2019: ‘What pitted Tinubu against Ambode’


Former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu’s opposition to the second term bid of Governor Akinwumi Ambode is due to alteration of the state’s major policies the governor made after he assumed office.

According to a ThisDay report, this came as some APC chieftains including former APC Deputy chairman, Cardinal James Odumbaku and former Commissioner for Agriculture and Cooperatives, Kaoli Olusanya, allegedly directed Ambode to return his nomination form or face impeachment at a meeting held at Watercress Hotel, Ikeja Monday night.

At the meeting, it was gathered, all Chairmen of 20 Local Government Areas, LGAs, and 37 Local Council Development Area, LCDAs, signed the governorship nomination form of Tinubu’s anointed candidate, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Also, a video clip obtained showed some of the council chiefs signing Sanwo-Olu’s nomination under the supervision of some state party leaders led by Cardinal Odumbaku and encouraging the council chiefs to support Asiwaju’s anointed candidate.

As shown in the video, Mr Odumbaku said there was no other political group in Lagos State again than the Mandate Movement, noting that the Bola Ahmed Tinubu Campaign Organisation had been fused into the Mandate Movement.

He said Mr Sanwo-Olu “is Asiwaju’s annointed candidate for 2019. We gathered here on the instruction of our leader. We must honour by supporting his choice candidate for the 2019 governorship election in the state. The era of Ambode has gone. This is a new era. In 2019, Sanwo-Olu will be the one to occupy the State House.”

However, multiple sources revealed main reasons the APC national leader refused to endorse his political godson for re-election yesterday, ascribing it to Ambode’s decision to alter, modify and scrap some state’s policies initiated under the Tinubu administration between 1999 and 2007.

One of the sources mentioned the affected policies to include Kick Against Indiscipline, KAI, and Lagos State Waste Management Authority, LAWMA, which the Ambode administration scrapped and modified to serve the residents more effectively.

While KAI was replaced with the Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Corps, LAGESC, the source said LAWMA gave way for Cleaner Lagos Initiative, CLI, which he said, designed for effective management of the state’s residential wastes.

However, according to him, the CLI later created grievous waste management challenges in the state. Asiwaju see these legacies. When scrapped, Asiwaju believed Ambode just wanted to rubbish legacies. He was indeed displeased.

Apart from KAI and LAWMA, another source cited the case of Lagos Bus Reform Initiative, which the Ambode administration invested over N30 billion Paris Club refunds the state received from the federal government between 2016 and 2017.

Specifically, the source disclosed that Tinubu’s idea of public transportation “is completely different from the Bus Reform Initiative, which Ambode introduced in 2017. Asiwaju believes public transportation should be driven by the private sector.

“Ambode’s decision to invest such huge amount on the construction of bus terminals and procurement of about 6,000 air-conditioned high occupancy vehicles is at variance with Asiwaju’s position. Asiwaju never bought into this initiative.”

The report said besides policy alteration, an entirely different source said Asiwaju was displeased with his godson because he set up a political group of his own called Akinwunmi Ambode Campaign Organisation, AAMCO, with networks across all LGAs and LCDAs.

According to the source, all political groups in the state have been collapsed into Bola Ahmed Tinubu Campaign Organisation, BATCO. Asiwaju felt the creation of AAMCO was a violation of his directive. But the truth is Ambode created the group because he won the APC governorship ticket in December 2014.

Mr Ambode had expressed interest to run for a second term as governor of the state on the platform of the APC.

The governor made the official declaration on Monday, September 10, in Alausa. Ambode recalled how he was called upon by Lagosians to come and serve the state four years ago and thanked them for their support.

He said: “In the last three and a half years, I have fulfilled my promises to you to make Lagos work for all. With your support, we have made Lagos a better place and changed the face of our State. I did not do it alone; we did it together, because you believed.

“Our state has remained steadily prosperous because of your positive outlook. I urge you to always stay positive in your personal and communal lives and continue to aspire to great things.