By Wale Kasali
Senator Musiliu Obanikoro is set to face an uphill task in getting the All Progressives Congress, APC, ticket for the Lagos West Senatorial District, as the odds do not favour the former Nigeria Ambassador to Ghana.
Incumbent Senator representing the Senatorial District, Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola, popularly known as Yayi, has moved to Ogun State to represent Ogun West Senatorial District in the Upper Chamber of National Assembly in 2023, paving way for Obanikoro and other aspirants to jostle for the seat come 2023.
Obanikoro’s main opponent in getting the APC is former Lagos State Deputy Governor, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, who is presently Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs.
It was gathered that top Party Members in the State APC have drummed support for Orelope-Adefulire to be the Candidate to represent the Party, pointing out that Obanikoro’s Son, Ibrahim Babajide Obanikoro, is currently a Member of the House of Representatives at the National Assembly, representing Eti-Osa Federal Constituency and now his Father, Musiliu, is also running for the Senatorial Seat he once occupied in 2003-2007, which they claim doesn’t augur well in the political sphere of the State.
The Party Leaders backed the aspiration of Orelope-Adefulire to ensure gender balance in Lagos State, as the main contenders for Lagos Central and Lagos East senatorial districts are male, therefore, the party is rooting for a woman to occupy the Lagos West Senatorial District. A source said that was why they settled for the former deputy governor.
It would be recalled that since 2011, one of the three senatorial districts in Lagos State was represented by a female and the other two districts by a male.
Senator Oluremi Tinubu, wife of the APC National Leader and Frontline Presidential aspirant, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu representing Lagos Central Senatorial District is currently on her third term in the Red Chamber, but, is set to step aside for another person to run for the seat, while Lagos East was represented by Senator Gbenga Ashafa (2011 to 2019), with the Late Senator Bayo Oshinowo (2019 to 2020) and Tokunbo Abiru (2020 till date).
Lagos West was represented by Senator Ganiyu Olanrewaju Solomon (2011 to 2015) and Senator Olamilekan Adeola (2015 till date).
Sources within the APC disclosed that aside gender balancing, the former Deputy Governor was also considered ahead of Obanikoro because of her root, experience and political network, which cuts across many Local Governments in Lagos West Senatorial District, especially in Alimosho, where she is currently a political leader.
Though Senator Obanikoro, is also connected to the grassroots and a force to reckon with as an experienced politician, he is not being favoured for the position because of his son, Ibrahim, who is seeking re-election in Eti-Osa Federal Constituency. The ambition of the son seems to have affected his Senatorial ambition.
Political observers are of the opinion that the pendulum may swing to the side of Obanikoro and he could be given the ticket in the coming days, but all hands are on deck to see who APC cedes the Lagos West Senatorial ticket to.