Akinwunmi Ambode’s Second Term Bid Under Threat

Nigeria News takes a look at the brewing brawl between Akinwunmi Ambode and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

Trouble is brewing in Lagos, one of the few performing states in Nigeria. The second term bid of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode is under serious threat as strong contenders are also seeking his seat.

Just as it happened to the former state Governor Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) in 2011 when he has to negotiate with his godfather and predecessor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to win the ticket on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria, the incumbent governor, Ambode will need to lobby to return to the state house.

Ambode and Tinubu are at loggerheads at present over their disagreement on which formula to use to choose governorship candidate by the All Progressives Congress. Tinubu had thrown his weight behind the direct primaries as postulated by the National Working Committee of the APC but Ambode and many other state governors had refused.

The governors actually wanted delegate or indirect primaries, which to the National Working Committee led by the National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhle is not good enough. To Oshiomhole and Tinubu, the direct primaries, which was tested in Osun gubernatorial primary is the best because it promotes internal democracy and enthrones all card-carrying members of the party to choose their candidates.

The leaders also believe that the direct primary reduces monetary inducement of voters and serves as a control for election malpractices and rigging.

Incumbent governors are afraid that they may lose their seats if they allow direct primaries and so in their meetings with President Muhammadu Buhari and the party leaders, the governors ensured that Tinubu was fenced out.

At the meeting in Abuja, it was gathered that Ambode and his counterpart from Kaduna, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai led the group that fenced out Tinubu. Though Tinubu reacted swiftly that he was never fenced out, adding that he was not supposed to be at the meeting in the first place.

However, facts emerged when Tinubu began to sponsor another aspirant, a former Commissioner for Commerce, Mr Jide Sanwo-Olu.

Sanwo-Olu has joined the governorship race and with the backing of the 57 chairmen of the Local Government and Local Council Development Areas, he stands a better chance to win the ticket at the primaries.

Another strong contender is the former Commissioner for Science and Technology in Lagos, Dr Femi Hamzat. He was also a former Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure. Hamzat is the son of erstwhile deputy chairman of the Lagos State Action for Democracy, Action Congress and Action Congress of Nigeria.

This is the second time Hamzat will be running for the Lagos governorship seat but he has never been favoured or endorsed by Tinubu.

Hamzat may have the backing of the former state governor and the current Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) but may find it difficult to win the ticket without the support of Tinubu.

Ambode may be warming up to join another party but it looks a bit late for him to cross to Peoples Democratic Party, which is another strong opposition due to the acceptance of the oil mogul, Femi Otedola to fly his gubernatorial kite on the platform of the PDP. 

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