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Indications that the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, may possibly secure his second term ticket on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), is coming true as leadership of the party, on Tuesday, appealed to the National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to let go of the incumbent’s political sin.
Recall that the National Leader and the Governor has been at loggerheads, with Tinubu supporting a former Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, ahead of the September 29 primary to select the party’s flag-bearer.
At a meeting attended by President Muhammadu Buhari and some APC governors on Tuesday after the mega rally for Gboyega Oyetola, APC’s aspirant in Saturday’s Osun State gubernatorial election, the Guardian reported that the party’s leadership pleaded with Tinubu to let go of his grievances and allow Ambode return for a second term.
It was learnt that former governors of Osun and Ogun States, Chief Bisi Akande and Aremo Segun Osoba, started the peace overture, as they led Ambode to entreat the national leader.
The move might have been pre-planned, as Ambode rarely attends such occasions. His appearance in Osogbo, alongside his wife Bolanle, therefore gave rise to this suspicion. Sources said Tinubu, out of respect for Akande and Osoba, promised to let pass his grouse. But with a condition: his political loyalists in Lagos, who have made up their minds that Ambode must go, must be consulted.
The two advocates then led the incumbent to Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola, who is perhaps the closest loyalist of Tinubu. On the advice of the former governors, Ambode was said to have prostrated pleadingly, while the Osun governor expressed his grudges and those of Lagos party members. He also explained why the members insisted they wanted Ambode out.
One of the sins Aregbesola noted was Ambode’s alleged moves to destroy his (Aregbesola’s) political structure in Lagos West, especially in Alimosho. He said Ambode kept him waiting for several hours when he visited the Lagos government house. He further accused Ambode of vindictiveness towards party members that aided his emergence as governor in 2015. Aregbesola however reportedly promised Akande and Osoba that he would look into the matter.
At the meeting with Buhari and the APC governors, sources said Kebbi State Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu led the plea with Tinubu. “It is not in the culture of Hausa people to prostrate. What we normally do is express respect to our elders or leaders by saying Ranka Dade. But today, I am going to break that protocol,” he reportedly said, and prostrated.
Unable to hold his emotions, the national leader burst into tears, at which point, Buhari stood up, moved closer to Tinubu, and implored him to give Ambode a second chance.
Consequently, Tinubu called for a meeting of the Governors Advisory Council (GAC) to hold yesterday, the outcome of which would determine the incumbent’s fate.