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How by-election diminishes PDP’s fortunes in Lagos

By Seye Olumide
13 December 2020   |   4:22 am
From all indications, the winner of the last Lagos East senatorial by-election, of which the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), had already declared Mr. Tokunbo Abiru of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) senator-elect may be decided finally by the courts.


• Sanwo-Olu’s Performance Aided Victory for Abiru, Saheed
From all indications, the winner of the last Lagos East senatorial by-election, of which the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), had already declared Mr. Tokunbo Abiru of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) senator-elect may be decided finally by the courts.

The ruling party and major opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with their candidates have since headed for the courts for various reasons regarding the poll. While PDP and its candidate, Mr Babatunde Gbadamosi are already asking the courts to nullify the election and also disqualify Abiru, the ruling party is seeking criminal prosecution of Gbadamosi for perjury and certificate forgery.

As it were, both Abiru and Gbadamosi and their parties are not leaving anything to chance even though the senatorial by-election has come and gone.

Gbadamosi and his campaign manager, Mr Adetokunbo Pearse are optimistic that their party would regain the Lagos East senatorial mandate through the courts but APC, through its spokesman, Mr Seye Oladejo believe the PDP candidate should answer to his criminal charges.

Another crucial aftermath of the Lagos East by-elections is the emergence oft three significant lessons from the exercise as preparations for the 2023 general elections gather momentum.

First, contrary to insinuation that APC is a divided family in which some loyalists of the National Leader Bola Tinubu are bent on demystifying him (Tinubu) politically following the frayed nerves over the way Abiru emerged as the party’s senatorial candidate against the desires of other contestants, the landslide victory of APC/Abiru over PDP and Gbadamosi had proved skeptics wrong that the ruling party has a way of managing its differences when it comes to election. It is glaring that the so-called division manifest more in the media than in reality.

A source within the party said APC would rather bury its differences than to allow such sensitive position to slip into the hands of the opposition and more importantly, Gbadamosi, whom they perceived as too independent minded to be trusted with power.

The election further revealed that Lagos PDP is still more of a divided house than it appears. As a member of the party said, “one of the reasons we lost is basically due to internal division among our members. Gbadamosi practically funded the election himself compared to Abiru who got support from his party.

“It was also obvious that the national headquarters of PDP failed to give the necessary support required to boost the morale of our members.”

He said that all those that lost out in the PDP senatorial primary to Gbadamosi did little or nothing to support the party during the campaign.

Another significant aspect of the poll is the impact of the outcome of the by-election on the political future of Gbadamosi in Lagos politics.

For instance, with his poor performance in the poll having recently defected from ADP, the platform on which he contested the 2019 governorship election in Lagos but lost to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the PDP candidate may no longer be relevant in his current party.

He will also strive hard to prove his innocence in the ongoing perjury and certificate forgery suit otherwise if found guilty will taint his image politically.

The by-election further shows that PDP remains a weak opposition to APC and that its performance further plunged as indicated by the by-elections.

Abiru, Saheed Rode On Sanwo-Olu’s Performance
AS the outcome of the by-elections continues to reverberate across the centre of excellence, the eloquent message is how the performance of Governor Sanwo-Olu helped the Abiru and Femi Saheed, the lawmaker-elect for Kosofe Constituency 2 to defeat PDP and Gbadamosi at the polls.

Interestingly, even in Epe, Ibeju Lekki and Kosofe divisions of Lagos East where political analysts were skeptical APC might not perform well due to some underlining factors, the results in the three areas were in favour of the ruling party.

For instance in Epe, a former lawmaker that represented Epe Federal Constituency, Mr Lanre Odubote said the area irrespective of how the party hierarchy may have been accused of removing former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, who is from the zone, the endearing performance of Sanwo-Olu left the people with no choice than to support the party.

According to Odubote, “Sanwo-Olu has done much and a vote against Abiru, Saheed is against the governor.”

Also in Ibeju Lekki, where the former Senator Gbenga Ashafa came, it was expected that the electorate would protest vote against APC in reaction to how Ashafa was removed in the 2018 senatorial primary to pave way for the late Senator Bayo Osinowo, it was surprising that the Managing Director of Federal Housing Authority (FHA) himself led the people to vote for Abiru on December 5.

Findings revealed that the major reasons was based o  the live for Sanwo-Olu and his style of governance.

In similar vein, the party supporters in Kosofe were Osinowo came from jettisoned their grouse that the later senator’s replacement did not come from their division. Some of them claimed that their support for Abiru was because of the way Sanwo-Olu has shown respect to the division and his performance.

Another factor is that since the inception of the administration, the Lagos state government has hit the ground running in a dogged determination to fulfil its part of the social contract, this alone majority of the electorate claimed they do not want to go in vain.


The government came up with the ingenious THEMES agenda, which encapsulate the essence of the desires and expectations of the citizens.

As a matter of fact, part of the campaign messages that gave Abiru and Saheed an hedge over their opponents were harped on the THEMES agenda of the incumbent governor, which is an acronym for Transportation and traffic management, Health and Environment, Education and Technology, Making Lagos a 21st century economy, Entertainment and Tourism, Security and good governance.

Across the five divisions in the zone, the government has made huge commitment to complete all inherited projects, which both candidates used a campaign assurance unlike Gbadamosi, who has nothing concrete to point at that his party has done or would do.

Some of the campaign messages include the governor’s upheld in the successful completion of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport Road and the near completion of the Agege Pen Cinema fly-over.

Abiru and Sahedd also harped on the governor’s performance in the commissioning of 37 newly constructed roads and 500 others rehabilitated by the Public Works bureau of which they said the administration is determined to do more if supported.

Other achievements of Sanwo-Olu that helped Abiru and Saheed include the procurement of eight boats for water transportation and the recruitment, training and deployment of 1000 officers were geared towards the improvement of public transportation. This helped the Senator-elect seriously.
The commitment to construct the Fourth Mainland Bridge, which is making remarkable progress with the shortlisting of eight of the 30 firms that expressed interest, is one area Abiru harped on to win.

Indeed, the bye-elections presented an opportunity to access the performance of the administration and most especially its response to the unexpected challenges.

While PDP and Gbadamosi  focused on rhetorics, which failed to impress the electorates, APC presented candidates with credentials that are capable of complimenting the progressive governance in the state. The failure of the  campaign of calumny,  once again , demonstrated the political sophistication of Lagos electorate who saw through the facade of deliberate misinformation, deceit and propaganda.

Through their votes, the electorates in the Lagos East Senatorial district acknowledged and appreciated the various developmental projects in their part of the state. The Dangote refinery, the Eleko to Epe round about , the Ikorodu road reconstruction and the Lekki deep sea port etc are projects that provided employment opportunities for the people and will most certainly change their socio-economic landscape when completed.

We appreciate the tremendous support of all the electorates who gave us the unprecedented 89% of the total votes cast.