Senator Ganiyu Olanrewaju Solomon
Apparently not cut out for the familiar rambling of politicians, Senate Minority Whip, Senator Ganiyu Olanrewaju Solomon, declared recently that he would be the next governor of Lagos State. Whatever informed that declaration, he has stoked a debate on the 2015 governorship poll in the State, write Anayo Okolie and Nkiruka Okoh
Knowing Lagos and what it signifies in terms of political relevance, the 2015 governorship election in the state is a must watch blockbuster. Not only will it star veteran political gladiators, it will sure feature a few of the upcoming political stars by sheer grace of the level playing ground the automatic exit of the incumbent, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, would provide.
Thus, across the political parties, the Lagos 2015 epic movie billed to premier soon is bound to elicit varying interests- ranging from political to economic and most importantly, control.
And given this scenario, the jockeying for the New Ikeja House may have also begun, albeit quietly with an array of activities. Whilst some of the political parties are believed to be pondering merger with a view to demystifying their common enemy in the state; there are those that are first perfecting reconciliation in the rank and file of their members while yet, there are those shopping for the candidate that would suit the level that governance is perceived to have been elevated by the present administration in the state.
Importantly, prominent politicians have also begun to indicate interest in the former Round House. Weighing their options, majority of those believed to be interested in the state’s number one seat have either shown their intention through their body language, related pronouncements on governance and administration or at the very least, pander to the power that be for subtle endorsement.
But determined not to play games and with a declarative undertone, Senate Minority Whip, Senator Ganiyu Olanrewaju Solomon, last week, said: “I’m Next Lagos Governor”. He said this during an interactive interview on the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA). Although, not the first time, he had once told an interviewer on the Lagos Television station (LTV8) when asked about his next line of action that: “I have decided to move forward”.
However, coming exactly 10 years after he was denied an opportunity to represent the people of Lagos West Senatorial District at the Alliance for Democracy (AD) primary election which held at the Women Development Centre, Agege, in January of 2003, the pronouncement holds significant import for the senator who would be giving the governorship his second shot.
A grassroots politician with performance records and resounding human relations, coupled with structures that cut across all the local governments in the state, those close to the senator are curious because he is not given to vain talks and as such, his declaration of interest in the governorship cannot be waved aside except to the detriment of those opposed to it.
Quite smartly, Solomon was said to have also told those close to him that his indication of interest in the governorship was though spontaneous, however well thought out. But he was quick to add that it was not a move intended to create undue distraction for the government of the day which has a responsibility to tidy up its contract with the people at least, for the remaining two years of the administration.
Besides, as a senator serving his second term in office, he was said to have noted that his immediate challenge is also to see through his present assignment which of course, would form part of his testimonial for his governorship dream.
But because of the caliber of people warming up for the job and the degree of jockeying that will consequently get in the way, the Lagos 2015 election certainly promises to be different. While, without doubt, factors that would determine the choice of candidate include experience, antecedents, acceptability, structure, finance and the current standing of all the political platforms that would present candidate before the electorate, how the choice of candidate is managed by the parties will further go a long way as an added value.
As such, for Solomon who is believed to have not only paid his dues in the ruling party in the state where he has risen prominently in his political career, but has also had it rough through the years; his declaration is therefore considered instructive.
Apart from the 2003 experience where he was denied senatorial ticket on account of political exigency at the time before he was handed the House of Representatives ticket for Mushin Federal Constituency 1, his decision to give the governorship a shot in 2007 was also cut short for excuses that did not appeal to most of the candidates at the time but later paid off with the progress recorded in the state in the last six years of Babatunde Fashola.
Such excuses done with, observers believe it would probably take something more life threatening to frustrate his ambition this time. Poised to see it through this time by first coming out honestly to declare his intention without mealy-mouthing, Solomon, many believed would have done as much calculation to making sure his dream is not thwarted again.
A colleague of his who pleaded anonymity because he does not want to meddle in Lagos politics said: “I think it shows honesty in leadership to be straight to the point. Political leadership these days is not honest about things like this. At least, here is a President who promised before his election in 2011 that he would serve for just a term. But now, his yet-to-be declared re-election bid is already causing serious crisis in the polity. Unfortunately, blinded by ambition, he cannot read through clearly.
“Solomon, for whatever reason could have shrugged the question aside or told them not on the card yet like many would say. But he has come out clear that he would not just run but become the next governor of the state. Besides, I understood it was not the first time he would say that. Interestingly, he is one person that I can assure you even the senate leadership will support, party affiliation aside. He has been a wonderful colleague who commands a lot of respect.
“Funny enough, go to the senate now, most of our colleagues already refer to him as the in-coming. Although, we do not belong to his party, we believe with his experience, structure, passion and records of performance as a local government chairman before he came into the parliament, he is certainly an asset for any political party. Of course, you are aware that many politicians are liabilities now but he is not one of those,” the senator said.
Straight to the point and declarative, Solomon’s intention to be the next governor of Lagos will obviously elicit more debates in the coming days.
Good enough, he was said to have added a clause that it was just an FYI- for your information kind of notice and not anything intended to create undue distraction for the Fashola administration in which he claims to hold great admiration.
Ultimately, what the various parties do with their intending candidates for the election will play defining roles because, time has changed and leadership must learn to coast along with the evolving dynamism. Observers believe that is the only way to go in 2015.