Lagos gov shifts to Abuja; Nollywood roots for him
By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Yinka Ajayi
Lagos—Hope of a second term for the politically embattled governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, remained far-fetched yesterday, after elders of the state under the aegis of the Governors Advisory Council, GAC gave him a cold shoulder.
Following the meeting, the governor relocated to Lagos, where he was expected to make further appeals to national political and party leaders.
The entry into the political fray on the side of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP of the party’s 2015 governorship candidate, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, further tended to complicate the political permutation.
Sources at the GAC meeting presided over by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, however, did not have pleasant news for the embattled governor. Many of the members present at the meeting are known to hold unpleasant comments on the governor.
The 22-man GAC is made up of the governor and leaders of the party across the three senatorial districts of the state.
They include APC chairman, Tunde Balogun, Dr. Olorunfemi Bashorun; Senator Anthony Adefuye, Prof. Tunde Samuel, Chief Adeyemi Ikuforiji, Alhaji Tajudeen Olusi, Cardinal James Odumbaku, Chief Lanre Rasak, Dr. Yomi Finnih, among others.
A party leader, who preferred anonymity, confided in Vanguard that the outcome of the meeting might not have favoured Ambode as most members of the GAC are opposed to Ambode’s re-election bid in 2019.
“I don’t think there is going to be any shift on the stance to do away with Ambode as he has so many enemies within the council even if Tinubu’s decides to forgive him (Ambode).
Once the meeting ended, the governor proceeded to Abuja apparently for further consultations.
Vanguard gathered that in snubbing the governor’s appeal for mercy that many of the GAC were apparently guided by claims that the majority of his commissioners were even against him based on how he had sidelined them in the running of the government.
“The governor prefers to run the affairs of government through his special assistants and not through the commissioners,” a source said.
The GAC it was gathered was also guided by the petitions by party elders who alleged several moral and political infractions against the governor.
The GAC it was gathered is now preparing for all eventualities including the entry of Agbaje into the fray.
“The sins of four years cannot be covered with fake apologies,” a source privy to the development said yesterday.
The stern opposition to him nonetheless, several groups took to the streets and social media yesterday to mobilise support for the governor.
Meanwhile, some of the country’s leading Thespians took their mobilisation for the governor to social media as they latched on to the campaign initiated by the commissioner for tourism, arts, and culture, Mr. Steve Ayorinde.
The campaign put up on Ayorinde’s Instagram page was symbolised by a fist painted in the colours of the state with the inscription, “I Stand With Ambode for continuation of Good Governance.”
Among the Nollywood thespians that embraced the new online campaign banner for the governor were Kunle Afolayan, Yeni Kuti, Olamide, Tayo Sobola among others.
Another campaign advert put up for Ambode, to pacify the APC leaders was filled with an inscription “Ambode Leekan Si, Let’s do more together,” had in its background, projects completed by the present administration in the state.
Groups rally support for Ambode
The Coalition for Good Governance which organised a sympathy rally in Ikeja to support Ambode’s re-election bid justified the rally on the basis of what it described as the excellent performance of the governor and the fear to lose him.
Members of the coalition, who chanted different solidarity songs in support of Ambode’s ambition for re-election hoisted placards with various inscriptions to drive home their demand.
Some of the inscriptions on the placards read: “Ambode is working, Lagos is moving’,” “Asiwaju, Pardon your son,” “Ambode Lekan Ski and “APC Leaders, Re-elect Ambode,” and “Support Ambode for second term” among others.
One of the leaders of the group, Mr. Ayo Mojoyin, begged the party leaders to forgive any shortcoming of Ambode and consider his love and passion to deliver dividends of democracy to the masses.
Mojoyin said: “Everyone within and outside the state can attest to the fact that Ambode has tried in the last three and half years. He has delivered so many bridges, road infrastructures, employment opportunities among others.
The leader of the group, Mr. Soola Hassan said that his support of the rally was due to his realisation that Ambode had a good plan for the state, especially the youths and the unemployed.
“I decided to come out for this rally because Ambode’s good works are speaking for him. Ambode has also done well in embedded power supply besides massive road infrastructure; he should continue,” Hassan said.
TCG endorses Sanwo-Olu’s candidacy
Ambode’s rival, Sanwo-Olu, meanwhile got more political mileage yesterday with endorsements from strategic political quarters the latest being from The Consolidation Group (TCG) of Amuwo.
Speaking after a meeting, Comrade Ayodele Adewale, immediate past Executive Chairman of Amuwo Odofin Local Government and aspirant for the House of Representatives said: “The news was joyfully received by members of TCG, and we are fully in support of it and ready to participate with members of his campaign team in order to give first-hand insights on the event and the character of the aspirant.”
Ayodele further urged party members in Amuwo and Oriade to extend their full support to Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu during the Governorship primaries.
Meanwhile, Agbaje the 2015 Lagos State gubernatorial candidate of the PDP on Wednesday ended speculations about his re-run bid, saying he was back in the race.
Agbaje made the confirmation via a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
“It is true that initially, I did not want to re-contest, but I had so many people urging me to run.
“I bought and submitted my nomination form shortly before it closed. I will be part of the PDP Lagos governorship primaries, billed for Friday, Sept 28th,” he said.
Agbaje said that he was confident he would win the elections in Lagos if he picked the PDP ticket to run.
On the upcoming primaries, Agbaje said he was confident that the leadership would create a level playing field for all the aspirants, as has been the norm of the party.
“Our primaries have always been open, fair and free for all.
“This is what we are known for, and that is the way I expect it to be,” he said.
Agbaje, who also contested for the National Chairmanship of the PDP in 2017, won by Uche Secondus, said that the recent defections from the party in the state would not affect him if he picked the ticket.
“It is the people of Lagos State that will decide. The issues in the party will not impact negatively on votes.
“Most Nigerians now vote for individuals rather than party,” he said.