner in this election are the House of Assembly candidates of the parties. Most of the House of Assembly candidates of APC are veterans, who have been contesting one election or the other in the state. Many of these House of Assembly candidates will also be canvassing for votes for their governorship candidates too.
It is certain that APC will win at least 30 seats or more in the House of Assembly leaving the PDP with just 10 or less seats.
One thing that will also not work in favour of Mr. Jimi Agbaje is his backers. Like most people are wont to say, Agbaje is a good candidate but he belongs to the wrong party.
Many people have argued that Jimi Agbaje, like Ambode does not have any political structure. They are both using the political structure of their backers. Who are the backers of Jimi Agbaje? Chief Bode George, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe and lately Senator Musiliu Obanikoro. These are people particularly, Chief Bode George and Senator Musiliu Obanikoro that most articulate Lagosians cannot trust with power. They will still prefer Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu with all his shortcomings to these men.
The winning of the presidency by APC is another factor that will tilt victory in favour of the party in the state. The Federal might through the police and army which the PDP could use to intimidate APC in the state is no longer there.
The meeting being held by both parties with non-indigenes in the state could also work in favour of APC. Many of the non-indigenes, particularly those who have a lot of business interests in the state will be afraid of reprisal by the APC government if they win the election and they (non-indigenes) did not vote for them.
Agbaje is most likely to have the votes of the corporate sector and some okada operators in the state. We doubt, however, if such votes would be enough for him to win the coveted seat of the governor of the state.
Lagos State civil servants who are angry with the state government for not paying them fully the N18,000 minimum wage have been appeased with increase in their March 2015 salaries. Many of them are likely to change their mind and vote for Ambode, who they are already considering as one of them. After all, he was in the civil service for 27 years before he resigned.
There is also the argument which Jimi Agbaje himself was using to canvass for votes. That is Lagos State should align with the central government rather than the opposition. Now that APC has won the central government seat, many will not see any reason again to vote for PDP.
One thing is sure in this coming election. Tinubu, who many regard as master of the game will not allow himself to be defeated in his home ground. So, whatever it takes him to win the state, he will do it. Chief Bode George, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe and Senator Musiliu Obanikoro do not have Tinubu’s war chest. It will be very difficult for them to defeat him in the state despite their braggadocio.