Fight To Finish… As Tokunbo Afikuyomi Battles Ganiyu Solomon Again

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Fight To Finish… As Tokunbo Afikuyomi Battles Ganiyu Solomon Again

Fight To Finish… As Tokunbo Afikuyomi Battles Ganiyu Solomon Again
May 17
09:22 2018

Echoes of happenings at the disrupted primaries of the All Progressives Congress held at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, some months ago, must still reverberate. Not only for the orgy of violence that trailed it, but even more so for the comprehensive beating Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi got in the hands of thugs and party faithful. Afikuyomi was the chairman of the party’s primary election in Lagos.

Prior to the primaries, tension had heightened among party members owing to the Machiavellian imposition of candidates. Afikuyomi was dutifully reading out the names of 18 consensus candidates for endorsements when the aggrieved members, initially venting their anger through protests, later threw caution to the wind and began throwing chairs and other objects.

A hapless Afikuyomi was caught in the crossfire. Despite the protective ring around him, daredevil party members broke through and rained blows, hockey sticks and other such objects on him. His buba was torn in the ensuing melee as his portly, flabby torso being pummeled by blows, became a standalone spectacle. That day, the former Commissioner for Tourism in Lagos, was given more than enough reasons to consider hitting the gym real hard and shedding more than half of his Body Mass Index.

Afikuyomi was later extricated from the jaws of death by security operatives who whisked him out, partially naked, and into safety.

However, the allure of politics is strong. Whether for the big money or for the power and influence, political office, especially for those who have tasted it, remains a beautiful bride to court and have eternally. That’s why recent moves by  Afikuyomi are not coming as a surprise. The rotund two-time senator who first served Lagos Central Senatorial District between 1999 and 2003 before moving to the Lagos West Senatorial District from 2003 to 2007 wants to be the Chairman of APC, Lagos.

In the run-up to the 2007 governorship election, Senator Afikuyomi threw his hat into the ring, but because Asiwaju Bola Tinubu had anointed incumbent Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola as his successor, he sought a different platform to actualise his ambition. He defected from the Action Congress to the All Nigeria People’s Party, ANPP, on which platform he contested and lost the governorship poll.

Shamefacedly, he returned to the party and was appointed Commissioner for Tourism. If Nigerians saw the appointment as a demotion of sort– from senator, governorship candidate to commissioner – Afikuyomi didn’t see it that way. He saw it instead as a means to remain in a political office. After the uproar that greeted his involvement in the acquisition of the Sunborn Yacht Hotel, he was quietly eased out after Fashola’s first term.

In his renewed bid to be politically relevant, he would be finding another Lagos politician of note to contend with in Ganiyu Olanrewaju Solomon, popularly known as ‘GOS’, who has also showed interest in leading the party to electoral success hence forth. This will not be the first time Afikuyomi would be squaring up against Solomon.

Recall that Afikuyomi was first elected senator in 1999, representing Lagos Central Senatorial District. In 2003 when his second term bid became threatened by Musiliu Obanikoro’s senatorial ambition, Afikuyomi switched to Lagos West where Solomon had already indicated interest and was very popular. Sensing the bad-blood these contentions were generating, GOS was prevailed upon to shelve his ambition and work for Afikuyomi’s emergence. GOS sacrificially obliged the party leaders and ensured Afikuyomi emerged victorious.

Now that it appears the curtain has been dropped on his governorship ambition, Afikuyomi has been expending resources on his APC chairmanship ambition. It is not certain if Asiwaju would be throwing his weight behind him because GOS has also been found to be his loyalist whom he has continued to find dependable when the chips are down. Funsho Ologunde, who functioned as Director-General of Ambode Campaign Organisation in 2015, has reportedly thrown his hat into the ring also. With these men of timbre and calibre, there is no gainsaying that Lagos is about to experience another round of intriguing political fireworks in days to come.

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