Akinwunmi Ambode formally declares for Lagos governorship

Akinwunmi Ambode

Thousands of party members defied Friday’s hot, scorching sun to cheer Akinwunmi Ambode as he announced his intention to run for governor in Lagos in 2015.

Inside a capacity filled Onikan Stadium, in Lagos island, members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in colourful attires waved brooms and gyrated to loud music belching out from giant loudspeakers.

“The presence of thousands of supporters today is an attestation of the state-wide consultations that we commenced since last year,” said Mr. Ambode, 51, reading from a prepared speech.

“The acceptance and popularity of my candidacy, the great turnout and the fantastic support we have received from every corner of the State and beyond, from all sectors and various religious persuasions confirm that this is a divine moment in the history of Lagos State.

“In recognition of this support, I, Akinwunmi Ambode, in your presence and in the presence of God, formally put myself forward to run for the position of the governor of Lagos state.”

The first rally to be organized by a gubernatorial candidate in Lagos ahead of the 2015 elections, Mr. Ambode said he was putting himself forward because of an inherent self-belief of his qualities to pilot the affairs of the state.

Before he climbed the podium for his declaration speech, Mr. Ambode, sporting a blue native cap on a white attire and accompanied by burly, plain-clothed security men, moved around the stadium waving his two brooms, clutched in both hands, to the crowd.

The crowd responded in a frenzy.

Inside the stadium, fuji artiste, Wasiu Alabi (popularly known as Pasuma); and hip hop stars M.I and Olamide took turns to perform on a make-shift stage.

Private security guards sweated profusely as they struggled to control a crowd attempting to surge into the pitch.

“Lagos is my state and you are my people. I shall work to serve you. I shall never do less. Here and now, I dedicate myself to this task. I shall not flinch nor lose focus,” Mr. Ambode continued during his speech.

“The last fifteen years have witnessed an irreversible growth and development of our great state with a foundation laid concretely by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu between 1999 and 2007. The consolidation and actualisation of that growth, of which we are all living testimonies, have been achieved by the incumbent Governor, Babtunde Raji Fashola (SAN).

“I stand before you today in the spirit of the continuity of excellence that Lagos is known for. My vision and mission is to create a clean, secure and prosperous Lagos State that is driven by a vibrant economy and supported by quality service, equity and justice.”

Over half a dozen candidates are aiming at the Government House at Alausa in 2015, but Mr. Ambode, a former Accountant-General of the state, is widely believed to be the anointed one of Bola Tinubu, a chieftain of the APC.

Not a politician, Mr. Ambode frequently flaunts his public service credentials.

At his declaration, Mr. Ambode said he played an important role in the management of Lagos State’s monthly internally generated revenue from N600 million till it increased to N12 billion.

“I am resolved to offer you genuine leadership that will be accountable with all the principles of good governance, a government of inclusion that will not leave any race or gender behind. No matter your age, sex, tribe or any other status, as long as you reside in Lagos, we will make Lagos liveable for you,” he said.

“We will work to create opportunities for all and offer selfless service. As we proceed we will leave no one behind. What our great party stands for is change, positive change. We will create wealth. We will create new jobs. We will challenge ourselves to make Lagos a better place. We will take Lagos to the next level. We are going to do it together.”

Mr. Ambode promised to run an inclusive government that will cater for the aged, widows, artisans, students, children, the physically challenged, professionals.

“For corporate Lagos, Lagos is open for business, even for greater business. We have the political will to move Lagos to the next level. We are going to face our challenges by ourselves. Nobody is going to do that for us. With our collective will, we will overcome them.

“I call on all Muslims, Christians, and people of other religious persuasions to come out en masse and ensure we vote in a candidate that has the interest of Lagos and Lagosians at heart. A candidate that is passionate about Lagos. A candidate that truly understands the needs of the ordinary people. I am that candidate.”

‘A generational bridge’

Those opposed to Mr. Ambode’s candidacy have questioned his roots, insisting he is not a Lagos indigene.

On Friday, he arrived the stadium in a black, tinted jeep with Epe boldly inscribed on the plate number.

