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How The PDP Plans To Take Over LAGOS From The APC

Have you noticed anything new lately in the camp of the Lagos PDP? Have you observed that there seems to be a new bounce in their gait that suggests they could presently be enjoying some renewed confidence within the party, something they have been lacking for a long while now?

Yes, there is a breath of fresh air in the camp of the Lagos PDP and, from what City People found out, this new lease of life they appear to be enjoying might just see them through the next governorship election in Lagos next year if they are finally able to put their house in order.

For quite a while now, since 1999 specifically, the PDP has played second fiddle to APC in Lagos. No matter how hard it tried every election year, the PDP could never quite cross the finish line ahead of the APC in Lagos governorship polls. This has left many wondering when the opposition party will be able to break the 23-year-old grip of the ruling APC. Every election year, the PDP has appeared stronger and better prepared to take over the state from the APC, but it has always fallen short of its target. The best chances opened to the PDP to oust the ruling party in 2007 and 2015. In 2007, the major opposition party got federal backing and massive funding from former President Olusegun Obasanjo when it presented former envoy to Ghana, Senator Musiliu Obaniko as its governorship candidate.

The PDP would have capitalised on the internal crisis in the ruling Action Congress (AC), now APC, when about 11 commissioners and the then Deputy Governor, Mr. Femi Pedro, revolted against Tinubu on the ground that the National Leader allegedly imposed his anointed candidate, Babatunde Fashola on others. But Fashola, who is currently Minister of Works and Housing, eventually defeated Obanikoro in the 2007 governorship race with 599,300 votes to 383, 956 votes.

Political observers believed that the results would have been different if all stakeholders in the PDP had united to support Obanikoro. And this has been the bane of the PDP in the state, their inability to unite, speak with one voice and rally around their candidate when it matters the most. They have had a running battle with internal wrangling within the party and just never seemed capable of finding a lasting solution to it. This is why they have continued to squander chance after chance to take over the reins of power in Lagos.

They lost yet another golden opportunity under erstwhile President Goodluck Jonathan, who put the federal structure behind the Lagos PDP’s gubernatorial candidate, Mr Jimi Agbaje.

Agbaje was popular and well-accepted among indigenes of Lagos and it was expected that his charisma with the PDP platform and the federal support would have been massive enough to dismantle the APC stronghold.

Just like the party failed to seize the opportunity of internal disagreement in APC in 2007, PDP could also not capitalise on the resentment among members of the ruling party over the choice of former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, who was believed to have been imposed like Fashola by Tinubu. Again, Ambode went ahead to dust Agbaje by 811, 994 thousand votes to 659, 788.

But the recent defection of Dr. Abdulazeez Adediran aka Jandor, the convener of Lagos4Lagos Movement, a splinter group in APC to the PDP, has given the party renewed hope in its long time quest to take over the ruling of the state. Its defection was witnessed and backed by 10 PDP governors, including the powerhouse of the PDP in the South-West, Governor Seyi Maknde of Oyo state, former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, erstwhile Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, incumbent National Chairman of the PDP, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, along with other notable members of the party, has, however, engendered renewed optimism within the rank of party faithful that the narrative may change in 2023. Jandor’s defection to the PDP is a huge prospect for the 3 party faithful as he is said to have come with over a million supporters from the APC.  

Specifically, political observers have said that the recent show of solidarity across the country among PDP leaders and the fanfare created to receive Adediran in Lagos portends some seriousness on the part of the party and a strong indication of intent to win the governorship in Lagos come 2023. There are other factors responsible for the renewed hope and confidence of the party faithful in Lagos. The PDP is excited about the internal wrangling within the APC and is hopeful that the PDP will be the biggest beneficiary when the APC convention holds this February and it leaves many shattered and embittered party members in its wake. It is expected that these members, in trying to serve their own interests and fulfil personal ambitions, would leave the APC once it becomes obvious after the convention that the party has nothing to offer them anymore. And from the look of things, if the division within the ranks of the APC is anything to go by, there will certainly be lots of heavyweight casualties by the time the APC convention is over and the Lagos PDP would be waiting to throw its doors open to as many as would be willing to join them. What this translates to is that the PDP will probably be at its strongest ever form going into the governorship elections next year.

Members of the PDP in Lagos are also excited about the prospects the Igbo votes bring to them. Many will recall that Oba Akiolu of Lagos, in 2015, threatened the Igbos resident in Lagos to vote for APC’s Akinwunmi Ambode or have themselves to blame should they go on to vote for the PDP. This threat to their lives and business angered the Igbos greatly. If anything, rather than deter them, the threat by the respected monarch only fueled their resolve to vote the ruling party, APC, out of power in Lagos. And they very nearly did. They showed their resentment for the APC by coming out en masse to vote for PDP’s governorship candidate, Jimi Agbaje. The election result was close. Very close. And it’s remained that way as the PDP continues to close the gap each election year. The PDP will be motivated by this and will hope to build on their previous impressive performances, more so now that Jandor and his over million followers have joined the party.

One other factor that will help the PDP take over Lagos is the divided attention of the national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. According to City People findings, the PDP camp in Lagos expects that unlike in the past years that Asiwaju was able to focus fully on Lagos governorship election and ensure the APC maintains its grip on the richest state in the country, strategizing and plotting the defeat of the PDP, things will be a little different this time. In previous years, after he finished his tenure as governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju never aspired for any political office. He was focused only on securing Lagos and other southwest states. But this time, he will have his hands full, especially if he is able to scale through the primaries and emerge APC presidential candidate. According to Asiwaju, becoming the president of the federal republic of Nigeria has been his lifelong ambition and he will certainly give it everything he’s got to ensure his dream becomes reality. But everyone knows Lagos is also Asiwaju’s power base, his strong tower where he is the lord of his political empire, he will not let anything or anyone take his power base away from him.

It will be interesting to see how things will pan out in the next few months. But, presently, the PDP are more confident than ever before that they may just have finally got things right this time. They can feel it. They can smell blood. They are almost certain the APC will be defeated at the polls come next year. But will it be as easy and as straightforward as they think it will? The next few months will determine how the pendulum will swing come next year.         


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