The reported confusion over the re-election bid of Lagos state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, allegedly failed to clear off on Saturday, September 15 as the APC national leadership could not secure a firm commitment from its national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, on the governor’s second term ambition.
According to The Punch, the All Progressives Congress leaders, led by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the party’s national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, who were said to be acting on the directives of President Muhammadu Buhari, met with Tinubu again to prevail on him to “forgive” Ambode his alleged infractions and back the governor to secure a second term. The newspaper said a source close to the national secretariat of the party said the effort of the leaders could not be said to have resolved the situation as Tinubu did not give Osinbajo and Oshiomhole any specific promise of supporting Ambode for a second term.
“The president asked the vice-president and the national chairman to resolve the crisis amicably so that the governor could get a second term. Osinbajo met Tinubu twice in Abuja on Friday on Ambode’s matter, where he relayed the president’s message and the need to keep Lagos for the APC.
“He also told Asiwaju the president would not want the crisis to affect the party in the 2019 general elections. “The national leader, however, maintained that there would be wider consultations back home before he would be able to accede to the request. He said the governor’s matter is beyond him alone.
“It is difficult to say what happened during the second meeting with Osinbajo but it appeared the vice-president and Tinubu were able to arrive at a meeting point, which is difficult to clarify,” the source was quoted to have said.
It was gathered that Buhari’s foremost concern was that the crisis in Lagos state, which boasts of the highest number of registered voters, if not well-managed, could affect his political calculations for his second term bid. As the APC leaders battled to save the embattled governor’s second term ambition, Ambode also reportedly flew to Tinubu’s house in Abuja, where he appealed to the former Lagos state governor to forgive him his alleged offences.
“Yes, it was part of the efforts we are making from this end to save the party from the crisis in the state and the nation. The governor came to beg Tinubu in his residence in Abuja to forgive him. I think the appeal helped to reduce the tension and soften the ground for the governor. It is, however, difficult to say if that had ended the crisis.
“Some governors have also called the national leader, pleading with him to save their ‘poster boy’ the humiliation of not getting a second term. Their fears are that such development in Lagos, which is the economic nerve center of the country, could have a negative effect on the fortunes of the party in other states,” The Punch quoted another source.
The newspaper added that a source in the camp of the Lagos ex-governor confirmed the meeting between Tinubu and his political godson in Abuja.
“Yes, the meeting held. He (Ambode) saw Asiwaju in Abuja but I cannot give you any detail,” he said. It was gathered that one of the gubernatorial aspirants believed to be backed by Tinubu, Sanwo-Olu, and his loyalists will hold Lagos declaration rally today, Sunday, September 16.
It was also learnt that Tinubu returned to Lagos on Saturday, September 25 as preparations for the rally and formal declaration of an APC governorship aspirant in the state, Jide Sanwo-Olu, were being concluded.
Meanwhile, some segments of Epe, the hometown of Ambode, had reportedly embarked on prayers to save the head of their son, whom they believed had positively contributed to the modernization of the ancient town. The prayers, it was learnt, cut across Muslims, Christians and traditional worshipers.
The Olu-Epe of Epe town, Oba Sefiu Olatunji Adewale, reportedly attended a special Islamic vigil organised by the Muslim Community at the Epe Central Mosque, on Friday night, September 14 and lasted till the early hours on Sunday, September 16.
The prayer session is an annual programme meant to pray for the general well-being of all Epe indigenes. A resident of the community, who spoke on condition of anonymity, reportedly said that notable indigenes of the town, especially Muslims, attended the prayer session. Asked if the special prayers were offered for the governor, the source said: “Definitely, he (Ambode) would be the special focus of such prayers at this time.
“Everybody in the town wants him to return for a second term and we are not happy with his current predicament. “The Christians and traditional worshippers have also joined in the prayers. If we miss this opportunity, only God knows when Epe will have the same opportunity again. “In this place, everybody is for Ambode; no division. That is why you don’t see any of the chairmen from this area in the meetings that had been held on this crisis. The seven Epe chairmen were not at the Watercress Hotel meeting on Saturday either. “If anyone is believed to be against Ambode, the person could go missing, either now or later,” the source said.
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