For Hon. (Mrs.) Adejoke Adefilure too, the news of her choice as the party’s deputy governor designate in the state did not come as a surprise. She had done everything humanly and politically possible to make sure she beat other contenders.
Aside the fact that she is a female politician of Awori descent, which is what the party was looking for, what really helped her most was the backing of her father and Alhaji Mufutau Hamzat, the leader of Justice Forum, a strong caucus within the ACN.
Her father, Alhaji Orelope, aside being an influential Awori man, was also an astute politician right from the Action Group days of the First Republic till the early part of this Fourth Republic. But old age and its concomitant ailments have rendered him inactive, physically and politically.
But despite the old man’s ailing and frail figure, the daughter still dragged him to Bourdillon Road, Ikoyi, Lagos to see Tinubu on her behalf.
Like we said earlier, she also has the backing of Alhaji Mufutau Hamzat, who stood behind her deputy governorship ambition like the rock of Gibraltar. This probably explains why the old man (Hamzat) rejected all Sosan’s moves to get his support to return as deputy governor.
So, that Thursday, January 20, 2011 morning, before the evening newspaper came out with the news, she already knew what was coming because a reporter from the paper came to her office that morning to ask for her picture and he was obliged when he told them what it was to be used for.
By afternoon when the paper came with the news, Adefilure was also right there in her office. The celebration and jubilation in the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation was spontaneous.
Instantly, her office was jam-packed with virtually everybody around wanting to congratulate her. Few minutes later, meat pies and soft drinks (mostly Coca Cola) started exchanging hands around her office. The celebration moved from her office that evening to her residence at Omole Phase 1, Ikeja, Lagos till late hours of the night.
Despite the crowd that came to felicitate with her, she was still taking calls from friends and well wishers who were calling to congratulate her. At some point, however, she handed her handsets to one of her close aides. The jubilation and celebrations going on in her office and residence were, however, not replicated in her local government area, Alimosho, particularly amongst the political leaders in the area.
The leaders, according to our sources, were not happy with her emergence as deputy governor-designate because that certainly will affect the political structure on ground. They believe if she eventually becomes the deputy governor of the state, she will tamper with Engr. Rauf Aregbesola’s structure in the LG.
This was why the party leaders in the local government area including Adefilure herself, went to Oshogbo, Osun State to see Aregbesola. The trip, according to our finding, was at the instance of Adefilure. This explains why she did not only pay for their transport fares, but also for their accommodation.
They embarked on the trip on Thursday, January 13, 2011 and came back the following day, Friday, January 14, 2011.
Amongst the leaders from the LG area that made the trip to Oshogbo were Hon. Adefilure and her husband, Barrister Biodun Adefilure, Hon. Femi Adebanjo, Hon. Jimoh Ajao, Mr. Abdullahi Enilolobo, Mr. Solomon Ogunlola, Mr. Yisa Yusuf, Apostle Osifade, Mr. Olawale Cole, Mr. Badejo, Mr. Obisesan and Mr. Ope.
Their mission in Oshogbo was to see Governor Aregbesola, the de-facto leader of the LG and to plead on behalf of Adefilure, so that Aregbesola could give her his blessing and support her choice as the deputy governor-designate. But despite her pledge that she would not tamper with Aregbesola’s political structure in the LG, most of the leaders did not believe her.
So, after their initial meeting with Aregbesola, Adefilure and her husband left. Some of the leaders went back to see Aregbesola and told him that he should not allow her to become the deputy governor-designate. It was therefore, to their disappointment, to hear that Thursday, January 20, 2011, that her name was the one submitted to INEC as the deputy governor designate for Lagos State.
They are yet to recover from the shock and disappointment.
- This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, February 1, 2011