The current holder, Lai Mohammed will be resigning his position this week following his appointment as a minister by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The aspirants jostling to replace him are Mr. Sola Lawal, the Publicity Secretary of the Ogun State chapter, his Lagos State counterpart, Comrade Joe Igbokwe, Mr. Rotimi Fasakin and Mr. Timi Frank.
Lawal has served as Publicity Secretary in Ogun State for six years. Also, Igbokwe has served as Publicity Secretary since 2007. However, the rights activist, who has not declared his bid, is being persuaded by his colleagues across the federation.
On the other hand, Fasakin was Gen. Mohammadu Buhari’s spokesman when he was the presidential candidate of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), while Frank is Mohammed’s deputy at the party secretariat.
Lawal was born on the April 5, 1963 at Ile – Ife, Osun State. He attended Ansaru-Ud-Deen Primary school, Ile – Ife where he obtained his Primary School Leaving Certificate in 1976. He also attended Erin Community Grammar School, Erin-Ijesha, Osun State, where he obtained his West African School Certificate in 1981. He obtained the Teachers’ Grade II Certificate at Methodist Teachers College, Sagamu in 1983. He proceeded to the ObafemiAwolowo University, (OAU), Ile-Ife, where he got his first degree in English in 1990. He is now a post-graduate student of Mass Communication at the University of Lagos, Akoka.
Lawal worked as a reporter/staff writer for Hotline News Magazine, Kaduna from 1990 to 1992. He was the Associate Editor between 1992 and 1993. He was the Chief Correspondent, Concord Press of Nigeria in 1993. Later, he became the Sub-Editor/ Reporter, Post Express Newspaper from 1996 to 1999. He is the Chief Executive Officer, Globe Telly, which he founded in 2003.
Lawal is an activist. He was the founder of Yoruba for Change. He was the Assistant Youth Mobilization Officer for Iremo Ward, Oranmiyan Local Government, Ile Ife for the UPN from 1982 to 1983. He served as the Returning Officer, Gubernatorial Primaries, Alliance for Democracy (AD), Ogun State in 1998. He was the Mobilization Officer, Ogun East Senatorial District, AD between 1998 and 1999.
He became the Secretary, Afenifere National Publicity Committee between 2000 and 2006. While on the Afenifere National Publicity Committee, he also served as the Personal Assistant (Political) to Afenifere Leader Leader, the late Senator Abraham Adesanya between 1999 and 2008. He was a member of Afenifere National Caucus from 1997 to 2007. Between 1995 and1998, he was a member National Democratic Coalition.
Lawal was the Director of Campaign, Dipo Dina Movement, Ogun State, from 2004 to 2007. He was the Ogun State AC Publicity Secretary between 2006 and 2010. In 2010, Lawal became the Publicity Secretary, Ogun State ACN. He is currently the Ogun State APC Publicity Secretary.
Lawal was detained without at the Jos Prison in January 1994 by the Abacha regime. He was also detained at the Central Police Station, Wuse, Abuja in May 1996. In December, 2006, Lawal was detained at the Lion Building Police Station, Lagos. In the same month, he also detained at the Ogun State Police Headquarters, Eleweran , Abeokuta. It was during the famous trial for theft of government vouchers of the AC governorship candidate, late OtunbaDipo Dina. Lawal was the Special Adviser on Media, Ogun State Government between 1999 and 2003. He was also the Consultant on Communication to the governor . He is the author of ‘The Leaders Tongue: A compendium of immortal words of Abraham Adesanya.’
He was a senatorial aspirant on the platform of the APC in Ife/Ijesa District, Osun State.
Lawal justified his bid for the post, saying that it requires professionalism. “Lawyers are usually appointed as commissioners and ministers of justice. Doctors and pharmacists serve better as ministers and commissioners for health. I believe that a seasoned journalist will bring his professionalism to bear on the job of the party’s publicity secretary.”
A pro-democracy activist, Igbokwe made his name under the military as a freedom fighter. He was at the forefront of the battle for the revalidation of the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election won by the late Chief Moshood Abiola of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP).
Igbokwe was born on January 30, 1956 in Uruagu, Nnewi, Anambra State. He attended Uruagu Nnewi primary School from 1962 to 1971. He was the school’s football team captain. He attended Okongwu Memorial Grammar School, Nnewi, from 1974 to 1979. He was the head boy. He also made a Grade One.
Igbokwe attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he obtained his degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1985. He is a policy analyst, commentator on national issues, leading voice in human rights movement, motivational speaker, community leader and President of First Grade International Limited, publisher of National Vision Newspapers.
Igbokwe is a member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) and Council of Registered Engineers of Nigeria (COREN). He has attended leadership courses in lagos, Singapore, Dubai and South Africa.
He is the Lagos State AC, ACN, APC Publicity Secretary (since 2007), Chairman of Conference of APC State Publicity Secretaries, Coordinator, Igbo Vision in Lagos APC and patron of Igbo Conscience. He was General Manager, LASIMRA (2005-2015). He is currently Chairman, Wharf Landing Fees Collecting Authority, Lagos State.
He is a politician from Owo, Ondo State. He was the Buhari’s media aide in the defunct CPC; loyal and hardworking.
Frank is from Bayelsa State. He is the APC National Deputy Publicity Secretary. It is doubtful, if there is a harmonious working relations between him and the outgoing publicity secretary. On some occasions, the there were gaps between positions canvassed by Mohammed and Frank on behalf of the party. He has an independent mind. His admirers perceive him as a radical of sorts. But, he is popular in his constituency.
A party source said Frank may not succeed Mohammed. He added: “The position will be vacant by the end of the month. There is nothing on ground to show that the deputy publicity secretary, Timi Frank, will step into Lai Mohammed’s shoes. The party will look for a professional and an astute politician to do the job. Also, zoning may not favour the deputy publicity secretary.