Once again, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has proven to be the party to beat in Lagos State with the landslide defeat of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Lagos East Senatorial District Election held on December 5, 2020. What surprised watchers of events was not actually the defeat of the PDP, but the margin of 80,000 votes scored by the APC as against the 11,000 votes of the PDP. It will be recalled that the election was contested for by Mr. Tokunbo Abiru of the APC and Mr. Babatunde Olalere Gbadamosi (BOG) of the PDP.
While Tokunbo Abiru is the immediate past Managing Director of Polaris Bank, Babatunde Gbadamosi is a realtor and owner of Amen Estate in Sangotedo Area of Ajah Lekki area of the state. The countdown to the “mother of all Senatorial elections” was as interesting as they come.
The two parties had claimed popularity and superiority over each other in the days leading to the election. As the APC was capitalising on its dominance in the state since 1999, when the current democratic dispensation began, the PDP insisted that the former was no longer popular in the state based on some recent occurrences, which they felt had reduced the popularity of the party. Speaking in an interview with Sat-urday Telegraph shortly before the election, the immediate past Publicity Secretary, of the APC in Lagos State, Mr. Seye Oladejo, said that the PDP’s candidate was no match for the party’s candidate and that they were not bothered by “someone like that who is jumping from one party to another. He is competing with someone that is focused and passionate about the people.”
He maintained that “they cannot contest Tokunbo’s pedigree; they cannot contest where he comes from and they cannot contest his competence. “He is the only candidate that has held a public office before, he was a commissioner for finance in Lagos State and he also got to the peak of his career. He has a massive and intimidating profile.”
However, the Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Lagos State, Mr. Ganiu Taofeek, said that the candidate of the APC in the Senatorial Election, Mr. Abiru, cannot give the people the dividends of democracy.
Taofeek said that while Abiru plunged Lagos State into a huge debt as finance commissioner, the candidate of the PDP in the election, Mr. Babatunde Gbadamosi is a successful estate owner and businessman.
“The peculiarity of election in Lagos State is such that so many elections are likely to go into rerun because the people who are presented by the ruling party are either ineligible or they have one reason or the other to be impeached or recalled.
“However, to be specific on Lagos East Senatorial District Election or Kosofe Constituency 2 election, we are even the first party and candidates that Lagosians will like. “For the senatorial election, our candidate is Mr. Babatunde Olalere Gbadamosi, the APC has fielded somebody who is not familiar with elections, he was lucky to be a commissioner. “During his tenure as a commission-er, the state got to the highest level of borrowing and the state became very indebted to local and foreign investors,” he had said.
Watchers of political developments and stakeholders are saying that Abiru’s victory is an indication that the APC still has a stronghold of Lagos State despite the perceived “bad image the party has suffered in the state and at the federal level in recent times.”
They pointed to the way and manner the state and Federal Governments managed the EndSARS protest and the spate of insecurity in the country, which some people felt had diminished the image of the party.
“But the election is an endorsement of the government of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of the state and an indication that the APC is still a party to beat in Lagos State. I can assure you that the election has indicated an end to the PDP in Lagos State, “said Mr. Theophillus Adeola, a top member of the APC in Agege area of Lagos State. However, a PDP stalwart in the state, who gave his name as Chukwuma Okeke stated that the election was not a true picture of the popularity of the two parties, adding that “the truth about the election would be revealed at the appropriate time, when we finish our investigation.”
Heads or tails, the wide margin between the two leading parties in the election is seen by many followers of issues in the state as another chapter in the supremacy fight between the APC and the PDP.