Posted by News Express | 16 October 2021 | 487 times
Rumours that Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, may serve a single term became heightened at the weekend following the conduct of the state congress of the All Progressives Congress (APC) which witnessed the election of new executives that will pilot the affairs of the party in the next four years.
In the congress held at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan on Saturday, Pastor Cornelius Ojelabi, a former Commissioner for Rural Development, was elected as the new chairman of the Lagos State chapter.
Prior to the congress, many had wondered why Alhaji Tunde Balogun, the former state chairman of the party, was not returned for another term in spite of his performance in office.
Speaking with Daily Independent on Sunday, a credible source and chieftain of the party said the development may not be unconnected with the plot by some power brokers, especially in the Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC) led by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to deny Sanwo-Olu a second term.
According to him, the rumour that there was an unwritten agreement that Sanwo-Olu, who is a Christian, will only serve one term in order to complete the four-year term which former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode began in 2015 may have been given credence by the outcome of the congress.
He said the belief in some quarters is that Balogun was dropped so as to accommodate a Christian as chairman as a Muslim will be picked as governor in 2023.
Shedding further light, he said Balogun’s continuous stay will mean that both the state party chairman and governorship candidate are Muslims, a situation which the party leaders are trying to avoid.
“Nobody can say this is why Alhaji Balogun was dropped but I was at the convention yesterday (Saturday) and I heard some of our members saying Governor Sanwo-Olu will serve a term and a Muslim will replace him because by 2023, he would have completed the two terms allocated for a governor of Christian denomination which began with Ambode.
“If a Muslim becomes the governor in 2023, that means both Muslims will occupy two key positions in the party, hence the need to get a Christian on board as the state chairman. I am not saying that is their reason for doing so but it is the belief of some party members, especially those canvassing second term for the governor”.
However, speaking with Daily Independent, a serving Commissioner in Sanwo-Olu’s cabinet dispelled the rumour, saying the outcome of the congress has no political implication on the governor’s political future.
He said, “I don’t think the outcome of the congress has any political implications for us. The man (Ojelabi) was chosen by the majority of the party members based on his pedigree and some other considerations apart from that insinuation that they want a Christian as chairman because a Muslim governor will emerge in 2023”.
Also speaking, a former Reps member said Alhaji Balogun may have been dropped given the fact that he hails from the same Senatorial district as Governor Sanwo-Olu. He also added that the outcome of the congress has nothing to do with Sanwo-Olu’s second term.
“I don’t think the outcome of the congress has anything to do with the governor and maybe he will get second term or not. The party chairmanship and governorship position are two different positions. Also, there is no law that says the party chairman and governor or even president cannot belong to the same religion. As you can see in APC, President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Mai Buni, the national caretaker chairman of our party are Muslims.
“The party chairman and governor are not running on the same ticket and they are two different positions entirely. If it is governorship election and APC fields both Muslims as flagbearer and running mate, people may have a basis for complaining”.
On why Balogun was denied, he said, “I really can’t say why Alhaji Balogun was denied a second term but it could be as a result of the zoning. The chairmanship position was zoned. I think the leaders agreed that the governor and party chairman shouldn’t come from the same zone. Governor Sanwo-Olu is from Central Senatorial District and the party chairman is also from Central. Now they want to decentralise it so that the party chairman will come from Lagos West, since the governor is from Central and the secretary of the party is from Lagos East.
“If Governor Sanwo-Olu performs well, which I think he is doing, then he deserves a second term and I believe the party leadership won’t deny him. If you recall, even the Speaker of the House of Reps, Femi Gbajabiamila, recently said he deserves another term.
“We are all crying that we should move away from all this mundane issues of tribe, religion and other things that is drawing us back from making progress. This is Lagos, Centre of Excellence. If other states are doing so, Lagos should be different”, he said.
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