By Olasunkanmi Akoni
These are definitely not the best of times for the All Progressives Congress, APC, across the country as crisis beset the rank and files.
It is no different in Lagos State following the sudden death of the Senator representing Lagos East, Senator Bayo Osinowo on Monday. He died after a brief illness at the age of 64. Silent agitations have since commenced for his replacement.
Though, APC leaders and faithful are still in the mourning mood the Governor’s Advisory Council, GAC, the apex making a decision in Lagos APC, majorly influenced by its National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is at a crossroad on the choice of replacement of Osinowo whose death has created a vacuum in the upper chamber of the National Assembly.
Vanguard gathered that the GAC members may, however, have begun shopping for possible candidates who will be sale-able to the electorate who apparently will be without blemish.
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Consequently, supporters of likely aspirants for replacement have started flying various kites both covertly and overtly as part of strategies in wooing support to their camps.
The National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is a bicameral legislature established under section 4 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), which comprises of both the Senate and the House of Representatives. It consists of a Senate with 109 members and a 360-member House of Representatives.
The Nigerian National Assembly is modeled after the Federal Congress of the United States, is supposed to guarantee equal representation of the 36 States irrespective of size in the Senate and proportional representation of the population in the House.
The role of the National Assembly according to Section 4 of the 1999 Constitution as amended is mainly to make laws for good governance, peace, and welfare of the people while also serving as a check on the executive arm of government.
But some attackers accuse their senators of poor performance because he failed to influence the location of government projects in their communities. That in itself is a problem because it ends up distorting the value we bring to the table.
Barely two days after the death of the senator, media space was replete with the names of immediate past Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode as the favourite for the replacement for the deceased.
Interestingly, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is also said to be warming up for the conduct of rerun by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Sources said that in the PDP, a former governorship candidate, Mr. Babatunde Gbadamosi who recently returned to the party is being considered to be the party’s flag bearer in the rerun election.
“The question, however, is who is most likely to replace the late Senator especially now that a fresh election will have to be conducted after the Senate must have notified INEC on the vacancy in the Senate.
“It is safe to rule out the chances of the PDP going by their performance in the last Senatorial election, hence, the decision to bring Gbadamosi to contest.
Gbadamosi could put up a better challenge than Princess Abiodun Oyefusi did at the last senatorial election against Senator Osinowo,
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The reason why Ambode’s name came up was that he has returned to political accounts in the state after several subterranean reconciliatory moves with the GAC which has been disputed by a chieftain of the party.
However, all odds are against Ambode if at all he will be considered as he still being hounded by anti-corruption agencies over allegations of misappropriation shortly after he was booted out. Ambode is from Epe, which is under Lagos Central Senatorial District, so the chances of representing Lagos East in the Senate are very remote.
Feelers showed that members of the GAC are still in shock over the sudden demise of Osinowo and would not delve into the politics of likely replacement. Moreso, when the time comes, the state party leaders are inclined to choose a loyal party member
A party chieftain who preferred anonymity told Vanguard that five prominent names are likely to come up for consideration; They include; Adeyemi Ikuforiji, former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Dr. Tola Kasali, a two-times state Commissioner, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, Osinowo’s predecessor, a former two-term member of the House of Representatives, representing Kosofe Federal Constituency of Lagos, Dayo-Bush Alebiosu.
Ikuforiji, from Epe, has always nursed the ambition of being at the senate. He is a loyal member of the party who is the reckoning of Tinubu’s book.
Also, Kasali, a two-time commissioner and the APC leader of the Lagos East constituency is a likely successor as an arch loyalist of Tinubu, and his performance as commissioner remains one to be admired. Kasali who also had a shot at the governorship slot had to step down for consensus candidate of the party.
Bush-Alebiosu and a lot believe he is the candidate to beat, due to his intimidating credentials, a wealth of political experience, and distinguished/glowing performance while at the National Assembly.
Alebiosu was elected and re-elected into Parliament in 2007 and 2011 respectively, where he served till 2015. In 2007, Dayo gathered 100,000 votes, more than any elected representative in Nigeria.
The dexterity and the law-making excellence of Bush manifested when he served as the pioneer Chairman of the House Committee on Treaties and Agreements; and also served as the Chairman of the Sub-Committee on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). He also at several times, served in different committees including National Security, Petroleum (Upstream), Gas Resources, and Justice.
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Prior to his emergence as a federal lawmaker, Bush served as Special Assistant to the Governor of Lagos State on Housing from 2003 till 2007, a position that enriched him the strategies for effective governance.
Bush-Alebiosu, described by many as an embodiment of academic excellence, is a qualified Architect and excelled brilliantly in this profession before venturing into his lifelong desire of being an agent of change through his involvement in politics.
In the next two weeks, the likely successor is likely to be clear according to APC inside the source.
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By Olasunkanmi Akoni