Connect with us

BIG STORY

REVEALED: How Ambode Fell Out With “Lagos Landlord” Bola Tinubu; His Many Sins Against The APC

Avatar

Published

on

Lagos and indeed much of the entire South-West was on tenterhooks yesterday as political permutations against a second term for Governor Akinwunmi Ambode reached a crescendo with the unravelling of the governor’s political base.

Worse, the governor’s prospects of serving out the rest of his first term, it was learnt, was hanging in the balance upon claims of momentum to remove him from office if he does not drop his second term aspiration.

The governor’s support base which had been built around Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu unravelled after it emerged that a major contender for his office had emerged from one of the major political structures in the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC in the state, the Mandate Group.

The Mandate Group, Vanguard gathered, is presenting Mr. Jide Sanwo-Olu, incumbent Managing Director of Lagos State Property Development Corporation, LSDPC.

Ambode’s prospects outside the APC were also not being helped with the emergence of billionaire Mr. Femi Otedola as an aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Otedola who is vacationing in Paris, it was learnt, has, however, vowed not to contest against Ambode.

SUCCESSION CRISIS

In the face of the unfolding battle, many stakeholders spoke in hushed tones yesterday on the crisis of a second term that has shadowed successive successors of the political leader of the state, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

Political sources in the state yesterday said that after challenges that Tinubu got from Fashola, it was unlikely that Hamzat, one of Fashola’s options as a successor could get Tinubu’s support.

That means that the momentum was gravitating towards Sanwo-Olu who ironically served as a commissioner in the Fashola government. 57 LG/LCDA chiefs desert Ambode.

It was learnt yesterday that the chairmen of the 57 local government councils and development areas in the state had in a show of force endorsed Sanwo-Olu’s forms.
“That was meant to send a message to Ambode,” a political chieftain told Vanguard yesterday.

IMPEACHMENT RUMOURS

Ambode’s options were last night being narrowed as reports of an impeachment plot started swirling around political meetings around Lagos House and the State House of Assembly. The governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Habib Haruna, however, dismissed the reports of impeachment simply saying “it is not true.”

It was also learnt that emissaries sent by Ambode to Tinubu had been shut out, making the resolution of the Ambode crisis difficult. The situation left many political stakeholders in the lurch, with many saying that they were confused. This was mainly caused by the fact that Tinubu as at last night had not made a pronouncement.
However, the body language of the national leader was reflected by the fact that many of his trusted aides were said to have gravitated towards Sanwo-Olu.

One source said: “It is difficult to say anything right now really but it is true that some people have collected forms for Jide Sanwo-Olu and if he has collected the forms, it means he has the blessing of Asiwaju. He would not have collected the forms without Asiwaju’s blessing.”

MAKING OF THE CRISIS

It was leant that though efforts were being made for reconciliation, it was gathered that the face-off worsened seriously on Monday after Ambode went to Abuja to collect the APC governorship form.

He was said to have obtained the form without a full reconciliation with Tinubu. After collecting the form, Ambode proceeded to make a public declaration at the Old Task Force Ground, Alausa, Ikeja, without the obvious presence of chieftains and leaders of the party.

The fact that the declaration was not done at the party headquarters at Acme Road, Ogba, in Lagos sent negative signals as to the possibility of his estrangement from the Tinubu mainstream in his re-election bid, a source said.

Few of the local government chairmen who attended the declaration left midway and some even left before the ceremony started at 4.00 p.m. on Monday. Before the declaration ceremony, chairman of the Lagos State chapter of the APC, Babatunde Balogun had held a closed-door meeting with all the 57 local government chairmen at the party’s Acme Road office before they later dispersed and shunned the governor’s declaration ceremony.

A confirmed source says party members are currently confused and are awaiting the declaration from the National Leader of the party.

AMBODE WEIGHING OPTIONS

Ambode yesterday summoned a closed-door meeting of some of his top associates at Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, in order to weigh the options for the governor.

The outcome of the meeting could not be deciphered as at press time yesterday.
Though the crux of the meeting was unknown, it was gathered that the governor was open to all options, including dumping the party for another or walking away to wait for another opportunity from the party.

The governor’s capacity to fight back within the party or outside, it emerged, had been limited by his strained relationship with the Lagos State House of Assembly.

