12 September 2018

Nigeria: Fresh Trouble for Ambode Over Second Term Move

Is there a conspiracy to stop the second term bid of Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode?

This poser seems to be resolved in the affirmative amid frenetic political developments in the state.

The incumbent had on Monday picked the nomination form of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Shortly after, however, two others, Mr. Jide Sanwonolu and Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, obtained similar forms.

Sanwonolu, a commissioner under former Governor Babatunde Fashola, is currently the managing director of the Lagos State Property Development Corporation (LSPDC).

The Guardian had reported a rumoured rift between APC national leader, Bola Tinubu, and Ambode. Stakeholders refuted this.

Read More: Ambode declares for second term

When the APC leader canvassed direct primary in Lagos, there were insinuations that Ambode was the target. Again, this was denied.

But the state's 57 council chairmen loyal to Tinubu have reportedly met and pledged their support for Sanwonolu, who is believed to be Tinubu's choice.

The Chief Press Secretary to Ambode, Abib Haruna, and Commissioner for Information Kehinde Bamgbetan could not be reached for comments.

"Lagos State and Ambode are not synonymous with APC. Indeed, on the contrary, APC is synonymous with progressive politics and what its leaders represent, which is personified in the person of Asiwaju Tinubu, who has continuously shown that he is a master strategist by his contributions.

"If Ambode does not get the ticket, APC will still win Lagos State.

The manifesto and its programmatic execution is what APC is all about. It is not about persons.

If Asiwaju now sees that there are three persons and they are qualified, clearly any of them that wins is going to execute the programmes and manifestos of the APC," said Cletus Obun, the party's vice chairman for the Central Senatorial District, Cross River.

Rumours had suggested Tinubu could drop Ambode due to irreconcilable differences.

Following the party's ward, local and state congresses in May, Mr. Fouad Oki, a former director general of successive Lagos governorship campaigns, raised the alarm that Tinubu may not endorse the incumbent.

He also warned that Ambode could be the first governor of Lagos to spend one term in office.

While Hamzat represents the interest of an 'Abuja cabal' allegedly working to take control of Lagos' politics and decimate Tinubu, the former commissioner for commerce and industry is the aspirant to watch in the national leader's bid to replace Ambode.

Some of the "sins of Ambode" are said to include running a vindictive government.

It was alleged that he abandoned those that worked for his victory in 2015. He was also accused of sacking some of his cabinet members without consulting Tinubu.

e was said to have transgressed by demystifying the successes of his predecessor and creating many enemies.

Businessman Femi Otedola has also reportedly accepted to become the flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Celebrity publisher, Dele Momodu, shared the news on his Twitter handle, @DeleMomodu, saying: "Breaking news!

Lagos 2019 promises to be interesting. PDP offers Femi Otedola governorship ticket. He's accepted and personally confirmed to The Boss newspaper."

The PDP meanwhile has charged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to prove the strength of its integrity by investigating and prosecuting Tinubu over allegations of tax fraud.

The party, in a statement by its national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said failure by the EFCC to question Tinubu over an alleged N160 billion tax fraud by a company linked to him would not only suggest that the EFCC has become corrupt under the Buhari presidency, but would also expose the level of rot in the APC administration.

The statement reads: "Nigerians can now see how the same Ibrahim Magu-led EFCC, which rushes to pounce on, arrest and lock up innocent Nigerians, particularly, perceived political opponents of President Buhari, without investigation, has practically gone frozen and toothless because a member of the APC cabal is involved.

"Does it not smack of hypocrisy that President Buhari, who boasted that he was going to jail more looters, has been looking the other way, while presidency officials suppress investigations since whistleblowers alerted that Alpha Beta, a company linked with his party leader, Asiwaju Tinubu, allegedly swindled Nigerians to the tune of a whopping N160 billion in tax fraud?

"If President Buhari is as clean as his handlers would want Nigerians to believe; if the presidency is not complicit in corruption, the PDP challenges Mr. President to allow an investigation and prosecution of Alpha Beta in an open court, just as his government has been harassing the members of the opposition, as well as perceived opponents.

"President Buhari cannot be approving the hounding of innocent opposition members or his perceived enemies on allegations of corruption while at the same time always shielding and defending his party members openly accused and indicted for corruption, in addition to certificate forgers and national youth service corps deserters, holding top positions in his government.

"Mr. President should note that Nigerians are still waiting for his response regarding alleged stealing of N9 trillion at the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on his watch; the alleged N1.4 trillion oil subsidy fraud involving officials at the presidency; the alleged diversion of N1.1 trillion worth of crude oil in 2017 by APC interests; alleged stealing of N18 billion Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) funds; the alleged stealing of over N25 billion National Health Insurance Fund (NHIS), which investigation was stalled by the presidency, among others for which his presidency has practically turned into a citadel of iniquity and corruption."

Nigeria

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