Finally, september is here and all the political permutations are in top gear, nearly reaching fever pitch. Like elsewhere, the situation is not different in Lagos where the dust is finally settling on the candidates to be fielded for the crucial posts. Save for the Lagos West (where MusiliuObanikoro and Senator OlamilekanYayi are slugging it out) and Lagos East (where Hon. Oshinowo Pepper is trying to snatch the ticket from Senator GbengaAshafa), the governorship ticket is apparently settled for incumbent AkinwunmiAmbode’s unopposed return, after the usual intense politicking and horse trading.
However, the grey and contentious area now remains Ambode’s running mate.
Although she is seen to have performed creditably well as the current deputy governor and supervising Commissioner for Education, the chances of Dr.IdiatOlurantiAdebule returning with Ambode appears shaky as certain power blocs are hell bent on replacing her with another current member of the Lagos State cabinet and a flighty politician from the West Senatorial zone, AlhajaUzamatAkinbile-Yusuf.
But the self-acclaimed Pharmacist Akinbile-Yusuf is a curious choice that might dent the image of the government and bring the exalted office of the Deputy Governor to an all-time low if the proposal to replace Adebule with her flies.
Hush tone mumurings are growing into loud whispers in the Lagos political circle with the desperation with which a certain cabal in the Alimosho caucus of Lagos West Senatorial district is scheming to push Akinbile-Yusuf.
The plan reached an advance stage during the sallah celebrations when powerful forces from Alimosho led the Ijebu-Ile Ife born Uzamat to the home of National Leader, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, ostensibly to get his blessing for the plan.
But the Aworis in Lagos and the strong caucus from Ojo, Oriade and Badagry axis of Lagos West where Dr.Adebule comes from are up in arms against dropping their daughter for “one Usamotu who still carries about her Osun title of Moremi”. Like many watchers of the Lagos politics, the Awori bloc says Commissioner Uzamat is a mere decorative member of cabinet whose performance first in the ministry of Youths and Social Development and currently in the ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment has been abysmally low.
To keen watchers, her qualifications are a suspect; she could hardly string a clean sentence in English together; and if she is a pharmacist at all, they say it must be a carry-over of her ability to dispense local herbs to ill and infected locals in Osun State where she was raised and schooled but merely later sought to validate her “eleweomo” prowess with a procured certificate in Pharmacy.
Compared to AdebisiSosan and AdejokeOrelope-Adefulire who deputised for BabatundeRajiFashola at different times and the current RantiAdebule who holds a doctorate degree and had served as the Secretary to the State Government before her correct position, Uzamat does not measure up at all in political experience; educational qualifications; spoken English and social etiquette and more importantly in moral uprightness. Analysts wonder how tidy it would be to install as Deputy Governor of the Centre of Excellence a woman that hybernates with a boyfriend who practically feeds off her after leaving her Akinbile husband in curious circumstances a few years ago. Strangely, Uzamat has now added Shehu Yusuf’s name to her former (now late) husband’s name without formal wedlock even as the current man-about-town boyfriend has two other wives at home.
“This is the type of munafik woman that Alimosho has gone to present to the Leader as Deputy Governor in 2019 just because she’s an in-law to a notorious political goon, AbdulahiEnilolobo and shares birthday with her godfather and “close” ally Governor Rauf Aregbesola,” a reliable source disclosed.
Lagos State has always adopted the style of choosing a qualified and presentable female deputy to a sitting male governor since the period of AlhajaSinatuOjikutu in 1991 and even Mrs. KofoworolaBucknor-Akerele who was Asiwaju’s first deputy in 1999.
But political watchers say even if the powers that be would not allow Adebule break the jinx of allowing a deputy governor to serve two terms, only time will tell if the ideal replacement should be a low substance candidate who will be a hard sell to Islamic clerics; who will shy away from debates and media interviews and one who has even always struggled through prepared speeches thereby shelving most of her responsibilities to her Permanent Secretary.
Or, as an honourable member in the House of Assembly who is in the know observes, maybe her choice is to checkmate Ambode with “roforofo” tactics and more importantly to appease the power brokers in ‘Tinubu’s Country of Alimosho’ who are desperately striving to hold on to every strand of power. “Forget about the dribbles and funny projections. They know what the score is on who will be APC’s flagbearer in Lagos State. But they seem to have resigned to the reality that if the Governor must return for a second term as it appears so, the choice of his running mate will be one of the key negotiations that the Alimosho blocs will insist on.