In his speech, he described Lagos as the most cosmopolitan state in Nigeria with no room for discrimination.

“Whether you are Igbo, Efik, Ijaw, Hausa, Fulani, a foreigner, whoever you are, so far you live or work in Lagos, our government will work for you and you will be adequately represented.

“We want a Lagos that will protect Abdullahi; that will address the issues of Chukwuma and uphold the well-being of Yewande. We want a Lagos that will not deny any Nigerian citizen the right of political participation and access to services. It is not about sectionalism. This is the new Nigeria that we want to build and Lagos is the focal point from where we would build the Nigeria of our dreams.”

Mr. Ambode also said that the APC’s motto of ‘Change’ would not only manifest in Lagos State, but also at the federal level.

‘Every family is represented in Lagos and have benefited from the purposeful APC government. If you believe Lagos can do more, it is imperative that we do not only win in Lagos but we must also take over the centre at Abuja. So when we say change, we mean change in its total ramifications. Change at the Centre,” he said.

“We want to have more. We want more. The only way we can do this is to tell your family members and friends that live, in and outside Lagos, to vote for change, to vote for APC. This is what this election is about; this election is about positive change.

“We will start from your neighbourhood. We will knock on every door. We will traverse the entire country. We will take over power at the center by the special grace of God. We are tired of transformation without motion. In their kind of transformation, the more they brag about, the less we see things transformed. And God will help us.”

Mr. Ambode described himself as a bridge between the elderly and the youth.

“I hold before you a beacon that summons us all to building together a more prosperous Lagos. I have the competence, experience and determination to lead Lagos State to greater economic heights and prosperity.”


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  • Tee

    Dr Kadri Obafemi Hamzat (KOH) is the best candidate so far, is educational qualifications and work experience in both the private and public sector surpasses every other candidate vying to be next Lagos state governor, fact!

    • Segun Surulere

      May be so but his father is an Oba in Ogun State ….. He should try for Ogun State governorship likewise Ambode is an Ilaje man from Ondo State…. So says his JAMB documents signed by his own hand …… Now that governorship has been dangled he is claiming Lagos … Me sef I can claim Akwa Ibom …. ( oil money plenty for dere)

      • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

        Segun, if Obama is the POTUS and we have Nigerians elected into political posts in Western and other foreign democracies, why should a Nigerian be unqualified to vie for political posts within Nigeria without us referring to the villages of their forebears, particularly if they are eminently qualified to do so and not barred by the Constitution or law?

        We are the same ones holding back our own progress.

        • Segun Surulere

          Like I said … i want to be Akwa Ibom Governor …!!!!!!

          • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

            Like you ‘joked’!

          • Segun Surulere

            When its far away Akwa Ibom or indeed Anambra … Its a joke abiii …. But closer to home in obodo Yoruba land especially Lagos , the ultimate melting pot , it is okay and should be allowed and encouraged ….. Hmmmm

          • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

            Segun, the principle remain the same!

            When you originally stated Anambra or wherever, you were “tongue in cheek” and not making a serious statement of intent!

            If you were, I’d back you all the way, provided you were qualified to contest for that. But ethnic and tribal lenses are just so retrogressive, it should never have come up in your earlier comment, even as a joke.

            Believe it or not, I would rather back Joe Igbokwe against an Omisore to be Governor of Oshun State!

            Do you get it? Merit and antecedents should come before parochial considerations like ethnic or village origins.

          • Segun Surulere

            Hmmm … I am Lagosian born and bred , mum is from Ogun State , Ijebu proper in fact … I cannot even dream to vie for elective posts in Ogun State if I so desire and base my politics there … That is the reality on ground , my brother

          • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

            Segun, I hate to state this, but we are only limited by our dreams, not by reality.

            If there is any “reality” in our lives limiting us; they remain our own creations of fear.

            The likes of Obama, Awolesi (if you don’t know him, please check him out – hint: Gatwick) and a host of other Nigerians achieving outside their ancestral barriers have proven that these barriers can be broken.

            Even Zik won elections in Western Nigeria.

