Yayi: The Road To Senate For A People Legislator By Kayode Odunaro
It started like a wild wind with Hon. Solomon Adeola aka Yayi, the representative of Alimosho Federal Constituency and chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts emerging as the APC senatorial candidate for Lagos West in a contested primary where he scored over 4500 votes to defeat four other contestants who scored less than 600 votes after Yayi less than 2 weeks campaign for the position. How he was able to move around the largest senatorial district in Nigeria with 10 local government areas and an estimated population of over 13 million with all its traffic snarl associated with the budding megacity that the terrain presented is a story worth telling another day. That spectacular democratic feat set the pace for his campaign against his major rival from PDP, one Mr. Segun Adewale aka Aeroland.
Yayi quickly established a functional campaign office at Adeniyi Jones, Ikeja and kick started his campaign at the Nigerian Union of Journalist centre at Alausa where he stated his mission for his constituents as well as his antecedents that made him the best man for the job at hand for such a cosmopolitan senatorial district. His campaign took the form of a roadshow throw major streets of each of the LGAs during which many donate freebies were freely given to constituent accompany by boisterous campaign songs from vehicle conveying campaigners. This usually terminates at a town hall meetings with relevant stakeholders like traditional rulers, Community Development Associations, market men and women ,Religious groups like CAN and Muslim Body, artisans, student unions groups and NURWT among others. At these fora, Hon. Adeola dwells on his person and his unbroken record as a legislator of almost 12 years’ experience at state and federal legislature arguing that in terms of experience, a prerequisite for legislation representation at the level of Nigeria apex legislature, he represents the best leg forward for Lagos West.
He also usually state his legislative agenda as pursuing the struggle to get special status for Lagos in view of its being the commercial capital of Nigeria and former capital with many federal government infrastructure and institutions requiring maintenance, recognition of the 37 created LGAs in Lagos in view of their fulfilling all constitutional requirement to be so recognized and the need for a new revenue sharing formula that will bring more resources to the state and local government. In addition he promise to represent his constituency in area of projects facilitation and employment generation and educational advancement always ending with the sentence, “I promise to represent you and not represent myself”. He also campaigned for General Mohamadu Buhari arguing that his is the best bet to change the rot in the system in a way that will favour the poor and create a new middle class, the real engine of development which had virtually disappeared in Nigeria. In all he ran a most visible and colourful campaign with the popular comedian Gbenga Adeyinka publicly acknowledging that he has never seen a campaign as flamboyant as that of Yayi in all his experience of politics in Lagos
A week to February 14, Yayi was set to win but then came the contrived postponement to March 28 and every one had to go back to the drawing board. In between, his campaign office was attacked with his office window, gate and SUV riddle with bullet pellets. And as all know the dollar rain fell heavily in Lagos from a Presidency in dying minute salvage operation with Lagos West as epicenter due to its numerical strength. All of a sudden, Yayi’s opponent Mr. Adewale came out with so many posters and other outdoor material that one begins to wonder if he got a substantial part of the dollar rain or was actually privy to the coming postponement of the election to put his resources for use at a time election would have been concluded. But it was too late and not enough to upstage the winning momentum already set for Yayi. Many of the electorate had made up their mind and the intervening six weeks was used by Yayi and his team to remind groups and supporters that Yayi is still the best candidate in the race dollar rain or not. Of course the outdoor campaign with posters and billboard were renewed and there were television and radio appearances where Yayi received more acceptability in his display of grasp of national and local issues with reeling out of flawless statistics arising from his chairing the Public Accounts Committee and his being a chartered accountant.
Finally Election Day came and votes were casted. Everyone had to hold their breath to allow the result to come in from the vast senatorial district that is bigger than at least two states of the federation namely Bayelsa and Yobe state. From Badagry to Ojo to Mushin and Ifako Ijaiye it was a marathon wait until the results were finally announced around 8pm on Monday March 30. Not a small feat for Yayi as he defeated his opponent with over 50,000 votes. He has since dedicated his victory to God and the people of Lagos West. From his antecedent of being a peoples representative from the Lagos State House of Assembly to an activist for the people, national interest and democracy at the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Representatives, Hon. Adeola Yayi is a senator to watch out for in the coming National Assembly dominated by APC.
Chief Kayode Odunaro