In the last two weeks, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), has intensified its campaign for Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in the aftermath of the defeat suffered by the party at the presidential poll in Lagos.
The popularity of the Labour Party and its Governorship candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour appears to have unsettled the APC and its 24 years hold on Lagos State.
From Alliance for Democracy (AD), Action Congress (AC), Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and finally, to the APC, president-elect, Bola Tinubu and his associates have won all governorship elections in the state.
Obi won Lagos State by polling 582,454 votes, ahead of Tinubu, who got 572,606 votes. However, LP still disputes the election, claiming that the margin was wider.
Since then, GRV has intensified his campaign on that momentum. Also, there is Jide Adeniran of the PDP, who is also expected to give the ruling party a battle.
Many believe that the Muslim/Muslim ticket contributed immensely to the defeat suffered by the APC in Lagos State. Several mega-churches openly campaigned against the Muslim/Muslim ticket.
“Sanwo-Olu will not suffer the same fate as Tinubu in this election because if you notice very well, churches have not been campaigning against Sanwo-Olu the same way they did against Tinubu. The determination to vote against Tinubu is not the same thing now,” Bayo Ape, a member of the ruling party, told DAILY POST
While the religious factor may not be against Sanwo-Olu, who also appears not ready to take chances, by visiting several churches in the last couple of days, however, there is concern about angry youths.
So many youths who participated in the EndSARS and voted for Obi are still angry over the outcome of the election. Many believe that the election was rigged against their candidates.
Last week, during an interview on Arise TV, Sanwo-Olu claimed to have been powerless on the invitation of the Army to the Lekki Toll Gate.
“On the question of who ordered the [Lekki shooting], who ordered the police not to listen to me when I went to Magodo the other day? Who ordered the military out for our election last Saturday? It is not in my remit or space,” he said.
To prevent a repeat of February 25, Sanyo-Olu appears to be appealing to Churches and young persons. There have been conscious efforts to reach out to the Igbo communities in Lagos State.
Aregbesola to the rescue
The loss of Alimosho Local Government, an APC stronghold, to the opposition was one of the biggest shocks to the ruling party.
Obi polled 71,327 votes to defeat Tinubu who scored 62,909.
In the past couple of days, videos have emerged online showing the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola campaigning and holding meetings with stakeholders in the LG.
Although Aregbesola is a former Governor of Osun State, Alimosho is his political base. His emergence at the scene shows how serious the election is considering that both Aregbesola and Tinubu have had a frosty relationship since the Osun election.
Aregbesola was completely missing during the presidential election campaign. But he has been in full campaign mode since.
“Winning Lagos is not just about shutting the doors to those who do not have the capacity to rule us but to ensure we crown all that Senator Bola Tinubu has achieved so far, especially now that he is the president-elect, to the benefit of our party and the generality of the people of Lagos state,” Aregbesola said during a recent meeting with Alimosho stakeholders on Sunday.
Winning Alimosho and other APC strongholds may change the dynamics of the race.
Also, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed was deployed to the field to mobilize Kwarans in Lagos to vote for the ruling party.
Lai Mohammed, who is from Kwara State, is also an active player in the Lagos political scene as he was Chief of Staff to Tinubu from 1999 to 2002.
Focusing on GRV
In the past couple of weeks, the ruling party has turned its attention to Rhodes-Vivour of the Labour Party.
His inability to speak Yoruba fluently, his certificate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and his past tweets on Biafra have been scrutinized on social media.
Despite the attacks, GRV has become the poster boy for the EndSARS movement and continues to gain popularity among young people. However, the ethnic twist in the governorship race appears to be changing the momentum.
In the past weeks, there have been attempts to paint the governorship ambition of GRV as a takeover by Igbos— and the “Lagos is a no man’s land” has been a trending conversation on social media.
Also, a National Daily did a report on Monday claiming that the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele is supporting GRV with cash to win the state. The CBN has debunked the news.
“We wish to inform members of the public that this story is completely false and malicious as the CBN Governor does not know and has never met or even spoken with Mr. Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, either in person or through a proxy,” CBN said.
Local government permutation
Lagos State has 20 LGs, and during the presidential election, Tinubu won more LGs (11) but still lost the election.
He won Agege, Apapa, Badagry, Epe, Ibeju-Lekki, Ifako-Ijaiye, Ikorodu, Mushin, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, and Surulere.
While Obi won Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Amuwo-Odofin, Eti-Osa, Ikeja, Kosofe, Oshodi-Isolo, Somolu, Ojo and Alimosho.
In the past couple of years, the ruling party has been struggling in Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Amuwo-Odofin, Oshodi-Isolo and Ojo.
The ruling party will be looking at flipping Kosofe, Alimosho, Shomolu and Ikeja.
While GRV will also be looking at improving his strength in Surulere, Lagos Mainland and Apapa.
It remains to be seen if the dying minutes rush by the APC can stop the repeat of February 25.