From Ejike Chinedu, Lagos
For a political party that has said a lot about its resolve to take over power at the centre by May next year, the first real test of it preparedness will be how it will pick the men who will fly its flag at the state levels. In those states where the incumbents are seeking a return to the office, it seems to be more of a formality but in those other states, there seem to be a deep battle of some sorts.
Governor Amaechi of Rivers state is faced with the challenge of pushing through his anointed candidate and making him acceptable.
But in Lagos it is a test of whit by the incumbent and his successor. While former governor Bola Tinubu had endorsed an aspirant, a former accountant general of the state, Akinwunmi Ambode, Governor Fashola is bent on having a say in who succeeds him leading to preference for his commissioner for works, Obafemi Hamzat and later, his friend and former attorney general of the state, Olasupo Shasore.
Other aspirants include the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji and A serving senator, Ganiyu Solomon, but realistically, the APC governorship primary in Lagos is an indirect contest between governor Fashola and his predecessor.
Weeks back, the governor took advantage of the end in the tenure of the local government chairmen to sack them. It will be recalled that the former Chairmen were largely handpicked by former governor Tinubu. How much of value has this added to Governor Fashola’s chances of influencing who succeeds him?
The result of Tuesday’s primary for the house of assembly suggest that not much has changed in the structure of the APC in Lagos.
But the real challenge facing the leaders of APC in the state is how to reconcile the conflicting interests of members with the over-riding interests of the party. How will Governor Fashola swallow his pride to support the man that never referred to him for endorsement and how will Fmr governor Tinubu rally support for the candidate whose loyalty as governor is highly questionable?
A slim option available to the leaders may be to go for any of the other aspirants outside of those endorsed by the governor and his predecessor.
But while the party is struggling to strip itself of over-bloated personal ego of members, the opposition PDP are waiting in the flanks to cash in on what may be the most trying time for APC in Lagos state.