Lucy Osuizigbo, Lagos
All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Sunday justified his support for Babajide Sanwo-Olu as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress instead of the incumbent Akinwunmi Ambode.
He said he is not supporting Ambode because he ignored the blueprint for progress in Lagos State, thus contravening the spirit of progressive governance.
It was Tinubu’s first statement over the controversy stirred by the APC chiefs and entrenched interest groups in ditching Ambode for the second term. And it came on the eve of the governorship primary slated for Monday.
Tinubu totally ignored the concerns raised earlier at a world press conference by Ambode about the party’s anointed candidate: Sanwo-Olu being jailed in America for fake US dollars and his spending time at a Lagos rehab centre for mental problems.
Tinubu, in his statement harped on the development master plan his administration bequeathed to the state and lamented how the Ambode administration has jettisoned it for what he called ” ad-hoc schemes of a materially inferior quality”.
He said that such narrowness of perspective has not brought the people closer to their appointed destination.
According to him, it has taken the people farther from that destiny.
”My goal is and shall always be a better Lagos. To this objective, I have dedicated the greater part of my public life. Roughly 20 years ago, a corps of dedicated and patriotic Lagosians, put aside personal interests and rivalries, to put their minds and best ideas together for the good of the state.
”Out of this collaborative effort, was born a master plan for economic development that would improve the daily lives of our people.
”When I was elected governor in 1999, my administration faithfully implemented that plan. The government of my immediate successor, Tunde Fashola, also honoured this enlightened plan.
”Where state government remained true to that blueprint, positive things happened. During my tenure and Governor Fashola’s, Lagos state recorded improvements in all aspects of our collective existence.
”I make no pretence that the master plan is perfect. It can always be fine-tuned.
”However, whenever a government departed from this plan without compelling reason, the state and its people have borne the painful consequence of the improper departure.
”For reasons unknown to me and most Lagosians, we have experienced such deviations from enlightened governance recently.
”However, as a leader of the party and as a former governor of our beloved and excellent Lagos, I would be remiss if I did not make a few observations regarding the primary, ” he said.
Tinubu said that the trend of deviation called for concern as the party primary approaches to avoid irreparable harm that could be committed against the people and their future.
”For the record, let it be known that I shall vote in this primary because I see it as one of extreme import to our state and our party. Just as I shall vote, I equally urge all party members to do so.
”We must vote in a manner that returns Lagos to its better path, the one that promises a just chance for all to enjoy the fruits of our prosperity.
“We must always pursue our goal of a Lagos energised by creative dynamism, tolerance of others, and guided by a leadership capable of extending a collegial hand to all stakeholders, far and wide, ” he said.
Tinubu urged the party delegates in the state to vote for the candidate who understands the importance of the blueprint for development.
”I am encouraged by the emergence of a candidate in this primary who has served the state in senior positions in my administration, the Fashola administration and even in the current one.
”While possessing a wealth of experience and exposure, he is a young man endowed with superlative vision and commitment.
”Most importantly, he understands the importance of the blueprint for development. He esteems it as a reliable and well-conceived vehicle for the future development of the state.
”He also knows the value of reaching out and working with others in order to maximise development and provide people the best leadership possible.
”With people like him at the helm, the state will write the proper history for itself.
”When the final word is given let it be said that we want all Lagosians to look to the future with the hope and optimism that our best days remain before us and not behind us.
”We walk into this primary strong and confidently believing in the right course we are to take.
”We shall emerge from this primary even stronger and more confident that we have taken that course by returning Lagos and our party to their finest path, ” Tinubu said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ambode’s second term ambition has been facing opposition within his party.
Party leaders are supporting another APC governorship aspirant, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, a former commissioner in the state and the Managing Director, Lagos State Development and Property Corporation against the incumbent governor, Ambode.
Analysts view the development as a trying political season for Ambode, who has since announced his readiness for the party’s direct primary on Oct. 1 to slug it out with his opponent.