Leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State yesterday refused to endorse the state governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, for a second term, thus closing the last chance for respite for the embattled governor.
Instead, the body of the party’s elders known as the Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC), which is the state’s highest advisory political body headed by the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, insisted on direct primary for all gubernatorial aspirants of the party slated to hold on September 29, to choose the party’s standard bearer for the 2019 poll. The governorship aspirants who have obtained nomination forms and submitted the same, include: incumbent Governor Ambode, Tinubu’s preferred candidate, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and former Commissioner of Works and Infrastructure, Dr Femi Hamzat.
The 22-man council members, who met yesterday in the evening at Tinubu’s Bourdillon residence, Ikoyi, Lagos, ratified the decision. The group had earlier met last Tuesday/Wednesday, at the same venue and deferred final decision on guber ticket till yesterday, September 22. Membership of the council, made up of the governor and leaders of the party across the three senatorial districts of the state, include APC chairman, Tunde Balogun; Dr Olorunfemi Bashorun; Senator Anthony Adefuye, Prof Tunde Samuel, Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, Alhaji Tajudeen Olusi; Cardinal James Omolaja Odunmbaku, Chief Lanre Rasak, Dr. Yomi Finnih, among others.
With this decision, Ambode would face a difficult task ahead because of his unpopularity in the party, which favoured Sanwo-Olu, courtesy of Tinubu’s support. It was exclusively reported earlier that yesterday’s meeting was going to reject Ambode’s pleas for endorsement. It was also reported that Hamzat had been talked into accepting to be Sanwo-Olu’s running mate to enable the two powerful blocs backing both Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat combine forces and make Ambode’s defeat at the primaries seamless.