The prime movers of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State yesterday endorsed Mr. Jide Sanwo-Olu for the party’s governorship primary
The prime movers of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State yesterday endorsed Mr. Jide Sanwo-Olu for the party’s governorship primary which has now been rescheduled for tomorrow across the state.
They also resolved to mobilise party members to vote for him during the direct primary across 377 wards in the 20 local government areas in the state.
The endorsement by the Gubernatorial Advisory Council (GAC) came on the heels of the withdrawal of Dr. Obafemi Hamzat from the primary for Sanwo-Olu and a similar expression of support for the leading aspirant by 36 members of the State House of Assembly.
The battle for the party ticket will now be a straight fight between Sanwo-Olu and Governor Akinwunmi Ambode who vowed to press ahead with his aspiration for a second term, yesterday.
The Ambode Mandate Support Group (AMSG) said the governor is capable of winning the primary on his merit.
The Gubernatorial Advisory Council (GAC) which is the highest decision making organ in Lagos APC took the decision to endorse Sanwo-Olu at the party secretariat on Acme Road, Ogba, Ikeja, yesterday.
Tension rose as Ambode’s supporters stormed the venue of the meeting, chanting anti-party slogans, to the consternation of party elders and leaders, including Deputy Governor Idiat Adebule, the party chairman, Tunde Balogun, the secretary, Dr. Wale Ahmed, the Assistant Publicity Secretary, Abiodun Salami, Senator Tony Adefuye, Prof. Tunde Samuel, Chief Alabi Macfoy, Prince Murphy Adetoro, Prince Sunny Ajose, Dr. Abayomi Finnih, Senator Olamilekan Adeola, Comrade Kayode Opeifa, Chief Raheem Daramola, and Cardinal James Odunmbaku.
Although party members had waited anxiously for Asiwaju Tinubu, who was expected to address the crowd on the preparations for the shadow election, they later dispersed after Senator Adefuye spoke on the collective resolutions of the stakeholders on the primary.
The announcement sparked wild jubilation by Sanwo-Olu’s supporters who gathered at the venue of the meeting.
Neither Sanwo-olu nor Ambode was present at the meeting.
But before the arrival of the GAC members, supporters of both aspirants had engaged in a show of strength, singing, dancing and praising of their men.
The Assistant Publicity Secretary, Abiodun Salami had to appeal severally to them to desist from abusive songs as all of them are members of the same family.
Hamzat steps down, adopts Sanwo-Olu
One of the three contestants for the APC governorship ticket in Lagos State, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat yesterday withdrew from the race for Sanwo-Olu.
Hamzat who drove to Sanwo-Olu’s Ikoyi residence to personally break the news, described him as a man of integrity, great humility and extraordinary intelligence.
He recalled how both of them worked closely with Tinubu during his tenure as governor, his successor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) and Vice President Osinbajo.
Hamzat 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 across the state.”
He added: “In seeking APC’s ticket then, we were acutely aware of the enormous historic burden power imposes in a unique environment like Lagos. We were conscious of the fact that real progress is defined only by balancing growth and development. While we must innovate, we do not have to discard systems or processes that are working.
“To keep team spirit alive, we are aware that we must always seek to mobilise the generality of our party members behind a common purpose, to deliver the APC manifesto.”
Hamzat said the greatest asset of the APC is not only the legitimate power given to the political family by Lagosians since 1999, but the close-knit brotherhood, toughened by past adversity of weathering the storm of opposition, the collective endurance of federal persecution and the passion and dedication of members to always ensure victory on election day.
The former aspirant, who lost the ticket to Ambode in 2015, emphasised that “the loyalty of our party members should never ever be taken for granted.”
Reflecting on the direct primary, which has heralded the inevitability of a clash of interests and perspectives, Hamzat said the way forward was for like-minds to close ranks and pool resources together, forge a formidable front and advance the ideas that can serve the larger interest of party members.
“If great milestones were recorded under the Fashola administration, I believe it was because there was a fidelity to the path already charted by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. It consists of a clear roadmap that ensured that from the sorry status of almost a failed state in 1999, the Lagos Asiwaju Tinubu bequeathed in 2007 was a very healthy state with vastly improved social infrastructure. It was a worthy legacy Fashola defended and took to great height for eight years he was governor of Lagos,” he said.
Thanking Hamzat for endorsing him, Sanwo-Olu with whom were his wife, Ibijoke reflected on their involvement in Lagos governance over the years and said he was indeed a good friend, compatriot and comrade in progress.
The Babajide Olushola Sanwo-Olu Campaign Organisation (BOSCO) also lauded Hamzat for his “show of sportsmanship to our common cause.”
36 Lagos lawmakers adopt Sanwo-Olu
As Hamzat was announcing his withdrawal from the race, members of the Lagos State House of Assembly gathered inside the Lateef Jakande auditorium of the assembly to also adopt Sanwo-Olu as their candidate in the primary.
Chairman of the House Committee on Information, Strategy and Security, Princess Adefunmilayo Tejuoso, said 36 of the 40 members of the assembly who attended the meeting took the decision to support Sanwo-Olu.
Among them were the two lawmakers from Epe – Segun Olulade and Abiodun Tobun.
There was no dissension, she said.
The lawmakers stated that they were in agreement with the leadership of the party and the GAC on Sanwo-Olu’s adoption.
Ambode group says it’s undemocratic to ask him to step down
The Ambode Mandate Support Group (AMSG) yesterday faulted media reports purportedly quoting GAC asking the governor to withdraw his second term bid.
The group said such a directive was inimical to the democracy which the party preaches.
