Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, Senator Ganiyu Olarenwaju Solomon, Dr Femi Hamzat, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode and Dr. Leke Pitan, are among the nine aspirants that have paid the N500,000 (Five hundred thousand naira) fee for the expression of interest in the Lagos APC Governorship ticket.
Others include Dr. Tola Kasali, Mr. Supo Sasore, Comrade Kayode Opeifa and Hon Lanre Ope.
By Sunday, October 19, 2014, when the expression of interest form was supposed to close, only the nine gentlemen have shown interest to contest for the party governorship primary which, according to All Progressives Congress (APC) time table, will hold on Saturday, November 15, 2014.
Among these nine, only five have paid the N5 million nomination fee in addition to the expression of interest fee. They are Rt. Hon Adeyemi Ikuforiji, Senator Ganiyu Olarenwaju Solomon a.k.a GOS, Dr. Femi Hamzat, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode and Dr. Leke Pitan. Others did not respond to our text message when we sought to know whether it was the expression of interest fee alone they paid for.
There is still, however, ample time for them to pay their nomination form fee if they have not paid since it will not close until November 9, 2014. The screening of governorship aspirants will be will be from November 10-12, 2014, while the primary election will hold on Saturday, November 15, 2014.
ENCOMIUM Weekly takes a look at each of the aspirants vis-a-vis their chances of clinching the party ticket.
HON. ADEYEMI IKUFORIJI
Rt. Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji is the Speaker of Lagos House Assembly since 2005. A graduate of Economics and Cybernetics from Romanian University, a consummate and grassroots politician from Epe, he has certainly proved himself to be a good administrator going by his achievements in the Lagos House of Assembly since 2005 that he has been in the saddle as the Speaker. He is also qualified on the ground that he is from Lagos East Senatorial district where the governorship seat has been zoned by the leadership of the party.
If he is unable to clinch the party’s ticket, it is either because he could not muster enough votes to win the primary election or the power that be have told him to step down for another aspirant on the ground that he is a Muslim and the party is looking for a Christian governorship candidate.
SENATOR GANIYU OLARENWAJU SOLOMON
Senator Ganiyu Olarenwaju Solomon is a distinguished senator of Federal Republic of Nigeria representing Lagos West Senatorial district since 2007. Prior that, he was a member of Federal House of Representatives representing Mushin Federal Constituency 1. He was also a former chairman of Mushin Local Government Council before it split into two. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from University of Lagos and has a very strong pedigree in politics. He is also a consummate grassroots politician who has hordes of followers rooting for him. Twice, he has shown interest in the coveted seat of the governor, and twice he was asked to step down for the incumbent. His experience in the National Assembly which spanned a period of 12 years and the fact that he has aspired to the post twice was probably why he said he is the best man for the job. If he is able to pass through the screening committee of the party he may pull a surprise.
Dr. Femi Hamzat is the incumbent Commissioner of Works and Infrastructure in Lagos State. He has been in the cabinet of Lagos State since 2005 when he was first appointed Commissioner for Science and Technology in the administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He holds a doctorate degree in Engineering and has worked in top companies in USA before working at Oando Nigeria Plc, from where he joined the public service. Although he is assumed to be a technocrat in government, his foray into partisan politics stemmed from the fact the incumbent governor Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), listed him among his likely successor and encouraged him to throw his hat into the political ring.
Though he is said to be a firm gentleman who will not do the bidding of anybody if it is against his conscience, two things may stand against his emergence as APC governorship candidate in the state. These are the fact that he is a Muslim and his father is a king in Ogun State. Although he has argued that his father and mother’s lineage is from Epe, many doubt if this will sway the decision of the screening committee in his favour.
Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode is the former permanent secretary in ministry of finance in Lagos State. He resigned voluntarily in 2012, probably to pursue his ambition of becoming the next governor of the state. He is a chartered accountant and a Christian from Epe (although some have debunked that by publishing his JAMB form which he used in gaining admission to University of Lagos, where he wrote that he is from Ondo State). Many believed he is the candidate of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the national leader of APC and the godfather of Lagos politics. If Tinubu insists he is the candidate of the party, nobody can change that. He will certainly emerge the party candidate when the primary is conducted because Tinubu largely controls the structure of the party in the state. Whether the crisis that may crop up after his emergence as party candidate will be contained by the leadership of the party is what many don’t know.
Mr. Supo Sasore is the former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the first tenure of Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN). His emergence as an aspirant took many by surprise. Of course, he was one of those listed by Governor Fashola as his likely successor since last year when the party hierarchy told him to submit a list of four names. For some inexplicable reasons, not much was heard about him. Rather, attention was shifted to Dr. Femi Hamzat who many believed Governor Fashola favoured above Sasore. Just few weeks ago, Sasore’s name was eavesdropped as an aspirant and as Fashola’s candidate. Today, it is no longer secret that the man many believed is Fashola cloned copy wants to replace him in the Lagos House (Governor Office Alausa). We really don’t see how he will clinch the party ticket from the primary except of course, there is an agreement between Governor Fashola and Asiwaju Tinubu to adopt him as their consensus candidate.
Dr. Leke Pitan is the former Commissioner for Health and Education in the state. He was in government throughout the eight-year tenure of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. He is a medical doctor by profession and also owns a hospital in Lagos Island. He is a Christian from Agbowa/Eredo axis of Epe Division. He is very close to Asiwaju Tinubu too and many doubt it if he will go against Asiwaju’s stance on any issue. His chances of clinching the party governorship ticket from the primary is very slim except of course, if Asiwaju Tinubu changes his mind and chooses him as the party candidate.
COMRADE KAYODE OPEIFA
Comrade Kayode Opeifa is the incumbent Commissioner for Transportation in Lagos State. He has been a member of Lagos State cabinet since 2007 when he was first appointed Special Adviser to the Governor on Transport before he became the substantive commissioner in 2011. He holds a doctorate degree in Biochemistry and was a former lecturer at Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. No doubt, the young man has done well for himself and the state going by his achievements in the transportation ministry. But it is very doubtful if he has the political clout to clinch the party’s governorship ticket. More so, he is from Agege Local Government area of the state which is in Lagos West Senatorial district, whereas the party has zoned the governorship seat to the Lagos East Senatorial district.
HON. LANRE OPE
Hon. Lanre Ope is a former member of Lagos House of Assembly between 1999 and 2003. He represented Eti Osa Constituency 1 then. He fell out with the leadership of the party then and left to join PDP where he contested for the House of Representatives twice and lost. He just came back to APC recently and wants to contest for the party governorship ticket. It is very doubtful if he would make a head way.
– TOLANI ABATTI