Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode has conceded defeat to Babajide Sanwo-Olu and vowed to support the All Progressives Congress (APC), to emerge winner of next year’s governorship election in Lagos.
Ambode, in a broadcast yesterday, said the last few days had witnessed intense political activities that had gripped the attention of the nation and created palpable tension in the polity, saying he strongly believed that the time had now come for the state to move forward in order not to lose the gains of the last three and half years.
“Dear Lagosians, APC is a great party and the interests of our beloved State must always supersede that of any person or group. It is in this regard that I wholeheartedly congratulate the winner of the Lagos State APC Primaries, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and urge all Lagosians to immediately support our party’s gubernatorial candidate in the 2019 elections and work for the success of our dear party.
“As Governor, I will do everything possible to ensure a smooth transition in the remaining period of this administration and ultimately to the new governor, come May 2019,” he said.
Ambode, therefore appealed to all party members that “we remain one family and unite behind the candidate of the party, so that we can continue to move this state forward. The progress of Lagos state is non-negotiable. It is a project that I have passionately worked for in the last three and half years as your Governor and one to which I will forever be devoted.”
The Governor appreciated the national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and the leadership of the party at state and national levels, party faithful and all Lagosians.
“I thank all Lagosians for their faith and trust in me. I urge you not to relent in your support for our party as we prepare for the General Elections,” he said.
…had ‘secret meeting’ with APC electoral panel before primary
Members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) electoral panel sent from Abuja to conduct the Lagos governorship primary had a ‘secret meeting’ with Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, on Monday.
The Clement Ebri-led committee was “holed up” at their hotel till 1pm on Tuesday while voting went on at the 245 wards in Lagos, with results showing Jide Sanwo-Olu clearly in the lead.
The committee later came out to disown the election, announcing that it was going to conduct a fresh primary.
It was revealed that the panel, made up of Ebri, Ahmed Mahmud Gumel (Secretary), Chidi Duru, Clever Egbeji, Clever Ikisikpo and Jerry Ugokwe arrived Lagos on Monday and told the state Chairman of APC, Tunde Balogun, that they wanted to meet with Ambode.
Balogun protested against the request, pointing out that it was improper since Ambode was one of the aspirants in the election,
A senior party official said, “The committee members insisted that they must see Ambode. Balogun took them to Alausa to see him. After the photo session, Ambode invited the committee members for a private meeting.
“Balogun followed them in, but Ambode asked him to excuse them because he wanted a private chat. Balogun then left. After about 30 minutes, the committee members came out and said the governor had arranged Protea Hotel in Ikeja for them. They rejected the hotel provided by the state chapter of APC.
“They then went to the hotel while some interesting bags followed them later. They stayed in that hotel with two members of the Ambode campaign team. They were there all through Monday night till 1pm on Tuesday after party members had voted.”
The committee later addressed the media late Tuesday afternoon to deny knowledge of the primary that was held.
Ebri said at the press conference: “First and foremost, yesterday (Monday) we held a stakeholders meeting, certain submissions were made and on the basis of these submissions, I contacted the national headquarters and they asked us to adjust the procedures in line with the provisions.
“Having done that, we now had to reach out to the party executives to submit the list that could be utilised for the purpose of posting officials to supervise the elections. The list only arrived about an hour ago.
“There was no way we could have gotten up at 8am, sat down in this place for about eight to nine hours without seeing anybody and then go ahead and do something. It is only fair that when you don’t see one party, you have to wait and be patient and that is what has brought us to point.”
He said the primary would start any moment “from now”, although he also said he was waiting for further instructions from the national headquarters.
Ambode fell out of favour with his godfather, Bola Tinubu, who openly canvassed for Sanwo-Olu.
However, the Chief Press Secretary to Ambode, Habib Aruna failed to neither answer his calls nor reply a text message sent to him.
…. APC electoral chief makes U-turn, declares Sanwo-Olu winner
The head of the APC electoral panel for the Lagos governorship primary has reversed his stance and declared Babajide Sanwo-Olu winner of the primary.
Clement Ebri, appointed by the National Working Committee of the APC, had on Tuesday evening said he was not aware of any primary held in Lagos.
However, yesterday morning, Ebri addressed a press conference in Lagos affirming the result announced by the Lagos Chairman of the party, Tunde Balogun.
Balogun had during a press conference late Tuesday insisted there were primaries in the state, contrary to Ebri’s position.
On Wednesday, Ebri said despite the hiccups on Tuesday, the Lagos State governorship primaries committee collated the results of the 245 wards in the 20 local government areas from the collating officers.
“At the end of the exercise, the following votes were scored by the respective aspirants: Governor Akinwunmi Ambode 72,901 votes. The other aspirant, Babajide Sanwo-olu, scored 970,851 votes.
“Following this results, I, Clement Ebri, the Chairman of the Lagos State APC Governorship Primary Committee, hereby declare Babajide Sanwo-olu the winner of that election.”
Ebri however did not elaborate on why he made a u-turn on his initial stance, amidst intense politicking from party leaders in the state.
His announcement, however, marks an end to a tumultuous primary election that saw the electoral chief earlier distancing himself from the outcome of Tuesday’s voting by party members.
Thousands of APC members, including the party’s national leader, Bola Tinubu, had participated in the primary election across the 20 local governments and 37 councils to elect the party’s flagbearer at the 2019 governorship election.
But as the results, which showed Sanwo-olu in an unassailable lead against the incumbent governor, began to flood in; Ebri shocked the state’s party members when he distanced his panel from the process.
The electoral chief said an election couldn’t have been held when his panel was still expecting the aspirants to furnish them with a list of their representatives in all the wards.
The electoral chief’s position notwithstanding, the Lagos State APC chairman, Tunde Balogun, went ahead to announce the result of the election and declare Mr Sanwo-olu the winner on Tuesday night.
With the declaration, Governor Ambode’s chance of seeking re-election appears to have ended unless he changes political party.
Sanwo-Olu, who will be the APC governorship candidate in 2019, will face challengers from other parties for the governorship seat.