“I wholeheartedly congratulate… Sanwo-Olu and urge all Lagosians to immediately support our party’s gubernatorial candidate in the 2019 elections”
Moshood Adebayo and Chinelo Obogo, Lagos
Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has conceded defeat in Tuesday’s governorship primary, just as he has congratulated his main challenger, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Ambode’s congratulatory message was conveyed in a three-minute state broadcast, yesterday afternoon; during which he also congratulated the All Progressives Congress’, (APC) leadership.
The governor also thanked the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
He thanked Lagosians for their faith and trust in him and urged them not to relent in their support for the APC as it prepares for general elections.
The governor, who said the interests of Lagos state must supersede that of any person or group, urged all Lagosians to support Sanwo-Olu’s bid.
“Fellow Lagosians, the last few days have witnessed intense political activities that have gripped the attention of the nation and created palpable tension in the polity. I strongly believe that the time has now come for the state to move forward in order that the gains of the last three and half years are not lost.
“Dear Lagosians, APC is a great party and the interests of our beloved State must always supercede that of any person or group. It is in this regard that I wholeheartedly congratulate… Sanwo-Olu and urge all Lagosians to immediately support our party’s gubernatorial candidate in the 2019 elections and work for the success of our dear party.”
He promised to ensure a smooth transition.
“As governor, I will do everything possible to ensure a smooth transition in the remaining period of this administration and ultimately to the new governor, come May 2019. I therefore appeal to all our party members that we remain one family and unite behind the candidate of the party, so that we can continue to move this state forward.
“The progress of Lagos state is non-negotiable. It is a project that I have passionately worked for in the last three and half years as your governor and one to which I will forever be devoted.
“I wish to use this opportunity to thank our national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the leadership of our great party at state and national levels, all party faithfuls and all Lagosians.
“I thank all Lagosians for their faith and trust in me. I urge you not to relent in your support for our party as we prepare for the general election.”
Earlier, Chairman of the APC Lagos State Governorship Primary Committee, Clement Ebri, declared Sanwo-Olu winner of Tuesday’s primary.
The development came shortly after Ebri, a former governor of Cross Rivers State, appointed by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC, denounced the primary in 245 wards across the state.
His declaration that the primary would not stand caused uproar in the state chapter of the party, prompting the State Chairman, Tunde Balogun, to insist that Sanwo-Olu remains the party’s governorship candidate and no fresh primary would be conducted.
Balogun then declared the result of the primary, which saw Sanwo-Olu victorious.
Following the controversy that ensued, Ebri addressed a press conference in the early hours of yesterday morning, where he acknowledged the primary and also, declared Sanwo-Olu winner and governorship candidate of the party.
“At the end of the exercise, the following votes were scored by the respective aspirants; one, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode got 72,901 votes. The other aspirant, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, scored 970, 851 votes.
“Following the results, I, Clement Ebri, the chairman of the Lagos State APC Governorship Primary Committee, hereby declare Babajide Sanwo-Olu the winner of that election.”
At the end of his declaration, Ebri did not give explanations for his change of mind after the panel had insisted on Tuesday evening that a fresh primary would be conducted because the primary did not adhere to stipulated guidelines, hence, was not recognised.
After the initial refusal of the committee to declare Sanwo-Olu winner, the state party chairman, Tunde Balogun, said at a press conference at the state secretariat that the result of the primary was valid, with Sanwo-Olu as winner.
Balogun said: “Those persons who claim this election did not take place stands in direct opposition to the spirit of democracy and the express will of APC members in Lagos. The state chapter of the party is committed to honoring their choice and their decision must stand as the true expression of the APC in the state. For me, as party chairman, to see vast numbers of people come out and vote and then say that no primary took place would be to cast shame on the party and its leadership. That, I shall not do.
“I, therefore, declare that having polled the highest number of votes in the governorship primary, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has emerged the candidate of the APC for the Lagos State governorship election for 2019.”
On Tuesday night, the APC candidate appreciated Tinubu and said his fatherly role cannot be taken for granted. The APC candidate said this in reaction to the primary which held across the state that day.
He said if elected governor, integrity would be his watchword.
“I need to thank the Almighty God who has kept all of us, Lagosians, Nigerians, up until this very moment; all glory, honour and adoration goes to the Almighty God.I think it’s appropriate I thank our national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who has provided the platform forallofus,somanyofus that have looked up to him, the fatherly role, a political landscape that one cannot take for granted.
“I want to also use this opportunity to thank the national chairman of our great party, the All Progressives Congress, His Excellency Adams Oshiomhole and the national working committee for giving us tremendous support, for encouraging us and for letting true democracy reflect, for sustaining this direct primary and for letting it be the true test of what it should be.”