2019: Obanikoro’s Senatorial Ambition Sails Into Troubled Waters
Former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro is not finding it easy in his quest to return to the Senate in 2019.
His ambition, which made him to recently decamp to the ruling All Progressives’ Congress (APC) from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) appears to have run into troubled waters.
Obanikoro, who served as a Senator under the Alliance for Democracy (AD) representing Lagos Central between 2003 and 2007, wants to return to the Senate as the face of Lagos West Senatorial District.
He has already started underground campaigns to actualize this ambition.
His decision to shift to Lagos West follows the change of mind of Senator Oluremi Tinubu, wife of the national leader of the party, Bola Tinubu, to seek a third term in office in 2019.
Before Obanikoro joined APC in January, there were speculations that Oluremi may contest for the governorship of the state.
That speculation has, however, been laid to rest with her decision to stick to the Senate in 2019.
Having realised this, Obanikoro has since shifted his political base to Lagos West. He has already traced his roots to the Iba/Ojo sub-division. He clarified that the legendary Obanikoro was an Awori from Idiluwo-Ile in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos.
His understanding is that if the current senator representing the zone, Senator Olamilekan Adeola is bent on becoming the governor of Ogun State, the senatorial seat of Lagos West will be vacant in 2019.
However, a groundswell opposition against Obanikoro in the race to clinch the senatorial ticket is on.
Sources in the party told Bounce News that the opposition against Obanikoro’s ambition is so intense.
Obanikoro faces strong opposition from powerful interests in the zone including incumbent Senator Adeola, hardcore loyalists of Governor Rauf Aregbesola and other influential party members.
There are indications that former Deputy Governor of the state, Joke Orelope-Adefulire, a former Minister, Demola Seriki, Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi and Senator Ganiyu Solomon are also interested in the senatorial race.
Though said to have dropped his ambition to occupy the same position, Gov Aregbesola is said to be keen on installing a loyal and obedient supporter as Lagos West Senator.
There are also talks in some quarters that Governor Ambode who is seeking to establish his own political base in the state is not comfortable with the Obanikoro agenda as well.
The governor’s body language is said to be fuelling his supporters opposition against the former minister‘s ambition as well.
An eye-opener to what Obanikoro should expect in the coming days was last week’s clash between his supporters and those of Senator Adeola.
The clash occurred during the Lagos West political gathering where Governor Ambode was endorsed for another term in office.
Both Adeola popularly called Yayi and Obanikoro were present at the venue as their supporters attempted to triumph their popularity with all manners of theatrics and abusive songs.
Supporters of other interests were said to have sided with those of Yayi against Obanikoro’s at the occasion.
One of leaders of the party in Lagos West, Ganiy Badmus told Bounce News that Obanikoro is free to contest because it is his constitutional right.
He, however, said Obanikoro getting the party’s ticket is like a camel passing through the eye of a needle.
“The party leaders in Lagos led by Tinubu may have forgiven him, but I don’t know if they have forgotten his past actions. What guarantee do they have that that same scenario will not play itself out again if he becomes a senator through APC and PDP becomes the ruling party in 2019?”.
Checks, however, revealed the former minister remains undeterred.
He has already commenced grassroots mobilisation for his aspiration by setting up youths campaign movements in all the ten local governments that make up the Lagos West senatorial zone.
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