Reacting to the endorsement of Mr. Sanwo-Olu by the GAC and shift of the primary from today to tomorrow, the Director General of AMSG, Mr. Hakeem Sulaimon said the sudden turn of events does not augur well for democracy and unity of the party.
His words:”I don’t think the GAC would have done such a thing as represented by Senator Anthony Adefuye, because a few days ago, the GAC came out to say that they have resolved that the Governor will not be granted the same privilege granted fellow governors in other States and that every aspirant should go for the primaries.
“They (GAC members) were the ones who equally said before now that why was the Governor afraid of the primary; and if they said why was the Governor afraid of the primary and the Governor has now told them that okay, I am ready for the primary, the next question we should ask is why are they afraid of going for the primary?
“The party said we are in a democracy and all the three aspirants should run, now they have shifted ground and they are asking the Governor to step down for another aspirant, why are they saying so if they are preaching about democracy?
“Giving this development, we are alerting Lagosians that having seen the turnout of party faithful in the meeting that the party called today and the supporters of Mr Akinwunmi Ambode who had about 87 per cent of the crowd that was there, they have now all of a sudden postponed the primary that we are prepared for. We hope they are not trying to do anything that would create problem in this peace-loving State.”
Sulaimon also said the governor’s campaign is on course as he continues to receive “overwhelming support from several quarters.”
He said: “what truly constitutes the structure of the party is the ward and of course the LGA. Beyond the ward and the LGA, we also have the Councillors because we have 377 of the creation of Lagos State Councillors; we have 377 of the creation of Lagos State ward chairmen and so on.
“But again, just this morning, we had an assembly of over 237 Councillors here and at the end of the day, in giving the vote of thanks, one of them stood up to say they were now convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that the only person that would work for their interest and that they have realized that the most endangered political class are the councillors and that they would ensure that they work for the Governor in their respective wards and they have assured us that we would get victory.”
Lagos, Imo primaries now for tomorrow
National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, yesterday announced that the governorship primaries of the party in Lagos and Imo will now take place tomorrow and not today again as formerly scheduled.
Oshiomhole who spoke while inaugurating the committees for the various states governorship primaries challenged members of the various committees conducting the governorship primaries not to yield to pressure from any quarter, but to do their best to help the party improve internal democracy in the country.
He said: “We have decided to postpone the election in Lagos to Monday. Even though it is a public holiday, there is nothing in the law that says we cannot conduct our party affairs during public holidays.
“So, Lagos and Imo States, for now, the exercise will take place on Monday.
“We are sure that we will be able to rectify logistic challenges between now and end of tomorrow. For those going to those States, please take note.
“The secretariat will get to the committees through the chairmen, the documents and all the materials you need – be it ballot papers, result sheets that you will use for the election.
“You are likely to come under pressure because we are in an environment in which nobody concedes defeat and sometimes, those who win are not gracious enough to recognize that it does not have to be winner takes all.
“In genuine democracy, everybody is a winner because if you govern well, you govern for the good of the people; everybody will be better off.
“The primary purpose of power is to use it to deliver on public welfare and public good. So, I plead with you to do your very best to try to strike a balance because we have all promised to do justice to all members of the party. So, do your very best so that at the end of the day, you will help us to deepen internal democracy.
“So, stepping out tomorrow to conduct elections, you have a duty to sustain the core values of the APC which is to ensure that we conduct transparent primaries. Our constitution which is the basis of the contract between members of the APC to vie for couple of offices and our National Executive Committee is adhered to.
“We have decided to activate two of the options in our constitutions (direct and indirect). We have worked hard to provide some of the preconditions without which we can’t service internal democracy. As we speak, we have our membership register which has been distributed to the 36 states.
“I believe that we have compelling reasons to conduct credible primaries across the country. The guidelines have been well articulated and we expect the Chairmen to provide leadership in all states where they have been deployed to.”
Oshiomhole also announced that 177 aspirants bought nomination forms to contest the 29 vacancies available on the platform, saying “We have only 29 vacancies for governors and to fill these 29 vacancies, we have distinguished Nigerians, men and women, about 177 that applied.
“This does not suggest any unusual level of political or executive unemployment. It just points to the level of interest, commitment, passion and above all the confidence that people have in the APC.
Speaking on behalf of the convention committee, Senator Ajimobi pledged that the party will lay a solid foundation for the party’s victory in 2019.
The committee chairmen are: Prof Osahremen Osunbor (Kebbi ), Mr. Clement Ebri (Lagos), Demola Seriki (Oyo), David Iyoha (Abia), Senator Domingo Obande (Ebonyi), Prof Moses Momoh ( Enugu), Alhaji Ahmed Gulak (Imo) , Chief Mutiu Are (Benue), Matthew Iduyekheu (Kaduna), Yamah Momoh (Akwa Ibom), Gen. Lawrence Onoja (Delta), Senator Ahmed Yerima (Cross River), Col. Lawal Jafaru Isa (Rivers).
Others are Ismail Ahmed (Nasarawa), Lucky Imasuen (Niger), Senator Obadara (Plateau), Yerima Giade (Adamawa), Prof Ahmed Bakassi (Bauchi), Abu Bawaro (Gombe), Senator Emmanuel Ochaja (Taraba), Umar Lawal Kareto (Yobe) Ahmed El-Marzuq (Borno), Pius Odubu (Kano), Isa Adamu (Katsina), Suleiman Abubakar (Sokoto), Aminu Asinachi (Zamfara), Senator Abubakar Sadiq (Jigawa), and Mohammed Idabawa (Ogun).