In what appears as a strong signal to the embattled governor of Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, the political machinery of All Progressives Congress (APC) national leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu will tomorrow hold a show of strength rally in support of the party’s preferred governorship candidate, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
The event scheduled for the open field along Oba Akinjobi road, Ikeja, GRA and to be attended by party leaders and members across the state is to foreclose the second term ambition of Governor Ambode on the platform of the APC and provide a platform for a public endorsement of Sanwo-Olu by party leaders.
This is coming on the heels of a press conference addressed by Sanwo-Olu along with other APC leaders at Watercrest Hotel, Ikeja on Friday. The favoured candidate said he is not just in the race to contest the Lagos State Government House, Alausa, Ikeja with other aspirants, but to eventually succeed the incumbent governor Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode. But before the briefing, some party leaders under the banner of Mandate Group had held a closed door meeting at the venue where final arrangements for the Sunday rally were perfected and strategies to know Ambode out of the race adopted.
Addressing party supporters and others, Sanwo-Olu, assured that if elected next governor, he would not only be a listening governor, but a responsive person that would run an all inclusive government as well as attend to the yearnings and aspirations of Lagosians.
While taking cognisance of challenges of governorship in a state, Sanwo-Olu, 52, a graduate of University of Lagos who hails from Lagos Island said he would come up with a team that will bring about a more participatory government.
While fielding questions from journalists, he lamented that refuse litters the streets of Lagos, saying that the failure of leadership is not in not listening, but in not taking action.
On whether he would back down from the race if the National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu asked him to do so he said: “You see, I really don’t know which side of the divide you want us to stay.
Sometimes, people will say this man (Tinubu) is imposing and that he is not allowing aspirants to come out, that there is no internal democracy but this man (Tinubu) is a democrat, he will allow democracy to rule and thrive.
He added:”My aspiration has nothing to do with an individual, my national leader is my national leader, he is our national leader, his passion is about Nigeria and not Lagos alone. The movement we have started is participatory democracy and so, there is no basis for it (Tinubu urging him to drop his ambition). He (Tinubu) being a democrat, will allow the process to go on without any rancour. On September 25, by the grace of God the entire APC delegates will vote for Babajide Sanwo-Olu
Speaking on the role of Mandate Group, which is facilitating his ambition, Sanwo-Olu said:”Mandate is not a political party, it is not only Mandate that we are pushing, it is assumed that you have to come out from a particular house, territory. I will not be a governor for Lagos Island or Lagos Central, I will be governor for Lagos State. We will ensure we have a participatory government, we will ensure that we listen to you, so that you are included in the things we want to do differently for the people”.
The APC governorship aspirant arrived the avenue at about 3:11pm and was received into the venue by party supporters amid singing and shouting after which he alighted from a black Jeep, which was backed up with two security escorts.
After acknowledging cheers from party supporters, he was led into the hotel amid singing of the solidarity song of “On your Mandate we shall stand” and received by former deputy chairman of APC in Lagos, James Odumbaku, Dr. Tola Kasali, a three-time commissioner in the state and several others.
Meanwhile, members of a group in support of Governor Ambode, ‘Ambode-mania Movement/Support Worldwide’, on Friday, staged a rally in Lagos to celebrate what they called ‘Good governance in Lagos’.
Mr Olawale Oyeboh, the Founder and President of the group, led hundreds of members in the rally that commenced at Freedom Park, Ojota and terminated at the Lagos State Government House, Ikeja. To them, the governor must remain in office till 2023′.
Addressing the group at the entrance to Lagos Government House, Mr Benjamin Labinjo, the Special Adviser to Ambode on Civic Engagement, commended the members, saying that the party would resolve all issues around their concern.
The group danced and sang solidarity songs, while also sharing fliers to people to throw their weight behind the governor.
In a related development, the People’s Trust (PT) a new party led by legal icon and human rights advocate, Dr Olisa Agbakoba and the son of former Prime minister, Dr Abduljalil Tafawa Balewa, leading 30 other political parties in Lagos State has offered its 2019 governorship ticket to Governor Ambode.
Peoples Trust, in a statement issued on Friday in Lagos, by its Protem State Publicity Secretary, Dr Segun Awe Obe, at the end of the elections of its new state executives, said Ambode should be encouraged to consolidate the great development he has started in Lagos.
The statement reads: “Ambode has proved to be a wizard of development in Lagos, therefore should not be sacrificed on the altar of political intrigues and interests within Lagos APC. So, we as the platform of the fresh breed credible third force stakeholders in Nigeria have mobilised 30 other political parties in our grand coalition to engage him for the purpose of fielding him in 2019 if APC in Lagos rejects him.”