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Two aspirants to challenge Sanwo-Olu in APC primary

By Kehinde Olatunji
25 May 2022   |   3:07 am
After the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, and the Governance Advisory Council (GAC) in Lagos State approved the second term bid of Governor Babajide

Sanwo-Olu/. Photo/facebook/jidesanwooluofficial

After the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, and the Governance Advisory Council (GAC) in Lagos State approved the second term bid of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, it seemed the coast was clear for his return to Alausa.
 


But the emergence of former Lagos Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Olawale Oluwo and leader of a support group of the immediate past governor of the state, Akinwunmi Ambode Campaign Organisation (AMCO), has put Sanwo-Olu’s return hanging over the cliff edge. Oluwo even boasted that structures were in place to challenge Sanwo-Olu for the Lagos APC governorship ticket.
  
Subsequently, Oluwo paid the sum of N50 million to obtain the Lagos State gubernatorial ticket despite the endorsement of Sanwo-Olu by Tinubu and the GAC.

Oluwo


In another twist, a former state permanent secretary under Ambode, Abdul Ahmed Mustapha, has indicated interest to challenge the incumbent governor.
  
With the entry of Mustapha, Sanwo-Olu would be facing other aspirants for the APC ticket.

Ambode himself had initially revved up the gubernatorial contest when he postured to be angling for the number one political office in the state. But subsequent events are suggesting that he (Ambode) might have decided to leave the challenge of dethroning Sanwo-Olu out of the office to his foot soldiers, despite the endorsement of Sanwo-Olu by members of the state APC’s GAC, which the new entrants see as imposition.
 
The emergence of the two aspirants has thrown up new permutations in the state’s formidable ruling party, which, according to a source, may put pressure on Sanwo-Olu. Widely regarded as the face of Ambode’s camp, Oluwo is generally regarded as a force for Sanwo-Olu to contend with if he is going to get his second-term ambition.

Mustapha

   
The GAC is regarded as the apex decision-making body within the state APC, with past governors, deputies, speakers of the House of Assembly, and selected key party stalwarts, as members. Though chaired by Alhaji Tajudeen Olusi, it is believed that the body panders to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s leadership.
  
Some members of the GAC include the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu; the Deputy Governor, Mr. Obafemi Hamzat; Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; serving Lagos State senators Oluremi Tinubu, Solomon Adeola and Tokunbo Abiru; Prince Tajudeen Olusi; a former Chairman of the state chapter of the party, Otunba Henry Ajomale; Otunba Bashiru Alebiosu; a former Deputy Governor, Prince Abiodun Ogunleye; Omooba Murphy Adetoro; Cardinal James Odunbaku; Senator Anthony Adefuye; Alhaji S. A. Seriki and Asiwaju Olorunfunmi Bashorun.
  
Also part of the GAC is Prince Rabiu Oluwa, Chief M. A. Taiwo; Alhaji Mutiu Are; Dr Yomi Finnih; Omooba Muyiwa Sosanya; former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji; incumbent Speaker of the Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa; Mr. Wale Edun; immediate past Deputy Governor of the state, Idiat Adebule, and Chief Kemi Nelson.
  
Despite the endorsement by the bigwigs in the party, Oluwo has remained resolute in his ambition. Faulting the GAC for endorsing Sanwo-Olu, he said the position of GAC is not a reflection of Lagos APC members.

When asked how intends to withstand the governor in terms of funding and delegates, Oluwo maintained that the will of the people is paramount.

“I tell you something, this is a very serious business and the people are involved, God is involved. And the voice of the people is the voice of God. I tell you something; no power has ever been able to stop the people who yearn for change, freedom and their dignity. That is what this struggle is all about.”
 
On working with Lagos APC blueprint, Oluwo stated that when he gets the party’s ticket, he would work with the manifesto of the party, and within the expectation of the people to drive the development agenda of the 21st century.
 
“We are not going to be guided by any blueprint or master plan that is not in the public domain. Our blueprint will be in the public domain for the benefit of a diverse opinion and healthy criticism. No one is perfect and no one knows it all. However, I think the supposed blueprint that we hear of in Lagos State is a rumour, if it is not, let it be brought to the open. But, we stand by the party’s manifesto and we will not deviate from it.”
  
