Sanwo-Olu and Lagos elite, By Kunle Awosiyan
After the 2019 presidential election, which President Muhammadu Buhari of APC won with just 130,000 votes against Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of PDP in Lagos State, there was a sudden fear that perhaps Jimi Agbaje of PDP might beat Babajide Sanwo-Olu of APC in the governorship polls.
The rejection of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode by the APC and eventual emergence of Sanwo-Olu as its flag bearer did not go down well with some Lagosians who thsought Ambode was doing well and should have been voted for the second term.
The Labour Party tried to court Ambode then but he declined the offer with the hope that better things could still come in the future from APC. Today, he is not visible politically, even though his works are speaking loud.
Of course Sanwo-Olu came and had not disappointed Lagosians, going by the number of projects he has done, which includes the Blue light rail and the ongoing Red light rail, the Imota Rice Mill, the Lekki Deep Seaport, conversion of Lagos polytechnics to universities, salary increment for civil servants, containment of COVID-19, building of roads and school infrastructure and many more. These are big projects.
But a week before he was elected in 2019, APC nearly lost to PDP in Lagos. The margin was slim.
During a visit to his Ikoyi home while the governorship polls were going on, Sanwo-Olu told journalists that the outcome would be different from the presidential election, adding “”We will beat them silly in governorship election”.
He was responding to a correspondent of Radio Lagos in Yoruba language, saying, “A ma de won ninu ibo gomina yi”.
After the governorship election, Sanwo-Olu polled over 739, 445 to beat Jimi Agbaje who polled 206, 141. In other words, APC that could only beat PDP by 130, 000 in the presidential election, changed the scores, beating PDP by over 500, 000 in the governorship poll.
It was observed that most adults and aged Lagosians did not come out to vote during the presidential polls, especially in Eti-Osa Local Government where Sanwo-Olu lives.
Those who spoke to our monitoring team said what mattered to them was Lagos and that they would hit the polling stations to vote for Sanwo-Olu.
Truly, they did vote perhaps because Sanwo-Olu is a neighbour who lives in the same community with them unlike Agabaje who stays in Apapa. APC won by a wide margin.
Of course the political atmosphere has since changed and the factors being considered by the electorate have also changed from performance indices to ethnic and religious sentiments, I still do not think this will affect Sanwo-Olu’s chances of winning this election.
In the coming polls, more adults will come out to vote unlike in the presidential when youth dominated the polling units to revenge their ENDSARs mismanagement. Adults whose stake are in Lagos. Adults who believe in continuity and have been enjoying the security of their lives and properties under Sanwo-Olu administration are wiser.
They see a Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour of Labour Party as an activist rather than a manager. He is in the race and he is a household name in Eti-Osa and an ally of the ENDSARS youth protesters but he will be surprised that his idea of activism won’t work in a state like Lagos.
And because of the ethnicity factor, the Saturday’s guber election may be a bit different from what happened in 2019, it will still go the way of Sanwo-Olu.
For LP, having deflated the chances of PDP in Lagos, it will want to maintain its 10, 000 lead from presidential election.
However, it is going to be a daunting task for Rhodes-Vivour to parade his ENDSARs group against the adults, the Muslims, the Christians, the Yoruba, the Igbo from Eti-Osa, Alimosho and Ikeja who have now resolved to queue behind Sanwo-Olu.
These categories of voters are seriously against the Labour Party’s idea of ethnic campaign.
Will Sanwo-Olu be able to close the gap and exceed it? Will it be like that of 2019 where he changed the game against PDP? I see Sanwo-Olu beating Rhodes-Vivour by very wide margin.
Much of the work Sanwo-Olu did in Ikoyi is drainage system, which most of the adults in the area love and have pledged to use their votes to bring the governor back to Alausa.