Surulere rerun: Tension in Lagos APC as party chieftains accuse Gbajabiamila of imposition

Prominent chieftains within the All Progressives Congress (APC) have vowed to vehemently oppose any attempt by Femi Gbajabiamila, former Speaker of the House of Representatives and current Chief of Staff to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to impose a candidate for the vacant seat.

The Surulere Federal Constituency seat, left vacant by Gbajabiamila’s transition to the presidency, has sparked concerns about potential favouritism or imposition in determining his successor.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has scheduled primaries for January 7 and the subsequent election on February 3.

Progressives For Surulere (P4S), a newly-formed pressure group, has started mobilising against Gbajabiamila’s favoured aspirant.

Members of the group are mobilizing to ensure that either Kabir Lawal or Mr Abdul Raheem Owokoniran roundly defeat the former Speaker’s candidate, Mr Fouad Laguda.

Lawal maintained that there is no chance of imposing an anointed candidate to replace Gbajabiamila to occupy the seat.

He stated that even though he was a member of Gbajabiamila’s political family before evidence of betrayal made him opt out, too many groups in the constituency are firmly determined to ensure that an aspirant being backed by the former Speaker loses woefully.

“Even though I contested against Honourable Gbajabiamila for the House of Representatives seat before stepping down and working for his election, I became a solid member of his political family, we planned together, do outings and other things together until I began seeing signs of great betrayal that made me to leave his group.

“There is no way for Honourable Gbajabiamila to impose his unpopular candidate on Surulere when the APC leadership in Lagos state, including the Governor’s Advisory Council has opted for a level playing ground for all aspirants and in any case, there are too many party members who are determined to scuttle such imposition.

“You may think assume that my resources are too little to contend against the war chest of the former Speaker, but I have the backing of God and that of the people against him; if you are a Christian, you will know the story of how a mighty giant got defeated by a shepherd boy and if you are a Muslim, you may recall the story of how the Prophet of Islam and his 313 men roundly defeated a large Meccan army despite their numbers and resources.

“I have the backing of God and the support of the people, and I am the David set to beat his Goliath in Surulere; we have real strength at the grassroots, and we have worked with him before, but he betrayed me, and we will never support his anointed candidate,” Lawal told The Guardian.