Oluwo added that he is not afraid to step on the toes of some leadership as long as he is doing what is right as a party man and in the interest of the people.

“You say I will step on the toes of the leadership. I am not afraid to step on toes and you will see that in the last three weeks, I have been stepping on toes and I will continue to step on toes as long as I am stepping on toes in the interest of the people of Lagos State and it will continue. And then by the way, why would anybody think I am stepping on toes? Is it because I said the resources of Lagos should be given back to the true owners, is that the reason why I am stepping on toes?
  
“Or is it that I am sending the message that I want a state that works for all, not a few as we are seeing now. Is that the definition of stepping on toes? Or that Lagos is worth fighting for and the people of Lagos are worth dying for? That is a figurative expression, how does that constitute stepping on toes? So my advice is anybody that takes all these things I have said to be stepping on toes, let them take their toes out of the way because I must continue to go in the direction that people want me to go.”
   
Despite his aspiration, Oluwo said his relationship with party leaders is cordial, describing it as one party and family.

“We are not fighting one another. We are just competing in an orderly and decent manner but we must make our messages to get out to the people, electioneering is beyond party leaders. It is beyond me, it is beyond anybody else, it is about the people of Lagos.

  
“It is about some questions that must be answered, who owns Lagos, who owns the resources of Lagos and who should benefit from those resources. So the party leaders should not have any problem about that, the party leaders should rather embrace us because we are pushing the people’s agenda. And they can also take from us and start doing it because they are in the government now. We are saying we can do it better than them.
 
“We are loyal party members; we stay within the constitution of our party. We obey the rules to the extent that it is fair, just, and transparent and provides a level playing field for everybody.”
  
The former Lagos Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources said his administration would be a reform-minded one that will focus on security, energy, health, education, traffic, the creative economy and others.
  
“If given opportunity to govern Lagos State, I will provide the leadership for a new team that will work to restore the dignity of Lagos State and re-establish its leadership role as we used to know it,” he said.
  
He said this would reset the state on a new trajectory of security and inclusive prosperity. “I am running for office because I believe in the promise of Lagos and the capacity of its people to be great. I do not see Lagos as just one of the 36 states of Nigeria; I see it as a city-state capable of attaining self-sufficiency in provision of amenities for all inhabitants, just like Dubai.
  
“If given the opportunity to govern Lagos State, I will provide the leadership for a new team that will work to restore the dignity of Lagos State and re-establish its leadership role as we used to know it.”
  
Oluwo identified gridlock, inadequate power supply, massive unemployment, deteriorating ease of doing business, insecurity, flooding and lack of potable water, among others, as the challenges facing the state.

He said that if voted as governor, he would return the wealth of Lagos to the people, involve youths in governance, prepare them for a fast leadership transition, re-establish the status of Lagos as a reference point for free democratic practice and implement reforms in critical sectors for Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, revenues and jobs.

  
ON his part, Mustapha said he has what it takes to address some of the yearnings of the people of Lagos.
He said education, healthcare and infrastructure would be his topmost priorities, saying he is determined to replace the incumbent to actualize his dream of Lagos that works.
  
Mustapha, a former Permanent Secretary in the State Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, said that he is determined to address and change the narrative in other sectors, including power if elected as the next governor.

The governorship hopeful vowed that Lagosians would see a Lagos that works for everyone irrespective of party affiliation, religion, tribe and other differences.
  
Mustapha gave this promise, while speaking with newsmen on why he is interested in governing Lagos, saying he would bring his vast experience in both private and public sectors, which he garnered at home and abroad to bear.

  
According to the former permanent secretary, Lagos deserves the best as it was uniquely placed to be able to address the power issue, leveraging on support from the telecommunication industry.
  
“Where Lagos State finds itself now is not different from where the City of New York found itself in the 70s. Where are the new ideas we have to table?
  
“For instance, we need to build new schools, we need to build new hospitals, we need to provide equipment for the new hospitals. We need to build new infrastructure. We want each and every citizen irrespective of your background to be able to become whoever you chose to be.
  
“The government would put in a support system that allows you to achieve the objective irrespective of your background, whether you are an informal sector participant, whether you are doctor, whether you are a lawyer, whether you are a student.
  
“The time now calls for men of goodwill and ideas to come to the table and bring in ideas that will cause critical growth in the education sector, in the health sector, in the infrastructure space,” he said.