SENATE 2019: Controversies Trail Ikoroudu Division’s Ambitions
-Social media platforms duplicated due to irreconcilable differences
-Sen. Ashafa’s representation not being felt in Ikorodu, says the two groups.
Kunle Adelabu with Wale Jagun
The whole idea of placing Ikorodu division at a political advantage come 2019 by some youths especially regarding Senatorial position may have hit the rock before the journey even started.
Though, some are of the view that the disagreement and polarization of the Ikorodu Division For Senate 2019 movement also has some positive sides.
The movement, Ikorodu Division For Senate 2019, initiated by Comrade Ojo Martins, popularly called ‘Bebe-Nlo,’ a youth leader of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ikorodu West Local Council Area, started in February to among others galvanize the divisional leaders, youths and residents to clamour for the Lagos East Senatorial seat presently occupied by Senator Bareehu Gbenga Ashafa.
Other foundation members according to Mr Martins are Lanre Sanusi, Bayode, Mrs Osinowo and Enitan Abraham.
The agitation was premised on the basis that come 2019, Ikorodu division may not be having any major impact particularly as it regards to the opportunity of vying for the governorship position since the incumbent governor may be re-contesting with his deputy for a second term considering their brilliant performance so far and that Senator Ashafa by then would be completing his second term and should give Ikorodu a chance.
According to Mr Martins, “The whole idea is to place Ikorodu division at an advantage come 2019 because we might not have any major impact except we fight for the Senate considering the role which votes in the division played in the emergence of Senator Ashafa in the last elections”
He added, “When we started the movement, it was about five of us and we considered five likely candidates that Ikorodu division could consider for the position based on their present positions which is an advantage and track records. We have in mind, the likes of Hon. Babajimi Benson whom we believe should naturally step-up, Hon. S.O.B. Agunbiade who is a three-term lawmaker with vast experience at the state level. Others are Asipa Kaoli Olusanya, a former Commissioner for Africulture in the State, Princess Adenrele Ogunsanya, a former Secretary to the Lagos State government and Mr Lanre Sanusi”
He added, “Of all the five considered individuals, it was only Lanre Sanusi that showed interest and made it known to who cares to listen but prevented from furthering that on the platform
Mr Martins who stated that many of the political leaders and individuals contacted when they were about to start the agitation, did not believe in the project until they created social media platforms which within a short period had garnered massive followership which was discussing the issue on facebook, twitter, Instagram and other platforms.
According to him, “At a point, crisis started creeping in as members could not adhere strictly to laid down principles that the platform should not be used to further people’s political interest or be used as campaign ground. I was neutral on my own side but some members felt that I was promoting Lanre Sanusi because of his closeness to me. Due to this non-adherence to the rules some people were removed while some left on their own volitions.
“Kafilat Shobowale left the group to form another platform and still using the same name, logo and every other things belonging to the Movement that we created, but I was never bothered because it implies that we have started a good project which is now being copied. But I started receiving threats on my life and some people were also saying that I’m not an indigene of Ikorodu and because of that, I should not be championing such a cause
In another interview with a prominent member of the breakaway faction of the ‘Ikorodu Division For Senate 2019’, who did not want his name in print due to the sensitive nature of the matter corroborated Martin’s statement that the primary aim of their group is also to galvanize the people of Ikorodu division towards occupying the Senate seat in 2019 and also enable the division to take its rightful place in Lagos State and Nigeria.
He denied the knowledge of any other group championing ‘the cause of the movement when asked about what led to the breakaway from the original group.
“Actually, I’m not aware of any group championing the cause we are embarking upon before now and as such, I would not be able to know the reason why there was a breakaway if there is anything like that at all. So, I wouldn’t know the cause of such acrimony.
While distinguishing ‘Ikorodu Division for Senate 2019’ from the ‘Ikorodu for Governor’ movement in 2015 movement which ended without achieving its goal, he stated,
“Ikorodu for Senate will not suffer the same fate as the Ikorodu for Governor movement in 2015 because we chose to work in different ways. Unlike the Ikorodu for Governor which is elitist in nature, we are working more with the youths and carrying every stakeholder along. The issue of candidacy and restricted nature of the Ikorodu for governor agenda made it suffered the fate it suffered but we are not giving chances. Those that were supposed to be carried along were not on the bus of Ikorodu for Governor agitation”
He added, “Ikorodu for Governor agitation was also started very late which is why we are starting agitation for the 2019 journey in earnest and carrying everybody along with us.
