…Gets 377 councillors’ endorsement; woos council Vice-Chairmen, Councillors
…GAC says it has no preferred aspirant
By Olasunkanmi Akoni, Ebun Sessou & Monsuru Olowoopejo
lagos—TO brighten his prospects, a governorship aspirant on the platform of All Progressives Congress, APC, in Lagos State Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has met with the camp of Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola and the state factional chairman of the party, Mr. Fuad Oki.
This came as the Governor’s Advisory Council, GAC, in the state, dismissed insinuations that it had a preferred aspirant, insisting that there would be a level playing field for all.
The platform, which is headed by the National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is the highest decision making organ of the party.
However, 377 councillors, yesterday, threw their weight behind Sanwo-Olu, stressing that his aspiration would guarantee victory for the party.
Vanguard learned that the move which started with a meeting with a former Legal Adviser of APC, Dr. Muiz Banire, was centered on resolving differences among the party faithful.
At the meeting aimed at wooing Oki back to the party, Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by the Director General of his campaign Organisation, Mr. Tayo Ayinde, promised to abide by the party’s verdict on who becomes the next governorship candidate and ultimately the governor of the state.
A source at the forum said Oki commended Sanwo-Olu’s efforts at reconciling feuding parties.
Oki, it was learned had concluded plans to support Sanwo-Olu at the primaries.
The source revealed that Sanwo-Olu, who has emerged the frontrunner in the race, had a telephone conversation with Fashola.
“Fashola and Sanwo-Olu have spoken on phone and the former believes the latter would deliver the type of governance the state wants,” the source added.
Director of Media, Babajide Sanwo-Olu Campaign Organisation, BOSCO, Mr. Sesan Daini, confirmed the developments in an interview with Vanguard.
His words: “The major discussion is to bring all factions within the party together. What we are doing is beyond Fashola but he is included. It is about uniting all the forces within the party.
“It is to ensure that the party has a successful outing in next year’s election. We aren’t too comfortable with the total number of votes we had in Lagos in 2015 election. We think that we should have done better.
“From our research, we discovered that all hands must be on deck and there must not be any faction within the party. There must be unity in the party. I am happy that the move has been yielding quality results.
“We met with the 377 councillors today (yesterday). And they have decided to support the Sanwo-Olu’s ambition. That is what we need.”
However, the Spokesperson of the GAC, Dr. Abayomi Finnih, who briefed newsmen, said its involvement in the processes leading to the primaries was not influenced by anyone.
He added that direct primaries would be applied during the exercise scheduled to hold next Saturday.
Finnih affirmed that the GAC unanimously adopted the method to pick APC candidates in all elective positions.
His words: “This is not a Tinubu affair as being peddled around on the social media and some quarters.
“The GAC members at the last meeting held during the weekend deliberated on how to conduct peacefully, the forthcoming party primaries. We decided to adopt Direct Primary to choose candidates for the party.
“The GAC has no preferred candidate among the gubernatorial aspirants. It is not about Tinubu, it is a collective decision. We resolved to provide a level playing field for the contenders.
‘“The adoption of direct primary is to further democratise the electoral process in the party and do away with anointed candidates. This will also ensure a credible exercise.
“Every aspirant should go to the field and test his popularity because the people will decide.”
Also, at an event held in Lagos yesterday, one of the local government Vice-Chairmen, Mr. Folashade Oba said they resolved to support Sanwo-Olu at the primaries.
The event was attended by leaders of Mandate Group, including Cardinal James Odunmbaku, Alhaji Kaoli Olusanya, and Alhaji Ganiyu Badmus, among others.
BOSCO also received former Executive Secretaries of 57 councils at a hotel in Ikeja, with the aim of getting their loyalty and support at the governorship primaries. The Deputy Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Wasiu Eshilokun was one of the prominent people, who visited BOSCO.