The almost broken relationship between the Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode ,his sponsor and political godfather, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has spurred former Speaker of the state’s House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji to refresh his suspended interest to occupy the state’s governorship seat, even as Thepage can reveal that Governor Ambode and the former speaker are neighborhood sworn enemies.
According to sources, the former Speaker lost the respect of Governor Ambode following uncovered underground moves by the former speaker to stop Asiwaju from presenting Ambode as the All Progressive Congress’ candidate for the Lagos gubernatorial election in 2015.
Thepage reliably gathered that Ikuforiji who is from the same Epe area of Lagos state as the Governor was discovered to be the signatory to a petition to the party leadership that the then Lagos governorship aspirant was not a bonafide indigine of Epe, hence should not fly the party’s gubernatorial flag at the time.
Despite the serious pressure mounted on Asiwaju to drop his anointed candidate however, Ambode contested and won the gubernatorial election against the wish of Ikoforiji who was already warming up to become the beneficiary of the ticket if his prayers to Asiwaju against Ambode had been answered.
Ambode on his part did not pretend not to be aware of the role Ikuforiji played in wreaking his ambition, hence, at the assumption of office as the Governor of the state, he used every chanced meeting to express his displeasure against the speaker through his body language.
According to Thepage investigation, the body language of the Governor towards his reluctance to encourage the former speaker around him had become so obvious to the Governor’s aides and security officials so much that, they always shield the Governor from the former speaker each time he tried to get audience with him at public functions, as all channels towards a private audience had hitherto been blocked.
A particular incident was recorded in Epe at the early life of the incumbent administration when Epe leaders lined up for a handshake with Governor Ambode during one of his visits to the community.
Ikuforiji who saw this as an opportunity to reach out to the Governor was disappointed as the Governor deliberately avoided a handshake with him and went ahead to have same with the person before and after him.
The observant security men of the Governor who noticed the action were to later prevent the former speaker from reaching their boss, when he made desperate efforts to reach him while he was about leaving the meeting ground.
Apparently eager to get back at the Governor, Ikuforiji, sources told Thepage ,had capitalized on the unhealthy relationship between the Governor and Asiwaju by proposing ideas unfavorable to the second term aspiration of the Governor to the state’s political godfather and determinant of who picks the APC’s gubernatorial ticket in the state.
Multiple sources confirmed to Thepage that the former speaker was one of the party men who severally met with Asiwaju to convince him on the need to adopt the indirect primaries option to determine who contest elections on the party ticket in the coming general elections, a pressure Asiwaju eventually bowed to using the APC policy at the national level as an alibi.
While announcing the decision to adopt the direct primaries options in the state, Asiwaju had explained that hedoesn’t want to be seen as supporting any candidate for whatever elective position, adding that, in line with the directive of the party at the national level, the direct primaries option would be adopted to afford party membersopportunity to determine who picked their party’s tickets.
The decision as announced by Asiwaju, Thepage gathered, is causing uneasy calm in the party as it is believed to be Asiwaju’s own clever way of dumping the governor, though efforts are still being made to appeal to Asiwaju to relax his stance and work against the direct primaries option if not directly but indirectly to pave the way for Ambode’s re emergence as the APC gubernatorial candidate in the coming election.
According to an APC top shot who spoke with Thepage under the condition of anonymity, “ it is inconsistent with Asiwaju’s known style not to canvass support directly for his candidates, especially the Governor of the only state that is still giving him political relevance in the Southwest.
“ It’s obvious there are some forces at play here because Asiwaju can not afford not to identify publicly with his choice candidate for the Lagos governorship election and if he insists he wont influence the choice of Ambode as the party’s candidate like he did in 2015, then it means he has an option which he is yet to mention to the party leaders”.
-By Femi Adepoju