There’s actually a plot to halt Ambode’s 2nd term bid and this is what it looks like

The plot to unseat Ambode as Lagos Governor and stop his 2nd term bid, is gathering pace. Here's the story of all the intrigues in Lagos APC.

Two weeks ago, it was rumoured that Ambode was on the cusp of dumping the APC for the PDP after he was told he wasn’t going to get an automatic ticket by Tinubu. Pulse has learnt that those rumours were not wide off the mark after all.

“At the moment, Tinubu is not backing Ambode for a second term. You can take that to the bank”, a top ranking APC chieftain in Lagos told Pulse on condition of anonymity.

Formidable contestants for Ambode's job

On the day Ambode stormed the National Headquarters of the APC to pick up his N22.5million governorship nomination form, two other formidable governorship aspirants from Lagos APC were also picking up theirs.

Sources have confirmed to Pulse that Ambode fell out with Tinubu after the Asiwaju made it clear to him that Lagos will adopt the direct primary system to settle for its governorship flag bearer, instead of the indirect primary route.

In a direct primary, registered party members are allowed to freely vote on convention day. In an indirect primary system, only handpicked party delegates are allowed to vote.

Ambode feels that the direct primary system will leave him at a disadvantage, especially since he's lost plenty of grassroot support.

Mr. Jide Sanwo-olu, who served as commissioner for Establishment, Training and Pensions under former Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, has emerged Tinubu’s preferred candidate in the Lagos governorship race, one source confided in Pulse.

Sanwo-olu is currently the Managing Director, Lagos State Property Development Corporation (LSPDC).

This week, members of the Mandate Movement, a grassroot group in Lagos that answers to Tinubu, held clandestine meetings where they settled for Sanwo-olu as their candidate for the governorship race.

On the night of Monday, September 10, 2018, 57 local government chairmen in Lagos converged on the Watercress Hotel, Ikeja, to pay for, fill Sanwo-olu’s nomination forms and endorse him as their consensus candidate.

Pulse has been told that these local government chairmen were only carrying out Tinubu's orders.

Former APC Deputy Chairman, Cardinal James Odumbaku, who attended the meeting, said: "Sanwo-Olu is Asiwaju's anointed candidate for 2019. We gathered here on the instruction of our leader.The meeting is over. The era of Ambode is gone. This is a new era. Jide Sanwo-olu is the next governor of Lagos. All 57 local government chairmen have signed his form. It’s over. In 2019, Sanwo-olu will be the one to occupy the State House".

Another contestant for Ambode to deal with

Besides Sanwo-olu, Ambode also has Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat, a former Works/Infrastructure Commissioner in Lagos, to contend with.

Hamzat contested the 2015 governorship primary in the APC alongside Ambode and Olasupo Sasore. He currently serves as special adviser to Works and Housing minister, Babatunde Fashola.

Pulse has however been told that Hamzat doesn’t enjoy the backing of Tinubu and is seen as a man not to be trusted in Lagos APC circles.

“He’s not a Tinubu loyalist and has challenged Asiwaju in the past”, one source said of Hamzat who is considered too close to Fashola to be entrusted with power in Lagos State. The rift between Fashola on one hand and Tinubu/ Ambode on the other,

Another source said of Hamzat: "His dad is a very influential Oba and a direct threat to Asiwaju's hold on Lagos politics. He is seen as one of the Abuja-Lagos Fashola guys. His aspiration is not likely to fly in Bourdillon".

Tinubu's men react

However, Tinubu’s media aide, Tunde Rahman, told that the Asiwaju isn’t backing anyone in the Lagos governorship race.

“Can you ask the aspirants to tell you when Tinubu endorsed them? Let them tell you when he endorsed them”, Rahman told the newspaper.

Joe Igbokwe, publicity secretary of Lagos APC, was quoted by TheCable as saying: “Do you know that Ambode picked his nomination form yesterday? That puts to rest the speculations you’ve been hearing for years. Ambode is the man. Take it.”

Chief Press Secretary to Gov Ambode, Abib Haruna and Commissioner for Information in Lagos, Kehinde Bamgbetan, weren't immediately available for comments.

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