Though, he stated that the group is looking at arrays of numerous qualified and competent candidates, he however unlike the Ojo Martins’ group, said that they do not have any picture of any candidate in mind yet.
He also added that the major reason of championing the cause is because Ikorodu is not feeling the impact of the incumbent Senator representing Lagos East Senatorial District at the Upper house of the National Assembly
“Personally, I think to a very large extent, Ikorodu division is not feeling Senator Ashafa’s impact the way it should. It is on record that he won in Ikorodu with land slide. The margin between Senator Ashafa and his closest rival, Mrs Owolabi Salis, was 20,000. The PDP candidate was leading from Shomolu to Ibeju-Lekki and Kosofe, the table was turned around when Ikorodu result was released. In actual fact, Ikorodu gave Senator Ashafa the senatorial seat but we are not getting anything for it. I think we should feel his impact more but we have not been seeing him on ground.
He bemoaned the shortchanging of Ikorodu division within the Lagos State and Nigeria’s political calculation and according to him, “Ikorodu with his population explosion is now an emerging force politically and we should start using our votes to demand for better positions, and also use it to change our current positions. In Ikorodu, all our villages are now residential areas for all sought of people moving I from Lagos and other parts of the country. We need our own people to represent us and that is one of the reasons we feel that Ikorodu should represent Lagos East Senatorial District come 2019.
Both groups denied the allegation that the two movements are being bankrolled by some individuals and that everything they have been doing were financed from the contributions of their respective members.
To show the seriousness of the agitation, Mr Ojo Martins informed THE IMPACT that an elders’ council has been constituted for the ‘Ikorodu Division For senate 2019’.
“Though, we are been crucified, threatened and called names, we are not relenting because we are fighting a good cause. To show our seriousness, an elders’ council has been constituted. The council is made up of former elected council chairmen, revered political leaders and others that command respects. Membership was done on two persons per each of the Local Government and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in Ikorodu division and they have met three times since their constitution, but it is not yet time they make their activities public because of the sensitive nature of the project. But however, they are consulting other leaders and stakeholders to galvanize support for the group”, he stated.
Meanwhile, a notable political figure in Ikorodu has condemned the agitation by the two groups. He anchored his condemnation on the fact that it is only Ikorodu division among other divisions in Lagos State that is always agitating for positions and yet not working for them.
“I really do not see why we should be the one agitating for different positions while other divisions that are not even making any noise always ended up getting such positions. It shows that we are only good in showmanship and not in being strategic for our agitations. It is the party that decides the sharing of political offices and if we want any of those offices we should work for the party and strategize within it”, he admonished.
Feelers reaching THE IMPACT has it that some people in Ikorodu Constituency II comprising of Igbogbo/Bayeku, Ijede and Imota Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) are also rooting for the Senatorial seat if it is eventually zone to Ikorodu Division.
If the information is anything to go by, then, another movement may emerge from the constituency II to champion the cause of candidates whom the protagonists of the movement felt should have been considered by the two ‘Ikorodu Division For Senate 2019’ movements which have been alleged of focusing on Ikorodu Constituency I alone.
“Any list for 2019 that does not include political and community figures like former Assembly member and currently Acting Commissioner for Tourism, Arts & Culture, Hon. (Chief) Mrs Adebimpe Akinsola, two-term member of the Lagos State House of Assembly and two-term Ijede LCDA Chairman, Hon. (Prince) Saheed Adefarasin Hassan and the Deputy Registrar (Information)/Public Relations Officer of the Lagos Polytechnic, Ikorodu, Alhaji Lanre Kuye among few others, is not a list for the division” said a political figure from Igbogbo.
He also added that since Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe who represented the Lagos East Senatorial District served a term, no other person from Ikorodu division has been given the opportunity to serve even when there were abundance of qualified candidates and the division favoured by the political calculation.
Meanwhile, attempt to reach Senator Gbenga Asahafa for his comment proved abortive and several calls put through to the Public Relations Officer (PRO) were not answered.
Since the beginning of this Republic in 1999, there has been three Senators representing the Lagos East Senatorial District in the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly. Senator (Otunba) Adeseye Ogunneye (Ikorodu) represented between 1999 and 2003 on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) before he decamped to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Olorunimbe Mamora (Shomolu) represented the district for two-terms between 2003 – 2011 while the incumbent, Senator Bareehu Gbenga Ashafa (Ibeju -Lekki) is in his second-term.
- Posted in: Politics