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Jostle For Gbajabiamila’s Seat Gets Hotter, As APC, PDP, Labour Party Show Interest




APC Council Speaks On Gbajabiamila's Integrity And Honour

Sequel to his appointment as the Chief of Staff to President Bola Tinubu, the seat of the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila as a member representing the Surulere Federal  Constituency 1 has been declared vacant.

Naija News reports that Gbajabiamila tendered his resignation letter to the House on June 14 2023 to resume his new post, and the seat has since been vacant.

Following this development, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is expected to announce the date for the conduct of the Surulere Federal Constituency 1 bye-election.

While about three members within Gbajabiamila’s party, the All Progressive Congress (APC) have shown interest in contesting for the seat, other aspirants from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP) have equally come out to indicate interest in the seat as well.

It was gathered that the three people interested in the seat from within the APC include former acting Chairman of Surulere Local Government, Agboola Dabiri; two-term former member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Kabir Lawal popularly called Caesar; and the current chairman of the APC in Surulere Local Government Area, Fuad Laguda.

This platform understands that the APC leadership in Lagos State has conducted a sort of mock primary among the three interested aspirants and Laguda was picked, as Lawal agreed to step down for him.

A party source who spoke on the basis of anonymity said to The Guardian that “We did the mock primary and Laguda was unanimously nominated as a candidate to represent the party. We decided on Laguda because he has the experience as a seasoned politician and also an accomplished public servant.”

However, the APC Spokesperson in Lagos, Seye Oladejo denied that a mock primary had been conducted saying the party does not practice the anointed candidate method, adding that the party would announce the process for nomination of candidates when INEC fixes a date for the bye-election.

Oladejo explained that the party will still follow due process in selecting a candidate through the primary and it would be the members of the party in the constituency that would decide who gets the ticket among those jostling for it.

According to him, “It’s natural for people to show interest and fulfil their ambition once opportunities come up. The office left by the former speaker is a big office and whoever is coming there will have a big shoe to fill. We are on the lookout for the right candidate who can win the election and meet up with the kind of performance that has made Gbajabiamila a household name that the party and the constituency are proud of.

“The party will ensure that the person that will emerge has electoral value and the morale to win the election. Gbajabiamila has left an indelible mark in that constituency, his works have made him a household name and there is a need to carry on with the good works he has started.

“Every politics is local. It is the constituency that will determine who gets the ticket.” When asked if the party would consider a woman for the position, Oladejo said, “Our party is fair to all gender and age groups. Everyone will be given a chance.” 

Also, the PDP publicity secretary in the state, Hakeem Amode equally said the party was waiting for INEC to set a date for the bye-election.

Ambode said “The PDP will contest the election, follow the directive of the national executive. In PDP, the national exco will write the INEC at the national level, letting them know, after they have pronounced the date at which they want to do the election, the date at which our primary will hold.

“The party will pick who will represent the people well during the party primary. We will pick the best among our members who will represent the people and do something different. We will field a candidate that is respected, democratic and understands what is going on in that constituency.

“A candidate who will offer alternatives to what one person has been doing for over 20 years. We will feature somebody who has the capacity, intelligence and education, who understands the sufferings of the people.

“The PDP will not do anything outside the electoral law as amended. We will follow the Constitution of the country in fielding somebody who will do something different and understands what is going on in Nigeria at this time.

“Whoever is interested will come up, they will buy the letter of intent, and will take it to the state secretariat that they are interested in running for the office.”

The Labour Party in the state also said it is contesting for the seat and it would file a candidate in to contest.

The publicity secretary of the Labour Party (LP) in the state, Bunmi Odesanya said  “We will encourage as many aspirants as show interest. If there are two or more aspirants, we will conduct primaries.

“LP will make a marked difference in representing the Surulere constituency. The achievement of Gbajabiamila in Surulere is lopsided. It is not cosmopolitan enough. He is known to favour and empower APC party loyalists. The former Reps member did this widely to buy the conscience of the vulnerable masses and not with the intention to serve.

“The Labour Party believes in the youths as the future of the country. LP will empower the youths indeed in the constituency, which cut across party lines irrespective of affiliation. Everyone will feel the positive impact of the LP candidate when he or she emerges. LP will deliver a candidate that will win the election. Odesanya, however, stated that the party is waiting for INEC directives on the conduct of the bye-election.

“We had a candidate in the last election, but if other people show interest, all the modalities will be considered. We had candidates that we fielded but if other people come up, we will conduct a credible and fair primary that is open to all.”

Meanwhile, the Lagos INEC’s HOD Voter Education and Publicity, Tadese Adenike, disclosed to The Guardian that the state INEC is awaiting the directive from the commission’s headquarters in Abuja to give them the directive.

He said “Sorry, I will not be able to speak on that because it’s the national headquarters of the commission in Abuja that will also direct us at the state level and up till now we have not received any correspondent to that effect. I don’t have anything concrete to tell you about it. We are still awaiting the directive of the headquarters and we haven’t received any up till now.”