The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos is currently embroiled in a bitter power struggle between incumbent Governor Akinwumi Ambode and his godfather, the former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu over the 2019 elections.
Ambode and Tinubu have been engaged in a silent war for a while over issues relating to his purge of Tinubu’s loyalists from his inner circle and a number of issues relating to contract awards within Lagos state.
Tinubu is opposing the reelection of Ambode after a lot of pressure from his loyalists including Osun state governor, Rauf Aregbesola who leads his political structure. The Tinubu loyalists have all threatened to boycott the party should Ambode get the ticket.
The Tinubu loyalists presented Jide Sanwonolu to the principal who has decided to go with the flow. Tinubu who has maintained a distance from the issue however refused to endorse the Governor or any other candidate publicly. However his insistence on direct primaries against the delegate system points to the fact that the party leader is attempting a coup and has raised the alarm bells in the Ambode camp. Ambode is not going down without a fight, as reports filtered in that he is in talks with the opposition People’s Democratic Party, an allegation that his officials have denied.
However, Ambode seems to be losing grip of the state machinery as the Tinubu’s favored candidate has received the endorsement of the 57 Chairmen of the Local Government Areas in Lagos who were handpicked by Tinubu.
The recent feud in Lagos has become a source of concern and division in the Presidency. Though Tinubu is highly esteemed by the Presidency, the APC is worried by the loss of a sitting state Governor ahead of the polls which is increasingly becoming a possibility as the Governor seems set to fight back.
A recent expose of Tinubu’s grand corruption in Lagos state by a whistleblower who was former Managing Director of his company, AlphaBeta, Dapo Apara has been described as an Ambode hatchet job. Another concern is that the revelation has put Buhari’s war against corruption on the spotlight as citizens would be watching to see if the former Governor and National Leader of his party the APC would be investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in the face of the overwhelming evidence presented in the petition.
However, investigations reveal that this is not the case as a faction of the party loyal to former Governor Babatunde Fashola, who is also an enemy of his predecessor, Tinubu has decided to strike and further the tensions between the two estranged bedfellows.
The Fashola camp which includes people like the AMCON chairman Muiz Banire are floating Mr. Obafemi Hamzat, a special adviser to Fashola and former commissioner of works under his regime to challenge Ambode and Tinubu’s anointed candidate. This threatens to polarize the party further as the battle within the largest opposition state threatens to consume the party. While reclaiming the Presidency in 2019 remains Buhari’s major headache, the crisis in Lagos, the most important state for the ruling party is only compounding that.
Sources say Ambode will laugh last as Lagosians who actually have the power through their Votes, to determine who governs them believe his performance in many areas has been excellent and above anyone else, he deserves a 2nd Term hence they will queue behind him”.
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