Barely seven months to the 2019 general election, constituents from Ikorodu Division of Lagos East Senatorial district have initiated political schemes to ensure that the division produces the next candidate to represent it at the Red Chamber of the National Assembly.
This is coming on the heels of recent calls for balanced representation among the components of the Senatorial district, especially claim that while Somolu/Kosofe and Epe/Ibeju-Lekki axis have presented representatives for two terms each, Ikorodu had only gotten one opportunity.
The Guardian gathered from sources that the issue currently unsettling the constituency, is the recent endorsement of incumbent Senator Gbenga Ashafa, from Epe/Ibeju-Lekki area, who is a second term Senator, for a third straight term at their own expense.
Youth of the area argue that Ikorodu division, which has only served for one term and boasts of the largest voting population in the district should be allowed to present the next Senator for the sake of equity and fairness.
Stakeholders from Ikorodu axis are united in their pleas to the APC leadership to be considered in 2019 for better representation.
They recall that Ikorodu division had the only shot at the Senate at the onset of the present republic from 1999 to 2003, when Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe from Igbogbo/Bayeku Local Council Development Area (LCDA), won the seat.
Ogunlewe was succeeded by Senator Olorumnimbe Mamora, a former Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly and represented Kosofe/Somolu area. He served two consecutive terms, spanning 2003 to 2007 and 2007 to 2011.
The incumbent, Ashafa, took over in 2011 to 2015 and was returned to the Red Chamber in 2015, which tenure is expected to expire in 2019.
Ogunlewe contested and won the Senate seat on the platform of Alliance for Democracy (AD) before defecting to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) mid term.
On his part, Mamora, was elected on Action Congress (AC) and Action Congress of Nigeria (AC.N) between 2003 and 2007 and later between 2007 and 2011.
For Senator Ashafa (Epe/Ibeju-Lekki), he was elected on AC.N between 2011 and 2015 and later on APC for his current term that would run full course in 2019.
It is believed that one thing that might work against Ashafa’s re-election bid, aside the agitations by the Ikorodu division, is the allegation of
People of the Senatorial district claim that the Senator is not making the impact of his presence in the Red Chamber felt having served for seven years.
It must be against that background that four aspirants have already been penciled to take over from him.
They include, Primate Charles Odugbesi, former State Secretary of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), and All Progressives Congress (APC).
He is also a Chieftain of The Mandate Group (TMG).
Barrister Saheed Kolawole Shillings, former Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association, Ikorodu; former aspirant, Ikorodu Federal House of Representatives seat (2015), who was also a student leader at the Lagos State University (LASU) and a prince of Ijede.
Otunba Ganiyu Abiru, current Chairman, Ikorodu-Oga Development Association (IKOASS), and Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to President Muhammadu Buhari on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, a three-term House of Representatives member, Abike Dabiri-Erewa. They are all from Ikorodu division.
Of all the aspirants, Otunba Ganiyu Abiru, the former Clerk of the Lagos State House of Assembly, appears to be a frontliner, despite the fact that he hasn’t indicate overt interest to go into politics.
However, the youths, who had been prompting Abiru and Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, the representative of Ikorodu Constituency I and the Majority Leader, Lagos State House of Assembly for the senatorial seat, are now focusing on the former since Agunbiade has decided to vie for the State Assembly for the fourth term.
One of the factors recommending Abiru, it was gathered, is the fact that he reached the peak of his career before retiring from the service of the Lagos State Government as Permanent Secretary/Clerk of the Lagos State House of Assembly, and as such would have learnt the ropes as a technocrat, to perform better.
One of the youths, an Ikorodu-born Canada based entrepreneur, Ibrahim Alani Onibudo, said Abiru’s refusal to their proposition would only embolden all the youths of Lagos East Senatorial District to propel him to get the ticket.
Onibudo said: “Well, let him come and say no to all the youths of Lagos East Senatorial district.
We shall carry him on our heads and walk from his house to the Red Chamber in Abuja.
It’s not an easy thing for us to place our future and destiny in his hands. He must take this offer by force.”
“We cannot continue to let the “hyenas and jackals” decide our future.
We have chosen Abiru based on the simple fact that we are all convinced that he would perform excellently and deliver beautifully if he represents us at the Red Chamber of NASS.”
Also Alhaji Taiwo Odumbo, a teacher, did not allow emotion to becloud his sense of reasoning as he exhibited understanding of the political terrain by calling for consultations and involvement of some Stakeholders.
To show seriousness for their clamour for the choice of Abiru and Ikorodu division to clinch the Senatorial ticket, the youths have opened social media platforms to drum support for their mission.
One of such is the ‘G.O.A (Ganiyu Olusegun Abiri) For Senate Movement’, a whatssapp platform which has been a beehive of activities and permutations towards the gathering of support for the ‘unwilling’ IKODASS Chairman.