Following his alleged rejection by the powers that be in Lagos state, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has reportedly taken new steps that could see him winning and retaining his position during the 2019 election.
This Day reports that Ambode, who recently bought the nomination form of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has reached out to the presidency to intervene in the alleged friction between him and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
The report added that the governor was making the move as he battles to neutralize the Mandate Group, a political machine of his godfather.
Ambode is currently battling for reelection against two powerful aspirants, Obafemi Hamzat, believed to have the support of some politicians from Abuja, and Babajide Sanwo-Olu, one of the appointees of the governor, who is said to have the backing of Tinubu and his Mandate Group.
It was learnt that the development surprised Ambode, who is reported to have sought and received a promise from the national leader of the APC before he travelled to Abuja to obtain the form.
On Monday, September 10, the chairmen of the 20 local government areas and 37 local council development areas (LCDAs) had appended their signatures to the nomination form of Sanwo-Olu.
The report quoted multiple sources as saying though Ambode respects Tinubu, he was being prodded by some of his loyalists and friends to fight back.
“Ambode says he is not a politician and did not ask to be a governor. He feels, therefore, that if he is no longer wanted by the powers that be, he should simply ease out in peace.
“But there are some of us who feel that loyalty should beget loyalty, and that if Tinubu has become disloyal to Ambode, the governor should not go down without a fight, giving that he has goodwill not only among the people of Lagos State, but also with the seat of power in Abuja,” a source added.
One of the sources was quoted as saying the governor’s strategy is a mixture of diplomacy and war. “First he would seek to persuade Tinubu to change his mind and support him. If that fails, he would fight, believing that he has enormous capacity to do maximum damage to the political fortunes of the APC in the state,” he said.
The report said Ambode contacted Aisha, the wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, to intervene following the failure of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to intervene, and claimed that Oba Rilwan Akiolu is expected to lead a delegation of the council of traditional rulers in the state to Tinubu’s Bourdillon residence to plead the case of Ambode.
“The governor would be presenting his nomination form to Tinubu for endorsement tomorrow (today). If he refuses to sign, it would be a clear signal that he no longer supports Ambode. At that point, he would have to activate his battle plan,” a source said, adding that this would be the option should Tinubu fail to soft-pedal.
The plan, according to the report, is to ensure that his commissioners, political appointees and aides who have been put on notice, would begin to mobilize their constituencies to deliver during the primaries.
The report further states that Ambode may have opened communications with Hamzat and his Justice Group, to align with him in the event of a showdown with Tinubu.
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