BY OLASUNKANMI AKONI & ANINO AGANBI
LAGOS—AS the race for the successor of Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State thickens within All Progressives Congress, APC, indications emerged weekend that the plan to pick former state’s Accountant General, Akinwunmi Ambode, by party leaders in the state to succeed Governor Fashola in 2015, started two years ago.
A party chieftain, who spoke on condition of anonymity claimed; “The party leaders have since penciled Ambode for Fashola’s seat when he (Ambode) was secretly asked in 2012 to resign even when he was not due for retirement.
“The strategy then was to place him in good stead for the job ahead of 2015, which he accepted in good faith.
“Ambode is a good public servant who re-engineered the financial fulcrum of Lagos economy, an astute administrator which earned him much respect from the former governor of the state and national leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. Though the slot is very open to other qualified candidates in the party, the primaries will justify the end.”
Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, last week, endorsed Ambode to succeed Fashola,
He spoke while addressing the audience at the public presentation of the biography of Ambode, titled: The act of selfless service, written by Marina Osoba, at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Meanwhile, a group, the Protector of Lagos Legacy, PLL, has defended the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwanu Akiolu I, over his endorsement of Ambode, as a successor to Governor Fashola.
Reacting to the criticism by an organisation known as “Visioneer New Lagos”, of the endorsement by the Oba, PLL in a statement by Mr. Olatunji Williams, the coordinator of the group, declared Visioneer New Lagos as faceless.
He described the promoter of the group, one Mr. Bambo Johnson as a non-existent name in Lagos, who lacked respect, a culture synonymous with the Yoruba by insulting a highly revered monarch like Oba of Lagos for exercising his constitutional right.
According to him, “In fact different traditional rulers in the country have been endorsing President Goodluck Jonathan and nobody has poured such venomous insult as this faceless organisation on them. Oba Akiolu has only exercised his constitutional right as is the case all over the world and should not be made a butt of uncultured vituperation by some faceless people in the name of politics.”
It is noted that the revered monarch in airing his opinion said that the All Progressives Congress, APC, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and other political parties would still follow their party procedures to choose their candidate for the election; and that it was the responsibilities of the entire people of Lagos to vote for the candidate of their choice.
In another development, a group known as the Lagos Development Advocacy Group, LADG, has urged former Lagos State Inland Revenue Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Babatunde Fowler, to contest the 2015 gubernatorial poll in the state under the APC.
The group at a briefing noted that Fowler had all the attributes to succeed Governor Fashola.
Coordinator of the group, Mr. Olayemi Olukunle, said “after rigorous search and consideration among the prospective candidates and other public officers, Mr. Babatunde Fowler, has been found to be the most qualified in this regard. We are calling on him to join the race for the exalted position on the platform of APC.”