The All Progressives Congress, APC, in Lagos State and Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu are wide awake ahead of the next round of general elections.
The governorship and House of Assembly polls will be held on Saturday, two weeks after the presidential and National Assembly exercise.
What some originally thought could be a walkover for the APC due to years of dominance may become one of their biggest battles since formation in 2013.
Sanwo-Olu faces a threat of upset from a much younger Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour (GRV) whose popularity surged after the recent impressive performance of the Labour Party, LP.
Though Bola Tinubu won the national poll on February 25, he lost Lagos to Peter Obi, the LP standard bearer, who many insist won by a wider margin.
The result humbled the ‘Jagaban’ who at a rally in Abia State mocked Obi for not living in Anambra.
“He moved to Lagos, I am his landlord. I dey wait for the day I beat am for election,” he had said.
It was the second time in Nigeria’s history – after Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999 – that a victorious presidential flagbearer suffered home defeat.
Last Thursday, Obi filed a petition against Tinubu’s victory at the tribunal in Abuja after urging his supporters to remain peaceful and vote for LP candidates on March 11.
His triumph in Lagos caused panic within the APC which has stepped up meetings, consultations, and electioneering across the state.
One of the last-minute pushes was the government’s alleged directive to civil servants to post campaign messages in support of Sanwo-Olu’s reelection.
But the party is confident of retaining power in spite of the LP phenomenon, noting that it enjoys widespread grassroots support.
In a chat with Applesbite on Sunday, Lagos APC Publicity Secretary, Seye Oladejo stated that the opposition won’t emerge victorious this weekend.
“I can say we are confident, more than ever, as we go into this election”, the spokesperson boasted.
“You mentioned the LP wave; the wave is a fluke… a flash in the pan. Lagosians are knowledgeable people who know Governor Sanwo-Olu has done well and will re-elect him.
“Yes, there was low voter turnout the last time. It was because many were aggrieved about the naira redesign which the Supreme Court has overruled.
“People were also not happy about the scarcity of petrol, those issues brought about anger. Again, some voters were against the Muslim-Muslim ticket.
“Now without these issues in the governorship election, we are looking at victory. It makes a lot of sense to retain Lagos to be with the centre.
“If not for the Lagos-FG partnership, the rail line, the ceding of State House in Marina (built by the colonial government in 1882) to Lagos, and others would not be possible.
“We will win this election and win convincingly, you can quote me on that,” said Oladejo, ex-Commissioner of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Relations.
Incumbent Sanwo-Olu joined politics when he was appointed as an aide to ex-deputy governor Femi Pedro and later Tinubu’s special adviser on corporate affairs.
At different times, he was Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Commissioner for Budget and Planning, and Commissioner for Establishments and Training.
In the 1990s, Sanwo-Olu worked at the defunct Lead Merchant Bank Plc, First Inland Bank Plc (now First City Monument Bank), and United Bank for Africa, UBA.
The 57-year-old governor is an alumnus of the University of Lagos, UNILAG, the London Business School and the Lagos Business School.
Rhodes-Vivour, 40, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the University of Nottingham and a Masters’ degree in the same field from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT.
GRV holds another Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Lagos, UNILAG, founded Spatial Tectonics, and serves on the boards of Al Huda Construction and Delta Commercial City Ltd.
The other frontrunner Azeez Adeniran (Jandor), of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, studied at The Polytechnic, Ibadan; Modul University, Vienna, and Howard University School of Business.
The 45-year-old Chairman of Core Media Group, Datanet Project Services, and The Floral Consult, is also the Lead Visioner of Jandor Foundation.