By Adeyemi Adeleye, Lagos
Political gladiators in Ifako-Ijaiye Federal Constituency of Lagos State have commenced jostling for the vacant seat of their representative in Federal House of Representative (HoR).
Presently, members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and their rivals in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are engaging in horse-trading.
The seat became vacant with the death of the former representative, late Dr. Elijah Adewale who passed on in his Abuja resident recently at the age of 65.
His death has rekindled jostling among aspirants in the constituency with politicians engaging in subtle moves to oil their political machinery in readiness for when the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would signal the commencement of the electioneering process.
One of such is the candidate of the PDP in the election, Mr. Babatope Akinyele who recently began consultations with stakeholders within the party.
At a well attended meeting held somewhere in Oko-Oba, he enjoined them (members) to work together in the interest of the collective good of the party, saying unbridled quarrel within their ranks cost them the seat.
According to him, those invited to the meeting were stakeholders irrespective of the caucus they belong to, saying what was important was for members to work together to deliver the seat to the PDP.
Addressing the members, Akinyele stated that “We really need to meet with opinion moulders across the wards, units and polling booths. What we want to do is to correct the errors that we made the last time.”
While stating that the move was not in anyway called to flout relevant sections of the Electoral Law of the constitution, Akinyele said it was consultative in nature and that it was called to rekindle hope in members.
On his part, the Chairman of the party in the local government, Alhaji Yisa Adeleye thanked Akinyele for the meeting, which he said will restore hope amongst members.
Addressing members, he urged them to forget the past, saying if all members work in harmony, the PDP is expected to win the seat, saying the APC through the performance of its governments at all levels has made the job of winning the forthcoming election easy.
Meanwhile, the APC is currently strategizing on how to retain the seat stressing that losing to the PDP would send a wrong signal to the public.
The spokesperson of the party in Lagos State, Mr. Joe Igbokwe at the weekend said his party us battle ready to bury PDP in Ifako/Ijaye any time INEC fixes a date for the poll.
“We are ready for PDP. They do not exist in Lagos. They misruled Nigeria for 16 years. Lagos will not be a testing ground for them. We shall bury them during the poll” Igbokwe said.
Three aspirants namely Demola Doherty, Yomi Ogunnusi, and Abiola Josiah have signified their interest to contest for the seat on the platform of the APC.
Also, five aspirants have signaled their intention to contest for the seat on the platform of PDP as further confirmed by the state party chairman, Tunji Savador.
Pundits have opined that the election is going to be a duel as it is the first major popularity contest between the APC and PDP in Lagos State since the conduct of the 2015 general elections.
A social critic, Femi Olarenwaju posited on his Twitter page (@femrewa) that sensing defeat, the APC is currently making move that will ensure INEC do not fix a date for the election this year so as to have time to douse the tension currently being generated by the hardship in Nigeria which he said was caused by the inefficiency of the APC at the central.
In his part, the convener of Stand Up Nigeria Group, Mr. Dele Popoola has predicted victory for the APC.
In a statement in Lagos on Sunday, Popoola said with the current super-meritorious performance of Governor Ambode, the victory of APC is a non-negotiable in Ifako/Ijaiye Federal Constituency.
“How do you expect the APC to lose an election anywhere in Lagos with the current super-meritorious performance of Governor Akinwumi Ambode? The coming election to me is going to be a walk over for the APC.” He opined.