The stage appear set for a great battle between the Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwummi Ambode and the Local Government chairmen in the state as the Lagos All Progressive Congress ( APC) holds its gubernatorial primary election on Saturday, the 29th.
Thepage can confirm that barring any last minute change, the incbumbent governor, Ambode will contest the party’s gubernatorial ticket against the advice of the party leadership which has thrown up Hon. Jide Sanwo-Olu to vie for the same ticket.
Before now, there have been speculations that Governor Ambode would bow to the wish of the of the party leaders by endorsing their favoured candidate, Sanwo-Olu and lead his campaign afterwards.
But a lie was put to the speculation when on Wednesday, Ambode through his Commissioner for Information, Hon. Kehinde Bamigbetan insisted the Governor was going ahead to contest the primary election with the party’s favoured candidate, Sanwo-Olu and another contestant, Femi Hamzat, himself a tested hand in governance.
Reliable sources confirmed to Thepage that Ambode’s resolve to go confrontational with the party’s leadership may not be unconnected with a deal he allegedly struck with a group within the Party, the Justice Forum.
Before now, Justice Forum was the determinant group in deciding who gets what, as far as political offices were concerned in Lagos political fold. The advent of the Mandate group however put an end to the influence of the body, being managed mainly by some old favourites of the party when it existed as the Alliance for Democracy (AD) and ACN.
Sources further informed that beyond the Justice Forum alliance, the Governor is alleged to have made financial provisions available to lure some other personalities to his side, who could influence vote for him at the Direct Primary election on Saturday.
The Governor’s determination, ThePage can reliably mention, has pitched him against 56 of the 57 Local government bosses in the state.
It was reliably gathered that as soon as the party leadership settled for Sanwo-Olu as the preferred candidate to succeed Ambode, instructions went round to all layers of the party structure in the state to support the Samwo olu bid.
As a result, the Council bosses were appointed the Coordinator of the “Sanwo-Olu must win” teams in their respective local government areas. All the 57, sources informed, gladly took up the challenge but for one.
Determined to ensure a clinical job is done against Ambode on Saturday by delivering their respective domain for Sanwo-Olu, a meeting of party men across the state held at the ACME Agidingbi Lagos secretariat of the party on Thursday with stern instructions to the party members to ensure the Party’s choice clinch the ticket.
The state’s Council bosses later held a meeting in a hotel in Ikeja where strategies were disccussed on how to ensure victory for Sanwo-Olu.
The development was said to have compeled warring factions in the various councils to bury their differences and team up to ensure the party wins against Ambode.
As a source put it ” the chairmen are not leaving anything to chance because they know the implication of their open surport for Sanwo-Olu in the hand of Ambode should Ambode gets the ticket.
“They see the governor as very vindictive and would not spare them especially with the treatment metted to his predecessor Tunde Fashola still fresh in their memories. So its like the Chairmen are fighting the battles of their lives hence their constant review of strategies ahead of Saturday’s election.
” Quite homestly, the Chairmen never expected the governor will take the issue this far, in fact, some of them who have personal relationship with him were already on the drawing board plotting his return for a second term until the party decided against his choice and since it was the party that introduced him in the first instance, its just wise for any loyal party man to toe the line of the party”
Meanwhile, no fewer than 377 councillors under the aegis of Forum of Councillors from 20 Local Governments and 37 Local Council
Development Authorities (LCDA) in the State have endorsed the governorship aspiration of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, pledging their total support for him ahead of Saturday’s primary election.
According to a statement by the Babajide Sanwo-Olu Campaign organisation (BOSCO), thee endorsement took place in Ikeja via voice vote after a 3 hours meeting between BOSCO, some leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State and the aspirant, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Speaking during the meeting, the Director General of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu Campaign Organization, Mr. Tayo Ayinde applauded the spirit of oneness of the Forum, saying that unity among politicians is important for impactful development.
Ayinde stressed the need for internal democracy and urged every member of the forum to work hard for the aspiration of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
The campaign DG described the event as a family meeting, where a decision that will affect all family members would be made. He thereafter presented Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to the crowd, who rose enthusiastically to welcome the aspirant.
A former Commissioner of Agriculture in Lagos State, Mr. Kaoli Olusanya advised the councillors to remain steadfast and not be deterred by antics of those afraid to face the people at the primaries. He said the council members are the closest to the people.
‘’no politician knows the grassroots people better than you the councillors’’, Olusanya stated. He also informed the gathering that he started his political journey as a councillor, noting that hardwork, dedication and loyalty to the party and the political family have taken him to where he is today.
According to Olusanya, nothing should be taken for granted in politics, ‘’it is on that note that I’d want you to work for our brother, friend and colleague, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu so that he can clinch the party’s ticket on Saturday 29th September, 2018’’.
The governorship aspirant, Babajide Sanwo-Olu thanked the councillors for coming out in large numbers to receive him.
He started by telling them of his antecedents in the party since leaving the corporate world to join the administration of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in 2002 as a Special Adviser and later as Commissioner. He told the forum of councillors how close he has been to their colleagues in his constituency, noting that he was doing all he could for them at a time when he never thought of running for governorship position.
Sanwo-Olu charged the councillors on the need to persevere and be loyal, saying those virtues usually pay off in the end.
‘’perseverance in politics is good. It usually pays off in the end. That virtue is what has brought me to this level.’’ Sanwo-Olu stated.
He urged the councillors to get out the vote on Saturday, promising that better days are ahead for all party members.
‘’I will ensure that we bring about a Lagos of prosperity for all’’
‘’we will listen to your needs and we’d be there for you’’ Sanwo-Olu affirmed.
Vice Chairman of the Councillors Forum in Lagos State, Mr. Remi Shittu, who presided over the endorsement of Sanwo-Olu by members of the Forum, pledged the support of his members in the primaries.
Other party leaders who spoke at the meeting include Cardinal James Odumaku (aka Baba Eto) and Mrs Omolola Essien who sought the support of the councillors ahead of the Saturday’s primary election, the statement read in part.
By: Femi Adepoju