By now it is obvious to many political observers that the victory of the candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the February 25 presidential election, Peter Obi, in Lagos State, significantly altered the dynamics in the State’s governorship election politics.
Obi’s victory over the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a former governor of the state and a man widely regarded as the godfather of Lagos politics, has bolstered the opposition, making it believe that it could defeat the incumbent APC governor, Babajide Sanwi-Olu, in the Saturday, March 18 gubernatorial election.
It is for this reason that the political stock of the candidate of the LP in the state, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour alias GRV, has experienced an unprecedented meteoric rise in the days leading to the election.Interestingly, Rhodes-Vivour’s propulsion into political prominence, catapulted by what I call 'the Obi effect’, has eclipsed the popularity of the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Abdul-Azeez Olajide Adediran aka Jandor, who until a few weeks ago was widely seen as Sanwo-Olu’s main challenger.
A few factors are responsible for this new reality.
Smarting from Obi’s loss of the presidential election to Tinubu in very controversial circumstances, his supporters, known as the 'Obidients’, are spoiling for vengeance as they seek to pay back Tinubu by snatching Lagos away from his grip. They have been mobilizing massively for Rhodes-Vivour as they did for Obi. This has catapulted him to the pole position as the incumbent governor’s main challenger. Today, he is the one with the most realistic chance of defeating the governor. He is the one that the leadership of the APC in the state is losing sleep over.
Incidentally, Jandor and Rhodes-Vivour were in the PDP strategizing on how to take over Lagos until a misunderstanding ensued and Vivour left the PDP for the LP. Both men had declared their governorship ambition but Rhodes-Vivour later stepped down for Jandor to emerge as the party’s flag bearer. It is said that there was an understanding that Jandor would pick Rhodes-Vivour as his running mate for the election. However, Jandor opted for popular Nollywood actress, Funke Akindele, as his running mate. The development made Rhodes-Vvour leave the PDP to the LP where he picked the gubernatorial ticket.
Now, the winds seem to have left Jandor’s sails. Not only have some prominent members of the PDP in the State been leaving the party to either the PDP or LP, the director-general of his campaign team, Dr. Seye Dairo, announced his resignation today. A few hours later, he was seen in the company of a PDP chieftain, Bode George, while the latter was publicly endorsing Rhides-Vivour for governor.
Meanwhile, the governorship election in the state promises to be an epic battle between the three frontline gladiators. But as things stand right now, the PDP candidate is the weakest link.
For diehard supporters, APC chieftains, and admirers of Tinubu, lightning won't strike the same place twice. They will not take the LP’s threat lying low. They will stop at nothing to make sure the LP does not take Lagos from them.
But unlike in the past, the APC recognizes that it cannot just stroll to victory in the election. There is no doubt that the dynamics n the gubernatorial race have significantly changed.
Although Rhodes-Vivour has his own merits, he is clearly riding the wave of Obi’s popularity and mass appeal to what would be a historic upset if he wins.
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