IS JIMMY AGBAJE NOT THE BEST CANDIDATE PDP HAS EVER HAD IN LAGOS STATE FOR GUBER ELECTION?

 Lagos 2015: PDP’s desperate moves

For the fourth time, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP is squaring up to upturn its second place position in the politics of Nigeria’s socio-political hub, Lagos.

The attempt in 2015 is coming just after its worst showing in 2011 when the party was completely routed by the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN whose candidate and incumbent, Babatunde Fashola had raised the benchmark in governance in the country.

Before 2011, the election in 2007 which ushered in the Fashola era had almost smelt victory but at the end Fashola through the ruggedness of his predecessor and godfather, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu triumphed and that despite the third party option that was thrown by the Democratic People’s Alliance, DPA candidate, Jimi Agbaje.

The issues
ObanikoroThe main issue for the PDP has consistently been the division in its ranks which had almost always seen party members sabotaging the chosen candidate.
Despite the recent assertions of unity, many are yet to be convinced that the PDP stakeholders can completely unite behind a candidate.

An issue for the PDP is also the feeling that the Tinubu phenomenon is for once about to unravel given the simmer in the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC on the choice of a candidate. But the possibility of the PDP seizing the opportunity of the division in the APC is tempered by the equal prospect of division in the opposition party.

We’re winning Lagos—Shelle
Chairman of the PDP in Lagos State, Olatunji Shelle, in a recent interaction with journalists, said the party is seriously strategising to shock the APC in the 2015 elections.

Shelle had said, “We are looking for somebody who has integrity and depth; somebody who is consistent and sensitive to the yearnings of the people. We shall ensure that our candidate is focused, has pedigree and integrity; that he has a good background that can sustain the economy of the state without mortgaging the interest of the common people.

We shall produce next gov—George
To clear the air that the long time infighting that in the party was over, a member of the PDP Board of Trustees, Chief Bode George said “we want to reassure you that all is well in the South west PDP.”

George added that “we shall produce the next governor of Lagos State. But I am not deluded.”

Lagos ‘ll come under PDP—Mimiko
Only recently, Governor Olusegun Mimiko, who is making concerted efforts at rejoining his first love, hinted that the PDP was concentrating its efforts at winning Lagos State in both governorship and presidential election.

Mimiko expressed optimism that “by 2015 when Lagos State would have come under PDP government, we shall come to celebrate.”

Talk is cheap—Igbokwe
When Vanguard sought APC’s response to the PDP’s attempt to wrest power from it in 2015, the state publicity secretary of the party, Mr Joe Igbokwe said “it is an old story, there is no need to dissipate my energy talking about it all the time.”

“Talk is cheap. In 1999, they said it. In every nook and cranny, Lagos is occupied by the APC. Where will the PDP stand if they want to take over Lagos? Where are the men from the PDP that would do the job? Where is the capacity and capability? Where is the energy to do it? So, talk is very cheap. We will work in every nook and cranny of the state, as the PDP is talking, we are working. Talk is very cheap”, Igbokwe said.

The contenders
With less than 10 months to the gubernatorial elections, contenders are already revving up their political machineries, deploying varying antics to curry favour for their individual principals and perhaps defeat APC at the polls.

Owolabi Salis
Owolabi Salis is a lawyer and accountant, who practised in the country for a while before relocating to the USA in the mid nineties. Following the advent of civil rule, Salis returned and showed interest in the 2007 contest but lost having used the platform of the Lateef Jakande-led Action Party of Nigeria (APN).

In the run-up to the 2011 elections, Salis returned to the country and again contested the primaries on the platform of PDP.
He, however, lost to the party’s flag bearer, Ade Dosunmu. Owolabi is expected to take a chance again to realise his dream of becoming governor.

Ade Dosunmu
Dosunmu, a former Director General/Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), was the party’s candidate in 2011 and generally famed as a godson of party godfather, Chief Olabode George. He is making efforts to again seek the party’s ticket.

Babatunde Gbadamosi
Babatunde Olalere Gbadamosi is an entrepreneur, tax and property consultant. Gbadamosi, who returned to Nigeria from his UK base a few years took a plunge into the foray of politics in Lagos.

That journey saw him enter into the race as one of the gubernatorial aspirants of the PDP in Lagos State in the 2011 elections. He emerged last at the primaries but is set to take another shot for the PDP ticket.

Adedeji Doherty
He once acted as the South west PDP chairman. In 2003 and 2007, he threw his hat into the ring for the gubernatorial race, but lost.
Currently, he is the South-West PDP Organising Secretary and has since declared interest for the plum job.

Dominic Adegbola
In 2011, he was the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) but has since crossed over to the PDP after his defeat.
Adegbola, a medical doctor cum politician is optimistic that he would realise his ambition on the platform of the PDP in Lagos State.

JIMMY AGBAJE

During the 2007 governorship electioneering campaigns, he was a household name. His campaign slogan ‘JayKay is Ok’ endeared people to him and his campaign jingles were outstanding.

A pharmacist by profession from the Obafemi Awolowo University and the Managing Director JayKay Pharmacy Limited, Lagos, Agbaje contested the 2007 gubernatorial elections on the platform of Democratic People’s Alliance (DPA), but lost to the incumbent governor, Fashola.

He has since jumped ship for the PDP as he intends to actualise his aspiration on the party’s platform irrespective of opposition to his ambition.

Musiliu Obanikoro
He is a former local government chairman, former commissioner in Lagos, a former Senator and former Nigerian Ambassador to Ghana.
He is currently the Minister of State for Defence and there are speculations that he may resign to contest for the PDP ticket in Lagos State.

Popularly referred to as ‘Koro’, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro put up a good fight in the 2007 governorship election elections, having left the Alliance for Democracy (AD) for the PDP where he was a strong confidant of Tinubu. Many had thought that his recent appointment as Minister of State for Defence by President Jonathan, put paid to his ambition to become governor of Lagos State.

…And the others
Other contenders are no less formidable, given their backgrounds and antecedents, coupled with experiences in both in the public and the private sectors.

For example, Dr Segun Ogundimu was one of the leading lights in the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC). A vocal politician with oratory power, the interest of the former state Commissioner for Health in the Lagos PDP ticket is a climax to his political career.

Similarly, a senior lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Lagos, Dr Gabriel Adetokunboh Pearse, is also in the race for the (PDP) ticket. Only time could tell if his political affinity with former PDP national chairman, Alhaji BamangaTukur could significantly count for him this time.

Another contestant, who has been in the political circle dating back to the aborted Third Republic is Kitoye Branco-Rhodes. He was a chieftain of the then Nigerian Advance Party and gave a good account of himself against the plan by late Head of State, General Sani Abacha to transmute to a civilian president.