Ahead of All Progressives Congress, APC, governorship primary in Lagos State, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the Governor’s Advisory Council, GAC, yesterday, endorsed Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu for the party’s ticket for the 2019 elections.
In a reaction, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, also in the race for the party’s ticket, said 237 Councillors, 3,900 Community Associations were supporting him.
Meanwhile, the state chapter of the APC has postponed the governorship primary, scheduled for today, to tomorrow.
Announcing the outcome of the GAC meeting, held at Tinubu’s Ikoyi, Lagos residence, to party loyalists that had stormed the Lagos APC Secretariat, Senator Anthony Adefuye, a member of the group, said that the meeting, which commenced at 10am, ended after several hours of deliberations.
He said: “There was a GAC meeting held this morning, which was attended by Vice President Osinbajo; Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; Speaker, House of Assembly, Mudasiru Obasa, among others.
“This meeting was chaired by our National Leader, Tinubu. This is a meeting that we started at 10am. And we couldn’t finish early. After the meeting, I have been mandated by the GAC to announce this to you.
The governorship primary, earlier scheduled for tomorrow, September 30, has been shifted to Monday, October 1.
“Also, the GAC was informed by Dr Obafemi Hamzat of his decision to graciously step down and he endorsed Jide Sanwo-Olu.
“GAC has endorsed Babajide Sanwo-Olu as its preferred candidate ahead of the primary,”
Adefuye disclosed that Tinubu had earlier planned to address the party members at the state APC secretariat but could not leave his residence “because various organs of the party had decided to meet him on other issues in the state.”
A source told Sunday Vanguard that the leadership of the party may have agreed to give the deputy governorship ticket to Hamzat, who stepped down for Sanwo-Olu, leaving the incumbent Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and Sanwo-Olu to slug it out for the party’s ticket.
It was also gathered that Ambode, who attended the meeting of the GAC at Tinubu’s residence, stormed out in the course of the deliberations apparently due to the unfavorable stance to his candidacy.
Why I stepped down – Hamzat
Hamzat, who addressed journalists, yesterday, morning shortly after meeting with Sanwo-Olu in his Ikoyi, Lagos residence, said he decided to step down based on the shared vision he had with Sanwo-Olu on the future direction of the state.
Hamzat, an aide to the Minister of Works, Lands and Housing, Dr. Babatunde Fashola, was, however, quick to discountenance the claim that it meant a reconciliation between the Abuja and Lagos groups. He said that such insinuation of a feud was implausible given that Tinubu was the political father of everyone of them involved in the contest.
Speaking after the meeting, Hamzat, who was flanked by Sanwo-Olu, his wife, Dr. (Mrs.) Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, his (Sanwo-Olu’s) campaign manager, Mr. Tayo Ayinde and Otunba Lekan Osifeso, said:
“After due consultations with my numerous supporters and in deference to the wise counsel of those I consider my political mentors, I have resolved to step down from the governorship race in Lagos on the platform of our party and, instead, poll resources together with my brother and friend, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
“So, my supporters are hereby directed to vote for Sanwo-Olu to emerge the candidate of the APC in the primary scheduled for tomorrow (today) across the state.”