...The force behind him will crush anyone - Source
Nollywood actor, Desmond Elliot's picking of the All Progressives Congress, APC, House of Assembly ticket for next year election did surprise many party members and political watchers. To some within and outside the political fold, Elliot was just a join-in to the number of contestants vying for Surulere Constituency I ticket in the Lagos Assembly. More so, the thespian-turned-politician was up against a formidable opponent and incumbent Assemblyman, Kabir Lawal.
Currently running as a second term lawmaker, Lawal confidently has in his kitty the experience and clout needed to defeat Elliot. Add to this, Lawal is a political godson of Lagos Governor Babatude Fashola and the lawmaker from the representative of the Fashola's constituency in the assembly. It was revealed that in the tick of the political intrigues schemed to stop Lawal from being re-elected to the assembly in 2011 under the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Fashola ensured he got the ticket. Lawal is also a political side-kick to House of Representatives member Femi Gbajabiamila, representing Surulere Federal Constituency I.
Beside Lawal and Elliot, Fuad Laguda, a former member of staff of the Lagos (Board of) Internal Revenue Service, LIRS, and Personal Assistant to its Chairman, Babatunde Fowler, was in the race. A reliable party source told newsbreak.ng that a dummy was sold to make Elliot look like the dark horse in the race, after Lawal, nicknamed Ceaser, stepped down for him. Elliot, later, went on to defeat Laguda by a landslide.
“How could Elliot have defeated Ceaser in Surulere; it is not possible. Even the largest number of delegates at the primaries were Femi’s (Gbajabiamila) and Ceaser’s (Lawal) supporters,” the source, a senior APC member in Surulere, said.
This medium gathered that Lawal was compelled by the party’s National Leader Bola Tinubu to handover the ticket to Elliot.
“The powers behind Elliot could crush Tinubu, if he refused. And don’t forget that we are now in the APC with more power wielders, who Tinubu wouldn’t want to offend,” the source stated.
‘Who are the powers behind Elliot’s new throne of political grace and favour?’ newsbreak.ng prodded.
This medium learnt former President Olusegun Obasanjo, APC National Chairman and Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi, backed Elliot for the assembly ticket and, at different times, impressed it on Tinubu. Few days ago, Tinubu was purported to have instructed Gbajabiamila to bring Lawal to him. It was at the meeting, which took place around 2 a.m in Tinubu’s Bourdillion, Ikoyi residence, that Lawal was asked to yield the ticket to Elliot Having, grumblingly, conceded, Lawal suggested Governor Fashola should be put in the know of the turn of event, to which Tinubu placed a call to inform him (Fashola).
Lawal would later meet Fashola at about 7.30 a.m, where the latter told him to weigh the options given to him by Tinubu in place of the assembly ticket. The options are either to become Chairman of Surulere Local Council or a commissioner in the next cabinet.
Last Sunday, Tinubu, again, called Lawal to remind him of his request, and the latter further confirmed his acquiescence to him. Newsbreak.ng was told that the House of Assembly primary election, held Tuesday at a recreational facility at Sam Sonibare Street, Surulere, was a mere formality to crown Elliot with the ticket. Lawal theatrically stepped down and spent money convincing his and Gbajabiamila’s delegates to vote Elliot, who was left with only one opponent, Laguda.
Responding to newsbreak.ng enquiry on how he lost, Laguda funnily responded: “I lost because Mr. Desmond O Elliot had more votes than me.” Effort to speak to Lawal was unsuccessful, as calls to his Airtel line did not connect.
Moreover, Lawal, we were told, has been promised the post of executive secretary of Surulere Local Government, alongside his present office and in the plan that he becomes the next Chairman of the council area.