It is exactly 24 hours after the announcement of the 2023 Governorship and State House of Assembly elections in Lagos State and precisely three weeks after the Presidential and National Assembly elections in Nigeria.
Though the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) lost the Presidential election in Lagos State to the Labour Party three weeks ago, it was with a very slim margin. Thanks to the massive votes recorded in Ikorodu Division and Lagos East Senatorial District, the results would have been worse. This is thanks to the twin efforts of the two Ikorodu Federal Legislators.
It is also not too surprising that the party bounced back from the initial setback it experienced three weeks ago and gave a good showing in the just concluded governorship and State House of Assembly elections last weekend.
Among the five traditional divisions of the State, Ikorodu Division delivered over sixty thousand votes to the ruling party in the Presidential election, making it the local government with highest votes in the entire State. The Division also repeated the same feat in Saturday’s Governorship and House of Assembly elections by delivering over 64,000 to the party, coming second after Alimosho local government.
Apart from the combined efforts of some Local Government Chairmen, Party Chieftains and many party members, the efforts of two serving Ikorodu-born federal legislators contributed immensely to the massive showings of the party in Ikorodu in Saturday’s election.
The first person is Senator Adetokunbo Mukhail Abiru, FCA the Chairman, Senate Committee on Industries, who is also the Senator, representing Lagos East Senatorial District at the Senate.
About three months ago, Senator Abiru inaugurated an independent campaign group under the aegis of East Consultative Forum (ECF), comprising of CDA Members, Social Media Influencers, Artisans, Business Professionals, Civil Servants and some party members. The group has representatives in all the sixteen local government areas across the Lagos East Senatorial District.
The body also recruited over 4,000 foot-soldiers dubbed Canvassers who has been working tirelessly since November 2022, with strict monthly voters’ targets. These Canvassers were also placed on monthly remuneration as a form of motivation for about five months consecutively.
While many raised eyebrow against Abiru’s ECF under the guise that he was causing division in the party by promoting a parallel party structure, the Lagos APC leadership felt otherwise, thus giving their support to the forum.
The result of the Presidential, National Assembly, Governorship and House of Assembly elections have now justified the essence of such a strategic and independent voters mobilization efforts, beyond the party’s arrangements. This is evident in the delivery of about 60,000 votes to the APC in the Presidential elections. Ditto for yesterday’s Governorship election.
Abiru’s ECF is not only a commendable independent political initiative but, should become a reference point and strategy to be adopted by the party for subsequent elections in the State. This is necessary to complement the party’s voters’mobilization efforts.
Similarly, Honourable Babajimi Adegoke Benson, Chairman, House of Reps Committee on Defense is another poster boy of APC in Ikorodu Division, whose sterling performance as a two-term federal lawmaker has raised the bar of quality representation in Ikorodu Division.
With his midas touch in almost all the critical Sectors of Ikorodu namely, Sport, Media, Education, Road Infrastructure, Health, etc Hon Benson has become a darling of Ikorodu Division residents and voters across ethnic, religious and political divides.
It is instructive to note that, many residents who hitherto have vowed not to come out to vote due to the absence of government presence in their communities were forced to change their minds to vote for APC and its candidates because of Hon Jimi Benson who they largely described as a ‘Working Legislator’.
Many of these residents who initially expressed disappointments with the treatment being meted to the Division by the Lagos State Government, in terms of uneven distribution of good roads and other social amenities in the State told Ikorodu Oga Radio that Hon Babajimi Benson was their sole motivation for voting the ruling party in the recently concluded Presidential, National Assembly and Governorship elections in the State, due to his interventions in facilitating roads, solar lights and other amenities to ‘government forgotten communities’.
Hon Benson also engaged in very rigorous door-to-door campaigns to various CDAs, groups, markets and other all geared towards mobilizing support for the ruling party within the three weeks window between the Presidential and Governorship election.
He mobilized his I-Care Foundation Team to every nooks and crannies of Ikorodu Division appealing to disgruntled voters to reconsider their stands by giving the APC a second chance in the Governorship and State House of Assembly elections. He also commissioned newly completed roads and flagged off new road rehabilitations all geared towards encouraging voter’s turnout.
Consequent upon the foregoings, the ruling party owes its victory in the two recently concluded elections in Ikorodu Division and Lagos East Senatorial District to this two hardworking Ikorodu-born federal legislators and this should be placed on records for future reference and necessary recognitions, both for them and the Ikorodu Division as well as Lagos East Senatorial District in general.