There were reports from within the House that the governor had instigated a plot to remove the speaker of the House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, a strong Tinubu loyalist. That plot quickly unravelled.

It was also learnt yesterday that a sizeable proportion of the members of the State House of Assembly attended a meeting at the party secretariat to discuss the development.

One of the sources, who spoke under anonymity with Vanguard, said the lawmakers have resolved to commence impeachment moves against Ambode as soon as they resume from the recess.

A member of the State House of Assembly estranged from the Tinubu mainstream who spoke on the condition of anonymity said yesterday:

“It could be rumour, but the source I heard it from was an indication that it is nothing far from the truth.

“Although, it was debunked, the people I heard it from were those I believed knew what they were saying. The people I spoke with gave it a possibility that, it is real. Asked, where the impeachment move is coming from, he said, “Unfortunately, it is coming from both the Lagos State House of Assembly and all the LCDAs.
According to another source, all the chairmen of APC in 20 LGAs and 37 LCDAs have signed the nomination form of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu as an alternative choice.

GENESIS OF AMBODE’S TROUBLE

Ambode’s troubles with the political establishment in Lagos had for long been reported in political circles in the state.

A South-West governor close to Tinubu was said to have been at the forefront of the agitation to stop Ambode’s second term ambition.

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, and Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, it was claimed had prevailed on the APC leader to support Ambode’s re-election plan.

At the centre of the allegations against Ambode was that the governor alienated the political mainstream in the state. Some others described the governor as heady with a capacity to decapitate Tinubu and his associates should he get a second term.

The issue of the PSP operators in the disposal of refuse was said to have been very touchy for the political elite, many of whom were entrenched in the PSP scheme as a way of servicing the political base.

Ambode, however, dismantled the scheme without as much appreciation of their role.
Even worse for the governor was the fact that the alternative arrangement made to replace the PSP operators have not done a good work, leading to mounting heaps refuse in the commercial capital of the country.

Party stalwarts had also complained that traditional acts of patronage that normally came the way of government did not come from Ambode.

However, Ambode it was claimed, decided not to patronise the political leaders on the premise that he had left politicking for Tinubu while he concentrated on the act of governance.

RUDE SHOCK

The face-off between Ambode and Tinubu came to the fore recently at a stakeholders’ meeting at the party’s secretariat, at Acme Road, Ogba, Lagos where Tinubu throughout the meeting failed to raise the hands or endorse a second term for Ambode which was a rude shock to members in attendance.

It was gathered that various support groups which had been created for Ambode’s re-election campaign had for some time been put on hold, pending final clearance from Tinubu.

FAILED EFFORTS

On different occasions, recently, some APC chieftains (names withheld) have confirmed that a number of political leaders and traditional rulers had impressed it on Tinubu not “to listen to those inciting him against Ambode.”

One of the chieftains who confided in Vanguard at the weekend, simply stated, “Ambode is at a crossroads” because all his supporters have backed off as all efforts to resolve the difference met a brick wall with Tinubu who insisted on a fresh candidate (kept to his heart) for the job.

Oba Akiolu was said to have tried to convince Tinubu to change his mind, but all proved abortive.

According to the chieftain, “It is only Tinubu and Ambode that can resolve the issues, not even President Muhammed Buhari. The issue is like that of a married couple having a family grudge.

No third party can really know the source of their fight let alone resolve it. The two, Tinubu and Ambode, must have a closed-door meeting without a third party to settle this current imbroglio. This is not about loyalty, it’s fundamental.”

APC KEEPS MUM

However, it was learnt that members of the State Executive Council have been jittery over the development, not knowing where the pendulum will swing in the 2019 governorship ticket.

Those with political aspirations were said to be worst hit as they could be shown the way out at any moment. Most of them have started making moves, meeting the party leadership and stakeholders for an endorsement from Tinubu and other decision-makers.

One of the aspirants who spoke to Vanguard on the basis of anonymity said: “The decision of the party to adopt direct primaries has caused panic in the fold of the aspirants in Lagos. We are left in the dark, and that is why some aspirants have put on hold their ambition and begun moves to get Tinubu’s endorsement.”

 

Credit: Vanguard

BIG STORY

8 Nigerian ATM Robbers Sentenced To Death In UAE

Avatar

Published

on

Eight Nigerians, all men, have been sentenced to death in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates(UAE) for a string of robberies at money exchanges and cash machines(ATMs) across the emirate in December 2016.

