Indications have emerged that Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola is throwing his weight behind former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Olasupo Shasore as the race for the Lagos State gubernatorial elections heightens.
Barely six weeks to the All Progressives Congress (APC) primaries, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola has invited the party’s governorship aspirants for an interactive session on their vision for the state.
BREAKING TIMES gathered that the said aspirants invited by the governor were the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji; the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, former Accountant-General of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode and Dr. Obafemi Hamzat.
Other aspirants at the session were the Senate Minority Whip, Senator Ganiyu Solomon; former Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr. Tola Kasali; former Commissioner for Health, Dr. Leke Pitan and the Senate Vice-Chairman on Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Senator Gbenga Ashafa.
Former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Olasupo Shasore, who was not part of the aspirants interviewed at the session, also made the list of likely successors Fashola submitted to the party leaders.
The seven aspirants were invited for a private discussion with the governor on their plans and vision for Lagos. The meeting, it was gathered, took place precisely on September 22 and each of them had a useful session with the governor.
According to a source who confirmed the report, Fashola had invited the aspirants “to a private session individually. All the aspirants got to the venue as early as 7a.m. The governor had a private session with them one after the other, though the reason for the invitation was not clear to them until the session kicked off.”
The source added that the governor did not disclose to the aspirants the rationale behind the invitation, though he essentially interacted with everyone of them on the vision for Lagos to enable him prepare a list of likely successors to the party leaders.
After the meeting, Fashola privately had another meeting with the APC national leader, Senator Bola Tinubu, during which he discussed the outcome of the interactive session he had with the aspirants contesting on the platform of the party. At the meeting with Tinubu, the source said the governor presented the list of likely successors, in which all the aspirants were listed in order of preference or ranked perhaps according to their performance at the session.
Even though he did not participate in the interactive section that took place at Marina, the source said Shasore, who was Fashola’s Attorney-General during his first term from 2007 to 2011, was ranked above other aspirants.
He added that the governor might have reconsidered his support for Hamzat, who had served as the Commissioner for Science and Technology and now a serving commissioner for works and Infrastructure.
He expressed grave concern over Fashola’s change of position, which he said, would undermine Hamzat’s chance and alter the political calculation in the state, especially after the party had zoned the governorship slot to Lagos-east senatorial district.
Consequently, the party leaders from Lagos-east protested the choice of Shasore, who is currently working on his governorship project from Southern Sun Hotels in Ikoyi, noting that Fashola’s preference for Shasore offended the zoning arrangement, which they said, had been in use since 1999.
The party leaders said the Lagos west produced Tinubu as the state governor between 1999 and 2007 while Lagos central produced the incumbent governor, whose administration began from 2007, and will end in 2015.
The party leaders, therefore, explained that it was the turn of Lagos-east, largely comprising Epe, Ikorodu and Lekki, to produce Fashola’s successor, who according to them, would serve from 2015 to 2023.
They added that the arrangement “is sacrosanct and cannot be altered. Fashola’s preference for Shasore, who is from Lagos central, will alter the arrangement. We will resist attempt to take the governorship slot from Lagos East. We will not accept it. We, therefore, call on Asiwaju to protect our interest.”
Meanwhile, Ashafa, the Vice-Chairman of Senate Committee on Lands and Housing, yesterday dropped his governorship ambition. The lawmaker, however, declared his intention to seek a second term in the senate in the 2015 general election to represent the Lagos East senatorial district.
Ashafa disclosed this in a statement he issued, cleared the air on his political ambition, which he said, had been a subject of debate bordering on the 2015 gubernatorial election.
In the statement where he chronicled his achievements since 2011, the lawmaker said he had made up his mind to seek a return to the upper chamber of the National Assembly in 2015.
He explained the public declaration of interest, which he said, had been made known at a meeting of the APC elders in Lagos East senatorial district, which was held at Epe recently.
After series of consultations with the political leaders in the senatorial district, the lawmaker said: “I have concluded that I will run for a second term in office as a senator to represent the good people of Lagos-east Senatorial District in the Senate in February 2015.”
He added that he had conveyed his intention to the APC chieftains in the senatorial district including Alhaji Busura Alebiosu, Abiodun Ogunleye, Chief Olorunfunmi Bashorun, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, Chief Lanre Rasaq and Alhaji Shakirudeen Seriki, among others.