Lagos 2015: Tinubu taps Akinwunmi for governor
Strong indications have emerged that the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State has acquiesced to the request of Christians in the state for a Christian governor in 2015.
The party has been in government in Lagos since the current democratic dispensation began in 1999 and all the governors have been Muslims.
The decision to present a Christian candidate, Hallmark reliably gathered, emerged after due consultations with eminent Christian leaders and clerics who have promised to mobilise other faithful to vote enmasse for the party if a Christian emerges as its governorship candidate in the state.
The Christian leaders who were delighted that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu had finally heeded to their demands, it was learnt, suggested Ayo Gbeleyi, the present Commissioner of Finance in the administration of Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola.
A source at the meeting disclosed that the maverick politician did not give any commitment to back Gbeleyi as the APC candidate in the 2015 election.
He further disclosed that Gbeleyi was Fashola’s candidate and does not have Tinubu’s blessing.
A Pentecostal church pastor who is also an executive of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), who did not want his identity disclosed, condemned the current setup where the three senatorial seats in the state are occupied by Moslims.
He maintained that the push for a Christian governor for Lagos state was not to ignite any religious crisis but to ensure balance and equity, insisting that the efforts of successive administrations in the state in the areas of governance, accountability and reliability are not and should not be exclusive of faith or religion.
“It is just fair and equitable to allow a Christian to govern Lagos, given the fact that successive governors of the state since 1999 that democracy returned have been Moslems”.
However, few days after his meeting with top Christian leaders, Tinubu, it was reliably gathered, held another meeting with all the 57 local government chairmen in the state in hios Ikoyi, Bourdillon Road residence, where he announced a former Permanent Secretary/Accountant-General of the Lagos State Government, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, who resigned in 2012 because of his governorship ambition as Fashola’s successor.
It was gathered that Akinwunmi, whose wife just delivered twins after almost two decades of their marriage, has gone back to school (Harvard University, Boston Massachusetts, USA) to hone his skill in governance.
A local government chairman who was part of the meeting, confirmed that Tinubu mentioned Ambode’s name as his choice to replace Fashola.
He, however, maintained that the Tinubu, popularly referred to as the ‘Lion of Bourdilon’, is a very unpredictable character who could change his mind at the last minute.
Hallmark also gathered that the name of the Chairman of House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora Affairs, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, had come up at several political meetings as Ambode’s possible running mate.
A prominent member of the party in Ifako Ijaiye, Alhaji Olajide Idaduola, while speaking with Hallmark, however, warned that people should be wary of those promoting themselves and claiming they are being sponsored by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
He said that in 2006, the likes of Mr. Hakeem Gbajabiamila, the then Commissioner for Housing, Professor Adekunle Lawal, then Commissioner for Education and Dr Tola Kasali, then Commissioner for Rural Development and later Health, were parading as Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s candidates before Mr. Babatude Raji Fashola (SAN) eventually emerged as Tinubu’s candidate.
While the names of the Akinwunmi and Gbeleyi have come up as Fashola’s successor, other candidate are still in the race.
They include former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Lagos State, Mr. Olasupo Shasore, former Commissioner for Finance in the state who left to take up an appointment with First Bank of Nigeria Plc, Mr. Tokunbo Abiru and the present Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Dr Femi Hamzat.
The list of aspirants who want to succeed Fashola also include Senator Ganiyu Olanrewaju Solomon, Rt. Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, Dr Muiz Banire, Senator Gbenga Ashafa and Hakeem Alibo.