The allure of politics is strong. Whether for the big money or for the power and influence, political office, especially for those who have tasted it, remains a beautiful bride to court and have eternally. That’s why recent moves by Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi from his self-imposed exile in London are not coming as a surprise. The rotund two-time senator who first served Lagos Central Senatorial District between 1999 and 2003 before moving to the Lagos West Senatorial District from 2003 to 2007 wants to stage a comeback. He’s angling to replace his successor, Senator Ganiyu Solomon, who is rumoured to be nursing an undying ambition to rule Lagos State. How this would pan out in the long run remains to be seen considering Afikuyomi’s withering political influence in Lagos.
In the run-up to the 2007 governorship election, Senator Afikuyomi threw his hat into the ring, but because Asiwaju Bola Tinubu had anointed incumbent Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola as his successor, he sought a different platform to actualise his ambition. He defected from the Action Congress to the All Nigeria People’s Party, ANPP, on which platform he contested and lost the governorship poll. Shamefacedly, he returned to the party and was appointed Commissioner for Tourism. If Nigerians saw the appointment as a demotion of sort– from senator, governorship candidate to commissioner – Afikuyomi didn’t see it that way.
He saw it instead as a means to remain in a political office. After the uproar that greeted his involvement in the acquisition of the Sunborn Yacht Hotel, he was quietly eased out after Fashola’s first term. Thereafter, he headed to Osun and was a ‘Special Assistant’ to Governor Rauf Aregbesola. He didn’t stay long in Osun before relocating to London where he is reaching out at present and consulting widely on his next move.