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

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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

Melaye Vs Adeyemi: INEC Fixes November 16 For Fresh Kogi West Senatorial Election

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The fresh Kogi West Senatorial election involving Sen. Dino Melaye of the PDP and Sen. Smart Adeyemi of the APC is to hold on November 16, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Melaye and Adeyemi INEC, in a statement, signed Mr. Festus Okoye, Chairman of its Information and Voter Committee, said that the senate election would hold simultaneously with the Kogi governorship election.

Okoye, INEC National Commissioner, in a statement made available to journalists on Monday in Abuja, said that another by-election for the Sabuwa State Constituency in Katsina State had been slated for November 30.

“The decision was taken at the commission’s meeting held on Monday,” the statement said. He said that the fresh election was a sequel to the nullification of the Kogi West Senatorial District election conducted on February 23, by the Election Petitions Tribunal and its subsequent affirmation by the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal had upheld the ruling of the Election Petitions Tribunal which nullified the election of Sen. Dino Melaye (PDP), following a suit filed by Sen. Smart Adeyemi of the APC.

The Appeal Court, on October 11, 2019, ordered INEC to conduct a fresh election within 90 days from the date of judgment with all those who participated in it as eligible candidates. Okoye appealed to the candidates and political parties to conduct issue-based campaigns. “We also enjoin stakeholders to eschew violence and avoid acts capable of creating apprehension or a sense of fear before, during and after the elections,” he said.

Okoye also disclosed that following extensive consultations with stakeholders and a review of the security situation with the relevant security agencies, the Commission fixed Nov. 30 for the conduct of bye-election in Sabuwa State Constituency, Katsina State.

He recalled that the Katsina State House of Assembly, vide a letter with Reference Number KTSHA/PER/HON/l24/VOL.l/24, dated Sept. 26, notified INEC of the death of Mustapha Abdullahi, who represented the constituency, and subsequently declared the seat vacant.

He said that the Commission would issue the Notice of Election on October 23, while the conduct of party primaries would take place between October 24 and November 6.

According to Okoye, the last day for the submission of personal particulars of candidates (Form CF001), and the list of candidates (Form CFOO2) is November 8.

“The last day for the submission of names and addresses of polling agents is November 15, while campaigns will end on November 28,” he said.

(Vanguard)

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BREAKING: Heavily Armed Thugs Attack Kwankwaso In Kano, 8 Persons Critically Injured

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Former Governor of Kano State and the immediate past Senator representing Kano Central, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, was attacked by thugs who are yet to be identified in Kano, Monday.

The attack, which followed the former governor’s visit to his hometown, Madobi where he had gone to open a midwifery school, was said to have been carried out around the state underpass.

Eight persons were said to have been critically injured while several cars were damaged beyond recognition.

However, Hajiya Binta Sipikin, Kwankwaso’s media aide, linked the attack to thugs loyal to Governor Abdullahi Ganduje.

She said, “This attack was preplanned because we were told that heavy-armed thugs were waiting under the bridge to attack us when we were coming from Madobi.

“We believe Ganduje was behind this attack because we heard one of his aide names being mentioned during the attack.”

She noted that scores of their members were seriously injured and currently receiving medical attention in various clinics including the International Hospital while 10 vehicles destroyed and personal items carted away by political thugs believed to have been sponsored by the Kano State Government at Sharada Panshekara Sabon Titi bridge.

However, one of the Governor’s top aides, who pleaded not to be named, denied being behind the attack on Kwankwaso’s convoy.

He alleged that the attack was an internal wrangling between the Kwankwasiyya members who were apparently tired of their boss, Kwankwaso.

He said, “The attack was a misunderstanding between the Kwankwasiyya members, who accused Kwankwaso of betraying their trust by after them for his personal gains.”

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BREAKING: Court Orders Forfeiture Of Saraki’s Houses In Ikoyi

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A federal high court sitting in Lagos has ordered the temporary forfeiture of two properties of Bukola Saraki, former senate president, in the Ikoyi area of Lagos state.

Nnaemeka Omewa, a counsel of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC), had approached the court, seeking an order of interim forfeiture of the properties located at 17A McDonald Road, Ikoyi, Eti Osa local government area of Lagos.

He had told the court that they were acquired through “proceeds of unlawful activities”.

Part of the reliefs sought by the EFCC included “An order of this honourable Court forfeiting to the Federal Government of Nigeria landed property with appurtenances situate, lying and known as No. 17A McDonald Road, Ikoyi, Eti Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State found and recovered from the respondent which property is reasonably suspected to have been acquired with proceeds of unlawful activity”.

The commission alleged that while serving as governor of Kwara state, Saraki withdrew over N12 billion cash from the account of the Kwara government and paid the same into his accounts domiciled in Access and Zenith Banks through one of his personal assistant, Abdul Adama.

Delivering ruling on the application, Mohammed Liman, the presiding judge, ordered interim forfeiture of the two properties.

He also instructed that the EFCC should publish the order in a national newspaper within 14 days, for anyone with interest in the properties to show cause, why they should not be finally forfeited to the federal government.

The federal government had arraigned Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) while he was the nation’s number three citizen.

He was accused of failing to declare his assets, an allegation he denied, alleging that he was being witch-hunted.

The supreme court subsequently dismissed the false assets declaration trial.

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