The ninth Nigerian, found guilty for possession of stolen money was sentenced to six months imprisonment.

He will be deported after serving his prison term.

The Gulf News reported that the Nigerian denied the charge against him and said that one of the accused’s brothers asked him to transfer Dh60,000 to an account in Nigeria.

All the convicted Nigerians were not identified by both the Gulf News and Khaleej Times, all local newspapers, which reported the trial.

A total of 20 suspects were initially held for attacking security guards in four violent attacks at ATMs and money exchanges across Sharjah in late 2016. Out of 20 suspects, nine were convicted.

Some of the accused confessed to their crimes while others denied the charges levelled against them.

The verdict was handed down by Judge Majid Al Muhairi of Sharjah Criminal Court on Wednesday.

The eight-member gang attacked security trucks and entered establishments by force and threatened and assaulted staff and members of the public with bladed weapons in a spate of robberies, three of which were carried out on the same day on December 18, 2016.

The gang — who were all in the UAE on visit visas — were said to be highly organised and plotted a string of orchestrated attacks to ambush security trucks that were transporting money boxes to and from ATMs, and at least one money exchange in Sharjah.

The first robbery took place at a Dubai Commercial Bank ATM on King Abdul Aziz Street where Dh340,000 was stolen, then two days later they attacked an ATM in Al Safeer Mall in Al Nahda fleeing with Dh700,000, and an ATM in Muweilah where they stole Dh710,000. A fourth attack at a money exchange office near National Paints was foiled by police.

The gang of 20 was arrested in record time but police confirmed that only a portion of the stolen money — almost Dh1.8 million — had been recovered, as the gang members had divided the money among themselves and transferred it to their home country.

Suspects were taken into custody in cooperation with police in Dubai, Ajman and Fujairah.

The gang committed the heists at the busiest times of day when streets were crowded, which added to the confusion and enabled them to escape, said police.

In each robbery the assailants struck quickly before police could arrive, the attackers however could not evade security cameras and police were able to recognise the suspects through surveillance footage captured at the exchange house in the mall.

Video footage showed the suspects attacking security guards, making off with cash, and in one of the robberies slashing the hands of a security guard with a knife before running away with money boxes.

Police believe the suspects had monitored and tracked the security trucks used to transport money for a period of time before launching the attacks took place.

A prosecutor told Gulf News on Thursday that as per the law, a group of people who threaten the life of others while committing robbery are subject to the death sentence, however an appeal is expected to be launched and the sentences could get downgraded to life imprisonment.

The trial appeared unconnected with the arrest of five Nigerians in March this year, who robbed a Bureau de Change operator of Dh2.3 million (N225.4 million) in Sharjai, Dubai.

The suspects were identified as Chimuanya Emmanuel Ozoh, Benjamin Nwachukwu Ajah, Kingsley Ikenna Ngoka, Tochukwu Leonard Alisi and Chile Micah Ndunagu.

The five Nigerians reportedly barged into the BDC on March 20 and smashed the glass barrier between the customers and the staff, stole the money in multiple currencies and fled.

Two employees at the exchange were injured as they resisted the robbers. One of them managed to notify the police. The Sharjah Police coordinated with forces from Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah and Ajman to nab the suspects from four emirates within 48 hours after the robbery was committed.

A top police official said the suspects came to the UAE on visit visas on March 18.

(NAN)

Continue Reading

BIG STORY

Sanwo-Olu Unveils Inauguration Committee Ahead Of Swearing-In

Avatar

Published

on

Lagos State Governor-elect, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Thursday unveiled an inauguration committee that will usher in his administration on May 29th this year.
Mr Sanwo-Olu, who was in the company of his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, presented the committee members at his campaign office on Awolowo Road in Ikoyi.

A statement signed by media officer to the Governor-elect, Gboyega Akosile said the committee is chaired by the Director-General of Babajide Sanwo-Olu Independent Campaign Group (ICG), Mr Tayo Ayinde, while the Lagos State APC Women Leader, Honourable Mrs. Jumoke Okoya-Thomas and Mr. George Osifeko will serve as Vice Chairmen respectively and Mrs. Titi Oshodi will act as secretary.

