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GAC endorses Sanwo-Olu for Lagos APC gov ticket

GAC endorses Sanwo-Olu for Lagos APC gov ticket

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Gbenga Adeniji

The Governor’s Advisory Council of the Lagos chapter of the All Progressives Congress on Saturday endorsed Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu for the party’s governorship ticket in 2019.

Sanwo-Olu is a former Commissioner for Training and Establishment in the state.

SUNDAY PUNCH gathered that the six-hour meeting held at the Bourdillon, Ikoyi, Lagos, residence of the party’s National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

Tinubu also chaired the meeting attended by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila and Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, among others.

The Lagos APC governorship primary was earlier scheduled to hold today but was shifted by the party’s national leadership for logistic reasons.

Earlier, supporters of the incumbent governor, Akinwunmi Ambode and Sanwo-Olu, who wore vests bearing images of their preferred candidates with inscriptions, had thronged the party state secretariat on Acme Road for a stakeholders’ meeting called by the party leadership.

The supporters waited for hours and some later left the venue after it became clear that Tinubu would not be coming as many of them had hoped.

Many party leaders in the state had backed Sanwo-Olu for governor and moved against the second-term ambition of Ambode who had also expressed readiness to contest the primary.

Sources close to the party leaders told SUNDAY PUNCH that Ambode had refused a directive that he should step down during a meeting with Tinubu on Friday, saying democracy should be allowed to thrive by allowing him to contest the primary.

After the Bourdillon meeting on Saturday, a member of the council and party chieftain, Senator Anthony Adefuye, arrived in the secretariat to announce the council’s decision to the eager stakeholders.

Adefuye said the council, the highest decision-making body of the chapter, had endorsed Sanwo-Olu for the party’s governorship ticket, saying the decision was in the interest of the party and state.

He said, “We started the meeting at 10am and we left straight after the meeting not to keep you waiting. The GAC and other major stakeholders have endorsed Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

“Asiwaju Bola Tinubu wants me to apologise that he is not here (secretariat) because as we were coming, he was bombarded in the house by various programmes of the party.’’

After his short speech, supporters of Sanwo-Olu jubilated while Ambode’s protested against the decision with songs.

It was gathered, however, that Tinubu would have been at the secretariat himself to raise Sanwo-Olu’s hand as a mark of endorsement but for the report that Ambode’s supporters had yet left the venue.

Hamzat steps down for Sanwo-Olu

Another APC governorship aspirant in the state and a former Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, has withdrawn from the race.

Hamzat, who spoke during a press conference in Lagos on Saturday, said he took the decision to support Sanwo-Olu’s ambition.

He added that after due consultations with his numerous supporters and in defence to the wise counsel of those he considered his political mentors, he resolved to step down from the race and would pull resources together with Sanwo-Olu, who he described as his brother and friend.

He also directed his supporters to cast their votes for Sanwo-Olu on Monday for him to emerge the party’s governorship candidate in 2019.

Hamzat said both the APC and the state were on the cusp of history because the party members were being allowed a say in choosing the party’s standard bearer in 2019 through the instrumentality of direct primaries.

He stated, “As a democrat, I am very proud to be a partaker of this momentous moment, for it is process that truly restores ownership to all members of our party, irrespective of class, creed or gender.

“You will recall that I had signified my intention to run for the governorship of Lagos State on the platform of the APC once the race was thrown open recently and had followed up by obtaining the relevant forms and duly submitted same to the national secretariat of our party.

“In announcing my intention to run, let me however clarify that I was indeed seeking to reawaken our collective consciousness to the gospel I had humbly preached about four years ago while participating in the party’s primaries that preceded the 2015 general elections.

“The message I preached was simple; a quest to infuse fresh ideas to advance Lagos and sustain the tradition of service, excellence and inclusiveness began by the great leader of our party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and continued by his worthy successor, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN…. So, I have always believed that the loyalty of our party members should never ever be taken for granted.’’

Hamzat further said he took the decision because apart from being able to vouch for Sanwo-Olu’s personal integrity, great humility and extraordinary intelligence, he was someone he had close interactions with in the past.

He added, “We both worked under the administration of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu who I must credit as the architect of the new Lagos. We were both fortunate to have worked closely with the present Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who was then the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, a man known for his intellectual rigour and instinct for excellence.’’  According to him, they also both worked under the Fashola      administration.

36 Lagos lawmakers back Sanwo-Olu

Also, 36 of the 40 members of the state Assembly have endorsed Sanwo-Olu as the party’s choice for party’s governorship primary slated for Monday.

A statement by the Chairman, House Committee on Information, Strategy and Security, Adefunmilayo Tejuoso, noted that the decision was taken at a parliamentary meeting of the lawmakers on Saturday.

It further indicated that the meeting was presided over by the Speaker, Obasa and 36 out of the 40-member House endorsed the decision and duly signed the statement announcing the decision.

“The lawmakers stated that they were in agreement with the party leadership and the GAC which earlier endorsed Sanwo-Olu for the governorship ticket,’’ the statement added.

SUNDAY PUNCH reliably learnt that Abiodun Tobun (Epe 1), Segun Olulade (Epe 2) and Dipo Olorunrinu (PDP, Amuwo Odofin) were absent at the meeting. Another lawmaker, Adebayo Osinowo, representing Kosofe 1, later arrived in the House but the meeting had ended.

Asking Ambode to step down inimical to democracy—Support group

The Ambode Mandate Support Group on Saturday said the GAC’s decision regarding the governor’s second term bid is inimical to the democracy which the party preaches.

In a statement by the group’s Director General, Hakeem Sulaimon, he stated that the sudden turn of events didn’t augur well for democracy and party unity.

He faulted the council’s decision, noting that it had earlier said the governor wouldn’t be granted the same privilege like other APC governors and that all aspirants should go for primaries.

“They (GAC members) were the ones who asked before now that why the governor was afraid of primary and that was why he said he was ready for the primary. The next question we should ask is why are they afraid of primary?’’

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