Former Governor of Lagos state, Bola Tinubu, has stated that the relationship between him and his successor, the current governor of the state, Babatunde Fashola, remains intact.
Mr. Tinubu was responding to recent reports suggesting that the two high ranking members of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state are fighting over who succeeds Mr. Fashola as governor.
Speculations that all is not well between Messrs. Tinubu and Fashola heightened after a former Lagos attorney general, Olashupo Sasore, joined the race for the party’s ticket, a move believed to have an attempt by Mr. Fashola to challenge the eventual winner, Ambode Akinwumi, regarded as the preferred candidate of Mr. Tinubu.
Mr. Akinwunmi polled 3,735 votes to emerge the party’s flag bearer, beating 12 other candidates including Mr. Sasore who polled 121 votes on Thursday morning.
Mr. Fashola was conspicuously absent at the governorship primary which held at the Onikan Stadium.
The APC also recently stated that Mr. Fashola is not under consideration as a Vice Presidential candidate.
In a statement on Saturday, Mr. Tinubu referred to a publication in an unnamed newspaper highlighting his rift with Mr. Fashola as the handiwork of “political charlatans and enemies”.
He said those sponsoring such publications were just out to drive a sledge “in an otherwise cordial and respectful political relationship.”
“My relationship with Governor Fashola remains cordial both at the personal level and at the level of commitment to ensuring Lagos State remains on the path of political stability, growth and development,” he said.
Mr. Tinubu said it matters less that the Lagos governor had a preferred candidate to succeed him, arguing “what is important is to have a transparent process in the spirit of democracy to which we both subscribe”.
He said Mr. Fashola and himself may have had cause to debate, agree or disagree, but that they often found common positions in the interest of Lagos State.
“The current situation and issues around the Lagos gubernatorial primary are being overblown. What we have done is ensure that no one is denied his or her rights to participate and compete for any elective position.
“Such a disposition should not translate into anger and divisiveness of the party as it is being peddled,” he said.
The former Lagos governor and national leader of the APC said conflicts and disagreements are part of every political process.
“The capacity to solve these conflicts in-house and not on the pages of newspaper is a tradition in Lagos,” he said.
Mr. Tinubu also warned Lagos people against speculative, self-serving stories aimed at destabilizing the party and its leadership.
He also advised the media to be weary of accepting or publishing stories that seek to pursue a narrow political agenda.
He advised the media to make their papers as platform for proper news dissemination and constructive analysis such that can help the country tackle the current security problem and create jobs.
“At my age and with my level of political experience, I am expected to seek (for) solutions, work for reconciliations and find a common ground where disagreements exist.
“That is what I have dedicated myself to in the larger interest of Lagos State and Nigeria at large.
“That is what Governor Babatunde Fashola and myself are about. That is what Lagos state deserves as Nigeria’s pacesetter in terms of democracy and development,” he said.