While unveiling the inauguration team, the governor-elect said the committee is mandated with a responsibility of organizing a smooth programmes that will usher in his administration. The committee is also billed to reach out to Nigerians in corporate and political sectors, stakeholders and various interest groups locally and internationally to grace the swearing-in.

Sanwo-Olu urged members of the committee to co-operate and work diligently in achieving their mandate. He also tasked the team members to streamline their activities with the plans of the outgoing government and work with security agencies in order to have smooth transition.

Mr Ayinde assured the governor-elect and his deputy of the committee’s readiness to organize a seamless swearing-in programme.

He pledged the committee members’ readiness to work assiduously towards achieving an inauguration ceremony that will become a reference point in annals of political events in Nigeria.

”I want to assure your Excellencies that sitting before you are highly experienced men and women who have contributed tremendously to various industries. I can attest to their individual capacity to deliver on the terms of reference of a smooth inauguration ceremony.” Ayinde State.

Other members of the committee include:
Mrs. Obiageli Onu
Mrs. Funke Bucknor Obruthe
Alhaji Abdullahi Enilolobo
Mr. Kamal Salau-Bashua
Mr. Olatunji Disu
Mr. Kappo Emmanuel
Mr. Bolaji Durojaiye
Mrs. Olabopo Odiachi
Mr. Bimbo Onabanjo
Mr. Ajala Rasaq
Mrs. Taiwo Abiodun
Ayiri Oladunmoye
Mr. Gboyega Akosile
Mr. Lanre Adeyinka
Mr. Sesan Daini

Continue Reading

BIG STORY

Atiku Should Produce His Academic Credentials, I’m Far More Qualified – Buhari Tells Tribunal

Gbemileke Ajayi

Published

on

President Muhammadu Buhari has challenged the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to produce his academic credentials before the Presidential Election Tribunal.

Buhari said this in his response to allegations contained in the petition by Atiku and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, before the tribunal.

Buhari, in a response filed on April 16 by a team of lawyers led by Wole Olanipekun (SAN), said that the claim by Atiku and the PDP that he was not qualified to stand for election to the office of the President was a lie.

Buhari told the Tribunal that he was far more qualified to stand for the election than Atiku.

The President insisted that it was Atiku who was not qualified for the election.

President Buhari insisted that he never “at any time, provided any false information in Form CF00] submitted to the lst respondent, either in 2014 or 2018.

“The affidavit of compliance to the 2019 Form CF001 was correct in every material particular.

“In filling Form CF001 in 2014 and 2019, respondent was not oblivious of the constitutional qualifications stipulated in Section 131 of the Constitution and interpreted in Section 318 of the same Constitution.

“Petitioners themselves are also not oblivious of the fact that respondent possesses far more than the constitutional threshold expected for a candidate contesting for the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“The respondent avers that he is far more qualified, both constitutionally and educationally, to contest and occupy the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria than the 1st petitioner (Atiku); and that in terms of educational qualifications, trainings and courses attended, both within and outside Nigeria, he is head and shoulder above the 1st petitioner in terms of acquisition of knowledge, certificates, laurels, medals, and experience.

“Respondent states further that it is the 1st petitioner, who is not qualified to contest the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and challenges the educational credentials and certificates of the 1st petitioner.

“1st petitioner is hereby given notice to produce and tender his educational certificates, indicating the schools attended by him, with dates.”

The President gave his educational resume as: “Elementary School, Daura and Maid’adua (1948 – 1952), Middle School, Katsina (1953-1956, Katsina Provincial Secondary School (now Government College, Katsina (1956-1961).”

Buhari condemned the entire petition filed by the PDP and Atiku, and told the Tribunal that they are more about pre-election issues, which the Court of Appeal, sitting as a tribunal lacked jurisdiction.

He also argued that the petitioners told lies against themselves in the petition and made conflicting claims which the tribunal cannot grant.

For instance, Buhari noted that while the petitioners claimed to have won the last presidential election and also won elections in many states in the south-south and south-eastern part of the country, they also urged the court to nullify the election and order a fresh presidential election.

Burari argued that by virtue of Section of 137of the Electoral Act, petitioners cannot question the results of elections in states where they claim to have won and still retain themselves as petitioners.

Buhari faulted the petitioners’ claim that the election was marred by corrupt practices and substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act.

Continue Reading

Most Popular