There have been several attempts to dislodge or at least whittle down the influence of the influential politician popularly known as the ‘Jagaban’ since he emerged as the undisputed godfather of Lagos politics in 2003, after winning a second term in office despite the onslaught from the former President Olusegun Obasanjo-led federal government.
However, all the attempts proved unsuccessful, as the foxy and ruthless politician outwitted all his adversaries, while further implanting himself as the unquestionable warlord of Lagos and South West politics.
Despite their humbling and embarrassing defeat, Tinubu’s opponents are not relenting. A new resistance against the former Lagos governor that is currently threatening his stronghold on the state is gaining momentum.
Likeminds hoping to push Tinubu aside are daily assembling under the umbrella of Lagos4Lagos, a political action group that is bent on re-awakening the political spirit of indigeneship.
The brain behind the movement and leader of Team Jandor, 43year-old Abdul-Azeez Olajide Adediran, an Awori from Badagry in Ojo Local Government of the state had stated in 2020 that many Lagosians had grown weary of the “politics of imposition” in the state and are prepared to end the trend in 2023.
According to Adediran, popularly known as Jandor, Tinubu had continued to singlehandedly determine who governs the state since 2007 when he left office as governor.
“It is time for Lagos to work for Lagosians, hence the mantra, ‘Lagos4Lagos’. For many years, Lagos has only worked for a few individuals.
“If you want to succeed, you have got to need a new strategy. That’s why we have decided to start on time to engage with relevant agencies, individuals and influencers and seek their collaboration towards this mission.
“Let us stop this new normal of one individual determining what happens on the political arena of the -state. It is no longer fashionable for people to think that with a hefty war chest you can bulldoze your way into power without the people’s mandate.
“Since 1999, we have only had one governor in Lagos. Every other person has been a tenant. This individual even decides who becomes an Oba in my village.
“In Kwara State in 2019, the people rose up to end a culture of political entrenchment. We saw that some people had excess money to perpetuate themselves in power; the masses rose up and took the state back.
“We want to defeat the entrenched interest in Lagos. After many years of research; we have come to provide a solution to the challenge”, the politician had stated.
Business Hallmark reliably gathered that activities of the group is causing serious anxiety in the state chapter of the APC, as more anti-Tinubu forces, particularly indigenous Lagosians are daily flooding to the group.
A top party chieftain who spoke with BH on the condition of anonymity, said that the Lagos4Lagos weapon of targeting both indigenes and non -indigenes through the IbileEko and Eko United platforms could give hitherto struggling opposition parties, especially the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) an outside chance of regaining the state from the ruling party in 2023.
The Lagos4Lagos group has Funke Ijaie-Kunle, Central Coordinator, Team Jandor; Bode Makinde Benson, Principal Coordinator for IbileEko; Jonathan Nnaji, Coordinator for Ndigbo Caucus in Lagos; AbdulmuminGambari, Coordinator of Arewa and Adolphus Anum, Coordinator of South-South as principal officers.
Their (APC) fears, our correspondent gathered, is particularly heightened by the boldness of some ‘renegades’ in the party who challenged the authority of Tinubu by declaring interest in the state governorship position without the official blessing.
Fearing a possible disintegration of the party, the Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC), the highest decision making body in the ruling party had on June 9, 2020, proscribed all groups and factions in the Lagos chapter of the APC.
The order affects the Mandate Group (MG) controlled by Tinubu, Justice Forum (JF) controlled by the Deputy Governor, Ganiyu Hamzat, Likeminds, Eko Circle, the Broom Movement, Lagos4Lagos and several others.
While members of the MG, JP, Eko Circle, Likeminds and other groups loyal to Tinubu have largely adhered to the order, members of Lagos4Lagos have openly disobeyed it and continued with its activities.
Adediran, an ally of former Lagos governor and current Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, openly denounced the proscription on groups within the APC by the Governor’s Advisory Council.
According to him, “Tinubu created the GAC, as well as the Justice Forum (JF) and Mandate Group, which are the two major targeted groupings that were a creation from the same establishment, but Lagos4Lagos is not their creation. Therefore it cannot be proscribed by another group, which is GAC.”
