Ambode Yet to Approach Us, Says ADC

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 Party holds national convention

By Kayode Fasua

The African Democratic Congress (ADC) has denied a speculation that the embattled Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode, had approached the party for its governorship ticket, in the event that he fails to secure the ticket of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).This is coming as  ADC has said that the ruling APC will be shocked at the outcome of the September 22, 2018 Osun State governorship elections, as its candidates will emerge victorious.

Ambode is currently on a cliffhanger in the APC, as a strong body within the party-Mandate Group, led by the party’s National Leader, Chief Bola Tinubu, has given its support to Ambode’s in-party contender, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

But speculations buzzed yesterday that Ambode might have approached the ADC as Plan B in the event that his rapproachement with Tinubu fails, ahead of the September 25 APC governorship primary.

The speculation of the governor’s possible defection  was fuelled by a newspaper interview granted by the National Chairman of the ADC, Chief Ralph Nwosu, who has now relocated to Lagos.

Nwosu was quoted as saying, “Part of the reason I am in Lagos now is how the ADC will take Lagos and we are ready to take it.”

Nwosu added: “With our hard-working state chairman, Chief Tunde Daramola, Lagos is in our pocket in 2019.”

But reacting to the insinuation of Ambode’s possible cross-over to ADC, during a telephone chat with THISDAY, the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mrs. Yemi Kolapo, said the Lagos governor was yet to contact her party.

“To the best of my knowledge, Governor Ambode has not approached the ADC to become a member. However, anyone is free to join the ADC so long as the person is ready to abide by the rules and regulation of the party,” Kolapo explained.

On the statement by Nwosu that he was in Lagos to take over the state, Kolapo said the statement was made at the commissioning of the party’s office and had nothing to do with Ambode.

Meanwhile, a Lagos APC chieftain and leader of the Mandate Group in Ojokoro Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Mr. Dipo Okeyomi, gave insights into the ongoing ordeal of Governor Ambode with the group.

In a chat with THISDAY, Okeyomi said, “The governor, though tried his best, has hurt many of us within the party, as he, for instance, once collected a chairmanship ticket duly given to me by the party hierarchy and gave it to someone who did not labour for it.

“In my own case, not even the intervention of our leaders like Bola Tinubu and Governor Rauf Aregbesola (of Osun State) mattered to the governor,” Okeyomi lamented.

He said the Mandate Group was made up on its course of action and there was no going back.

Meanwhile, ADC has said that the ruling All Progressives Congress will be shocked at the outcome of the September 22, 2018 Osun State governorship elections, as its candidates will emerge victorious.

The National Chairman of the party, Chief Ralphs Nwosu said this, at the weekend, during the ADC National Convention, with the theme, “Building a Model Disciplined Political Party,” which drew 5,600 delegates to Osogbo, Osun State.

He said, “We brought our National Convention to Osun, to boost the efforts of our 90-man campaign team, and tell Osun people that they have no better candidate for the governorship seat other than our tested and trusted candidate, Alhaji Fatai Akinbade and his Deputy, Rtd. Justice Folahanmi Oloyede.

“On September 22, I assure you that the good people of Osun State, who have been yearning for good, inclusive and responsible governance, will shun money politics, no matter the billions being put aside for vote buying by the ruling government and others. They will vote their conscience. Some people have said, ‘take their money, it is your right, but vote your conscience and don’t mortgage your future.’ Whatever the case may be, I know – from what we have seen here, the turnout at our different rallies, the different letters by support groups – that the ruling party will be shocked at the outcome of the election.

“The people know who has represented them well, those who have not stolen government money and are here to serve the people and take them out of poverty. Akinbade has demonstrated all through his years in service that his priority is Osun people and nothing else. Needless to say that his deputy has even sacrificed her career, defending workers’ rights. They have not forgotten this, and are waiting for September 22 to right the wrongs with their votes.”

The new consitution of the party was affirmed and adopted by all delegates at the convention just as the national Organising Secretary of ADC, Dr. Mani Ibrahim, reminded members that the unique selling point of the party was that “it is the fastest growing political party in Nigeria today, which is absolutely members-driven and members-funded.”

“There is no single money bag; we are all financiers. So, this is your party, own it, and decide. We will not go the way of other parties. We will stick to our guiding principles, ethics, which centre around the greatness of Nigeria through purposeful leadership,” he stressed.

The national chairman reiterated that the party’s Coalition for Electoral Integrity was a vehicle to sensitise Nigerians against vote buying and electoral corruption and detoxify the electoral environment.

He commended former President Olusegun Obasanjo for his invaluable guidance, which had seen the party growing stronger.

Nwosu said, “We need to appreciate the wise guidance of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. He has chosen to guide us and to advise us, so that we will not go the way of other political parties. Baba is a highly influential former President and he is on first name basis with most other leaders and former presidents. It is a good thing to have such personality guiding us.

“We went to a gathering of leaders recently, and there were over 12 African presidents on queue, waiting to discuss with him. We are lucky to have him. Our party is specially blessed with people of impeccable character. We want to build an inclusive country, where nomination forms would cease to be out of the reach of the common man who wants to really serve his people.”

Democracy on The Brink of Collapse under Buhari, CSOs Cry Out, Pass Vote of Confidence on Saraki

A coalition of civil society groups has raised alarm over what it described as plans by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to frustrate the successful conduct of free and fair 2019 general elections. 

The coalition said the President’s refusal to sign into law the recently amended Electoral Act is a big threat to the success of the next election which is just few months away. 

 Addressing newsmen at a press briefing in Lagos, over the weekend, the Coalition Spokesperson, Charles Adeyeye, flanked by other executives of the coalition, said the coalition is “apprehensive that there is a grand design by the incumbent administration of President Buhari, to halt peaceful elections, judging by its refusal to give the needed support, to preparations by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and other institutions, that can guarantee a free and fair election come 2019. 

It urged President Muhammadu Buhari to shun the counsel of political jobbers and immediately sign into law as amended, the Electoral act, if indeed he wants to stamp his mark on the country’s history as a true patriot and democrat. Failing which, the National Assembly is hereby called upon to override the President’s veto and proceed to pass the amended Electoral Act into law.

The coalition also passed a vote of confidence on the National Assembly under the chairmanship of Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki for conducting its affairs as true democrats, and consistently upholding the sanctity of Nigeria’s Democracy.

“Saraki epitomizes the rising of a new generation of Democrats who can manage the affairs of Government, and take Nigeria to the next level, the coalition appealed to the PDP to unanimously elect Saraki as its flag bearer for the 2019 Presidential election,” it added.

“The Senate President stands out as one candidate, with requisite experience, capacity and determination, to set Nigerians free, from the bondage of bad leadership that has been imposed on Nigeria, since 2015.

The coalition also disclosed that by October 1st 2018, it will launch a nationwide campaign for a new generation of genuine democrats to take over the rein of power in the general elections next year and steer the affairs of the country.