Ambode’s group scales down as governor looks to Osun for succour today

On September 18, 2018 Politics

•Group stages pro-Ambode rally in Lagos

•Ambode at book launch asks: “Who am I to speak when the Jagaban has spoken?

Supporters of Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode’s second term aspiration as governor of Lagos State may have scaled down their activities in the face of increasing challenges against their principal among the ranks of the All Progressives Congress, APC. Ambode

Meanwhile, for the first time since the crisis on the Lagos succession broke out, APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu appeared on the same stage with his out-of-favour political godson where he laughed away a joke on him by Ambode.

Ambode’s hope for continued political relevance, wegathered yesterday, may be settled today in Osogbo, Osun State at the party’s campaign rally for this weekend’s governorship election.

The Ambode Mandate Support Group, AMSG was launched with much fanfare last April to be the anchor group for all support groups for Ambode’s re-election with all 57 council chairmen, members of the House of Assembly and political stakeholders in the APC taking centre stage.

However, yesterday when wevisited the office of the group in Ikeja GRA, there was little sign of activity.

The group which was expected to have kick-started campaign for Ambode was said to have suspended its various programmes lined up to gain support for the governor due to the emergence of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the preferred candidate of Tinubu.

Speaking with  an officer of AMSG, who preferred anonymity, explained: “I wouldn’t want to comment on the matter now, but in the next few days we would be able to have direction on what we are going to do next. For now it’s not about the election proper, it’s about the primary.”

The lack of activity in the Ambode camp was a contrast to the situation in the Sanwo-Olu campaign which has commenced intensive mobilisation to push his candidacy.

It was gathered that the Sanwo-Olu campaign had also started moves to incorporate loyalists of the immediate past governor of the state, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, into its fold as part of strategies to further boost its strength. Sanwo-Olu was said to have met Fashola at the weekend to seek his alliance and support to emerge winner in the primary.

“We are galvanizing support across councils, meeting leaders and party members. We don’t want to leave anything to chance. I can assure you that we are getting massive support without any fuss,” the group stated.

Sources in the Ambode camp were yesterday hopeful that a truce could arise at today’s APC rally in Osogbo where President Muhammadu Buhari could, for the first time, have a one-on-one encounter with all the major stakeholders involved in the issue.

Tinubu and his estranged political godson, Ambode, met at the launching of a book “Africa: Rise and Shine,” written by Mr. Jim Ovia, Chairman of Zenith Bank in Lagos.

Governor Ambode set everyone including Tinubu laughing when he was called to give his address immediately after Tinubu had spoken. “And who am I to speak after the Jagaban has spoken?’ Ambode asked.

Ambode caused more hilarity at the book launch venue at Eko Hotel, Lagos when dignitaries were called for pictures and he moved from where he was positioned to pose by Tinubu’s side.

GAC meets to strategize for Sanwo-Olu, primary Meantime, the Governor’s Advisory Council, GAC, headed by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu held an emergency meeting at the APC Secretariat, Acme Road, Ikeja.

The meeting of the body which normally sets policies and programmes for the governor of the state in an advisory capacity was presided over by the state chairman of the APC, Tunde Balogun. Senator Anthony Adefuye, one of the members, who was at the meeting, when asked on the focus of the meeting, declined comment, saying, “it’s not for public consumption.”

But we gathered that the meeting deliberated on the current developments in the party with the view to ensure hitch-free primaries devoid of rancour. It was gathered that Tinubu had instructed the party machinery to ensure massive support for Sanwo-Olu during the primaries.

Meanwhile, members of a group known as Human and Consumer Rights Advocacy Centre, staged rallies in various parts of Lagos, yesterday to support Gov. Ambode’s re-election. Groups rally for Ambode

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the group staged rallies at Ojota, Ogba, Berger and Iyana-Ipaja, chanting solidarity songs in support of Ambode.

The rallies were against the backdrop of speculations that Ambode has fallen out of favour with Tinubu.

Members of the HACRAC group chanted solidarity songs as they moved from one place to the other in the city, clutching placards with various inscriptions.

The placards read: “Let the good man continue. Asiwaju, Ambode is your son. In solidarity with Ambode. Ambode is a resilient, responsible governor.’

Others read: “Gov. Ambode is our man. Asiwaju, pls, leave Mr. Actualiser. Let the good job continue. Let Ambode continue his good but unfinished job.” On September 14, a group, called ‘Ambodemania Movement/Support Worldwide,’ staged a similar rally in Lagos to celebrate what they called “good governance in Lagos.”

One of the leaders of the rally, Alex Omotehinse, told reporters that the rallies were holding simultaneously at Ogba, Iyana-Ipaja, Berger and other areas to drum support for Ambode.

He said the action was aimed at supporting “the good governance and sterling performance of the governor since his assumption of office.

“We are in support that Ambode should be returned as the next governor of Lagos State. The rally is because of insinuations that there is going to be an imposition because of god-fatherism.

“Nigerians and Lagosians believe that the man has tried. Nobody is perfect. Some of us believe that Ambode has tried his best and that no one knows it all. We believe he deserves another term.

“He should be given an opportunity to complete what he has started,” Mr. Omotehinse, the Lagos State Chairman of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights said.

According to him, if a new governor is elected, it will slow down the pace of development as such governor will start afresh, learn and come up with new policies.

“It is a must for Ambode to return. Let us applaud his sterling performances and goodwill from the masses and encourage him to continue. Ambode is tested okay. We know what he can offer.”

Also speaking to NAN, an activist, Funmi Ajayi, said if Mr. Ambode’s re-election was what Lagosians wanted, the leadership of APC should field Mr. Ambode for a second term.

“The people of Lagos State are saying they have enjoyed the work that he has done, so they want him to continue.

“People are pleading with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu on behalf of Ambode to grant him the second term to continue his infrastructural development. Kudos to Gov. Ambode, he is working,” Ms. Ajayi said.

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