Nseobong Okon-Ekong writes that the success of All Progressives Congress candidates in the Lagos East senatorial and Kosofe II by-elections may be viewed as an endorsement of the policies of Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and demonstrates in very clear terms that the APC is the party to beat in the state
The eminence of Lagos State as Nigeria’s former capital and the nation’s undisputed headquarters of commerce and industry readily recommend it for attention. Invariably while similar events and activities may be taking place all over the country, an occurrence in Lagos resounds with a loud bang that often reverberates around the country. Therefore, the Saturday, December 5 by-elections may have taken place in 11 states; with six senatorial district contests including Cross River North, Plateau South, Bayelsa West and Bayelsa Central, but all eyes were on the struggle for the senatorial seat in Lagos East; where the two leading political parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) featured candidates whose reputation travelled ahead of them. This, however, did not make the election of other senators less critical or their reputation of no consequence. Many watchers of the polity were equally concerned about the fate of the immediate past governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Seriake Dickson, who was on the ballot for Bayelsa West.
As it turned out, Dickson was not disgraced. He posted an excellent result, garnering 115,257 votes to defeat his APC rival, Peremobowei Ebebi who polled 17,500 votes.
The by-elections which included contests in various state houses of assembly were conducted in 5,856 polling units spread across 34 local government areas in 11 states to fill up vacancy in the legislative houses.
Flying the PDP flag in Lagos East was successful businessman and serial governorship candidate, Babatunde Gbadamosi. In the APC corner was tested banker and administrator, Tokunbo Abiru, who previously served in the state executive council as a commissioner before taking on the tasking job of the chief executive of a bank. Gbadamosi became a known face in the political sphere of Lagos for running a very robust and idea-based campaign with loads of promises which he advocated during televised debates that won the heart of many Lagosians. Unfortunately, he failed abysmally in the governorship bid. This time around, his proposition to represent one-third of the state in the senate was expected to be successful because of the status of his famous family in Ikorodu, a significant part of the senatorial district. Incidentally, Abiru is also from Ikorodu. At the end of the day, the results in Ikorodu showed who had the respect of his people. The PDP candidate returned home with 3,766 votes, while 19,204 votes were recorded in favour of the APC.
The results were no less unfavourable for the PDP in other local government areas that constitute the senatorial district. In Ibeju-Lekki, where Gbadamosi lives and has a thriving real estate business, he posted a very poor number of 937 votes against the Abiru’s 16,336 votes. The PDP recorded its highest number of votes in Kosofe local government area with 2661 votes, whereas the APC had 13,723 votes in the same area. The APC’s jumbo votes of 22,213 were counted in Epe, where the PDP managed to record 1,826 votes. In Somolu local government area, the APC took a sizeable number of 17,728 votes against 2,067 votes for the PDP. The PDP was roundly defeated in all the five local government areas that constitute the senatorial district. Overall result showed that Abiru of the APC had 89,204 votes, while Gbadamosi of the PDP had 11,257 votes. The difference in votes between the two contestants is 77,947.
The by-election witnessed low voter turnout across the LGAs. Statistics from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) reveal that Lagos East senatorial district has 1,261,673 registered voters, but only 104,894 voters were accredited for the election. However, 104,405 voters cast their votes. From that number, 102,336 valid votes were recorded, while 2,067 votes were rejected. Ten other political parties, whose participation was inconsequential, also took part in the election with some of them scoring one digit votes in some local governments.
Lagos State APC candidates;Tokunbo Abiru and Obafemi Saheed were victorious in the contest for Lagos East Senatorial district and Kosofe State Constituency II State Constituency respectively.
The success at the Lagos East senatorial and Kosofe II polls may be viewed as an endorsement of the policies of Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and demonstrates in very clear terms that the APC is the party to beat in the state. As this has been a particularly challenging year for many countries in the world, as a result of the scourge of the COVID-19 global pandemic, Sanwo-Olu’s handling of the health challenge, as the Incident Commander, has been exemplary and may have contributed to the sustained respect and confidence that Lagosians have in him. The Lagos Governor has not only continued to give hope in the face of gloom occasioned by the pandemic, he strives to deploy available resources to other areas that demand urgent attention like road infrastructure, education, security, traffic management and waste management to the critical.
Sequel to the sit-at-home directive to curtail the spread of the novel Coronavirus, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu unveiled an economic stimulus package for the indigent and most vulnerable in the society. The stimulus came in food packs distributed to every local government in the state to cushion the effects of the stay-at-home directive. The gesture touched, at least, 200,000 households in the first phase, catering for six people per household. Information for the exercise was generated from the Lagos State Social Register as well as the data of 4000 Community Development Associations in 377 wards of the state to identify beneficiaries. The Lagos State government took further step to ensure that the aged and retirees do not suffer undue hardship during the restriction order, as it ensured seamless payment of N1.8 billion bond arrears to 418 pensioners.
Lagos State was the first to unveil a 70-bed COVID-19 Isolation and Treatment Centre located within the premises of Landmark Exhibition Centre in Eti-Osa Local Government Area of the State. The 70-bed Eti-Osa Isolation Centre was constructed by the Young President Organisation (YPO), Lagos State Chapter and has a dedicated 10-bed intensive care isolation unit, four ventilators, monitors, respirators, mobile x-ray, ultrasound and oxygen facilities. The state also initiated the era of virtual meeting for members of the Lagos State Executive Council (EXCO) meeting – the first-ever virtual meeting in the history of governance in the state.
It was during this period that many landmark achievements were recorded like the short listing of 10 firms out of the 32 eligible companies that responded to the call for Expression of Interest (EOI) and applied for construction of the Lagos Fourth Mainland Bridge. Emergency response to different cases of explosion in Abule-Ado, Iju and also tanker disaster tasked the ingenuity of the Lagos Governor.
Taking a cue from the Federal Government, in May 2020, the Lagos State government had to revise its 2020 budget by 21percent, from N1.169 trillion to N920.5 billion, to reflect the new economic realities foisted on the world by COVID-19 and the crisis in the oil market. The Lagos State House of Assembly approved the revised budget in August 2020 with a 10 percent reduction in recurrent expenditure and a 24 percent reduction in capital expenditure. Even as Lagos remains the epicenter of the pandemic in Nigeria, Sanwo-Olu has earned more admiration with the disclosure that the state’s overall 2020 budget performance improved from 56 percent at the end of the first quarter to 77 percent at the end of the third quarter of 2020.
Such impressive result cannot be ignored because it was recorded at a time when the state became the worst hit during the #ËndSARS campaigns. The cost of losses that Lagos State had to put up with stands at N1 Trillion, while private businesses lost several billions of US Dollars.
Sequel to the sit-at-home directive to curtail the spread of the novel Coronavirus, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu unveiled an economic stimulus package for the indigent and most vulnerable in the society. The stimulus came in food packs distributed to every local government in the state to cushion the effects of the stay-at-home directive. The gesture touched, at least, 200,000 households in the first phase, catering for six people per household. Information for the exercise was generated from the Lagos State Social Register as well as the data of 4000 Community Development Associations in 377 wards of the state to identify beneficiaries. The Lagos State government took further step to ensure that the aged and retirees do not suffer undue hardship during the restriction order, as it ensured seamless payment of N1.8 billion bond arrears to 418 pensioners