Some members of the group who spoke with our correspondent lamented the imposition of governors and other principal officers from neighbouring South West states on the indigenous people of the state.
“Presently, the state governor is from Ogun State, likewise his deputy. The Secretary to the State Government (SSG) is also not an indigene of Lagos.
“Before the death of “pepper” (Senator BayoOsinowo ), all the three senators representing Lagos in the National Assembly were non-indigenes.
“While Osinowo, an Ijebu man from Ogun represented Lagos East, Senator Olalekan Adeola also from Egbado in Ogun State is representing Lagos West and Senator Oluremi Tinubu, representing Lagos Central, is from Delta State. It took the death of Osinowo from Covid19 and the emergence of his replacement, Senator Ashiru to partially address the imbalance.
“The injustice did not end there. Even the state house of assembly as presently composed is dominated by non-indigenes imposed by Tinubu and his foreign invaders.
“We will do everything within our reach to reclaim Lagos State from the domination of Tinubu and others from the neighbouring states of Ogun and Osun, even if it means giving the ticket to politicians of Igbo descent”, one of the angry indigenes vowed.
Already, Adeniran’s decision to openly challenge Tinubu by openly declaring for the 2023 governorship race is causing division and enmity among major stakeholders in the state.
For instance, the endorsement of Adeniran as Lagos governor in 2023by the League of Imam and Muslims Scholars from Kosofe in Ikosi-Ketu and Agboyi Councils Areas, as well as traditional rulers and Baales from Alimosho Local Government Area last week sparked a reaction from the state government.
Leader of all Imams in Kosofe Local Government Area, Alhaji Imam Mohammed Adewumi, who led the prayers in Arabic during Adeniran’s visit to the clerics to intimate them of his political ambition, prayed for the actualization of his governorship ambition.
The clerics also prayed for long life for Jandor and members of his Lagos4Lagos Movement.
Prominent Imams and alfas at the programme, include Imam Abdusalam Oba, Imam, Imam Suraka, Imam Ismail Balogun (Ikosi-Ketu) and the General Secretary of League of Imam and Alfa, Imam Olawale.
Earlier on Tuesday, monarchs and Baales from Alimomosho also gathered at the Onigando’s palace where they endorsed Jandor’s ambition.
Speaking before his endorsement, Adeniran had told the monarchs that they should expect a backlash for daring to openly support him.
“It will get to a time that they will call you to talk to me to drop my ambition, I won’t listen Kabiyesis.
“We don’t need deputy or senatorial seats anymore. What we need now is executive power to turn our fortune around and we’ll get it in 2023 by God’s grace”, the Lagos4Lagos initiator had said.
While the embarrassed state government could not do anything about the clerics’ support for Adeniran since they were not appointed by the state, the traditional rulers and Baales, it was reliably gathered, were summoned to a meeting at the government house last Wednesday.
A source at the meeting disclosed that the visibly embarrassed Governor Sanwo-Olu demanded an explanation from the monarchs for their partisan action.
After they were viciously scolded and reprimanded, the monarchs, sources stated, were warned of severe sanctions if they do not desist from such acts henceforth.
Speaking on the development, the spokesman of Lagos APC, SeyeOladejo, maintained that there was no crisis in the party and that it remained one united party.
“It remains within the right of party members to be ambitious and aspire to any office of their choice.
“The presence of ambitious members in a political party engenders mass mobilisation, spread to all nooks and crannies of the state and promotes all-round activities.
“Our party has always encouraged members to contest and realize their ambition within the provisions of the constitution of the party. However, we will encourage members to continue to play by the rules and avoid causing needless crisis.
“The increase in the number of members expressing different ambitions is indicative of our democratic growth and absolute confidence in our platform.
“Let me assure you that there’s no crisis within the ruling party as we remain determined to uphold internal democracy at all times.”
The APC spokesperson also dismissed the threat by Adeniran, insisting that he was merely seeking attention and that his action is a reflection of party indiscipline.
“What is happening now gives room to charlatans to malign Tinubu, it is just unfortunate but we have chosen to ignore him.
“He has no pedigree and he is also a very good pawn in the chessboard of his paymasters. Let’s see how the whole scenario will end. I want to remind Adediran that he cannot win his ward in a free and fair election”, the APC scribe said.