The contest for the Senate seat occupied by Senator Lekan Mustapha is getting tougher and hotter by the day.
According to reports, Senator Lekan Mustapha, former Governor Gbenga Daniel, Otunba Oluseyi Oduntan, Mr Segun Olumide Senbanjo, and Deji Ashiru are jostling to secure the ticket of their respective political parties ahead of the 2023 senatorial election in the zone.
This is as the incumbent Senator Mustapha of the ruling All Progressives Congress has left many guessing his next line of political move.
As of the time of filing this report, it is unclear if he will be seeking re-election to the Senate or will hearken to the calls on him to contest for the governorship ticket of the state in 2023. There is pressure on him to challenge Governor Dapo Abiodun for the party’s governorship ticket ahead of the 2023 general election.
Mustapha belongs to the group loyal to former Governor Ibikunle Amosun in the ruling APC. The faction has been at loggerheads with the APC perceived to be loyal to the governor.
Ahead of the party’s primary elections, there is anxiety as the two factions continue to prop up their preferred candidates for the various tickets. Mustapha is one of those being named as a possible replacement for Abiodun by the Amosun faction.
He returned to the Senate in 2019 on the platform of the APC. The unwritten zoning arrangement in the senatorial district favours him in a way as the incumbent Governor, Dapo Abiodun, is from the Remo Zone of the district. Mustapha is from the Ijebu Zone.
While many independent campaign groups are working to promote Mustapha across the district, he is yet to formally declare his next political ambition.
Otunba Gbenga Daniel
Former Governor of the state, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, is one of the frontrunners in the senatorial race in Ogun East. The Sagamu-Remo born politician governed the state between 2003 and 2011 on the platform of the PDP. In 2015, he attempted to go to the Senate and represent Ogun East but abandoned the race midway. He left the PDP following his face-off with former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the late Buruji Kashamu.
He joined the APC in 2019 to support the ambition of Abiodun and has remained one of the latter’s strongest pillars of support till date. His statewide political network and structures are his main strength in the race and pundits say he has good chances to clinch the ticket of the ruling party with the governor’s support.
Otunba Oluseyi Oduntan
Another senatorial aspirant on the platform of the APC in Ogun East is Otunba Oluseyi Oduntan. Oduntan said he is in the race because the state needs National Assembly members in 2023 that would partner with and complement the efforts of Governor Dapo Abiodun in his development agenda. Oduntan is a former Managing Director of the Honeywell Group.
As part of his quest for the seat, he recently inaugurated in his senatorial office, flagged off of an e-Naira Youth Empowerment, which is an initiative backed by the Central Bank of Nigeria on the e-Naira digital currency, in Ijebu Ode where hundreds of youths across the Ogun East Senatorial District were trained as CBN agents on e-Naira.
He is not a newcomer to the race. He contested for the same seat in 2015, campaigning around the towns and villages of the district for support.
The APC chieftain is one of those who have declared their intentions to contest for the Ogun East Senatorial District seat in 2023. Speaking recently, the aspirant who is a grassroots politician and oil mogul said he had consulted critical stakeholders in the zone prior to his intention.
The Ijebu-born businessman is an ally of Governor Abiodun.
He is touted as the governor’s preferred candidate for the Ogun East seat in some quarters in spite of insistence by Governor Abiodun that he has no anointed candidate for any position across the state ahead of the 2023 general election.
Senbanjo is from an area known to be a stronghold of the opposition PDP, especially when the late Buruji Kashamu held sway.
Another contender on the platform of the APC is Deji Ashiru (FNSE) also known as EDA. He recently declared his intention to contest the forthcoming general elections come 2023. In the build-up to the general election in 2019, Ashiru emerged as the candidate for the Ogun East Senatorial District on the platform of the African Democratic Congress. The politician joined the ruling party in 2019 to support the governorship election of Governor Abiodun.
Ashiru has been wooing voters with some of his humanitarian gestures when he contested the same office in 2019. According to him, he has traversed 103 wards, nine local Government Areas and 1,135 polling units twice which make up the entire Ogun East senatorial district.
The factional 2019 Peoples Democratic Party Ogun East Senatorial candidate, Ajibola Kalejaiye, is also in the race for the senatorial seat. A former council chairman in Ijebu Igbo Local Government Area, the Ijebu-born politician may likely emerge as the PDP candidate again.
A grassroots politician who enjoys massive followership in the Ijebu Igbo-Ago-Iwoye axis of the district, Kalejaiye, widely known as Dr Syn by his admirers says that a brighter and more rewarding future awaits Ogun East residents and Nigerians in general.
Also in the race on the platform of the PDP is Segun Seriki. He is a well-known ally of the late Kashamu. Also from Ijebu Igbo, sources said the contest would have been much easier for Seriki if Kashamu was alive.
“His ambition is largely a way of keeping alive the Buruji Kashamu political struggles. He is a very resolute politician who knows his onions politically. But the death of Kashamu remains a big blow to him. Politics for them will no longer be the same without Kashamu’s influence and deep financial war chest,” a source said.