The fate of the Lagos state Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode in picking the All Progressive Congress’ ticket to bid for a final term as the Lagos state’s governor is at the moment not getting receptive signals from major stake holders in the state especially, his major sponsor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the Alimosho Lagos based outgoing Governor of the state of Osun, Engr. Rauf Aregbesola.
Signs that the Lagos State Governor, Ambode could have challenges securing his party’s ticket for a second term manifested at the early stage of his current tenure, though with no significant notice.
According to knowledgeable sources within the Lagos APC, Ambode drew the anger of his sponsor, Asiwaju Tinubu, when, at the beginning of his term, he immediately set out to establish his political structure, not minding the existence of the Asiwaju Tinubu’s structure that installed him as governor of the state.
“In fairness to Ambode, he tried to code the move, but the fact that he used a very close family member in building the structure gave him away and his mentor got the signal” narrated a source.
ThePage was further told that, even though Asiwaju appeared indifferent when he heard about efforts being made by ‘his creation’ to establish an independent structure,his body language was said to have given him away at the peak of the Ambode’s refuse challenge in the Lagos metropolis after he dismantled the Tinubu erected Private Sector Partnership (PSP) structure.
According to multiple sources within the party, there was a serious complaint against the Governor before Asiwaju, when the Ambode led government decided to upturn what a source described as the ‘ inherited working and effective refuse collection ‘ system in the state.
“ Dont forget that the refuse collecting system operational in the state before now was introduced by Tinubu when he was governor of the state. And its been a very good way of patronising many party members in the state “ a source obliged.
ThePage was reliably informed that about 45,000 residents in the state were directly surviving on the scrapped PSP project out of which about 25,000 were direct operators hired from the party while the remaining were people engaged by the direct operators.
The demolition of the local system for the engagement of a new contractor , Vissionscape was viewed by Asiwaju as an affront, especially because, he as the initiator of the original operation, was not carried along before it was axed.
Events that unfolded afterwards, regarding the scrapping of the PSP project gave Asiwaju reasons to condemn Ambode before party leaders who sought his intervention in ensuring a cleaner Lagos, even as he was said to have immediately commenced the process of a search for another candidate to replace Ambode and thus preventing him from serving a second term in office.
As a source narrated to ThePage : when it became obvious that the governor was losing the battle against refuse in the state, some leaders in the party lobbied Asiwaju to intervene and impressed it on him to facilitate the reinstatement of the PSP operation , but he (Tinubu) refused, and quoted to have insisted that he will rather allow him ( governor) carry out his heart desires regarding the issue in question.
ThePage reliably gathered that whatever animosity Tinubu may have against his political son , which many believed would be resolved at the appropriate time, was fuelled further, by the outgoing governor of the State of Osun, Rauf Aregbesola, who sources revealed has done more than enough to discourage Asiwaju from encouraging a second term ticket for his Lagos state counterpart.
Reliable sources mentioned that Ambode incured the wrath of the Osun governor when he( Ambode) refused to be part of the scheme to return Aregbesola to the mainstream Lagos politics by not supporting his desire to return as Senator representing Lagos West after his terms next month, as the Osun State Governor for 8 years.
Thepage gathered that Aregbesola who was Commissioner for Works in Lagos for over 8 years before becoming Osun state governor was interested in getting the ticket to contest the Lagos West Senatorial election under the APC, but, sought the support of Governor Ambode, whom sources hinted, told him point blank, that he could not support such a radical move .
Ambode’s stance on the issue, it was gathered, was further emboldened by Asiwaju’s rejection of same. It was gathered however, that Aregbesola had planned to use the expected support from Ambode to persuade Asiwaju to change his mind, but when he met a brick-wall with Ambode, he became an instant part of the plot to stop the Lagos governor’s second term bid.
If supporters of the Lagos State Governor were in doubt before now, that there were plots against the second term aspiration of the governor, news of the introduction of using the Direct Primaries system to determine who gets the ticket to contest the APC governorship ticket for the next election has cleared the doubts.
According to sources, Asiwaju is only capitalising on the adoption of the same direct primaries system by the new leadership in the national APC to stop Ambode because it suits his plans.
Even though Asiwaju Tinubu, while announcing to party members in Lagos penultimate week , of decision to use the direct primaries to decide who gets the party tickets in the next elections in the state , he hinged his decision on the need to follow party directive and make party members determine who gets their ticket as against the use of delegates.
While ThePage sources said it was only convenient for Asiwaju to rely on the alibi,it was gathered that Asiwaju had envisaged the difficulty he will encounter in buying the state’s delegates to reject Ambode at the primary election.
“ Asiwaju realised on time, the futility of giving delegates money to stop Ambode, because of the abundance revenue at the disposal of the governor.
“ Ambode can afford to splash tripple of whatever Asiwaju would offer the delegates, hence his decision to hide under the ‘ obeying party resolution’ alibi, to edge Ambode out of the way for a new choice to emerge as Lagos state governor” a dependable source mentioned.
Giving Asiwaju more convenient alibi to dump Ambode, ThePage further gathered, was the clamour before now, by some party members among them, an influential politician from Ambode’s consistency in Epe, all of who successfully prevailed on Asiwaju to discourage the use of party delegates to determine who gets the ticket to flag the party’s flag in all the coming elections in the state which the guber is a part.
The name of the former Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly Hon. Adeyemi IKuforiji featured prominently among the names of aspirants who lobbied Asiwaju to take the direct primaries option decision.
The interest of IKuforiji, ThePage has learnt, may not be unconnected with the plan to resuscitate the initial Asiwaju approved interest in him becoming the state’s governor before it was forced to be jettisoned by circumstances about 4 years ago.
Keen political watchers in the state believe that replacing Ambode with IKuforiji wont attract much noise especially because IKuforiji is observed to be an all round politician, loyal to the political stausquo and closer to politicians in the state. Above all, he is from the same Epe constituency with the outgoing governor of the state,hence, the permutation that the people of the constituency won’t feel any sense of loss should the ticket taken away from Governor Ambode.
–By Femi Adepoju