The Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC) of the All Progressives Congress, Lagos State, yesterday decided that the state governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, and two other governorship aspirants would face the primary contest scheduled to hold on Saturday, September 29.
With the decision of the GAC, the party denied Ambode the right of first refusal despite the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; former Ogun State Governor, Chief Olusegun Osoba; and Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, among others.
Notwithstanding the decision, THISDAY sources said that Ambode was still locked in a meeting with the party’s national leader, Senator Bola Tinubu, and former national chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, in Lagos last night.
The spokesman of the advisory council, Dr. Abayomi Finnih, disclosed this during a press briefing at the secretariat of Lagos APC, Acme Road yesterday.
He addressed the journalists alongside an APC chieftain, Prof. Babatunde Samuel.
Ambode’s political future has been uncertain after the Managing Director of Lagos State Development and Property Corporation (LSDPC), Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and former Commissioner for Works & Infrastructure, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, declared intention to challenge Ambode.
Consequently, the Mandate Movement, a powerful political machine of the National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu, endorsed Sanwo-Olu for the governorship contest, thus heating up the state’s political climate ahead of the primary election slated for September 29.
Ambode’s travail had attracted the intervention of the presidency, Osoba, Ajimobi, the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) and the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), pleading for reprieve for the governor.
With the presidential intervention, the APC national leader decided to consult the GAC, the state’s highest advisory political organ comprising 22 APC chieftains across the three senatorial districts.
The members of the GAC include Chairman of Lagos APC, Prince Babatunde Balogun, his immediate predecessor, Chief Oladele Ajomale, Otunba Bushirat Alebiosu, Dr. Olorunfemi Bashorun, Senator Anthony Adefuye, Prof. Babatunde Samuel, Chief Adeyemi Ikuforiji, Alhaji Tajudeen Olusi, Cardinal James Odumbaku, Chief Lanre Rasak, Dr. Yomi Finnih, among others.
At the session with journalists yesterday, Finnih noted that the GAC under the chairmanship of the APC leader adopted direct method to choose its governorship candidate out of the three main contestants rather than giving Ambode the right of first refusal like all his predecessors.
Finnih also noted that the same method would be used to select the party’s candidates for the three senatorial seats, 24 House of Representatives slots and 40 positions in the state House of Assembly in the state.
By implication, Finnih explained that Lagos APC “will conduct primary elections for all elective positions in the state. All aspirants seeking governorship, federal and state legislative elections will face primary contest on the scheduled dates.”