National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, has officially endorsed Babajide Sanwo-Olu as the preferred candidate for the party in the 2019 governorship election in Lagos.
Tinubu’s public endorsement of Sanwo-Olu brings to an end weeks of speculation about his position on Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s desire to seek a second-term.
The incumbent governor has since fallen out of favour with the APC number one stalwart in Lagos.
Tinubu, a former governor of the state, said in a statement on Sunday evening that the blueprint of Lagos, his brainchild between 1999-2007, has been deviated from by Ambode, calling on APC members in Lagos to reject the governor at the primary on Monday.
He issued the statement shortly after Ambode launched a barrage of personal attacks against Sanwo-Olu, calling him a criminal and mental health patient before proclaiming him unfit for governor.
The statement read in part: ”We are democrats in the truest sense of the word. As such, we forever search for what is good and right for the people. With this ideal as our guide, tomorrow’s primary cannot be shaded by selfish ambition or the perceived personal grievance between this or that person. Something much greater waits in the balance. What is at stake is nothing less than the future of the people of this state and how we can best maximise our collective destiny.
”By resort to direct primaries, the party places the people’s future soundly in their hands. As democracy would have it, you shall be the authors of the party’s nomination and hopefully our next state government.
”I trust in the wisdom of the people and will abide it. However, as a leader of the party and as a former governor of our beloved and excellent Lagos, I would be remiss if I did not make a few observations regarding the primary.
”My goal is and shall always be a better Lagos. To this objective, I have dedicated the greater part of my public life. Roughly 20 years ago, a corps of dedicated and patriotic Lagosians, put aside personal interests and rivalries, to put their minds and best ideas together for the good of the state. Out of this collaborative effort, was born a master plan for economic development that would improve the daily lives of our people.
”Bestowed on me was the honour of a lifetime when I was elected to be your governor in 1999. My administration faithfully implemented that plan. The government of my immediate successor, Tunde Fashola, also honoured this enlightened plan.
”Where state government remained true to that blueprint, positive things happened. During my tenure and Governor Fashola’s, Lagos state recorded improvements in all aspects of our collective existence, from public health to public sanitation, from education to social services, from the administration of justice to the cleaning of storm and sewage drains. Businesses, large and small, invested, hired millions of workers and thrived.”
He added that, ”All Lagosians were to fully participate and justly benefit from the social dividends and improvements wrought by this plan. From the common labourer, to business leaders, to professionals and our industrious civil service. We all were to be partners in a monumental but joint enterprise. None was to be alienated. None was to be left out. And none were to be pushed aside. This is especially true for those who contributed so much to our development, whether as a business leader who has invested heavily in Lagos, the homeowner who struggles to pay his fair share of taxes or as someone employed in the hard work of keeping our streets and byways clean so that others may go about their daily tasks unimpeded.
”I make no pretence that the master plan is perfect. It can always be fine-tuned. However, whenever a government departed from this plan without compelling reason, the state and its people have borne the painful consequence of the improper departure.
To ignore this blueprint for progress in order to replace it with ad-hoc schemes of a materially inferior quality contravenes the spirit of progressive governance and of our party. Such narrowness of perspective does not bring us closer to our appointed destination; it takes us farther from that destiny.”