In what is already looking like it will be an interesting election season in Lagos as the local council elections draw near; one of the many subplots to look out for is already playing out in Surulere.
Surulere, one of the most populous residential areas in Lagos, is also a prime commercial hub in Lagos with popular streets and many “youth-oriented” businesses. It also boasts of a large cross-section of young people constantly engaged in different ventures and who stay abreast of today’s constantly evolving innovations.
This election season has witnessed much more youth participation, and in Surulere, this is equally the case. Idris Aregbe – the incumbent Youth Organising Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Managing Director of Lagos Fries, and CEO of both Culturati and DryClean Lagos – is one of the many aspirants in Lagos.
In Surulere, he is a frontrunner for the position of Local Council Chairman. Frontrunner because he is a young man who has not only been actively engaged in politics at the local level in Surulere but has spent the most parts of his adult life fostering ventures that have youth growth and development at their very core. But who will he be competing against at the party level?
There are a few names, but one stands out – Femi Gbajabiamila. Yes, the Speaker of the House of Representatives. And no, he isn’t leaving the National Assembly, but he is orchestrating (or at least trying to) what happens ahead of the elections.
Godfatherism is not a new phenomenon in Nigerian politics, and it is not necessarily always a bad thing also. But the younger generation today does not want any of it. The feeling amongst the youth, especially in the aftermath of the nationwide protests in late 2020, is not that there should not be people who back candidate A or B, but that other candidates X and Y should also be given a fair chance. And this is why the battle of Surulere will be interesting.
The APC has been put under immense pressure in recent weeks following the refusal of many aspirants in different parts of Lagos to accept, firstly the agreement to consensus candidates, and then more recently for candidates to be chosen via secret ballots. And Idris Aregbe will be no different. He will fancy his chances against anyone in Surulere APC, ceteris paribus.
Today, youths in Surulere are taking to the streets to express themselves by using online social networks and communities to connect and campaign for Idris Aregbe.