LAGOS GOVERNORSHIP TICKET: Ambode loses out as Tinubu is adamant

Written by Maritime First

…APC, PDP in verbal exchange over Kemi Adeosun’s resignation***

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State may have finally lost out in the battle for the ticket  of  the All Progressives Congress, APC, to contest the 2019 governorship election despite  interventions by President Muhammadu Buhari’s proxies and governors aimed at staving off what they claimed was a damaging crisis in one of the party’s strongest bases.

Reflective of the interventions, there were deliberate moves, early yesterday, towards lowering the momentum of the mobilization for the governorship bid of  Ambode’s main challenger for the APC ticket, Babajide Sanwo-Olu. In one of such moves that initially brought some breather to the Ambode camp was the report in Lagos political circles that Sanwo-Olu’s declaration ceremony had been put off because of the interventions. Governor Ambode’s camp is still of the belief that something positive can still come out of the interventions from high quarters. However, Sunday Vanguard gathered  that the declaration ceremony would still proceed today but with less fanfare. The ceremony has, however, been moved from the more spacious Police College, Ikeja to City Hall in Lagos Island.

The implications in all of these is that in the event that Ambode insists on seeking the governorship ticket of APC, there would be a direct primary contest. Before the relocation of the Sanwo-Olu declaration, there were reports that the interventions initiated by Buhari, using Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, were reviving hopes for a second term for the embattled governor. Sunday Vanguard learnt that Ambode’s fate was sealed at a meeting held in Abuja on Friday night where the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, reportedly ruled him out of election on the platform of the APC. Tinubu was said to have told the governor pointedly at the meeting that he (Ambode) could get some other position in the APC but certainly not the ticket of the party for Lagos governorship in the 2019 polls. Party sources said a soft landing may be arranged for the governor.

Meanwhile, a source privy to the development revealed that the Presidency was especially concerned that a crisis in the Lagos State chapter of the party could further jeopardise the electoral chances of the APC in the country. “Lagos is about the most stable state in the APC and it is also the most prosperous and there is no need to instigate a crisis in the state especially for political and selfish considerations,” a high-level source privy to the developments said yesterday evening. “Now that the President’s (electoral) chances are becoming slimmer, it is the belief that no one should play around with Lagos.” Even more, some governors, notably from outside the South-West, Sunday Vanguard gathered, had also stepped into the fray with the intention of intervening on behalf of their colleague. “APC governors are not happy that their poster boy should be denied a second term because he is the one they look up to in performance,” a source apparently supportive of Ambode based in Abuja where the governor was still holed-in, as of yesterday.

The support for the governor was, however, not universal as some South-West chapters of the APC took his travails with much indifference. “What happens to Ambode does not concern us as he does not relate with us and lives on his own,” an associate of a South-West governor said yesterday. “When we did the election in Ekiti, was he there? When we did inauguration in Ondo and campaigns, did you see him? I think it is the same snub he gives his people in Lagos that he gives to his fellow governors”. In Lagos, while some party operatives were still insisting that Ambode should not return, some were, however, more apprehensive. “ Talks are ongoing and it is being resolved,” one party operative in one of the local governments in Lagos told Sunday Vanguard. “It is in everybody’s interest to resolve this matter because if it is not, the crisis that will fall out will be too much for everyone”. Perhaps it was in that direction that Sanwo-Olu’s high profile declaration was scaled down from the Police College to City Hall to limit the number of people who would come.

However, the full complement of the APC Caucus in the state House of Assembly, the state delegation to the House of Representatives, and at least one of the three senators from Lagos are expected at the declaration. Senator Gbenga Ashafa, Lagos East, who is facing a stiff challenge in his third bid for the Senate, and Senator Remi Tinubu, wife of the National Leader of the APC, Sunday |Vanguard was made to understand, are not expected at the Sanwo-Olu’s declaration for what one source said as “obvious reasons.” Ashafa incidentally was at Ambode’s declaration last week. Sanwo-Olu is presently a subordinate of Ambode and managing director of the Lagos State Development and Property Corporation, LSDPC.

In the meantime, the ruling All  Progressives Congress, APC, and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, were, yesterday, locked in verbal exchange over the resignation of Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, and the former’s call on security agencies to track election finances of opposition politicians, especially those of the latter. While the APC asked relevant agencies in the country to track election finances of opposition politicians, particularly those of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, ahead of the 2019 general elections and also described the resignation of Kemi Adeosun as an act of honour, strength, character and integrity, PDP said APC and President Buhari cannot speak of integrity and honour until Adeosun was arrested and prosecuted.

PDP also said the APC could not speak of honour and integrity until its chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, was investigated and prosecuted for financial impropriety during the period he ran the affairs of Edo State as governor. But APC in a statement signed by its spokesman, Yekini Nabena, yesterday, alerted Nigerians to the plot by some politicians to buy up votes during the elections. While it recalled the successes of the anti-corruption fight of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, the party noted:  “Sadly, they have resurfaced to canvass votes of Nigerians for various elective positions. Nigerians are neither gullible nor stupid. ‘’They have not forgotten the yoke they bore under the corrupt Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, regimes and deserve no more of it.

“While we alert Nigerians to the plot of some politicians to buy votes and deploy other illegal means to subvert the people’s will during the coming elections, we urge relevant agencies to be proactively involved in tracking of election financing. “The same people who criminally diverted public monies to fund their political activities as brazenly displayed during past administrations, must be prevented from doing same in coming elections.”

Adeosun’s resignation shows character, integrity —APC

Meanwhile, the party has described weekend’s resignation of Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, as an act of honour, strength, character and integrity. The party’s spokesman, Yekini Nabena, who said this in a statement issued in Abuja, yesterday, said: “Like all responsive and responsible governments concerned about the truth and due process, the Federal Government undertook diligent investigation of the allegation. “Now that the report of the investigation is out, the right thing has been done. The honorable minister has taken the path of honour and resigned. We congratulate Mrs. Adeosun for her action. “In President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration of integrity and transparency in the conduct of public affairs, no officer of government with a modicum of questionable conduct or integrity should stay in office.

Buhari, APC can’t speak on integrity unless… — PDP

Meanwhile, PDP, yesterday, berated President Buhari and APC, for apparently seeking to take credit for the resignation of Adeosun, over alleged forgery of National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, exemption certificate. According to PDP, both cannot speak of honour and integrity unless Adeosun is arrested and investigated and APC chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, investigated and prosecuted for alleged financial misconducts during his stewardship as governor of Edo State. The party also accused the Presidency of failing to prevail on security agencies to promptly arraign Adeosun, given its stand on rooting out all forms and shapes of corruption. National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, also tasked Police authorities to bring back the former minister to answer to all kinds of financial crimes committed by the present administration. He said: “PDP is saying she must be prosecuted and if found guilty, must be made to face justice. “She will also have to tell the world what she knew about the financial shenanigans allegedly perpetrated by this administration since it came on board in 2015. “We are demanding the investigation of the alleged misdeeds of APC national chairman, Mr. Oshiomhole, whose stewardship as Edo State government has been put on the spotlight for a while now. Until this is done, APC and the Presidency can’t speak on honour, character and integrity.”


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Maritime First