Barring any last minute change, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode may withdraw from the governorship primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State slated for September 25 and throw his weight behind the candidate endorsed by the most influential political group in the state, the Mandate Group.
With just nine days to the direct primaries to select the governorship candidate of the party, credible sources in the party said the governor’s second term ambition may be a foregone conclusion given the stiff resistance to his reelection bid by his political benefactor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the stakeholders in the Mandate Group.
Despite interventions by President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, APC national chairman as well as traditional and religious leaders, they have not been able to secure a firm commitment from Tinubu to support Ambode for the race.
According to sources, Tinubu met Comrade Adams Oshiomhole in Abuja at the weekend over the fate of the embattled governor.
Oshiomhole, it was reported, appealed to Tinubu to consider the negative impact the political crisis in Lagos State will have on the fortunes of the party in the forthcoming general election, saying it will be a disaster if APC loses Lagos to the opposition.
“Oshiomhole told Tinubu to forgive Ambode of whatever offence he may have committed. He said the timing is wrong given the fact that the general election is just few months away.
“However, in his response, Tinubu pointedly told Oshiomhole that while he has forgiven the governor, his loyalists and party elders are insisting that there is no going back on their resolution not to renew Ambode’s mandate.
“Tinubu said without the party leaders in Lagos, he himself is nothing and therefore he cannot afford to go against their wishes”.
Daily Independent also gathered that Governor Ambode’s efforts in securing peace with Tinubu in Abuja over the weekend did not yield any fruitful result.
Speaking with our correspondent on Sunday, an associate of the governor said he (Ambode) is still hopeful that the disagreement with the party leaders will be resolved very soon.
“But in the eventuality that it is not resolved, the governor will rather withdraw from the governorship primaries than swim against the tide. He knows the Mandate Group is the soul of APC in Lagos. It was the same group that worked for the success of his election in 2015 even when his predecessor, Babatunde Fashola, vehemently opposed him".
“If the party now says we don’t want him again, the Ambode I know will withdraw from the race and support whoever the party chooses, in this case Jide Sanwo-Olu. But he is still optimistic that any grey areas will be resolved”, he said.
Also speaking with Daily Independent, a leader of the Mandate Group who asked not to be named said contrary to the impression being created that they are only threatening Ambode to make him succumb, the Jide Sanwo-Olu project as the next governor of Lagos State is real and the leaders are resolute in their demand to see it to a logical conclusion.
He, however, said the only person who can ask them to stop the project is Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
“The agenda is real. The Mandate Group is not any political group that engages in flippant things. They have resolved that they are done with Governor Ambode and Babajide Sanwo-Olu will succeed him.
“But I know that in politics anything is possible. If Tinubu calls them today and said ‘Stop the campaign for Sanwo-Olu and support Ambode, they will definitely listen to him.
“But one thing is clear. The Mandate Group will not tolerate any anti-party activity from the governor. He knows the rule so well. We have been hearing that some political parties are asking him to join their party and fight Asiwaju. We advise the governor not to do that in his own interest.
“He should learn from his predecessor, Babatunde Fashola, who opposed his election in 2015. When he (Fashola) realised that Ambode is the man endorsed by the Mandate Group, he quickly withdrew support for his own preferred candidate and joined forces with Ambode. Why didn’t Fashola team up with PDP then”, he asked?
God Has Prepared Me To Be Next Lagos Governor
A governorship aspirant of the APC in Lagos, Jide Sanwo-Olu, on Sunday said he had a strong conviction that God had prepared him to be the next governor of the state.
Sanwo-Olu made the statement at Lagos City Hall while speaking at the formal launch of his governorship bid.
Members of the National Assembly, council chairmen and other chieftains were at the declaration. Sen. Gbenga Ashafa, former minister, Ademola Seriki, a federal lawmaker, Rotimi Agunsoye, were among those present.
It was a carnival atmosphere at the well-attended declaration as party members danced and interrupted Sanwo-Olu’s speech with the chants of “incoming, incoming!”
Sanwo-Olu said he believed God was moulding him to become the next governor of Lagos by making it possible to have an understanding of government through series of private and public service responsibilities.