Lagos East commences Ambode’s second term race
Barely two years and seven months into the first tenure of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, his base, Lagos East senatorial district, has kick started his second term ambition for 2019.
A gathering of scores of political leaders and stakeholders who traveled across the five local councils of Epe, Ibeju-Lekki, Ikorodu, Kosofe and Somolu as well as the 11 Local Council Development Areas (LCDA) of Agboyi-Ketu, Bariga, Eredo, Igbogbo- Baiyeku, Ijede, Imota, Ikorodu North, Ikorodu West, Ikosi-Isheri, Ikosi- Ejinrin, and Lekki under the aegis of ‘Lagos East Senatorial District General Assembly,’ endorsed the governor at an event akin to a carnival in Epe last week.
The event had in attendance all federal and state lawmakers from the area, except Senator Gbenga Ashafa who was represented; all the council and LCDA’s chairmen, federal and state government appointees from the district among others. Erstwhile Lagos commissioners of Agriculture and Health Mr. Kaoli Adesanya and Tola Kasali were also present.
In his remarks, leader of the senatorial district, Alhaji Shakiru Seriki appealed for the cooperation and support of the Lagos West and Central districts to back Ambode in 2019.
According to him, “This is the time to reciprocate the hands of fellowship, which Lagos East extended to the two districts during the tenure of former governors, Bola Tinubu, who used the west in 1999 to 2007 and Babatunde Fashola from the central from 2007 to 2015. Ambode also deserves his two term but we can only achieve this with your assistance.”
Seriki also dismissed insinuation of crises within the Lagos East division, particularly Epe, saying, “Those who were unable to make it to the meeting sent representatives. We are one and speaking in support Ambode for 2019.”
Explaining reasons Ambode deserves second term, Kasali, Kaoli, Bayo Osinowo and Bode Oyedele among others said the incumbent governor had transformed Lagos in the last two and a half years through massive infrastructural development.
They cited the ongoing projects of Oshodi modern station and Lagos Airport Road, which has been a serious contention between the state and the Federal Government over the years and many other projects that the administration has completed and commissioned.
They posited that the development of Lagos has been constant right from the time of Tinubu to the era of Fashola to Ambode “and there is no need to truncate the trend in 2019.”
Also speaking, members of House of Representatives from Epe 1 and 11 and Kosofe federal constituencies, Wale Raji, Olusegun Olulade and Rotimi Agunsoye said Ambode is a pride for them in the National Assembly.
Their predecessor, Mr. Lanre Odubote, who represented Epe Federal Constituency (2011 to 2015), said Ambode’s second term is not negotiable because he has already become a brand not just for Lagos but also for the APC to campaign in 2019.
Explaining why the event was held this time, the Publicity Secretary, Lagos East Senatorial District, Chief Tunde Temionu dismissed insinuation of crises and factions in Epe constituency and the Lagos APC.
According to him, “We are certain that Ambode will get his second term nod from the Lagos electorate because of his tremendous performance in the last two and a half years. He has not only become a brand but a pride for the Nigeria democratic system.”
Although, former lawmaker, Mrs. Abike Dabiri and the immediate past Speaker Lagos House of Assembly, Mr. Adeyemi Ikuforiji were not present, Alhaji Seriki said they were unavoidably absent but sent their representatives.
But The Guardian investigations revealed that Seriki’s explanation was merely a political one. A source from the party said the Epe event was organised by the Mandate Group, comprising Tinubu’s core loyalists adding, “from a critical observation none of the members of the Justice Forum attended the event.”
It was also alleged that some leaders like Bashorun Olorunfunmi, former Deputy Governor of Lagos, Chief Biodun Ogunleye, former Senator Anthony Adefuye, Alhaji Abdul-Gafar Yusufa and other stakeholders were deliberately excluded from the meeting for strategic purposes.
It was gathered that certain leaders of the party were not comfortable with the way Ambode deliberately sidelined and also refused to appoint some of their candidates “which had been a bone of contention. Many of the leaders were not also happy with the manner in which the governor rejected their candidates in the last July 22 local government elections.”
Apart from the fact that the Oba of Lagos, Rilwanu Akiolu 1, at a public function recently warned anybody nursing governorship ambition in Lagos for 2019 either on APC or other platforms not to waste their time, the National Leader of the ruling party, Tinubu was said to have thrown his weight behind Ambode’s re-election during a meeting held at his Ikoyi residence few days ago.
Tinubu had expressed satisfaction with the manner the governor is running the affairs of the state describing him as a “true face of the APC change agenda.”
Even beyond APC, members of the major opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have at different fora, commended the impact the governor is making.
The Ogun State chairman of PDP, Mr. Adebayo Dayo in an interview with The Guardian recently said he has told his friends in Epe not to bother contesting against Ambode in 2019 because they won’t win.
Former Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, Chief Olabode George in another comment applauded the governor for doing great jobs in Lagos in the last two years.
But as convenient as it sounds at present that Ambode will have smooth ride to second term in 2019 on the premise that he has secured the approval of the party’s leadership, the structure of the party is tightly under Tinubu and him going by the outcome of the recently concluded council polls.
It was gathered that some members of the Lagos APC are grumbling including some party executive officials that Ambode has completed starved it of funds in the last two and a half years.
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