Gradually, the Convener of Lagos4Lagos Movement, AbdulAzeez Adediran, popularly known as Jandor, appears to have wormed himself into Lagos political landscape, raising the hope among members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state that he is the man to lead them to the Alausa Government House. WALE ELEGBEDE reports
With a landmass of about 3,345 square kilometres, Lagos State is the smallest in size in the country, but when it comes to the act of politics and politicking, the state that prides itself as the “Centre of Excellence” ranks high despite ceasing to be the nation’s capital since 1991. In Lagos, politics is strictly a game of interest with dire consequences for both winners and losers. In fact, it runs on a zero-sum game system. On the surface, the politics of Lagos, especially in the past 21 years or thereabout, appears sophisticated and organised, but when the veil is removed, the stench will be too offensive to bear.
Whilst it looks like the dominant bloc, the metamorphosing progressives, currently known as the All Progressives Congress (APC), are on the driving seat of politics in the state, some other tendencies are apparently closing the gap on them and this has been evident in recent developments in the political landscape. One of such forces aiming to rewrite the political narrative of Lagos politics from 2023 is the one championed by the Convener, Lagos4Lagos movement, AbdulAzeez Olajide Adediran, popularly known as Jandor. For Jandor, a core Lagosian from the Awori stoic, his vision is unambiguous – to end the reign and grip of a former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and set the state on the path of progress.
“I don’t want to be a governor that needs second-level approval to function. If I have the ticket for PDP, I’ll win. We have always challenged the status quo. Many people are suffering and smiling in APC, but they are afraid to opt out,” Adediran recently declared. Prior to Saturday, December 4, 2021, Jandor had been a household name in the APC camp. In fact, his group, Lagos4Lagos Movement did what many analysts described as “unthinkable’ in the annals of politics in the state by going against the establishment within the party and holding parallel party executives’ congresses from wards to the state levels. But for Adediran who had his background in the media but has gotten himself entrenched through his popular Jandor Foundation, his eyes are on salvaging governance in his state regardless of the backlash he gets.
However, his foray in the APC reached a dead-end when it appeared the leadership of the party is not ready for the fresh insights he offered to move both the party and state forward. When the wind of his imminent exit blew, several attempts were made by some APC chieftains to halt the move given the cult-like followership he has and influence. It was reported that Jandor was invited to Abuja by the governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, to appeal to him not to dump the ruling party, but the deed was already done.
A few weeks after, the 44-year-old philanthropist received in audience a former Senate President and chieftain of the PDP, Dr. Bukola Saraki, in his Lagos office on the authority of the leadership of the opposition party. By then, it was evident that APC’s loss would be PDP’s gain. His entrance to the opposition party not only raised the tempo of politics in the state but also significantly subtracted from the ranks of the ruling party owing to the large grassroots followership he commands. Hitting the ground running, he immediately became the harbinger of peace and unity in the nearly fragmented PDP, preaching amity for a common course against the ruling party.
“I am pleased to join PDP simply because one person can’t just make a decision that binds on all the party members. I have since put a call to the two governorship aspirants of PDP, I told them Akanji has come, and they are all welcome. My decision to join PDP was well thought of because PDP has a structure, and it is the only party with a structure that can displace the ruling party,” he said.
Speaking with New Telegraph, a former member of the PDP state executive, who described Jandor as the new face of the opposition in the state, added that with him, the PDP can combine youthfulness, strength and experience to weed out the APC in Lagos. He said: “I’ve been hearing about him for some time but met him for the first time recently. My perception of his personality is that he is a man of conviction backed up with action.
Although he is young, he carries the mind of the elderly. Aside from being a true Lagos indigene, he possesses the real hands-on that can both win the governorship election and efficiently manage the resources and people of our great state.” While expressing the support of the party hierarchy for the Lagos4Lagos Movement convener, he said his entrance has calmed frayed nerves in the PDP, adding: “We are ready to conduct our congress and the cord that is binding all hitherto competing interests appears to be the young Jandor.”
Expressing his admiration for the courage displayed in the face of several exclusion tactics of the APC, while he was with the ruling party in the state, a former Deputy National Chairman of the PDP and leader of the party in the state, Chief Olabode George, said the new infusion from the Lagos4Lagos Movement to the PDP is a clear signal that the APC is heading for the canvas in 2023. George said: “We can only strengthen ourselves when we embrace and encourage those who are joining our team and sincerely work with them to take our state back from the prodigal mismanagers.
We must work together to achieve victory. Everyone will be given a level playing ground to achieve their aspirations. Politics is always a game of numbers. “We welcome Mr. Adediran and his followers who have decided to abandon the sinking and the blighted ship of the APC for a renewed, energised, invigorated, forward-looking PDP. Let it be known by all and sundry that the strength of all political parties resides precisely in their population. The more, the merrier. A good political party doesn’t turn people away. It embraces everyone who can contribute to the progress of the party. “For those of us who are already in Lagos PDP, let us welcome the new entrants with a warm, open embrace.
They are coming to add value to our party.” However, regardless of the pool of acceptance and eulogies, Jandor, no doubt, still has lots of boxes to tick one of which is how to first secure the PDP ticket among other interests who had shown their desire to be the opposition party’s flagbearer in the 2023 governorship race. Perhaps, to keep the rhythm and spine of his ambition going, Jandor, along his teeming supporters, is expected to be formally received into the PDP fold today, January 21, at the Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos.
Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, will lead other party chieftains from South-West, including former governors, deputy governors, former and serving senators and House of Representatives members to the event. Chief George, who is the leader of PDP in Lagos will be host at the event, while the party headquarters is expected to send a representative. For many Lagosians, Jandor is the option they had always craved for in the politics of the state and they may likely explore that if he is on the ballot as the governorship candidate of the main opposition party come 2023.
Aside from his burgeoning political personality, Jandor, in his private capacity through his foundation has empowered over 3,000 small scale businesses across 57 local governments and LCDAs, granted over 100 scholarship grants to students across tertiary institutions within two years of operations and provision of learning materials to various schools across different senatorial districts in Lagos. He also built a 32-seater ICT centre to serve 16 riverine communities with boats for transportation to the centre.
With his entrance, Adediran is gradually becoming the new face of Lagos politics with his mantra of making Lagos work for Lagos people and the way and manner Lagos PDP chieftains are welcoming him with open hands into their fold gives credence to his popularity in the state.