It appears the second term bid of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode lies in the hands of the Jagaban of Nigerian politics, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s prospects of returning as governor of Lagos State were yesterday hanging on the cliff with all major political players in the state pointing at the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for direction.
Meanwhile, Ambode has relocated to his home base in Epe where he is weighing his options in the face of chorused mobilisation by the political base of the party to stop him.
With the Tinubu camp seething of rebellion by Ambode, pacifists were, however, calling on Tinubu to thread with caution, with the assertion that he could lose his place of political ascendancy in the state if the crisis with the governor was not properly managed.
Indicative of the governor’s unbalanced position, the chairman of the Lagos State chapter of the party, Alhaji Babatunde Balogun said yesterday that the party and its mainstream were still waiting on Tinubu for direction in the face of what he said were three options.
The three options he cited were Ambode, Mr. Babajide Sanwoolu, who is the choice of Tinubu’s Mandate Group and Dr. Femi Hamzat, a loyalist of the state’s immediate past governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola.
Pending a word from Tinubu, Balogun said the party would remain neutral.
Council bosses dump Ambode
The chairman of a Local Council Development Authority, LCDA, in Lagos, told Vanguard yesterday that they have been instructed to commence mobilising grassroots support for Sanwo-Olu’s aspiration.
Noting that they have been instructed not to support Ambode, the local government boss said: “We operate as a family in Lagos, and we obey our leaders.
There is already an order that we should commence marketing Sanwo-Olu to the grassroots where power belongs. Before now, the Ambode re-election campaign had not commenced fully, but the latest development means that we are not going to work for him.
As loyal representatives of the people, who subscribe to the leadership style of our leader, we will not act contrary to the order. By this time next week, the Sanwo-Olu campaign will commence at the various councils ahead of the primaries.”
However, Ambode was basking in the support of at least four local government chairmen in his Epe axis in the state according to a press statement issued by the governor’s spokesman, Mr. Habib Haruna.
The local government bosses he said had endorsed Ambode were Adedoyin Adesanya, Chairman of Epe Local Government Area; Saliu Adeniyi, Chairman of Eredo LCDA; Samson Onanuga, Chairman of Ikosi-Ejirin LCDA; and Kehinde Adeniyi, party Chairman in Epe Local Government.
Nevertheless, there were still calls for caution from within Tinubu’s camp as some were also drawing the attention of the political leader to the possibility of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP exploiting the situation to win over the state.
Meanwhile, the calls for caution on the combatants was against the background of signals of still unsettled issues that arose from previous internal party nomination exercises.
“Don’t forget that many people are still unhappy because past promises of compensation for loyalty to the party are yet to be settled. These people can go anyway so if this is God’s way of containing Asiwaju you can never tell,” one senior party official told Vanguard on the condition of anonymity yesterday.
Grievances over primaries
“People are still aggrieved with the outcome of the last local government party primaries, and the idea of telling people to work for the party is not going to work this time,” a source revealed.
Even more, other party activists were calling for caution on the background of the increasing political consciousness of the non-Yoruba population in the state who it was claimed could exploit the situation to upend Tinubu’s political ascendancy in the state.
The exigency of time was, however, dawning on all concerned as it was claimed that resolving the issue immediately was of importance.
Explaining his absence and that of party executives at Ambode’s Monday declaration for a second term, Balogun, at a press conference said:
‘As a state chairman of the party, you do not expect me to be at such a gathering. We have not held a primary; we do not know the candidate yet to emerge. I am supposed to be neutral.”
Responding to questions about a possible crisis in the party, he said: “The fact is that the three people (Ambode, Jide Sanwoolu, Dr. Femi Hamzat) have obtained forms, let the party decide who emerges, that is why we are going for direct primaries.
The implication of direct primaries is that it allows all registered members, of over five million, to participate in choosing who becomes the candidate of the party, rather than the indirect that allows for only selected few who are delegates.”
No plans to impeach gov —Party chair
The party chairman also dismissed reports of a plot to impeach the governor for obtaining and submitting his form to go for a second term, saying “there is no such plan, all is about social media stunt which is uncontrolled.”
He also affirmed trust in Tinubu to successfully resolve the issue and give guidance to the party mainstream.
He said: “We have confidence in our National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. He has delivered on many occasions. He is a man that can be trusted and reliable.
He has been directing the party aright towards progress and victories. What else do you expect from a leader? He has been a stabilizing force that is why we abide by most of his decisions.
For our party, he has been a pathfinder. Because of Tinubu’s singular efforts, APC has been able to expand since the days of AD, ACN, to date. So, wherever is going, we follow.”
Also, a source close to the governor, last night, said the matter would be resolved in the next 48 hours. According to the source, the horse-trading is “the normal half-time negotiation.”
Otedola yet to get PDP normination form
Meanwhile, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Prince Diran Odeyemi, yesterday disclosed that Mr. Femi Otedola had not purchased any form for the governorship race.
“Mr. Otedola has not bought any form and neither has anyone bought forms for him,” he said.
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