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Abiru, Gbadamosi may emerge APC, PDP candidates for Lagos East senatorial bye-election

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Balogun (left) and Abiru at APC secretariat

Following the death of Senator Bayo Oshinowo, Lagos State chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC) may have agreed in principle to present the former Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Polaris Bank Limited, Mr. Tokunbo Abiru, as its consensus candidate for the forthcoming Lagos East senatorial bye-election scheduled to hold on October 31 2020.

This is because other interested aspirants in the position are reported to have backed out of the race having realised that the national leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, may have settled for Abiru. The banker is also said to have secured the backing of various leaders in the zone.

Although there was initial insinuation that Tinubu singlehandedly imposed Abiru. He is currently the only candidate who has obtained nomination form, filled and returned to the party thorough the state’s Chairman, Chief Tunde Balogun, at the party secretariat on Acme Road, Ogba last Tuesday.

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When contacted for clarification on how many aspirants have obtained the party’s nomination form for the bye-election, the Publicity Secretary of APC, Mr. Seye Oladejo responded: “12 aspirants for the State House of Assembly and just one for the senatorial bye-election.”

Meanwhile, some leaders from the senatorial district, yesterday, debunked insinuation that Abiru was being imposed on the party by Tinubu. They confided in The Guardian that though the national leader has the right to express interest in any of the aspirants “at no point was any aspirant deprived the right to express interest or obtain nomination form to contest.”

The Guardian specifically gathered that those that initially expressed interest to contest voluntarily opted out of the race without recourse to using complains or trading blame that they were frustrated out of the race. The former banker appears to have also played his politics well by meeting with necessary stakeholders across the party, including Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who was said to have endorsed the aspirant as well.

Other stakeholders, who have endorsed Abiru include the party Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC), the state executive and some cabinet members.

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A member of GAC, Asipa Kaoli Olusanya, who had also indicated interest to contest the bye-election with the support of a group from the zone, was said to have joined his elders in the council to endorse Abiru during a recent meeting.

A party source also dismissed the rumour that former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and erstwhile Speaker, House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, had indicated interest in the race before Tinubu settled for Abiru.

According to the source, “Since Ambode left office last year, he has remained aloof and never participated in any party affairs. There was never any sign that Ikuforiji expressed interest for the bye-election.”

The source also debunked rumours that the former lawmaker, who represented Lagos East zone twice but was controversially dropped during the 2019 direct primary, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, was prevented from re-contesting the bye-election.

According to him, “President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Ashafa as the Managing Director, Federal Housing Authority (FHA) recently. It was therefore impossible for the erstwhile lawmaker to show interest, otherwise he (Ashafa) wouldn’t have accepted the appointment.”

Meanwhile, the major opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is waiting to take advantage of the likely internal disharmony in the ruling party as the bye-election is fast approaching.

The state Publicity Secretary of PDP, Taofik Gani said the bye-election would provide another opportunity for the people of Lagos East to express their freedom by electing a candidate of their choice instead of one imposed on them.

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PDP has, however, screened Mr. Babatunde Gbadamosi, Princes Abiodun Oyefusi, Princess Saidat Odofin Fafowora and Olarenwaju Moshood Babatunde for the bye-election. But there is strong indication that Gbadamosi may likely emerge as the party’s candidate for the senatorial bye-election.

Oyefusi is a strong contender; she was the party’s candidate in 2019 but lost to Oshinowo. But Gbadamosi appears to stand a better chance to clinch the ticket as a way of removing him from the equation to re-contest the governorship ticket on the platform of PDP come 2023.

He was PDP’s governorship aspirant in 2011 and 2015 but lost to Ade Dosunmu and Jimi Agbaje respectively. He defected to contest on the platform of Action Democratic Party (ADP) in 201,9 but lost to Sanwo-Olu. By calculation, he is considered the most viable aspirant that could give APC a run for its money in the senatorial contest.

But Oladejo boasted that whosoever APC presents for the poll stands a better chance to win the bye-election on October 31.

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