Ahead of the Lagos State All Progressives Congress, APC, primaries on Monday, Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode has dropped a bombshell, saying his contestant, Babajide Sanwo-Olu is unfit to govern Lagos as he had been detained in the United States for spending fake dollars and had undergone mental rehabilitation at the Gbagada General Hospital.
Ambode also alleged that political thugs were being armed and recruited to disrupt the peace and tranquility that had been prevailing in Lagos under the guise of holding primary election.
Also, the governor said the Buhari-Osinbajo ticket was being jeopardised as the APC leaders wanted to choose an unpopular candidate (Sanwo-Olu) to hoist the banner of the party in next year’s election, saying the party might experience defeat.
Addressing a World Press Conference on Sunday at the State House, Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, Ambode attacked Sanwo-Olu, saying even though he would welcome competition, he would not allow the chances of the party in Lagos to fritter away.
Ambode said he welcomed competition from other aspirant, but noted that “we will not on good assurance allow to us to filter away opportunities that our great party has and then allow the opposition to win Lagos in next year’s poll. If we allow the opportunity before our party to filter away, we will be jeopardising the Buhari/Osinbajo ticket on which I am 100 percent standing for. But other aspirant cannot deliver the ticket for the party.”
“Now, the truth is this, the aspirant that is being put up to compete against us is not fit and proper person. This is the truth party leaders and party members have been misled to understand that he is a better candidate than myself. I have done everything in the last three years and half to serve people selflessly and the poor. This particular aspirant has been arrested for spending fake American Dollars in a night club in America and was detained for months.
“He also knows that he does not have the competence to do what he is being propelled to do. The records are there in the Gbagada General hospital, Lagos. This is somebody that has gone for rehabilitation before. We do not want to go so far. We know our leadership should have a rethink because the truth is this, I will not stand here, on the mandate of Lagos State residents and allowed our great party, APC to fritter away that opportunity to put in somebody that opposition will easily kick-out because of credibility; so I appeal to all our leaders, they should have a rethink. This is not about me. It is about the greatest opportunity that APC has to change the progress of Nigeria to better a place,’ he stated.
Ambode, however, said he had it on good authority that thugs were being recruited to destabilise Lagos on the guise of holding primary election, stressing that such threats would be dealt with.
“The last Three and half years have witnessed tremendous improvement in our security apparatus and a significant drop in the incidents of crime in our State. However, the current political situation has caused palpable tension and unnecessary fears among law abiding Lagosians. Security reports available to the State Government indicate that there is an ongoing recruitment and arming of political thugs to disrupt the tranquil atmosphere of Lagos State, in the guise of holding Primary Elections.
“As a responsible government that has invested so much in enhancing security of lives and property in the State to enable Lagosians pursue their lawful endeavours, we will not allow any disruptive elements to cause panic or wreak havoc that will affect the progressive strides which Lagosians are known for. This is more so that we have the assurances of our party leaders to conduct free and fair primary elections for aspirants into the various political offices,” he said.
Ambode said it had become imperative to put every stakeholder on notice, especially the Federal Government and security agencies, to take more than a passing interest in the development in this State that had hitherto been adjudged as the safest city in Africa.
He stated that the state government would do all within its powers in collaboration with relevant security agencies to protect citizens and insulate them from any condition that might breed insecurity or the breakdown of law and order in the State throughout the primaries campaign and election periods.
“While assuring all Lagosians to be calm and go about their normal businesses, criminal elements are hereby advised in their own interest, not to foment any trouble in the name of politics or under any guise, as the full wrath of the law will be brought to bear on any law breaker.
“Without being immodest, after three and half years of remarkable performance in bringing growth and development to our dear State, I have humbly expressed my intention to seek re-election in order to consolidate on the giant strides that we have recorded for our dear State and our great party, APC. This is why I once again seek the support of every party member in tomorrow’s primary election. We shall overcome,” he said.
On the governorship primaries, Ambode said it had been shifted three times, saying it was important that everybody was prepared for the primaries, adding that the APC National Secretariat had already sent in the Electoral Committee to Lagos, but noted that he was yet to receive the guideline.
“I am an aspirant in tomorrow’s competition. I believe strongly that preparation is on-going. There are two things we need to iron out. I believe the APC Chairman will be able to correct some of these things that we have noticed. We are committed progressives. We are committed to the outcome of the primaries. We are committed to the tenets and principles of our great party. But what we will not accept is to disenfranchisement of millions of people we have been able to bring the fold of the APC in the last three and half years.
“What we hear is that there is a register that is being brought to the state. The register only includes members that registered in 2014. What about millions of supporters that we have brought in from 2015 to date? I take my membership slip anywhere I go. This is the membership slip I have. I do not have a membership card. Are they saying I will not, as a governor be entitled to vote tomorrow?” He asked.
Ambode said the APC National Secretariat needed to make immediate adjustment, saying that all persons who registered as members of the APC should be able to vote in the direct primary, adding that that was how to entrench the democratic values that the party was preaching.
“If someone like me can be disenfranchised because I do not have a card, what then happens to ordinary members of APC? We believe strongly that these things can be corrected. We should allow every member to come out and exercise their civic duties and rights to choose who will represent them in the governorship election. So, I plead with the National Working Committee. I also plead with the APC National Chairman and even the people that are interested in Lagos politics to do the right thing. They should make the process credible. I believe with God on our side, we will come out triumphant,” he said.