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The ruling party’s national leader says Akinwunmi Ambode has deviated from developmental blueprint of Lagos, urging primary participant to reject him.
Bola Tinubu has endorsed Jide Sanwo-Olu as the preferred candidate for the All Progressives Congress in the upcoming governorship election in Lagos, ending weeks of speculation about where he stands on the stand-off between the challenger and incumbent governor, Akinwumi Ambode.
In a statement Sunday evening, Mr Tinubu said the blueprint of Lagos State, his brainchild between 1999-2007, has been deviated from by Mr Ambode, calling on APC members in Lagos to reject the governor at the primaries on Monday.
The statement comes shortly after Mr Ambode used a televised press conference to launch a barrage of personal attacks against Mr Sanwo-Olu, ridiculing him as an alleged criminal and mental health patient before proclaiming him unfit for governor on those grounds.
Mr Sanwo-Olu has not responded to the attacks, but his aides told PREMIUM TIMES a decision is being made between holding a counter presser or simply drafting a statement in response.
Mr Sanwo-Olu has served Lagos State in several capacity, including as commissioner.
He has emerged as the front-runner for the APC governorship ticket since he purchased his party nomination form about two weeks ago. He candidacy, which had long been rumoured as the handiwork of Mr Tinubu, was propelled by the endorsement of 36 out of 40 House of Assembly members and all the 57 local council chairpersons.
Read Mr Tinubu’s full statement as sent to PREMIUM TIMES at 5:30 p.m. below:
GOVERNORSHIP PRIMARY STATEMENT
30th September, 2018
Tomorrow, our party and the people of Lagos will have an encounter with destiny. We shall hold our governorship primary.
With the holding of direct primaries to elect governorship candidates in Lagos and other states, the APC takes a groundbreaking step toward greater internal democracy and progressive governance for the benefit of all people.
While our party is young, it has grown fast and has travelled far in a short time. This speaks well of the character of you, the party’s rank-and-file members.
What, in other nations, has taken political parties generations to achieve, we have done in a few brief years. No other party in Nigeria dare attempt what we have already dedicated ourselves to do.
I thank and commend all APC members and all Lagosians who have lent their support to this historic and humane mission upon which our party has embarked.
We are democrats in the truest sense of the word. As such, we forever search for what is good and right for the people. With this ideal as our guide, tomorrow’s primary cannot be shaded by selfish ambition or the perceived personal grievance between this or that person. Something much greater waits in the balance. What is at stake is nothing less than the future of the people of this state and how we can best maximise our collective destiny.
By resort to direct primaries, the party places the people’s future soundly in their hands. As democracy would have it, you shall be the authors of the party’s nomination and hopefully our next state government.
I trust in the wisdom of the people and will abide it. However, as a leader of the party and as a former governor of our beloved and excellent Lagos, I would be remiss if I did not make a few observations regarding the primary.
My goal is and shall always be a better Lagos. To this objective, I have dedicated the greater part of my public life. Roughly 20 years ago, a corps of dedicated and patriotic Lagosians, put aside personal interests and rivalries, to put their minds and best ideas together for the good of the state. Out of this collaborative effort, was born a master plan for economic development that would improve the daily lives of our people.
Bestowed on me was the honour of a lifetime when I was elected to be your governor in 1999. My administration faithfully implemented that plan. The government of my immediate successor, Tunde Fashola, also honoured this enlightened plan.
Where state government remained true to that blueprint, positive things happened. During my tenure and Governor Fashola’s, Lagos state recorded improvements in all aspects of our collective existence, from public health to public sanitation, from education to social services, from the administration of justice to the cleaning of storm and sewage drains. Businesses, large and small, invested, hired millions of workers and thrived.
All Lagosians were to fully participate and justly benefit from the social dividends and improvements wrought by this plan. From the common labourer, to business leaders, to professionals and our industrious civil service. We all were to be partners in a monumental but joint enterprise. None was to be alienated. None was to be left out. And none were to be pushed aside. This is especially true for those who contributed so much to our development, whether as a business leader who has invested heavily in Lagos, the homeowner who struggles to pay his fair share of taxes or as someone employed in the hard work of keeping our streets and byways clean so that others may go about their daily tasks unimpeded.
I make no pretence that the master plan is perfect. It can always be fine-tuned. However, whenever a government departed from this plan without compelling reason, the state and its people have borne the painful consequence of the improper departure.
To ignore this blueprint for progress in order to replace it with ad-hoc schemes of a materially inferior quality contravenes the spirit of progressive governance and of our party. Such narrowness of perspective does not bring us closer to our appointed destination; it takes us farther from that destiny.
For reasons unknown to me and most Lagosians, we have experienced such deviations from enlightened governance recently.
This trend is that which most concerns me as the primary nears. We must arrest this trend before irreparable harm is committed against the people and their future. For the record, let it be known that I shall vote in this primary because I see it as one of extreme import to our state and our party. Just as I shall vote, I equally urge all party members to do so.
We must vote in a manner that returns Lagos to its better path, the one that promises a just chance for all to enjoy the fruits of our prosperity. We must always pursue our goal of a Lagos energised by creative dynamism, tolerance of others, and guided by a leadership capable of extending a collegial hand to all stakeholders, far and wide.
I am encouraged by the emergence of a candidate in this primary who has served the state in senior positions in my administration, the Fashola administration and even in the current one. While possessing a wealth of experience and exposure, he is a young man endowed with superlative vision and commitment. Most importantly, he understands the importance of the blueprint for development. He esteems it as a reliable and well-conceived vehicle for the future development of the state. He also knows the value of reaching out and working with others in order to maximize development and provide people the best leadership possible.
With people like him at the helm, the state will write the proper history for itself.
When the final word is given let it be said that we want all Lagosians to look to the future with the hope and optimism that our best days remain before us and not behind us.
We walk into this primary strong and confidently believing in the right course we are to take. We shall emerge from this primary even stronger and more confident that we have taken that course by returning Lagos and our party to their finest path.
Aswiaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu