Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has denied suggestions that he is working with agents of Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar ahead of the March 9 gubernatorial elections.
Ambode is a statement issued by his spokesman, Habib Aruna, strongly debunked the accusations contained in a story carried by The Nation newspaper in its March 1 edition.
The governor insisted that he remained a commited member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, which is the choice of Parisians.
Below is the full statement:
The attention of the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, has been drawn to a report in today’s edition of The Nation newspaper, Friday March 1, 2019.
Specifically, the contentious report, which was published on the newspaper’s front page without any by-line, insinuated that Governor Ambode might be working with an opposition party through a former member of the Lagos State Executive Council and Commissioner for Energy & Mineral Resources, Mr. Wale Oluwo.
The report also attempted to hold the Governor responsible for the alleged activities of Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi because he supported the governor’s gubernatorial ambition during the primaries of the All Progressives Congress in October 2018.
The governor wishes to make it abundantly clear that, having declared publicly his acceptance of the decision of the party on the primaries, he has not and will never take any action to undermine the prospects of the party in the on-going elections.
It is human to aspire and the capacity of each individual to manage the negative outcomes of a legitimate aspiration differs.
But that should never be the basis to link His Excellency to whatever action of certain individuals who might have shared his vision in the past but have proceeded to pursue their own interests as adults and citizens without any influence from or recourse to the governor.
Governor Ambode’s decision to stand by the party that has given him the platform to serve Lagosians meritoriously is based on the principle of justice, responsibility and loyalty. He has everything to gain from the victory of the party’s candidate Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu as the Governor of Lagos State on March 9, 2019 and he looks forward to handing over the affairs of the state to the candidate of the APC come May 29th.
It is therefore disturbing, unfair and sad that a respected medium such as The Nation which enjoys the goodwill of members of our party and is appropriately positioned to verify the falsehood of these fictitious and sponsored hatchet job chose not to observe the journalistic dictum of “if in doubt, leave out” in the breach.
In this circumstance, His Excellency hereby makes use of his right to a rejoinder and demands an apology for the unjustifiable aspersions cast on his person by wrongly presenting him to right thinking members of the public as a disloyal saboteur trying to frustrate his party’s campaign and electoral victory.
Nothing can be farther from the truth.
Governor Ambode has consistently appealed to those who sympathize with him that the best way to express solidarity is to vote for the candidates of the All Progressives Congress on Saturday March 9, 2019 in order to ensure that his own legacy is preserved and the gains of the past four years are improved upon.
As we move towards next Saturday’s important election, Governor Ambode urges Lagosians and party faithful not to allow fifth columnists pretending to be overzealous crusaders frustrate our onerous efforts to take Lagos State to the next level.
The governor says as he did in the run-up to last Saturday’s presidential poll, he will leave no stone unturned and spare no effort in ensuring that the party’s flag-bearer in the governorship election, Mr. Sanwo-Olu and all the 40 APC candidates in the House of Assembly poll are duly elected on Saturday March 9.
But leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, including Bola Tinubu, had reconciled the governor and the aggrieved lawmakers on Sunday.
Two days after, Ambode presented a proposal of N852.316 billion before the assembly, saying it had been carefully prepared to be all-encompassing and dedicated to complete major ongoing projects in the state.
The governor said N462.757billion representing 54 percent of the total budget size had been earmarked for capital expenditure, while N389.560billion representing 46 percent had been dedicated to recurrent expenditure.
He said key projects such as the Oshodi-Murtala Muhammed International Airport Road and Oshodi Interchange Terminal, among others would be completed.
He said from inception of his administration, nine key areas were given priority after careful assessment of the needs of the citizens, adding that such had informed the massive investment in the said sectors which he listed to include security, transport / traffic management, economy -including tourism and agriculture, housing, education, health, infrastructure – social and physical, water, wealth creation – skill acquisition/microfinance, e-Governance and enhanced capacity building, sustainable environment and smart city projects.
Giving details of what informed the budget size, Ambode said the performance of the 2018 budget of N1.046trn as of November 2018 stood at 60 percent owing to reduction in revenue projections, while the total revenue stood at N530.192 billion.
According to him, “In the outgoing year, however, we experienced a reduction in our revenue projections, which affected our projected performance and our desired implementation of the Y2018 Budget. The overall Budget performance as at November 2018 stood at 60 per cent/N574,206billion with actual cumulative total revenue of N530,192billion/64 per cent, Capital Expenditure closed at N311,930billion/49 per cent and Recurrent Expenditure performed at N262,276billion/82 per cent.
“In preparing the Year 2019 Budget, therefore, we were very mindful of the out-going year performance, the yearnings of our people and the fact that we are going into an election year. Consequently, we are today presenting a Budget that will be all-encompassing, reflect the level of resources that will be available and with special consideration to the completion of major on-going projects in the state.”
The Lagos State House of Assembly on Monday frustrated the bid of Akinwunmi Ambode, governor of the state, to present the 2019 budget.
Unlike in the last three years when the exercise went smoothly, the governor met brick wall in his attempt to lay his last budget before the lawmakers.
Ambode had contacted the lawmakers that he was set to present the budget but he was not given the opportunity.
When around 3pm, there were signs that the appropriation bill would be presented, journalists trooped to the assembly.
But 20 minutes later, an official at the assembly briefed the reporters that the presentation would no longer hold.
“I know you are journalists and here for your job but the budget will not be presented today,” he said.
“The speaker and the lawmakers are having a private session and would not like to see people at the lobby.”
As of the time of filing this report, the advance team of the governor were still within the premises of the assembly while the parliamentary session is ongoing.
Ambode’s relationship with the lawmakers went cold after he fell out with the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
There had been reports of attempt to impeach the governor but Mudashiru Obasa, speaker of the assembly, has denied this consistently.
Shortly after he lost the governorship ticket of the ruling party to Babajide Sanwo-Olu who has the support of Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the party, and key APC members in Lagos, the assembly reviewed the waste evacuation policy of the state without consulting the governor.
Ambode had disengaged the PSP operators following the introduction of the Cleaner Lagos Initiative, through the Visionscape Sanitation Solution Limited but the assembly overruled the governorin October and directed the PSP operators back to work.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, on Monday, officially endorsed the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, saying that the duo were prepared for the campaign and ready to take on the task of moving the State to greater heights.
The Governor, who spoke at a stakeholders’ meeting held at the State secretariat of the party on Acme Road in Ogba, raised the hands of Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat before scores of party leaders and faithful and wished them well in the March 2, 2019 election.
“As we are looking forward to February 16, 2019, we know it is the Buhari/Osinbajo ticket that the whole of Lagos will vote for. As we proceed two weeks after on March 2, we also declare that it is the Sanwo-Olu/Hamzat ticket that will come to take over from me by the special grace of God.
“I pray for them and bless them that they will take over from me successfully in good health and in good spirit,” he said.
He urged those still aggrieved with the fallout of the primaries of the party to follow his example, and accept the party’s supremacy.
“The first thing I want to say is to appeal to all our party members who, in one way or the other, have been wronged or aggrieved that they should find a place in their hearts to let it just be the same way that I have accepted the greatness of the party.
“I want us to know that the party is supreme to all our individual interests because it has the common good for all of us and we must find a place in our hearts to let the party reign supreme,” he said.
The governor also appealed to the leadership of the party to go a step further by looking for avenues to compensate aggrieved aspirants, saying such was necessary to spur them to work for the party and also move the party forward.
According to him, “I want to further appeal to all our leaders and our party leaders also that when there is a platform for reconciliation, we should proceed also to continue to reconcile and when there is a platform for compensation, we should also make those promissory notes so that all our aspirants who are not candidates must be ready to sacrifice for the overall collective of our party.
“This is very important so that we can move this campaign forward because it is only when we win that we can compensate, it is only when we win that we can reconcile and so let us have that collective decision to move APC forward.
“We are one party and we are one family and if we are one family and one party, then we should proceed and make APC the reigning party at the centre and the reigning party in Lagos. So, all our stakeholders, all our elders I seek for your cooperation, your solidarity and your support for our candidate at the gubernatorial level, senatorial level, House of Representatives and Assembly and also Presidency,” Governor Ambode said.
The Governor, also urged Lagosians to vote massively for the reelection of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo come February 16, 2019 for continuation of the good works in the country.
National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on his part, commended the courage of Ambode and others for accepting the outcome of the primaries of the party, saying their act of sportsmanship deserved to be appreciated.
Tinubu said Ambode, his deputy, Dr. Idiat Adebule, and all the leaders and members of the party had done commendably well in respecting the supremacy of the party.
Addressing the gathering which was attended by key leaders of the party in the State, Tinubu said: “I want to say thank you to all of you and God bless you. I thank all of you for respecting the party, particularly the present Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode and his deputy, Idiat Adebule. May God continue to bless you and guide you and you will live long with everlasting progress.
“Thank you to all our leaders, the Government Advisory Council (GAC) of Lagos State and the membership of the party who had embarked on reconciliation efforts to appeal to all our members who are initially aggrieved. The party supremacy has been demonstrated; the party discipline has been demonstrated. You are our leaders and we respect all of you,” he said.
While recalling that the direct primary option adopted for the shadow election of the party was taken after a GAC meeting, Tinubu said it was gratifying that all members of the party accepted and endorsed the decision, adding: “I want to thank you for maintaining peace, harmony, unity and love.”
He said having crossed the hurdle of the primaries, it was now time for all members of the party to unite and maintain a strong outing for APC during the 2019 general elections, saying APC remains committed to Nigeria’s progress, development and economic transformation.
Other leaders at the meeting are the State’s Deputy Governor, Idiat Adebule; Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa; State APC Chairman, Alhaji Tunde Balogun; GAC members led by Prince Tajudeen Olusi; Chief Lanre Razak, Senator Ganiyu Solomon, Chief Kemi Nelson, Cardinal James Odumbaku, former Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Jokotola Pelumi, among others.
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, on Saturday, urged voters in Epe Divison to vote en masse for candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) during the 2019 elections.
Ambode said that voting for the candidates across board would ensure the continuation of the good works of the party both in the state and the country at large.
Ambode, spoke in Epe during a meeting with leaders of APC in the division, which was called at his instance.
He said it was time for the people to put events before and after the APC governorship primaries in the state which produced Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu as the governorship candidate of the party behind them and truly unite for the party’s victory.
Ambode said it became imperative for him to meet with the leaders to let them know that all members must submit to the decision of the party.
He said: “All of us are brothers and sisters because this is a close-knit community. It is now time for us to work together for the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari and election of Mr Sanwo-Olu because Epe cannot be left behind.
“I know that in view of what happened, some people are still aggrieved but what I want you to know is that there is no way PDP will work for the development of our division like APC.
“We are also all aware that for the past 16 years of PDP, they did not do anything in Epe division and it is only the APC that has been doing something for Lagos and for the country.
“I want to assure you that Epe will benefit more if we vote for APC.
“All my achievements in the last three and half years will be improved upon if Sanwo-Olu wins and so I want to urge you all to come out and vote for APC because that is how we can secure the future of our children and this division.’’
Also speaking at the meeting, the Deputy Governorship Candidate of APC in the state, Dr Obafemi Hamzat thanked Ambode and all the leaders in the division.
Hamzat said the governor displayed unusual maturity and character which eloquently confirmed that he was a man with a large heart.
“I want to thank Governor Ambode for being a man with a large and great heart.
“What you are doing is unusual and I want to assure you that you have a future and that future will be very soon. We will do everything to protect your interest and that of Epe division.
“Governor Ambode has done his best and we will do our best to continue his legacies and build on what he has done to further develop our dear state, ‘’ Hamzat said.
At the meeting were Senator representing Lagos East, Gbenga Ashafa; and a member of the House of Representatives representing Epe, Wale Raji.
Others were Chief Lanre Razaq, former House of Assembly Speakers, Adeyemi Ikuforiji and Jokotola Pelumi; Alhaji Akanni Bamu, among others.
Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode on Thursday assured that the Governorship candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State for the 2019 general elections, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu will not abandon ongoing projects but rather complete and build on the enduring legacies already put in place by his administration.
Governor Ambode, who said this while inaugurating an ultra modern lecture theatre donated to the Lagos State University (LASU) by businessman and philanthropist, Mr Remi Makanjuola, said while efforts were on to complete all the major projects initiated by his administration, Sanwo-Olu would nonetheless complete those ones he is unable to deliver before the expiration of his tenure next year.
“I am so excited about the fact that Mr Sanwo-Olu has actually come out here and he has issued a promissory note and what that mean is that we are going to have a government of continuity.
“For whatever structures that we have in LASU right now, and I’m going to also convince our chief negotiator, Dr Wale Babalakin, we are already doing Senate building here, we are doing Students Arcade and we are also doing the Library, I hope I will be able to complete and finish them but if I am unable to complete them, I speak on behalf of Mr Sanwo-Olu that he will finish and also do the Staff School.
“We are not campaigning yet but truly that is the spirit of the kind of governance that we bring to Lagos; that is the spirit that we really want to see and then we should be able to show leadership in all spheres of life that we find ourselves,” Governor Ambode said.
Speaking on his administration’s intervention in the educational sector, he said in the last three and half years, at least N15billion has been invested in revamping infrastructure in schools across the State to ensure students can learn in a conducive environment, while 3,400 primary and secondary teachers were employed to improve the teacher to student ratio as well as quality of learning in schools.
The Governor said beyond the upgrade of infrastructure, the State Government developed innovative solutions to bridge gaps in education system, and to position Lagos State for a technology-driven future including the ReadySetWork and CodeLagos initiatives, noting that while 34,000 students have graduated from the former, the latter is geared towards teaching one million Lagos residents to code.
“At the grassroots level, faced with the realization that about 3 million Lagos residents could not read or write in any language, we commissioned Eko Nke Koo (Lagos Is Learning), an initiative aimed at raising the literacy rate in Lagos State from its current 87% to 95%.
“Through Eko Nke Koo, the Lagos State Agency for Mass Education increased the number of adult literacy centres across the State from 532 centres in 2016, to 782 as at January 2018.
“We have also recorded improvement in enrolment and retention rates of learners in the programme. In 2017, 98% of enrolled learners graduated from the programme,” Governor Ambode said.
He said in LASU, his administration had also carried out notable projects targeted at ensuring the institution remains academically competitive, financially viable, and most importantly, conducive for learning.
The Governor noted that last year, the State carried out major infrastructure development and road works to give the school a facelift befitting of its status as one of the top State Universities in the country, while it had also benefited from a significant increase in subvention to assist in ensuring smooth running of the school.
He disclosed that he had approved for the development of a 6,000 bed hostel which according to him, will increase accessibility and improve security for students in the institution, as the demand for higher education continues to grow.
“Reflecting on these investments, I must acknowledge it has been the privilege of this administration to build on the works of visionaries who came before us; and to be given the opportunity to raise the mark higher as we look ahead to a bright future for our State and Country,” Governor Ambode said.
The Governor also seized the occasion to commend the Makanjuola for donating the ultra-modern lecture hall to the institution, saying that the gesture would forever be remembered by generations.
“It has also been a true privilege and honour to work alongside collaborators – whether large scale organizations or well-meaning individuals in society – who recognize their role in State and Nation building, and have worked tirelessly to support the efforts of government.
“Today’s occasion is symbolic of this citizen-partnership. Indeed, Mr. Makanjuola has sown a seed that would outlive him by bequeathing this Ultra-Modern lecture Theatre to the University. Sir, this is a gesture that will be remembered for generations and for that we are eternally grateful. And in the same vein, on behalf of the Government and people of Lagos State, and the entire Lagos State University community, I say a very happy birthday to you, Sir. In another 48 hours, our philanthropist will be 70 years old. Congratulations, Sir,” he said.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Saturday lauded the Federal Government for the commencement of the reconstruction of the Apapa-Oshodi-Oworonshoki-Ojota Expressway, saying that the project would bring permanent relief to motorists and residents over the perennial gridlock in the axis and enhance movement within the State.
Governor Ambode, who spoke at the flag off ceremony in Apapa, held under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Works, said the development was a historic moment for residents in the State as it was the first time that any government would embark on a total reconstruction of the road since inception.
He said it was particularly gratifying that the project would be done using concrete, expressing optimism that it would ensure that the road would last for over forty years.
“Whatever it is that has been taking place in this particular project has always been rehabilitation and every Nigerian should be reminded that this road has been in place for more than 40 years.
“This is the first time the government at the centre is embarking on reconstruction, that means we are going to excavate everything all the way from Apapa, Oshodi to Oworonshoki and Ojota Expressway and actually reconstruct it, using concrete instead of asphalt because Lagos is below sea level, if you use asphalt, within seven to eight years, it would wash away because we are under water.
“So the concrete template is being used to give us a long lasting solution to this Apapa gridlock and this road will last for more than 40 years and we believe strongly that the PPP platform that has been given to this project to allow the private sector invest their money in it being driven by Alhaji Dangote is the best solution that we can use to develop public infrastructure right now and we must commend the Minister for that,” the Governor said.
He also thanked the Federal Government for approving the construction of the Agbara Seme Expressway, saying that while the State Government was committed to completing the ongoing works from Eric Moore to Okokomaiko, the decision to award the Agbara axis to Seme as a step in the right direction.
Besides, the Governor said beyond road reconstruction, emphasis must be placed on evolving a workable interconnectivity of rail, road and water transport systems, while commending the Federal Government for taking steps towards that effect.
“You would recall a few months ago that the Vice President was here in Lagos to activate the rail construction that is taking place between Apapa-Iddo-Agege-Abeokuta-Ibadan routes.
“What this means for us is that while we are constructing this and we are able to deliver on the rail project, goods can be carried out straight to the Ports from the rail. So by combining the rail and road solution that is being offered us by the Federal Ministry of Works and also Transport and totally by the Federal Government, Lagos State is proud to say that this is a major solution that would bring comfort to all the residents of Apapa,” Governor Ambode said.
He thanked the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola for facilitating the refund to the State Government for some of the Federal projects embarked upon, saying that his administration was already in the process of utilizing same to deliver other ongoing projects within the next few months.
The Governor, however, seized the occasion to appeal to residents for understanding, saying that though the commencement of the project might bring some inconvenience, the end result would be a permanent solution to the gridlock that has bedevilled the area over the years.
He assured that the State Government on its part would deploy more traffic and enforcement officers to ensure free flow of traffic in the course of the construction.
“The future of development and infrastructure actually lies in the present administration and the future of the prosperity of this country lies in the hands of President Buhari and we make no mistake about it that it is in our own interest that we continue to support the present government of APC at the centre and also at the State for continuity and greater deliverables of infrastructure, goods and services,” Governor Ambode said.
Sen. Anthony Adefuye, a member, Lagos State Governors Advisory Council (APC), on Thursday said party leaders in Lagos East Senatorial District fought to secure the second term ticket for Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode.
Adefuye spoke at a reconciliation meeting held at CMD Shangisha, Lagos, which brought together many stalwarts of the party in the district.
Ambode, who hails from Epe Zone in the senatorial district, lost the governorship ticket at the party primaries to Jide Sanwo-Olu, a former Commissioner in the state.
Adefuye, also the APC Lagos East Senatorial District Leader, said that leaders of the party in the district did their best to have a meeting with Ambode before the issue went out of hands.
“People accused us of removing Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode. We saw this crack four months ago and we decided to meet with our Lagos Central Senatorial Leader, Alhaji Tajudeen Olusi and we went to see Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
“We asked Tinubu if there was any problem, and he said that there was a problem and he narrated it. We prostrated and asked him to call Ambode and speak with him.
“We left the place and started calling Ambode to give him a hint of the meeting, but he did not pick our calls. Asiwaju Tinubu said that he was not picking his calls too. I actually tried my best,’’ Adefuye said.
The party leader said that he spoke with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo during Sallah that Asiwaju Tinubu would not return Ambode and I urged Osinbajo to speak with Tinubu.
According to him, efforts were also made to visit the Epe home of the governor on the second day to see him which proved abortive.
“We rose up to defend Ambode. We didn’t just follow Asiwaju like sheep, we fought and we tried. Those of us in the East nearly burst into tears for the opportunity we lost in Lagos East.
“I fought tooth and nail to make sure that the position was not taken away from us. It was a great opportunity that we lost.
“Anyone that is not a party man should not be elected into positions. Take this advice and make sure you don’t make the same mistake,’’ Adefuye said.
According to him, politics is all about what you can get for your people and every politician must fight for the people.
He said political office holders must fight for the people to prevent them from revolting, saying that there were a lot of things leaders could do to gain the respect of the people and the party.
The party chieftain said that APC leaders in the district were committed to ensuring peace and unity among the members for the purpose of moving the party forward.
“I want to assure you that it is part of our responsibilities to ensure that we remain one.
“Politics is dynamic; it is not for uncontrolled display of anger. This life is also dynamics. Let us be together,’’ he added.
On the disunity in the district, Chief Lanre Rasak, another member of the GAC, said that the district had not been able to resolve its issues like those in the Lagos Central and West Districts.
According to Rasak, the major challenge Tinubu has with the district is lack of united voice and divisions.
Also, the Deputy Senatorial Leader of Lagos East, Alhaji Akanni Seriki, commended Tinubu for all his efforts to unite and project the party.
Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode on Monday at the Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja swore-in five new Permanent Secretaries into the State Civil Service.
The appointees are Dr. Olabisi Taiwo (Ministry of Health), Mr. Olusegun Ajibade (Public Service Office), Mrs. Abiayo Akinsiku (Primary Healthcare Board), Dr. Yusuf Jimoh (Ministry of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Relations), and Mr. Ganiyu Rufai (Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives).
Ambode charged them to place high premium on efficient service delivery and work to make the machinery of governance to roll faster in the overall interest of the people.
The governor told them to bring their wealth of experience and knowledge to bear in their respective Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), and to go all-out to meet the high expectations of not only government but the teeming population of the State.
“With this appointment, you have all effectively become the Accounting Officer of your MDAs. You have been entrusted with a bigger and more sensitive responsibility which will put to test your leadership and managerial skills.
“Let me remind you of the very high expectations that will be placed on you, not only from the government but more importantly, from the over 22 million Lagosians who desire efficient and service delivery.
“Your ability to meet these expectations will depend on the amount of creativity and innovation you can bring to bear in the discharge of your responsibilities.
“Nobody expects you to reinvent the wheel. What is expected of you is to bring to bear your knowledge and experience so that the machinery of governance can roll faster and deliver more quality results to the teeming population of our State,” the Governor counseled the appointees.
While congratulating the new Permanent Secretaries, the Governor pointed out that the elevation was strictly based on merit as evidenced by their outstanding performance, commitment and dedication to duty over the years, saying they must work to justify their appointments.
Responding on behalf of the new Permanent Secretaries, Taiwo expressed gratitude to God and the governor for the opportunity to serve the State at the highest level in the civil service, just as she assured that they would not betray the confidence reposed in them but rather uphold the principles of public service.
“No evil will befall him and God still has great plans for him (Ambode). When the breeze blows, we will all see what the chicken is hiding underneath.
“The truth is that if Bola Ahmed Tinubu is angry, he’s justified. No evil will befall the three of them. They know my stance on the issue and it’s not a secret.
“Better people should come into politics, because majority of them there are liars and that is the truth. As time goes on, we will continue to de-emphasise the import of money in our election.
“On the other hand, concerning Ambode, if you have charm but you don’t have the antidote or another charm that can counter it, then you don’t have anything. I won’t say more than that. May God help all of us.
“So, I didn’t talk because they are both my children and it will get better.”
‘BUHARI SHOULD CLOSE THE BORDER TO PREVENT OBASANJO FROM ESCAPING’
Akiolu advised President Muhammadu Buhari to prevent former President Olusegun Obasanjo from “escaping” if he wins reelection in 2019.
“The moment he wins the election, he should close the border so that Obasanjo won’t escape,” the Oba said.
“Obasanjo should change his ways. An adage says that a deity that we try every possible thing to put in a place of honour that defies all such gestures would expose itself to ridicule at the end of the day.”
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State on Tuesday said he would lead a strong campaign to ensure victory for President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) Governorship candidate in the State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu in the 2019 general elections.
Governor Ambode, who spoke to journalists at the Presidential Wing of the Muritala Mohammed International Airport shortly after he accompanied President Buhari to perform the official commissioning of the new Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Border Posts at Seme-Krake joint border post in Badagry, said it was important for the APC to retain its leadership positions both in the federal and the State level.
“I have just accompanied Mr. President to the Nigerian-Benin Border Post. So what we have commissioned today is a joint Border Patrol post between Nigeria and the Republic of Benin and it is called Semo-Krake Border Post.
“But again, just to also use this opportunity to let Lagosians know that we are heavily committed to the re-election of Mr. President and you can see that his continuous visit to Lagos reiterates the fact that he is actually a lover of Lagos State and I am committed to ensuring his re-election.
“We are going to campaign heavily for him. I am also committed to ensuring that the APC wins the governorship election come 2019. We support the candidacy of Babajide Sanwo-Olu and we would make sure that APC retains Lagos State and the centre,” Governor Ambode said.
Earlier, Governor Ambode had received President Buhari at the airport before the duo proceeded to Seme where the President joined his Republic of Benin counterpart, Patrice Talon to inaugurate the Border Post.
With the inauguration, the Seme-Krake joint border, one of the busiest boundary lines not only in West Africa but the whole continent, daily recording huge movement of persons, goods and services, is expected to enhance the free movement of persons and goods in the region and foster integration between the people of Nigeria and Benin.
The Lagos State House of Assembly on Monday debunked speculations that it was plotting to impeach Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
Speaking on the floor of the House at the beginning of plenary, the Speaker, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, said there was no truth in the rumour.
Obasa said that he received telephone calls and enquiries from prominent members of the public over the rumoured impeachment moves against Ambode.
According to him, the Solidarity Group of Nigeria and a faction of the APC in Lagos State, led by one Fuad Oki has been insinuating that lawmakers in the state are threatening Ambode to open the state’s treasury.
The speaker, who noted that the rumour had it that the house was planning to impeach the governor if he failed to open the treasury, said it was a lie.
“We are not embarking on any impeachment process against the governor now.
“If there would be an impeachment, it would be from the governor and if there would not be any need for impeachment, it would be from him, based on his actions.
“Even at that, impeachment is constitutional, so many speakers, senate presidents, presidents and others have been impeached all over the world.
“So, nobody can threaten us if it happens because we are representatives of the people.
“We don’t need the wailers to guide us in performing our duties. It is not out of place for us to do our job,” Obasa said.
The speaker added that if there was going to be an impeachment, it would be done in the open, noting however, that there was nothing like that for now.
He added that the populace would be informed if impeachment of the governor would happen.
According to him, the assembly has been working with the governor to ensure peace and development in Lagos State.
Also speaking, the Majority Leader, Mr Sanai Agunbiade, said that the constitutional procedure for impeachment did not harbour secrecy, saying that members of the public would know if such would happen.
The speculation around the purported impeachment plot gained traction after the House on October 25, ordered the 20 Local Government Councils and the 37 Local Council Development Areas in the state to direct operators of the Private Sector Participation (PSP) contractors, involved in refuse clearing in the state to go back to work.
The House disowned Visionscape Sanitation Solutions that was contracted by Ambode to take over refuse clearing in the state from the PSP operators over a year ago.
The House stated that the State Government would have to return all the money it had paid to Visionscape.
The lawmakers said that heaps of refuse all over the state was an indication that Visionscape lacked the capacity to do the refuse clearance job.
Ambode had since lost his bid to go for a second term, following the governorship primaries of APC.
Ahead of the 2019 governorship election in Lagos, the State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has assured citizens that his programmes and policies would be sustained by an All Progressives Congress, APC governor in the state.
Ambode’s assurance came barely weeks after losing his second term bid at the APC gubernatorial primaries to Babajide Sanwo-Olu, an ex-commissioner in the state.
The Governor, while addressing congregation yesterday at the 9th Tradesmen And Artisans has Week & Graduation Ceremony for Re-Trained Artisans which held in Ikeja, stressed that the programme and policies of his administration were already embedded in APC manifesto, describing it as a great party.
The governor, who was represented by Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello, said: “You can therefore be rest assured of the continued sustenance of this programme by an All Progressives Congress-controlled government in Lagos State. We thank all organisations and individuals from the organised private sector that have joined hands with us in our determination to improve the competence and socio-economic condition of our artisans.
“Our government will continue to work in collaboration with relevant stakeholders to design and executive programmes, to enhance the productivity of tradesmen because, growing the capacity of tradesmen and artisans remain a key component that we cannot afford to ignore,” Ambode added.
The governor implored the over 1, 500 graduands of the artisan up-skilling training programme to take advantage of the opportunities provided to be financially independent, become employers of labour and continue their quota to the growth and development of the state and her economy.
He noted that in the last three and a half years, through the Ministry of Wealth Creation, his administration had showed unwavering commitment to tradesmen and artisans in the state. “In addition to providing a platform for individuals and groups to contribute their quota to the economic development of Lagos State, we have recognized and celebrated the progress made by the groups of artisans and tradesmen in the state”, he added.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Mrs Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf, said the artisans had been tasked through different platforms to train and retrain their members. Akinbile-Yusuf said this was for them to compete successfully with their counterparts from neighbouring countries, with a view to meeting the demand of an emerging “smart city.“
The President, Lagos State Council of Tradesmen and Artisans, LASCOTA, Alhaji Nurudeen Buhari, commended the governor for his support and encouragement. Buhari also thanked the governor for the credit facility granted to his members under the state employment trust fund
Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode and his likely successor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu have appeared together for the first time in public since the governor was denied a second term on Tuesday’s All Progressives Congress guber primaries.
Ambode had launched a scathing attack on Sanwo-Olu prior to the primary but concesed defeat and congratulated him after the results were announced.
Both men are currently at the ongoing APC Convention where President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to be endorsed as the sole presidential candidate.
Meanwhile, security is tight in and around the Eagle Square, Abuja, as the National Convention of the All Progressives Congress (APC) gets underway.
At least 7,000 delegates from all over the country are expected to gather at the venue to ratify the candidacy of President Muhammadu Buhari as the party’s flagbearer for next year’s presidential election.
Newsmen report that all roads leading to the venue have been shut to vehicular traffic by combined teams of heavily armed security personnel.
The agencies involved include: the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigerian Army.
Safety and emergency services such as the Federal Road Road Safety Corps (FRSC), the FCT Vehicle inspection Office (VIO) and the Federal and FCT and Fire Services are also taking part in the exercise.
Traffic is being diverted at major intersections several metres away from the venue on both sides of the Ahmedu Bello and Shehu Shagari Ways, and adjoining routes leading to the Eagle Square.
Governor of Lagos state, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, has accepted has accepted his loss of the gubernatorial primary election of the All Progressives Congress (APC), congratulating Babajide Sanwo-Olu, winner of the exercise.
Sanwo-Olu polled 970,851 votes ahead of the governor who secured 72,901 votes.
In his address, Ambode said APC is a great party, appealing to residents of the state to give Sanwo-Olu the needed support in the 2019 election.
“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,” he said.
“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 the winner of the Lagos State APC Primaries, Mr. Babajide 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 also promised to ensure a smooth transition. Ambode thanked Bola Tinubu, his estrange godfather.
The governor also expressed gratitude to the people of the state for giving him the opportunity to serve.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Since the return of democracy in 1999, Ambode is the first governor of the state to serve a term.
The chairman of the primary election panel of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos, Clement Ebri, has declared Babajide Sanwo-Olu as winner of the exercise in the state.
Ebri made the declaration at a press conference in Lagos on Wednesday morning. He had earlier distanced the committee from the election, opposing the open ballot system used.
Ebri had said arrangements were in place to commence fresh elections where the secret ballot would be used. But Tunde Balogun, chairman of the APC in Lagos, disagreed with Ebri, saying the election went on peacefully across the state.
Balogun had declared Sanwo-Olu winner of the exercise, announcing that he polled 970,851 votes while Ambode secured 72,901 votes.
However, at his media briefing on Wednesday, Ebri reeled out the same figures.
The NWC panel’s initial position had sparked confusion among members of the ruling party and residents of the state.
Ebri had said the need for equity and fairness made his panel to reject the primary.
“First and foremost, yesterday (Monday) we held a stakeholders meeting; certain submissions were made and on the basis of these submissions, I contacted the national headquarters and they asked us to adjust the procedures in line with the provisions,” he had said.
“We had a session with the representatives of both aspirants, they were here as early as 8am and at that meeting, we discussed some of these modalities and asked them to furnish us with names of people who will act as agents for this exercise.
“So, we received the list from one party about one hour ago. At one point, they brought a list for seven local governments out of 20 and about five hours later, they brought list for 11. Even the other two local governments have not been provided till this moment (4pm). Do you blame me? Will you have expected us to collect 18 from one person and 20 from another person? No.
“This is all about fairness and equity and I think at the end of the day, what we did was the best. I couldn’t have collected materials and say because the other party didn’t come, I give to the other person and say go and conduct the election.”
However, after consultation with the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, it was lesrnt that Ebri was told to accept the results.
It was not immediately clear if the Ambode camp will challenge the decision in court.
Reacting to the development, Ambode Campaign Organisation in a statement on Tuesday night, said the Governor had not conceded any defeat as primary election had yet to hold in Lagos State.
In the statement, the organisation argued that there were guidelines and procedures which the NWC said must be followed in conducting a credible poll but which were not followed.
“Ambode has not conceded any defeat as primary election is yet to hold in Lagos State following guidelines.
“These include the usage of membership slips and membership cards by registered party members, as well as the adoption of secret ballot system which protects the electorate.
“The NWC came from Abuja with sufficient ballot papers which have yet to be distributed. As a loyal and responsible party member and a democrat, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode is guided by the process announced by the party and shall await the new date of the governorship primary election,” the statement read in part.