The appointment of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila as the Chief of Staff to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has thrown up a vacancy in the 10th Assembly of the Green Chamber for Surulere Federal Constituency I seat.
Prior to his appointment as the CoS, Gbajabiamila had won election to represent the Federal Constituency for an unprecedented sixth consecutive term.
He is however expected to vacate his seat in the Green Chamber to commence his assignment as CoS to the President leaving the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with the mandatory duty of conducting a bye-election within 90 days of the resumption of the House of Representatives to replace the departing Gbajabiamila.
The Speaker’s appointment has thrown up a succession battle in the Surulere Federal Constituency I among politicians in the area.
As at the time of writing this report, thegazellenews.com‘s investigation revealed that three major aspirants have emerged as the major contenders to replace the Reps Speaker.
The three major contenders are: a former acting Chairman of Surulere Local Government, Agboola Dabiri; two-term former member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Honourable Kabir Lawal popularly called Caesar; and current Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Fuad Laguda.
All the three have relevant political experience in their resume.
Agboola Dabiri was former Vice Chairman of Surulere Local Government when Uthman was the Chairman. He however became the acting Chairman of the council when Uthman was suspended.
From there, Agboola was made the Chairman of the Lagos State Sports Commission and later became the Special Adviser on Special Duty to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
In the last election, Agboola was the Director General of the Femi Gbajabiamila Campaign Council.
Thegazellenews.com learnt that Agboola has always been and still remain one of the most loyal disciples of Gbajabiamila and thus has very high chance of picking the APC ticket for the bye-election.
Another major contender is Kabir Lawal. The man popularly called Caesar is a popular grassroots politician and he’s well connected among the ordinary people on the streets particularly in Shitta area where the bulk of the votes in the Surulere Federal Constituency I come from.
Lawal was a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly representing Surulere State Constituency I for two consecutive terms, between 2007 and 2015 and it took the intervention of President Tinubu to douse the tension generated in Surulere in 2015 when an apparent primary election victory of Caeser was upturned in favour of Desmond Elliot.
Till date, Caeser remains a very popular politician in Surulere. He stands a very good chance of clinching the ticket as a result of his popularity. However, many believed that his relationship with Gbajabiamila has always been a no love lost situation which many believe may work against him. But the current member of the Lagos State House of Assembly Service Commission (LAHASCOM) remains a popular and formidable aspirant for the ticket.
Fuad Laguda appears to be the least experience of the lots but is equally formidable.
Laguda has always been a favourite of the grassroots. He had contested the Assembly ticket twice with Desmond and has been asked to step down on each occasion. Yet, he remains an integral part of the Gbajabiamila political family.
Laguda is current Chairman of APC in Surulere Local Government, hence has the advantage of close relationship with the delegates who will vote during the primary election.
However, many believed that the winner of the ticket to fly the flag of APC in the bye-election rests solely with the newly appointed CoS.
No wonder all the aspirants are seeking his face and jostling for his approval.
The stage is set for a titanic battle to replace Gbajabiamila in the House of Representatives for Surulere Federal Constituency I.