To the Yoruba nation it is a known fact that the relationship between proverb and words is like that of oil and yam. They must go together. Little wonder then why they say that “the ram that takes steps backwards obviously went to seek power” and surely when it surges forward again, its opponent must run for cover otherwise there will be untold danger.
This perhaps aptly describes the political moves of Senator Musiliu Obanikoro who is back and surely returns with a bang. The story of the political war between Obanikoro a former Local Government Chairman in Lagos, a former commissioner in Lagos and one time senator and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu national leader of the All Progressives Congress to control Lagos is a known one and with the later defeating the former, Obanikoro took solace in his appointment as Nigeria’s Ambassador to Ghana, which political analysts opine was a compensation for the heavy defeat he suffered in the hand of Jagaban.
While in Ghana, Obanikoro did not hide his ambition and interest to lead the battle of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to capture Lagos. He made his plans known to the Presidency which has been looking for someone strong enough to stand eyeball to eyeball and shoulder to shoulder with Tinubu and possibly dislodge his strong grip of the state which served as a capital of Tinubu’s controlled South West and of catalyst of change that swept the South West from the PDP to ACN and now APC.
With the failure of the likes of Wahaab Dosunmu, Kofoworola Bucknor Akerele, Adeseye Ogunlewe and Olabode George to stop Tinubu’s political tsunami in the South West especially in Lagos, the PDP and the Presidency critically re-examined the program and plans of Obanikoro as regards 2015 and was convinced that he is the man capable of slowing down the Lion of Bourdillon if he cannot be out-rightly stopped.
This informed the decision of the Presidency to recalled Obanikoro from Ghana as an Ambassador to give him a ministerial appointment which will not only keep him on the ground (at home) but will also ensure he prosecutes his political plans to stop the rampaging APC and its national leader, Tinubu. In the light of this, an A-Class ministry has been set aside for Obanikoro to empower him in hatching his plots to unsettle the opposition.
Firstly, Obanikoro according to our impeccable source will use his office to create employment opportunities for over 150,000 Lagosians between now and April 2015. The employment targets are youths in all the 20 Local Government Areas (LGA) and 30 Local Council Development Areas (LCDA). “The whole idea is to get our sons out of the streets and bus-stops. The inglorious job of arming our boys with clubs and sticks to collect money from commercial bus drivers has to stop because it derogates Lagosians and make us look like our boys cannot be educated. Obanikoro will open the eyes of these boys to see that they can be self employed yet live comfortably like senior civil servants rather than foment trouble and be made to look like nuisances,” says our source within the camp of Obanikoro.
These jobs when eventually created will serve as part of the campaign slogans and manifesto of the PDP in 2015 polls. It is also expected that those who benefit from the employment package of Obanikoro will form the nucleus of the grassroots and campaign team of PDP in Lagos.
Secondly, we gathered that Obanikoro will massively invest in the media by establishing a media group with a newspaper arm and a television outfit. This media group is meant to drive the message of the PDP in one hand for the 2015 polls and in the other hand it is to counter the media buzz of Tinubu’s media outfits based in Lagos which Presidency and PDP top guns see as weapons used freely to shape the opinion of the populace against the Federal Government and downplay its successful programs and activities like the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan.
“It will be media for media,” begins our source again. “The APC has relied on the media group of Tinubu to run down Jonathan’s administration. They have blatantly refused to report the truth about the transformation agenda of Jonathan and they have fed the public with half truth and in most cases total falsehood. Obanikoro will wage a war with them in this regard. A massive media group that will witness the establishment of a well funded newspaper to be run by thorough professionals and a first class television station will be put in place between now and October. If they want the world to know their hidden past and present secrets will not fail to reveal them through our own media outfits. They parade themselves as saints before unsuspecting and ignorant Lagosians, we will unmask them for the people to see that they are vampires, monsters and dragons. The media group of course is also meant to create jobs for many and they will be well remunerated.”
Obanikoro we further scooped has plans to send over 100,000 youths abroad for training in various fields of human endeavors ranging from oil and gas pipeline laying and construction of underwater pipelines, piloting, security and intelligence information gathering. “This idea stems from the Amnesty empowerment programs of the Niger-Delta militants and the proposal of same for members of Boko Haram. Obanikoro believes that Lagos must not boil for the Federal Government identify with the people especially youths. He also understands that with such program for the youths in Lagos it is going to be extended to the rest of the South West. That is a way of giving the people a huge sense of belonging. Youths numbering up to 100,000 will benefit from this program aside the job creation for the 150,000. Obanikoro wants Lagosians to be oil and gas experts, aviation workers and security gurus. This is very possible and Lagosians will witness this in the next one year”, says our inside source.
In addition, a skill acquisition program for youths will be initiated to help train youths to acquire skills in tailoring, wielding, vulcanizing, barbing (hair cut), hair dressing, baking, fashion designing, cosmetics making and cloth weaving among others. National Weekender learnt that aside using the paraphernalia of office to bring the goodies to Lagos to better the lives of Lagosians and get streets urchins and hoodlums off the roads, Obanikoro will enjoy the support of the Presidency which will mandate other ministries to team up with him to bring about a synergy effect in the effort to bring better life to Lagosians. Most ministries will ensure that their activities and program are not only Lagos friendly but Lagos-based.
All the PDP secretariats at local council level will be adequately funded and strengthened to meet the challenges of 2015. “Obanikoro’s appointment as a minister will further help to strengthen the local council secretariats of the party in Lagos. There would be a grassroots movement of the party which will be championed by the council secretariats. It will renew the party’s interests and expand its coast. Of course the party’s excos will be well funded and catered for,” Our source added.
Obanikoro also plans to set up a mobile clinic of fully equipped medical vehicles with gynecologists and health experts that will operate in all the local governments and council development areas. The mobile clinic will weekly visit the areas specifically the PDP secretariats to attend to pregnant mothers, nursing mothers, children between the ages of 1-5 and the aged within the ages of 70 and above. The treatment will be for free. These programs are meant to get the people closer to the PDP and possibly ensure the party wins their support ahead 2015 polls.
However as political events unfold nationwide towards 2015, Lagos the Center of Excellence seems to be the centre of attraction with Obanikoro’s re-entry into the State. How he succeeds with his laudable program and plans backed by the Presidency remains another issues entirely. Observers insist that it will be easy for the camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for anyone to wrest power from Tinubu whose political machinery is the most elastic and powerful in the country particularly in Lagos where he has held on to power since 1999. But Asiwaju cannot ignore the strength and might of Obanikoro. It will be at his peril if that happens.