Lagos state Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, is currently battling to save his political career and and 2019 ambition to preside over the state again.
A former commissioner and Special Adviser to the National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress Bola Tinubu, during his time as the Lagos state governor Jide Sanwoolu, has reportedly emerged as the anointed candidate of the party.
Presently, Over 50 council chairmen loyal to Bola Tinubu, his estranged godfather, have met and pledged their support to Jide Sanwoolu, who is believed to be Tinubu’s preferred choice, according to APC insiders.
The council chairmen are the most influential grassroots mobilisers under the direct primary system adopted by APC to pick governorship candidates.
Most members of the Lagos house of assembly are also loyal to Tinubu.
“Meeting is over. Ambode is out. Jide Sanwooolu is the new governor of Lagos. All 57 local government chairman have signed his form. It’s over,” the source said.
Recall that just yesterday, governor Ambode, alongside some members of his cabinet, stormed the headquarters of the APC in Abuja, to get expression of interest and nomination forms for his 2019 bid.
He later told some APC members that he was not tired and needed their support to continue in office beyond 2019.
“With your support, we have made Lagos a better place and changed the face of our state. I did not do it alone; we did it together, because you believed,” he had said.
“So, I humbly call you again, to give me your support as I seek to continue with your mandate to steer the affairs of our state. I ask you to believe again and together, let’s achieve more.”
However, Sanwonolu and Obafemi Hamzat, two prominent members of the APC in Lagos, also picked the nomination forms for the governorship election of 2019.
Sanwonolu, who served as a commissioner under Babatunde Fashola, Ambode’s predecessor, is currently the managing director of Lagos State Property Development Corporation (LSPDC), and he is being backed by Mandate Movement, a group fiercely loyal to Tinubu.
At a meeting held after Sanwonolu picked up his nomination form, James Odunmbaku, an ally of Tinubu known as “Baba Eto” in the political circle, said “Sanwololu is the incoming governor of Lagos.”
Before now, there have been speculations in the media of a rift between Tinubu and Gov. Ambode and it is believed that when the APC leader canvassed for direct primary in Lagos, Ambode was one of those targeted with that policy.
Hamzat, a former commissioner in the state, is also eyeing Ambode’s seat, having failed to secure the party’s ticket in 2015.
Heavyweights of the ruling party had rallied round Ambode who defeated Hamzat and Olasupo Sasore, the choice of Fashola, to clinch the ticket of APC in 2015.
Asked to comment on the latest development in the state, Joe Igbokwe, publicity secretary of Lagos APC, told newsmen that: “Do you know that Ambode picked his nomination form yesterday? That puts to rest the speculations you’ve been hearing for years. Ambode is the man. Take it.”
The latest development is coming at a time when an APC faction led by Fouad Oki, is also plotting to stop the primaries for the 2019 elections, which are to commence across the country on Wednesday.