A silent politicking has commenced in Lagos ahead of the Senatorial by-election for the East Senatorial district, people familiar with the matter tells Naija247news
The position became vacant following the death of Senator Bayo Osinowo, who passed away on June 15 at the age of 64. His demise has rekindled the politicking in the state and refuelled the rivalry between the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
About 10 aspirants have emerged in both political parties although the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is yet to make a declaration on the date for the conduct of the election.
INEC is required under the law to conduct by-election in 90 days after being informed by the National Assembly leadership of the existing vacancy in order not to deny the people of the constituency the right to representation for too long.
The battle is said to be more intense in the ruling party with at least five names already emerging. They included Dr. Tola Kasali, a two-time commissioner and the APC leader of the Lagos East constituency; the immediate past governor, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode, Senator Oshinowo’s predecessor, Gbenga Ashafa, Rep. Jimi Benson who is currently in the House of Representatives and Hon Abike Dabiri, the current Director-General of Nigeria In Diaspora Commission and a former ranking member of the Federal House of Representatives.
Though, none of the candidates has come out publicly to declare interest, sources said there were strong indications that a candidate would emerge from the list. Some members of the party are also said to be agitating for the immediate past Governor who was denied a second term ticket in the 2019 election as a way of compensating him for the loss suffered.
And in the PDP, the names that have emerged include Princess Abiodun Oyefusi who contested against late Osinowo in 2019; former Governorship candidate of the Action Democratic Party (ADP), Babatunde Gbadamosi, another aspirant in the 2019 poll and a Public Relations Expert, Yeye Agnes Shobajo and a grassroots politician and PDP leader in the district, Mr. Bob Tarner. Gbadamosi who recently returned to the PDP is considered a strong contender, as he is said to posses the charisma to confront the APC in the election.
“His visibility as a former governorship candidate and rich contacts as a businessman is an advantage you cannot wish away,” said a source. Our correspondent contacted him to react to the speculated ambition but he did not pick his calls and he didn’t respond to the text message sent to him as at press time.
But spokesman of the PDP in the state, Barr. Taofiq Gani, said the party would thoroughly screen aspirants for the position when the time comes for the electioneering, adding that the party has learnt its lessons and would be weary of APC moles pretending to be aspirants in the party.
Also speaking, the Publicity Secretary of APC, Hon. Seye Oladejo, said the party had not taken any decision on the by-election since INEC has not fixed any date. Meanwhile, the Senate yesterday suspended plenary in honour of late Osinowo. Osinowo’s death is the fourth, the ninth Senate has recorded in the last one year.
The two chambers of the 9th National Assembly have lost six members since its inauguration in June 11, 2019.