Barely two months to the second year anniversary of Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration, Christians and Muslims have started confronting each other on the candidate that should succeed the incumbent governor during the 2023 gubernatorial election in the state.
The confrontation, which has become intense between them, particularly from the Christians, was that Sanwo-Olu should only serve one-term and vacate office after the expiration of his tenure for a Muslim candidate while the Muslims have condemned the timing of the move by the Christians, describing their demand as an act of sabotage, diversionary and criminal.
For the Christians, the arrangement since the return of democracy in 1999 had been to share the seat of power with their Muslim counterpart, with each religious forum presenting candidate after the expiration of the other.
And since the verbal arrangement was made particularly within the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC), each body had complied with it and this was the reasons for the emergence of the incumbent governor, Sanwo-Olu, a Christian, who was brought by the party leadership to contest the 2019 election.
After winning the last gubernatorial poll against another Christian, Jimi Agbaje, who contested on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the religious bodies believed that Sanwo-Olu was to complete the immediate past governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, remaining four-year term set aside for Christian.
Advocating for a Muslim governor, the National President of the All Christian Leaders and Ministers Forum, Sam Ogedengbe, said that he was sure the next governor of Lagos would be a Muslim considering the arrangement that was earlier onground between both faiths.
Ogedengbe, a former special assistant on Christain matters, revealed that he had been involved in the previous negotiations on which faith bloc the candidate and possibly the governor for the state should emerge from.
He disclosed that he was involved in the negotiation that brought ex-governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, after the expiration of former governor, Babatunde Fashola’s tenure, and possibly the emergence of Sanwo-Olu.
The cleric said without being economical with the truth, he and other Christian ministers and leaders would not be ingrates but would take the necessary line of action by supporting a Muslim governor for the state in 2023.
”We Christian leaders and ministers hail administrations in the state since 1999, but we will insist that Sanwo-Olu’s successor should be a Muslim in the interest of justice and equity,” Ogedengbe added.
Faulting the Christian leader’s argument on the 2023 election, Razaq Olokoba, warned those spearheading the exercise to desist or face the wrath of the populace using the instrumentality of the law.
Olokoba, who is also National President and Convener of Campaign for Dignity in Governance (CDG), in a statement on Wednesday, said that he would not hesitate to mobilise members of all the organizations under his umbrella to resist any attempt to distract the smooth running of government in Lagos state.
According to him, it is embarrassing and disturbing to discover that those who should know the workings of the Electoral Law are the same persons that are contravening it after hiding under diabolical means to jump the gun in the current dispensation in the state.
Reacting to Ogedengbe’s stance, he said: “any discussion or debate about the year 2023 governorship in Lagos State is not only pre-mature and needless but also very diversionary and out of place for now.”
Olokoba expressed sadness that Ogedengbe, who was said to have served a former governor as Special Assistant on Christian Religion could not get his fact right to remember that, both Tinubu and Fashola spent 16 years in office and not eight years.
He, meanwhile, said: “the good people of Lagos are so sophisticated, socially exposed and politically enlightened beyond myopic and shallow consideration for religious or tribal sentiments”.
“What the people of Lagos are yearning for, Olokoba disclosed, “is nothing but good governance in which the life would be worth living for all and sundry irrespective of who is providing the dividends,” urging the people to ignore Ogedengbe and others like him and support Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu to be focussed and concentrate on the good job he is doing.
“What I think should be uppermost in our mind is the performance and achievement of Sanwo-Olu in office across all the sectors like transportation system (rail, road, and water), workers’ welfare, education, healthcare delivery, housing, security, and peaceful co-existence among others.
“Any discussion about 2023 in Lagos now is nothing but an idle talk from some idle minds. It is a product of an unproductive mind. They should be ignored. The governor should be encouraged to do more by appreciating his performance and achievement. He should be supported in his bid to rebuild the state that was destroyed by the hoodlums during the #EndSARS protest. He should be cooperated with to completely win the war against COVID-19. We admit people have the right to expression in a democracy. But the case of 2023 is about a bridge we are yet to reach. When we get there, God would guide us on how to cross it,” Olokoba sermonised.