Lagos Guber Battle: Ambode Will Win If The Primary Is Transparent — Gov’s Aide
Lagos, Nigeria Political News 2nd October, 2018: After two postponements of the Lagos governorship primaries, the exercise finally holds today with Ambode squaring up to Sanwo-Olu.
The third aspirant, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, also one time Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, have earlier stepped down for Sanwo-olu.
The political atmosphere remained tense yesterday with the governor’s camp remaining upbeat and insisting that it was ready for today’s battle.
“If the process is transparent, we shall win,” a top aide of Ambode said last night.
Ambode had set this tone when asked the NWC “to ensure that the process is credible to avoid the APC going into the 2019 general elections divided.”
He said this while receiving the State Primary Election Panel constituted by the NWC to monitor the governorship primary election at the State House, Alausa yesterday, and expressed confidence in the selection of the panel’s members.
The electoral panel, which was chaired by former Cross Rivers Governor, Mr. Clement Ebri, comprises Alhaji Ahmed Mahmud Gumel (Secretary), Mr. Nze Chidi Duru, Chief Clever Egbeji, Senator Clever Ikisikpo and Amb. Jerry Ugokwe, among others.
While addressing the members of the panel at the Government House yesterday, Ambode urged the panel to use its prerogative to decide the best time for the primary and make a public announcement on the time, date and venues of the exercise to enable members of the party partake in the process.
He observed that he had gone through the same process with 12 other aspirants to emerge as governorship candidate of the APC in 2014, saying that it was not out of place to have other aspirants contest for the same ticket this time.
However, Ambode observed that the eventual process of choosing who flies the APC flag in the state must be fair to all concerned.
He said, “All I seek is credible primaries, transparent primaries and level playing ground that we will all be proud of at the end of the day for the outcome.
“There were issues that we have raised and that we are also trying to correct. The bottom line is this, we are a family. We must not go into the 2019 elections divided because this is the very first time that the APC is controlling the centre and also Lagos State. That is what I want us to continue.
“The issues that I raised have been put in form of a letter which I would pass to their chairman. I believe the committee will look into it judiciously. I welcome the stakeholders meeting which will allow you feel the pulse of what is going on in the state.”
Ambode tasked the panel to conduct a credible and transparent process to do all within its powers to ensure a level playing field for all aspirants in the contest, saying it was only in such situation that democracy, which the party upholds, would be entrenched.
He said it was important that the election when conducted is seen to be free, fair and credible to all aspirants concerned, expressing confidence in the selection of the panel’s members.
The governor added that he had no doubt that the panel would live up to expectation and deliver a credible process, which according to him, will go a long way to determine the future of Nigeria and the greatness of Lagos in particular.
Speaking during the visit, Ebri, former Cross Rivers Governor, said the panel deemed it fit to pay a courtesy visit to the governor as the number one citizen in the state and to also intimate him on the process for the conduct of the primaries.
As the number one citizen of Lagos, he said: “We felt obliged to come and see you particularly when you are contesting for the office of Lagos State Governor for which we all believe you have done so well. We are the panel that has been constituted to conduct primaries. We are seven members and there are indications that there would be one or two additions due to the work load here.
“We have come to intimate you that this exercise is going to take place in the next few hours. I like to apologise for the delay, it had to be postponed as a result of logistics in Lagos, Imo and some other States because of the pressure and work load from the secretariat and other developments that have taken place.”
Ebri said his team was ready for the task ahead and would do everything possible to ensure that the process is seen to be free, fair and credible. Lagos is more like a decider and like they say, when Lagos sneezes the rest of the country catches cold.
The panel eventually met with stakeholders at the party’s secretariat in Ikeja where it was decided that the voting shall not involve the use of ballot papers and that members shall vote by queuing behind the posters of the aspirant of their choice.
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