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Race For Fashola's Job Gets Hotter

Source: OUR REPORTER. - thewillnigeria.com
PHOTO L-R: LAGOS GOVERNOR BABATUNDE FASHOLA, SAN; MR BABATUNDE GBADAMOSI AND MR FEMI PEDRO.
PHOTO L-R: LAGOS GOVERNOR BABATUNDE FASHOLA, SAN; MR BABATUNDE GBADAMOSI AND MR FEMI PEDRO.
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LAGOS, Oct 27, (THEWILL) - No fewer than eight aspirants, mostly politicians from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have declared their intentions to contest the 2011 governorship election in Lagos State. Interestingly, the contestants seeking the same position on the platform of other political parties have not openly declared due to what the state Chairman of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Chief Ajibade Emiabata-Balogun attributed to the failure of the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) to set pace. Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) has not openly indicated interest in the race; though a number of interest groups across 57 local governments and local development councils have been pressuring him and rallying grass-root support for him ahead of the 2011 governorship election. But Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji explained why the ACN gubernatorial aspirants have not declared, saying the contestants have not formally indicated interest because the party has not given go-ahead. On his part, the state’s Chairman of the ACN, Otunba Henry Ajomale dissociated the party from being involved in the campaign for Fashola’s second-term bid, apparently due to what Ikuforiji attributed to party’s embargo. Currently, a number of aspirants have formally indicated interest in Fashola’s job including former Deputy Governor Femi Pedro, former Minister for Information under the administration of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, Chief Dapo Sarumi, ex-Minister of State for Defence, Prince Demola Seriki and ex-Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr. Adegboyega Dosunmu.

Photo: Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola, SAN.

The party is battling with internal crisis while efforts directed at mending divisions in the rank of the party’s chieftains have not yielded the desired results thereby opening a window for the defeat of the party in the 2011 general elections. Observation shows that Lagos electorates prefer Fashola to other aspirants currently indicating interest in the state’s highest political seat. This is hinged on the performance of the incumbent since he assumed power in 2007. The governor has made a conscious effort to ensure that Lagos becomes Africa’s model mega city. Fashola’s strides no doubt presents a tough contest for former Deputy Governor Femi Pedro, former Minister for Information, Chief Dapo Sarumi, erstwhile Minister of State for Defence, Prince Demola Seriki and former NIMASA Director-General, Dr. Adegboyega Dosunmu, whose political strengths and weaknesses are examined below. Femi Pedro

Former Deputy Governor Femi Pedro has formally declared to contest the governorship election in the state. His declaration did not come as a surprise to many due to the fact that Pedro contested for the same position in the 2007 election on the platform of Labour Party (LP), but lost woefully.

Photo: Mr. Femi Pedro. Before his appointment as the Deputy Governor of Lagos State in 2003 during the Tinubu administration, Pedro was Chief Executive Officer/Managing Director of former First Atlantic Bank (now Fin Bank Plc). In 2006, Pedro had earlier indicated interest to run the 2007 governorship election on the platform of the then Action Congress but defected to the Labour Party (LP) to realise his dream. His defection was premised on what he described as gross manipulation, which he said characterised the AC governorship primaries. He resigned his position as the deputy governor of the state after citing electoral malpractices in the gubernatorial primaries in which he participated and lost.

The Tinubu administration however rejected his letter of resignation, and consequently the House of Assembly finally impeached him before the end of his tenure in office.

Since his impeachment2007, Pedro has been playing the role of opposition in the state. During his tenure, he garnered sufficient political experience to successfully run the state added with his corporate experience in the banking sector. But he may find it a little uneasy to make substantial headway due to the widely acknowledged performance of Governor Fashola. Aside this, his inability to maintain a stable political identity due to his defection from the AC to LP and LP to PDP may present him as a naive political prostitute. Adegboyega Dosunmu

A seasoned administrator, Dr. Adegboyega Dosunmu retired from the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) as its Director General. Before his retirement in 2009, Dosunmu was not too involved in politics. Rather, he was indeed a seasoned technocrat and had made his mark in academics as an Associate Lecturer and an administrator in the maritime sector.

Dosunmu indeed has excellent academic credentials, which make him presumably a good candidate for the job. He bagged a B.Sc (Hons) degree in Sociology from the University of Ibadan and a Masters degree (M.Sc) in Industrial Sociology from University of Lagos. He later went to Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife where he obtained a Doctor of Philosophy degree (PhD) in Public Administration. He is an expert in Public policy. Dosunmu started his career as a research officer in the National Productivity Centre. He rose to the position of Senior Research Officer between 1988 and 1994 before joining the service of Lagos Building Investment Company Limited as Deputy Manage between 1994-2002. He eventually rose to the position of Assistant General Manager.

