There are indications a feud may be brewing in the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Lagos, due to differing opinions among some bigwigs of the party over who will succeed the incumbent governor, Babatunde Fashola.
Fashola has been alleged to be planning on imposing one of his loyalists as the party’s governorship candidate in the 2015 elections, a decision that may not go down well with some members of the party.
To make matters worse, according to reports, former Lagos State governor and national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu issued a directive to some chairmen of local government councils who travelled to the United States of America last week to greet him on his hospital bed, that the council bosses should go and begin work for whichever candidate Governor Fashola presents as his choice of successor.
Prior to the instruction given to the council chairmen in the US by the APC national leader, Governor Fashola had met Tinubu in his Ikoyi, Lagos residence where the former presented him with a list of five candidates he will want Tinubu to pick from and anoint as the next occupant of the Alausa Ikeja Government House in 2015.
Top on the list of those shortlisted by the governor is his Commissioner for Works, Obafemi Hamzat; former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice during the governor’s first term, Supo Sasore; immediate past Commissioner for Finance, Tokunbo Abiru who was recently appointed an Executive Director in First Bank PLC; his successor, Ayo Gbeleyi who was before now a Special Adviser to the governor on Private Sector; and the current Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development, Waheed Enitan Oshodi, The Sun reports.
Tinubu and Fashola were said to have analysed the chances of each of the five candidates in the 2015 election and settled for Hamzat because of the emormous resources and volume of contracts that had passed through his ministry in the past two years. Tinubu was also said to have mentioned the possibility of presenting the current Chairman of the state Internal Revenue Service, LIRS, Tunde Faula, because of the fear that the recent coronation of Hamzat’s father, Oba Olatunji Hamzat as the traditional ruler of Afowowa community in Ogun State may make the issue of indigeneship work against the commissioner, the report added.
To members of the party who are politically experienced, and has been part of Tinubu’s political journey since 1999, one of them deserves the spot, but Tinubu’s silence on the possibility of fielding one of them was said to have angered loyalists of the APC leader.
Head of the Tinubu’s political machinery and now Osun state governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola is also said to be unhappy with the development which the camp feels may make it lose the next governorship election against strong contenders like Senator Musiliu Obanikoro and Jimi Agbaje who were both governorship candidates in the past and likely to emerge on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP and Labour Party, LP respectively, for the 2015 gubernatorial election.
Reports said further that Tinubu’s camp would have loved to see people like former Commissioner for Health under Tinubu, Dr Leke Pitan; a former Commissioner for Environment, Dr Muiz Banire; Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji and two serving Senators, Ganiyu Solomon and Gbenga Ashafa among others, fielded in the coming elections.
The presidency is said to have reached out to some of the key figures in the angry camp, armed with intelligence report on the crisis, with a view to offering one of them the governorship ticket of the PDP so as to divide the APC votes.
Also sensing the imminent crash of Tinubu political myth in the state, his loyalists under the banner of “Mandate Group” on Monday at an undisclosed location in Lagos began series of meetings to mobilize members across the state ”with a view to helping our leader rediscover himself and save all of us from political suicide”.
One of the local government chairmen, who has been part of the meetings with Tinubu in the U.S and the group in Lagos, told Saturday Sun on condition of anonymity that “there is no need denying the fact that Asiwaju told some of us in America that we should not mind whatever anybody tells us and that it is whoever the governor puts down that we should all go and be working for but when we got home, our leaders reasoned that we need to meet and assess the tension and threats from within and outside the family so that we don’t lose all.”
Governor Fashola had after his re-election for a second term banned all groups within the then ACN and now APC but with the increasing tension in the party, the groups have again begun to emerge and redefine their goals.
State publicity secretary of APC, Joe Igbokwe, however said he was not aware that some members of the party had been selected as possible candidates for the governorship election in 2015.
“I have not heard or seen any list. The fact remains that democracy is a slow process and there are insinuations and disagreements over who is to lead the flock. When the time comes, the party will sit and choose a worthy representative for the governorship election in 2015.
“APC is committed to moving Nigeria forward and when the appropriate time comes the qualified candidate will emerge. Our detractors have failed severally and would fail.”