By Gboyega Akinsanmi
After weeks of sustained negotiation for a return ticket, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, Wednesday said that he would participate in the primary election on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC) next Saturday.
Ambode added that a return of the party’s ticket to him “will guarantee the stability of Lagos growing economy; ensure the continuation of the growth and development it has witnessed over time and ensure that the opposition does not take root in the state.”
This was contained in a statement the Commissioner for Information & Strategy, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan, issued Wednesday, noting that his readiness was in line with the choice of the party in Lagos State and the validation given to the direct primary preference by the Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC).
Ambode’s political future has been uncertain after the Managing Director of Lagos State Development and Property Corporation (LSDPC), Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and former Commissioner for Works & Infrastructure, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, declared their intention to challenge Ambode in a primary contest.
The Mandate Movement, a powerful political machine of the National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu, endorsed Sanwo-Olu for the governorship contest, thus heating up the state’s political climate ahead of the primary election slated for September 29.
Ambode’s travail had attracted the intervention of the presidency; former Ogun State Governor, Chief Olusegun Osoba; Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi; the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) and the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), with all pleading for him.
With the presidential intervention, the APC National Leader, Senator Bola Tinubu, decided to consult the GAC, the state’s highest advisory political organ comprising 22 APC chieftains across the three senatorial districts.
But in the statement Wednesday, Ambode said: “As our great party approaches Saturday, September 29, earmarked for the direct primary election to choose the candidate to fly our party’s gubernatorial flag at the next general election, I am happy to restate my commitment to participate in that process.
“I have procured and submitted my governorship nomination form and formally declared my intention to seek a second term to continue on the path of unprecedented growth and development that our state has witnessed since 2015.”
He, therefore, commended the APC national leader, the State Executive Committee, the State Working Committee, GAC members; all APC members and the people of Lagos.
He acknowledged that the support, understanding and prayers had indeed assisted him in no small measure in being used as an instrument through which the state had redefined the concept of greatness, growth and development.
Specifically, Ambode noted that he would seek re-election after approaching the founding fathers and teeming members of the party with a grateful heart, open arms and a pledge to open and deeper attention to the concerns of this one, big family.
“A return of the party’s ticket to Ambode will guarantee the stability of the state’s growing economy; ensure the continuation of the growth and development it has witnessed over time and ensure that the opposition does not take root in the state.
He, therefore, congratulated his co-contestants for the courage and commitment “to the party and urges party faithful to come out en masse and vote peacefully in all the 20 local governments and 245 wards where the election will take place.”