Hon. Bayo Osinowo, candidate of the APC’s arrogant disposition to his election in Lagos East poses grave danger to his election next year, contends Teni Ademowo
The last has definitely not been heard of the intrigues that characterised the build-up to the primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Lagos East senatorial District Seat, which saw the emergence of a four term Lagos State House of Assembly Member, Hon. Bayo Osinowo as the standard-bearer of the party.
Recall that Lagos East was one of the flashpoints during the recently concluded primaries, after Senator Gbenga Ashafa, who was returned unopposed by the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the only candidate cleared to run for the seat, issued a statement returning the ticket to the leadership of the party.
This was, of course, the fall out of the insistence of the party at the state level to pit him against a contender, who was not duly cleared to participate in the primaries by the National Working Committee, Osinowo and thereby conducting a primary election rather that an affirmation process as stipulated by law.
Similarly, the incumbent Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode whose primary election was the center point of the political storm in Lagos State after his loss to his challenger, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, divided the party and created what seemed to be an irredeemable division within the APC in Lagos State.
However, soon as the primary elections had come and gone, an uneasy calm gradually returned to the political circles within Lagos State. The Governor though aggrieved, sheathed his sword and maintained a dignified silence after issuing a terse statement of support for the candidate of the party.
In similar vein, Senator Ashafa drummed up support for all the candidates of the party in the statement he released, handing over his unopposed ticket back to the party.
Subsequently, the political father of all the gladiators in the saga, a former Governor of Lagos State and leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, immediately set about calming frayed nerves, reaching out to aggrieved members of the party as a result of the aftermath of the primaries and securing their commitment to work for the victory of the party at all levels, both in the state and at the national level.
As thoroughbred gentlemen, both Governor Ambode and Senator Ashafa, incidentally from the Lagos East, returned to their duty posts and heeded the call of the leader to immediately lead the charge for the victory of the party across their constituencies.
What has however become most surprising is a seemingly intransigent and cantankerous approach being adopted by Mr. Osinowo towards all those, who opposed his ambition to become a Senator particularly, the incumbent Senator Ashafa.
To lend credence to what has already become loose talk within political circles in the district, Osinowo at a meeting held at the TYTTLO EVENT CENTRE, CMD Ketu on Thursday, 13th December, 2018, and convened to further reconcile aggrieved members of the party, was heard speaking in Yoruba and justifying imposition of candidates, saying “God himself started imposition, for you to have been the sperm that survived out of 30 million, you must have been imposed by God.”
He continued by stating further that, “Having served as an assistant director, director, Executive Secretary, Permanent Secretary of the Land Bureau in Lagos State and a Senator for eight years, Ashafa has been very fortunate.”
He narrated how he purportedly brought Ashafa into the party as he continued to exhibit a cantankerous approach towards the incumbent Senator, whom he seeks to replace. Osinowo further narrated his journey through the primary process, stating that Ashafa was the only one, who refused to step down for him hence he is the only one he has a problem with.
This is despite the fact that the National Leader of the APC has issued repeated directives at various for a, including the most recent Governor’s Advisory Council’s expanded reconciliation meeting for all candidates to close gaps with their opponents during the primaries and apologise for any misgivings that might have occurred throughout the process.
The most potent example of this conciliatory and collaborative approach can be seen in the camaraderie and complementary nature of the gubernatorial campaign of Mr. Sanwoolu and the support he is receiving from Governor Ambode.
This spirit of sportsmanship displayed by both the candidate and the incumbent depicts a clear understanding of the task ahead for the APC at the general election and the need for all hands to be on deck to ensure the victory of the party’s candidate against his most formidable opponent and four times contender for the number one seat in Lagos, Mr. Jimi Agbaje.
This however seems not to be the case in Lagos East, where Mr. Osinowo seems to be hell bent in making an enemy out of the man, who ordinarily should be his lead campaigner, Senator Gbenga Ashafa.
At a recent interview, when asked about the comments ascribed to Osinowo, Ashafa stated: “Bayo is my brother and I do not believe that he has said all the things you have confronted me with this afternoon. I have also not heard any such audio recording, where he might have said those things.
“What is most important for me is to look ahead and galvanise support for all the candidates of our party in Lagos East, Lagos State and at the National Level and this I have been doing in addition to my current responsibility as the Senator representing Lagos East in the National Assembly.”
When pressed further on his relationship with the party in Lagos State, Ashafa said, “I have absolutely no issues with the party in Lagos. The party is strong and united. Whatever transpired during the primary process is long gone and behind us.
“It would interest you to note that only a couple of weeks back I was with my leader Ashiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and we spoke extensively about how the party must galvanise its base with all hands on deck to make sure that we have a landslide victory come 2019. This is my focus. If you look round Lagos East, you will find billboards sponsored by me for almost all the candidates of our party including Bayo Osinowo. I am confident that the APC will record a comprehensive victory come 2019.”
However, the elephant in the room remains that Lagos East will remain divided for as long as Osinowo refuses to reconcile himself and his base with critical stakeholders in the district, including the incumbent.
The baggage of a poor representation for Kosofe in the Lagos State House of Assembly for 16 years without any legislative intervention to show for it, coupled with a towering track record laid by Senator Olorunimbe Mamora, which has now been built upon by Senator Gbenga Ashafa, remains an albatross for the man popularly referred to as Pepper.
Could this be the opportunity for an opposition candidate to clinch a senatorial seat in the city of excellence after a long hiatus? Could the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Abiodun Oyefusi, an Ikorodu Princess, who seems to enjoy popular acceptance in the most populous zones in the district (Ikorodu and Epe with and embittered Ibeju Lekki) clinch the seat?
It is a popular Yoruba adage transcribed for the purpose of this article that says, till the hands of a child are firmly on the gauntlet of the sword, he ought not to ask publicly what killed his father, with a view to visiting vengeance on whomever is responsible.
Ambode and Ashafa have since moved past the primary elections in Lagos. It is time for Osinowo to face the herculean task of selling himself to his constituents and by working hard to beat a popularity challenge, which he seems to suffer having only narrowly defeated Moyo Ogunlewe to clinch his current seat in the House of Assembly during the 2015 polls. That was within just one local government, now he has five local government areas in Lagos East to contend for.
Wisdom should dictate to Osinowo to toe the line of reconciliation as instructed by Asiwaju Tinubu or risk losing the ticket bestowed on him by the party in Lagos East to the opposition PDP or any other candidate for that matter.
-Ademowo wrote from Lagos