The formal declaration of Babajide Sanwo-Olu, a governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State, on Sunday, may have finally put paid to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s chances of securing a second term in office, Daily Independent has learnt.
Multiple sources in the party told our correspondent on Monday that the governor was in Abuja last weekend making a frantic bid to prevail on party leaders to persuade Asiwaju Bola Tinubu not to allow the declaration to proceed.
“The rally was scheduled to hold at Skypower, opposite Police College in Ikeja, but the leaders of the Mandate Group who are solidly behind Sanwo-Olu, got a hint that there are plans to disrupt the event. That was when they agreed to move it to City Hall on Lagos Island,” said a party leader who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Speaking further, he said: “When Ambode’s people got wind of the fact that the rally will no longer take place at Police College on Saturday evening, they thought Asiwaju (Tinubu) had instructed them to stop the Sanwo-Olu project and collapse the structure for the embattled governor.
“However, much to their chagrin, the rally went ahead and even surpassed their expectations because many party bigwigs flew in from Abuja to attend the declaration.
“Even Senator Ashafa who was one of the three senators who had earlier endorsed Ambode was seated on the high table on Sanwo-Olu’s declaration. That goes to tell you that there is no going back on this project.
“With the declaration by Sanwo-Olu and inauguration of his campaign committee, Governor Ambode must be kidding to believe there is any hope for him to get the support of the Mandate Group again. He is 90 percent gone.”
Also speaking with our correspondent, a leader in the Mandate Group said the governor’s fate had been sealed a long time ago after he failed to address the complaints and grievances of party leaders whose economic lifelines had been gravely affected by his policies.
He said he was aware that Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the National Chairman of APC, was with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu on Sunday evening but he (Tinubu) was still insisting that he would respect the decision of the party elders who were against Ambode’s re-election.
“The governor’s case has been decided a long time ago. Nothing can change anything again. We gave him ample time to correct his steps but I think pride overtook him and he chose to forget his source, those who assisted him to where he is.
“It is not about the party elders or Asiwaju Tinubu. It is about Lagosians who are bearing the brunt of Ambode’s policies. Look at the refuse heaps everywhere which could have led to a great epidemic if not that something drastic was done by Asiwaju who quickly intervened,” the source said.
When asked if the political situation would not affect the party’s chances in the forthcoming general elections, he said: “It will not affect APC’s chances at all. Lagos APC is one united family. Wherever Asiwaju leads us, we go.
“He has told us it is Muhammadu Buhari for presidency and Jide Sanwo-Olu for governor. On that we stand, and Lagosians are with us on this.”
Speaking with Daily Independent, Yinka Odumakin said the crisis between Governor Ambode and the party leaders in Lagos was all about vested interests and not about the welfare of Lagosians.
“It is their internal affairs. They have been conducting their affairs in Lagos and it is now a normal thing every four years. Remember what happened during the second term of Babatunde Fashola. I think they have to sort themselves out.
“Lagosians will have to make up their minds at the polls whether they are enjoying what is happening in their state and they want a continuity of such or they want a change totally different from what they have now.
“Because what is at play is clearly vested interests. Sheer vested interests. In Lagos today, you can count the number of roads that are motorable. That has been the same tendency since about 20 years ago.