In 2003, Dosunmu joined Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) as Assistant General Manager, a position he held till 2006. He was appointed NIMASA Executive Director fully responsible for finance, administration, corporate services and research functions. He later rose to the position of Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the agency. His experience in the academic and public sectors indeed remains his strongest point. In addition, Dosunmu has been involved in the teaching and implementation of public policies for more than two decades, which further puts him at advantage for the job.

Unfortunately, he is considered as a political weakling because he is more of an administrator than a politician, a quality many say, will build up a lot of distractions for him in the process of governance. Demola Seriki

Under the administration of former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Demola Seriki served as a junior minister in the Ministries of Interior, Defence, Agriculture and Water Resources. He also acted as the supervisory minister in the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development. After the passage of President Yar’Adua, Seriki was schemed out of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), and has since been rallying support in the PDP rank to clinch its ticket.

Photo: Mr. Demola Seriki. He had formally declared his intention to run for the 2011 governorship election in Lagos State under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, promising to introduce Tax Exemption Permit to petty traders in order to encourage the growth of the economy from the grassroots. He accused the Fashola administration of laying a civic burden on the people of the state. Seriki began his political career as late as 1992 when he was the Lagos Central District Senatorial candidate on the platform of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC). In 1998 he was elected a member of the House of Representatives from the Lagos Island Federal Constituency on the ticket of the defunct United Nigeria Congress Party (UNCP). Since 1999, Seriki has been playing different roles in the ruling People Democratic Party (PDP). He had served on different committees of the party and was the party’s Chairman of Lagos Island Local Government Area. In 2005, Seriki served as Secretary of the Lagos State PDP Disciplinary Committee and was later appointed Vice-Chairman of the PDP in the state. Seriki definitely has a number of political credentials as a party leader to win the race considering various committees he had served on during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and different ministerial positions he held in the administration of former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. But he is not a grass-root politician, who can rally popular support like Senator Musiliu Obanikoro and late Engineer Funso Williams. Babatunde Gbadamosi

Babatunde Gbadamosi is the Director of Amen Estates and hails from the political dynasty of Chief Abdul-Fatayi Morolayo Gbadamosi, who was a staunch chieftain of the defunct Action Group (AG) in the First Republic. He is the younger brother of Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi, the erstwhile Chairman, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).

Photo: Mr. Babatunde Gbadamosi. Gbadamosi was a member of defunct National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) in the United Kingdom, which he said internationalized the fight against Abacha’s dictatorial rule and whose activities then contributed in no small measure to the advent of democracy in Nigeria. Now far away from his father’s Awoist belief, Gbadamosi is now a member of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which he said, he has rooted for since 2002 due to the influence of President Obasanjo.

Gbadamosi formally joined the party in 2006 shortly before the 2007 general elections. For the 2011, Gbadamosi has formally declared to run. His affinity with President Obasanjo must have indeed informed his decision with the support of his elder brother. While the backing of the former president may help a lot, Gbadamosi may not be able to rally grass-root support required to win the race. This is not connected with his capacity to govern but his ability to sell himself as a viable candidate for the job.

Dapo Sarumi

Among those currently contesting the gubernatorial race in Lagos State, Chief Dapo Sarumi has the longest history of governorship ambition. Sarumi started way back as 1991 when he contested governorship primaries on the platform of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP), but was then disqualified by the National Electoral Commission (NEC). In 1999, Sarumi renewed his bid for governorship race on the platform of People’s Democratic Party (PDP). He won the party’s primaries, but lost gallantly in an election, which former Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu on the platform of Alliance for Democracy (AD) won. Because he worked closely with President Obasanjo, Sarumi was appointed Minister for Information.

Photo: Chief Dapo Sarumi.

Since 2000 after his involvement in a traffic accident and death of two of his ministerial aides, Sarumi has been inactive on the political stage of Lagos State. But the intention of the former minister to contest the state governorship race in the next election remains his major political pursuit since he was relieved of his ministerial position midway into the Obasanjo administration. His political career which spans over two decades puts him at a vantage position for the job. But the fact that he has been off the state’s political stage for almost one decade may not really work in his favour as lagosians may want to know why he has suddenly returned from a long political holiday.