Osinbajo, Akiolu prevailed on ex-governor to support Ambode, says APC chieftain
The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu, has endorsed the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, for second term in office, despite the alleged plot by the Osun State Governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, to thwart his return, THISDAY can report.
Tinubu was said to have settled for Ambode after the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo; Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, and Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, prevailed on the APC leader to support Ambodeâ€™s re-election plan.
An APC chieftain told THISDAY that Tinubu had already agreed â€œto Ambodeâ€™s re-election plan.â€
â€œThe APC leader will openly endorse Ambode for second term any moment from now,â€ he added.
Among others, the APC factional leader, Mr. Fouad Oki, had confirmed Aregbesolaâ€™s subtle plan to stop Ambodeâ€™s re-election, alleging that the Osun State governor had been meeting political groups to stop Ambodeâ€™s return.
The APC factional leader had in a chat with THISDAY confirmed that Aregbesola had been working with the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, and the Chairman of the House Committee on Lands, Hon. Bayo Oshinowo, to scuttle Ambodeâ€™s re-election plan.
Oki also claimed that Aregbesola had also approached him to discuss the plot â€œto stop Ambode from seeking re-election in 2019.â€ But I disagreed with him. He cannot be Osun State governor and dictate what happens in Lagos,â€ he added.
After series of allegations by Oki and other APC chieftains, Aregbesolaâ€™s media assistant, Mr. Sola Fasure, debunked the allegation against his boss, accusing Oki of making effort â€œto cause crisis in Lagos APC.â€
Fasure claimed that the allegation â€œis totally ridiculous.â€
â€œOki and his followers have derailed. They are only planning to cause crisis where there is no reason for crisis. As a party faithful, we will not allow them to destroy the party,â€ he said.
At different times recently, however, some APC chieftains have confirmed that a number of political leaders and traditional rulers had prevailed on the APC national leader not â€œto listen to those inciting him against Ambode.â€
Specifically, according to one of the chieftains, Osinbajo, Akiolu and Gbajabiamila intervened at different times before Tinubu eventually agreed to shelve an alternative plan some of his political associates had been presenting to him.
He explained the different reasons that informed Tinubuâ€™s decision â€œto finally support Ambodeâ€™s re-election plan.
â€œFirst, it is essentially because Ambode is committed to Tinubuâ€™s political ideology. Second, it is because Ambode never fought back despite all allegations and attacks against him.â€
â€œRather, he allowed reasons and truth to prevail. He presented his case to Tinubu. Unlike his immediate predecessor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, Ambode never allowed the plot to destroy his long time relationship with Asiwaju.â€
He noted that despite all the attempts by Tinubuâ€™s close political allies in and outside the government â€œto poison Asiwajuâ€™s mind against Ambode, Tinubu eventually came to the conclusion that Ambode is 100 per cent loyal to him.â€
Unlike other Tinubuâ€™s political sons, he said: â€œAmbode stood resolutely by him during the turbulent early days of the Buhari administration.â€
â€œTo date, his loyalty is unwavering. Despite all attacks against him, Ambode never fought back. Rather, he displayed maturity. He kept quiet all through and continued with governance. Ambode has a high level of loyalty to the APC and its leadership. He has been consistent. Even before he became the governor of Lagos State, Ambode has been loyal to Asiwaju.â€
Another chieftain explained what Ambode went through when Tinubuâ€™s close allies connived with former President Olusegun Obasanjo to implicate him at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He added that those allies sought Ambodeâ€™s cooperation â€œto indict Tinubu.
â€œBut Ambode never yielded to their plan. And Tinubu never forgot Ambodeâ€™s sacrifice for him, even when he never nursed governorship ambition. Ambode was incarcerated at the EFCC custody for days. Yet, Ambode refused to implicate the APC leader. Apart from his performance, he has never betrayed public trust; neither has he betrayed his political leaders in the state.
â€œThis episode was another test for Ambode. In my opinion, Ambode has passed. Unlike Fashola, Ambode has been able to play the team man and has ridden the storm more successfully than his immediate predecessor.â€