Osogbo / Lagos – Against all odds, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode may have finally settled his protracted rift with his political benefactor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, which will see him emerge the governorship candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State.
The expectations of supporters of the embattled governor that the mega rally of the APC which held in Osogbo, the capital of Osun State, on Tuesday will be used to reconcile him and his estranged political godfather, Tinubu, were met as a truce was reached at the end of the day,
Daily Independent gathered.
A credible source said prior to the rally in Osun, a meeting was held between Tinubu and Ambode where stakeholders present scolded the governor for “trying to bite the finger that fed him” through some of his actions and policies.
He said the stakeholders appealed to Tinubu to pardon the governor for any misdemeanour he may have committed in the course of doing his job and consider the interest of the party in the light of the forthcoming general election.
According to him, Governor Ambode also accepted his blame and promised to take steps to redress the situation going forward.
“I strongly believe the issue has been resolved. It has been sorted out before the rally in Osun. Governor Ambode went to Osun on Monday evening and from the information I got, a meeting was held before the rally where the issues were trashed out.
Governor Rauf Aregbesola, who is an influential leader in the Mandate Movement, was also present. Governor Ambode accepted blame for everything and promised a change going forward.
“All eyes are on Asiwaju now to make a pronouncement by calling his foot soldiers in the Mandate Movement too sheathe their sword. Many of the party elders have said since he is the one who asked them to work for Jide Sanwo-Olu, he is the only person who can ask them to suspend the project. I believe we will get the picture in the coming days”, he said.
“I believe the Sanwo-Olu camp has realised that the issue has been resolved in favour of Ambode and that is why they are trying to create confusion by issuing a statement claiming that Governor Ambode has stepped down for Sanwo-Olu. Even the rebuttal issued in the name of the Chief Press Secretary, Habib Aruna, is not from him”, he said.
However, when Daily Independent contacted a leader in the Mandate Movement, he said the report that the crisis has been resolved is a fallacy, adding that there is no going back on the Sanwo-Olu for governor project.
He said after the rally, President Buhari left Osogbo for Abuja without putting in a word for Ambode while state governors elected on the platform of the party also failed to persuade Tinubu to change his mind on the political future of their colleague.
According to him, though the governors tried all they could to facilitate a meeting where the issue could be resolved in the presence of the president, the meeting could not materialise until everybody dispersed to their various destinations.
“There was no meeting to discuss the political crisis in Lagos before or after the Osun rally yesterday (Tuesday). After the rally, they all went to Osun Government House where Governor Aregbesola hosted them.
“I also observed that the governors who attended the rally were trying to beg Asiwaju on behalf of Ambode but he kept a straight face. They were almost kneeling down to greet Asiwaju but he knows their mission and he will just smile and pretend to be busy.
“I also noticed that some of them even used the opportunity to beg the president to help but he told them he has mandated the critical stakeholders in the party such as Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to settle it.
“I don’t think our leader, Asiwaju Tinubu, will back out at this stage because nobody will take him serious again. He was the one who told us we should work for Sanwo-Olu who is his choice as the next governor of Lagos State and you can all see the level of mobilisation from local government areas’ level to the National Assembly members.
As at now, we have not received any directive from him to stop and I don’t think he will do so”, he said.
On why the president did not intervene at the Osun rally, our source said, “The president did not come to Osun State to settle quarrel or mediate in one political crisis or the other. He came to Osun solely for the APC mega rally. If they could not change Asiwaju Tinubu’s mind for days in Abuja, is it in Osun they will do that? He asked.
Residents Stage Peaceful Protest In Support Of Ambode
Meanwhile, on Wednesday some residents of Lagos staged a protest in support of the re-election bid of Governor Ambode.
The protesters, who staged a rally in Ikeja, requested that automatic ticket be given to the governor based on his achievements.
They had frowned at the choice the national party leader, Asiwaju Tinubu, had made over him, saying that the good work of Ambode would always speak for him.
Speaking to journalists, one of the protesters, Charles Akube, said that the good work of Ambode was enough testimony that the governor deserved a second term.
“Tinubu should not use politics to spoil the development that is currently going on in Lagos. Ambode has done enough to merit a second term. Looking at all the construction works going on all over Lagos State, we all know that this man deserves a second term to continue the good work”, he said.
Jimi Agbaje Confirms Contesting 2019 Lagos Governorship Seat
Similarly, Jimi Agbaje, the 2015 Lagos State gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (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, September 28th,” he said.
Agbaje said that he was confident he would win the elections in Lagos, if he picked the PDP gubernatorial ticket to run.
On the upcoming primaries, Agbaje said he was confident that the leadership would create a level playing ground 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 impart negatively on votes.
“Most Nigerians now vote for individuals rather than party,” he said.
Agbaje, popularly known as JK, was born March 2, 1957 in Lagos State to the late Chief Julius Kosebinu (banker) and Mrs. Margaret Olabisi (teacher).
A pharmacist, Agbaje is the second born and first male child of five children (two female and two male siblings) including Segun Agbaje, the CEO of Guaranty Trust Bank.