For the of chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on the Diaspora, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, life has a way of presenting itself in diverse forms. The three-time member of the lower legislative chambers is facing yet another challenge in her political career.
That challenge has to do with the calls from her constituents for her to take a shot at the plum office of the governorship of Lagos, which her party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), had zoned to the Lagos East senatorial zone.
For those not too familiar with the political structure of Lagos, the state is divided into three senatorial zones among the five administrative divisions, namely Lagos Island, Epe, Ikeja, Badagry and Ikorodu divisions.
Of all the divisions, only the Ikorodu and Badagry divisions are yet to produce a governor for the state since its creation in 1967. The only time a native of Ikorodu mounted the office was during the military administration of late Group Captain Gbolahan Mudasiru in the shortlived Muhammadu Buhari government.
Realising the perceived injustice, the leadership of the APC may have resolved to zone the office to the east senatorial zone comprising Epe and Ikorodu divisions. The case of Ikorodu division has further been boosted by the fact that their kith and kin inEpe had produced Micheal Agbolade Otedola in the shortlive Third Republic.
With the field wide open to sons and daughters of Ikorodu Division to take a shot at the plum job, prominent natives have been shopping for the replacement for the incumbent, Babatunde Raji Fashola, and are moving Dabiri-Erewa into the Lagos State governorship race by calling on her to take up the challenge.
Though the agitation had been subtle, with those rooting for her emergence as the state’s helmsman come next year making clandestine move to drag her into the race, their actions have become more manifest in recent times.
The right occasion provided itself during the recent empowerment of her constituents in Ikorodu Town Hall last Saturday when the call for her candidature became more deafening with preponderance of opinions asking her to vie, saying the state was ripe for a female governor.
This was the consensus of opinions while the lawmaker distributed empowerment materials to her constituents last weekend when they pointedly asked her to contest the governorship of the state owing to what they consider as her pedigree and achievements.
Those present at the occassion that took place at the Ikorodu Town Hall included a former deputy governor of the state Chief Abiodun Ogunleye, a former Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Chief Olorunfunmi Bashorun.
The traditional ruler of Ikorodu land, Oba Salaudeen Oyefeso, was represented by his wife, Hajia Muibat, who set the tone for dicussion on the occasion by calling on Dabiri-Erewa to consider the possibility since the plum job hads been zone to east senatorial zone, part of which Ikorodu forms an integral part of.
Speaking on behalf of her spouse, Oyefusi said “Dabiri-Erewa has all it takes to be a capable governor. She has our support and we urge the party to give her the slot. We also want the governorship candidature of the Lagos APC zoned to Ikorodu,” the monarch’s wife said.
Oyefusi commended the lawmaker for her outstanding gifts and empowerment scheme, which provided means of livelihood to many families.
Though shadowy, one of the groups advocating for Dabiri-Erewa’s candidacy for the Lagos guber seat avers that if countries like Liberia and Malawi can have women as their presidents, then no reason is strong enough to stop Lagos State from having its first female governor in 2015.
This group which says it has been working underground noted that that if Dabiri-Erewa is not encouraged to contest the Lagos guber seat, then no woman will ever have a chance in Nigeria.
To members of this group, apart from possessing the right pedigree, the lawmaker has distinguished herself as a frontliner member of the lower legislative chambers in her almost 12 years stay in the House.
This group insists that Dabiri-Erewa is charismatic, cosmopolitan, polished and eloquent, and that she is one of the few Nigerians with acceptable global presence.
How well the group will go in its self-imposed task, only time will tell. If it succeeds, then she would have set a record of being the first woman to be popularly elected to lead a state in the country.
Story by Olaolu Oladipo