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2011: Pro-Democracy Rallies Turning Into Campaign For Fashola

Source: BABATOLA MICHAEL - thewillnigeria.com
PHOTO: LAGOS STATE GOVERNOR, MR BABATUNDE RAJI FASHOLA DURING HIS LAST WORLD PRESS CONFERENCE ON DEMOCRACY DAY.
PHOTO: LAGOS STATE GOVERNOR, MR BABATUNDE RAJI FASHOLA DURING HIS LAST WORLD PRESS CONFERENCE ON DEMOCRACY DAY.


LAGOS, June 30, (THEWILL) - Independent groups hooting for Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) to contest in the 2011 governorship election have been taking advantage of pro-democracy rallies held to campaign for Fashola.

But the groups, which include Lovers of Raji Fashola (LORAF) Fans Club, Babatunde Raji Fashola (BARAFAS) Fans Club, Fasholamania Group and the Integrity Campaign Group, had claimed at different times that their activities were independent and based on how they claimed Fashola had transformed Lagos within three years.

Fashola also has not openly identified with any of the groups, though findings revealed that some of his loyalists in the State Executive Council and the Kitchen Cabinet have been meeting in camera with the leaders of the groups fine-tuning how the governor can clinch the Action Congress (AC) governorship ticket.

The latest of the activities of the pro-Fashola groups took place at the Onikan Stadium rally of the Save Nigeria Group (SNG) under the leadership of Pastor Tunde Bakare organized in collaboration with Coalition of Democrats and Electoral Reforms (CODER) to call for the cancellation of the existing voters’ register.

At the Onikan rally, there were groups of youths wearing black trousers and white T-shirts and carrying various placards, marching in different direction in the medium size stadium urging Fashola to declare for a second tenure.

The youths were putting on green T-shirts with black trousers, standing in strategic positions where the party leaders and the progressives could obviously spot them and read the inscriptions on their placards and shirts.

On their shirts were written such inscriptions as, "Fashola for 2011; One good turn deserves another; and let him do it again." Also, the inscriptions on their placards called for continuity, good governance and credible elections.

The situation was not different during the 17th anniversary of the annulment of June 12 presidential election, which was held in the Oranmiyan Hall of Lagos Airport Hotel. Fashola’s predecessor, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu along with key AC leaders were present at the anniversary.

At Oranmiyan Hall, a good number of people who were also wearing white T-shirts and black trousers were holding banners on which Fashola for second term was boldly written and advocating the need for continuity and good governance.

Another group of people standing at strategic positions in different parts of the Oranmiyan Hall were displaying placards with inscriptions like; "continuity; no going back on continuity", which was legible enough for former Governor Bola Ahmed and Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji to read from the high table.

Quite a few of them were busy distributing hand bills to tens of hundreds of people who converged at Lagos Airport Hotel in fond memories of the presumed winner of the June 12 presidential election, Bashorun Kasimawo Abiola, whose mandate was annulled.

The activities of the pro-Fashola groups has not been hidden from Tinubu who has been battling Fashola with Ikuforiji lobbing the party leaders to enable him (Ikuforiji) clinch the AC gubernatorial ticket for 2011 election.

The activities of the pro-Fashola groups inadvertently attracted the attention of civil society representatives, human rights activists and pro-democracy actors at the 17th anniversary and brought a major message to the political actors in the state, though it did not really steal the whole show as attendees were filled with sad memories of the June 12 annulment.