Following the outcome of the presidential election in Lagos State where the Labour Party defeated the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the forthcoming governorship in the state has taken another dimension. The campaigns leading to the exercise have shifted from issues and what the candidates are promising the electorates to tribalism and ethnicity, with many supporters of the leading political parties threatening one another.
The exercise is considered a three-horse race with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr Olajide Adediran of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour of the Labour Party, as the frontline candidates.
But in the last week, social media has been awash with clips, articles and comments of opposing supporters threatening each other with most of them insisting that the non-indigenes have no right to determine the next governor of Lagos State. There has also been a report of a threat to eliminate the candidate of the Labour Party, Rhodes-Vivour, with many asking him to step down from the race.
Despite threats and a campaign of calumny against him, Rhodes-Vivour believed that Lagosians, especially the youths that voted for the presidential candidate of the party, Peter Obi during the February 25 general election would also support his candidacy and vote out APC in the state.
Unfortunately, since Nigeria’s independence, tribalism and ethnicity have been part of the structures of political parties in the country because it reduces the entire debate of good governance and the candidate’s competence and antecedents to the ethnic group with the most population.
It is on record that since 1999, APC has never lost to another party in Lagos and the party is working hard to ensure the record is not broken on March 18. Before the presidential election, only APC and PDP were the two prominent candidates but the governorship candidate of the Labour Party has become a force to reckon with, riding on the popularity of Peter Obi.
Despite the emergence of the Labour Party as a formidable force in recent months, governorship elections in Lagos State have always been between the ruling APC and the main opposition party, PDP. Since 1999, the state has been ruled by the progressives political party, from Alliance for Democracy (AD) to the Action Congress (AC) to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and now to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Experts and political watchers in the state believed that the incumbent governor, Sanwo-Olu stand a better chance of winning re-election based on his performance in office. Governor Sanwo-Olu will be riding on the solid structure of APC in a state to hold sway at the poll irrespective of the threat posed by other candidates. One of the things working for the governor is some of the policies and projects that his administration embarked upon in the last four years.
The ongoing blue and red line railway projects in the state are regarded as laudable projects that would change the face of transportation in the state. The governor also stands a better chance of re-election considering the power of incumbency working for him and the fact that the President-elect, Bola Tinubu is in full support of his re-election bid.