Saturday Direct Primaries To Determine Lagos APC Governorship Candidate
The Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC) of the All Progressives Congress, Lagos State, yesterday decided that the state governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, and his two colleagues would be at the mercy of the primary contest scheduled to hold on Saturday, September 29.
With the decision of the GAC, the party denied Ambode the right of first refusal despite the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; former Ogun State Governor, Chief Olusegun Osoba; and Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, among others.
The spokesman of the advisory council, Dr. Abayomi Finnih, disclosed this during a press briefing at the secretariat of Lagos APC, Acme Road yesterday.
Addressing the journalists alongside an APC chieftain, Prof. Babatunde Samuel, disclosed that the GAC under the chairmanship of the APC leader adopted direct method to choose its governorship candidate out of the three main contestants rather than giving Ambode the right of first refusal like all his predecessors.
The members of the GAC include Chairman of Lagos APC, Prince Babatunde Balogun, his immediate predecessor, Chief Oladele Ajomale, Otunba Bushirat Alebiosu, Dr. Olorunfemi Bashorun, Senator Anthony Adefuye, Prof. Babatunde Samuel, Chief Adeyemi Ikuforiji, Alhaji Tajudeen Olusi, Cardinal James Odumbaku, Chief Lanre Rasak, Dr. Yomi Finnih, among others.
Finnih also noted that the same method would be used to select the party’s candidates for the three senatorial seats, 24 House of Representatives slots and 40 positions in the state House of Assembly in the state.
By implication, Finnih explained that Lagos APC “will conduct primary elections for all elective positions in the state. All aspirants seeking governorship, federal and state legislative elections will face primary contest on the scheduled dates.”
Contrary to some reports, however, he noted that the party had put all necessary machinery in place “to ensure a peaceful, free and fair primary contest for all categories of aspirants. There will be level-playing ground for all the aspirants.
“The primary elections will be conducted without fear or favour to any particular aspirant. It is not the affairs of Tinubu. Most reports on the social media are misleading and untrue. We have put structures in place to ensure credible process.”
He acknowledged that the GAC members held a meeting on Saturday during which they deliberated on how to conduct the primary elections peacefully.
At the meeting, Finnih disclosed that it was agreed that direct method was adopted “to adopt primary elections to choose party candidates for the 2019 elections. We have no preferred candidates among the governorship aspirants.
“It is not about Tinubu for any reason. It is our collective decision. We resolved to provide a level-playing ground for all aspirants without fear or favour. The adoption of direct primary method is to further democratise the electoral process in the state.
“We adopted the direct method in order to do away with the usual belief of anointed candidate. We will also ensure the process is credible and fair. Every aspirant should go to the field and test their popularity. The people will decide.”
Before the decision of the GAC to adopt direct primary method, Finnih explained that a stakeholders’ meeting had been held at the party secretariat “to adopt the method. The stakeholders agreed to it without any dissenting views.”
Naija News recalls that Ambode’s second term bid was threatened shortly 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 intention to challenge Ambode.
Consequently, 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 reportedly attracted the intervention of the presidency, Osoba, Ajimobi, the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) and the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), pleading for reprieve for the governor.
With the presidential intervention, the APC national leader decided to consult the GAC, the state’s highest advisory political organ comprising 22 APC chieftains across the three senatorial districts.
Meanwhile Naija News learnt that as at last night, Ambode was still locked in a meeting with the party’s national leader, Asiwaju Tinubu, and former national chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, in Lagos.
Source: Naija News