          • Segun Surulere

            Kay Soyemi … The ultimate progressive and consumate idealist , the korokoro facts on the ground will tell me to go and look for and locate my father’s house first … That is the reality of politics in Nigeria. Lagos on the other hand is a breath of fresh air and is welcome to all takers but we still have a long way to go .

          • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

            Segun, footprints, footprints, footprints and antecedents!

            Why do you think the late MKO was able to prevail, even in Northern Nigeria, against Tofa?

            Please give Nigerians some credits!

            No be we dey say, “who no like better thing?”

            Those considerations you raise could only arise if you are unprepared. Even though, my parents are core Ogun people, I can still dabble into politics in Agege or Ota today, should I wish to so, albeit, I have no ancestral affiliation with both.

        • Tunsj

          Nothing is left for me to add, you said it all as usual. This is why Nigeria is still backward. Tribal nonsense will never be eradicated in Nigeria.

          • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

            Many thanks, Tunsj.

            One day sha, even though it’s a long tunnel to travel for journey-weary troubadours!

      • Tee

        I disagree with you sir, let me paint you a scenario let’s assume you own a company, a business you created from scratch and a business you have nurtured over the years and you have made successful, a real legacy. Now when you decide to retire and you want to choose the best person to carry on this legacy do you choose based on ethnic or religious sentiments? Or do you choose based on tangible credentials like qualifications, experience. Please take the time to do some research on Dr Hamzat, try is wiki page for a start. He completed is PhD at age of 26, worked in a management position at Merryl Lynch. And Morgan Stanley in the US, been a comissioner for 10 yrs, he is the one that governor fashola goes to when he needs advice on issues that are out of his areas of expertise. But all that matters to you is that is father is a king in ogun state! Until we stop making decision based on ethnic or religious sentiments in this country then we will never see this country progress.

  • MushinSpeaks

    Whoever wins the APC ticket should be supported to clinch the seat. Progressive policies should continuei in Lagos State and excellence delivering of the party’s road map for sustainability should be allowed for by casting our votes for the progressives.

    Vote right-Vote Change.

    • Kila

      Lagosians don’t need APC party to make the decision to be rid of rabid Islamists like Raji Fashola and Bola Tinubu. Christians and decent Muslims will instead be approaching the 2015 election differently and voting together to reset social relations in Lagos state that’s almost been destroyed by Bola Tinubu and Raji Fashola. If that requires using a new party platform to achieve the purpose, the deed will be done. The PDP and the APC are surely not the exclusive options for Lagosians.

      • MushinSpeaks

        You call Fashola a rabid Islamist? Where and when has Fashola manifested his extremism? And mind you, the best that can happen to Lagos is for APC to continue its policies and administration of the state.

        That will set us at par with advanced countries.

  • Tomi

    Dear Sir,

    Which APC chieftain was present at Ambode’s declaration since it appears Bola Tinubu was absent?

    • Animashaun

      @ Tomi:

      Bola Ahmed Tinubu lacks wisdom, knowledge and understanding
      – besides lacking character as a perjurer who has no honest narrative
      on his own life history or on truthful educational credentials.
      Bola Ahmed Tinubu utterly lacks political acumen besides –
      as he clumsily threw a monkey wrench into long-existing
      into the long-existing communal peace in Yorubaland
      without thinking.

      Bola Tinubu caused the Christian Yoruba community to recoil in horror and coalesce
      into a voting bloc to fiercely demand the governorship seat in Lagos state in 2015.
      It does not lie in Bola Tinubu’s mouth as a plea-bargained asset forfeiting criminal
      on the United States court records to jump forward and now name a prefered Christian.
      No, no, no! Just as Shekahu Ibrahim (as Leader of Boko Haram) can’t select the
      Arch-Bishop of Nigeria, Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu also lacks in moral standing to nominate
      a Christian governorship candidate that Lagosians demand outside the Islamic APC party.

      • Ms. Vivian

        I agree with you in toto. APC and Boko Haram are actually one and the same thing.
        Boko Haram cannot choose a candidate for the Christian community for any purpose.

        • Kunle Magregor

          RAJI FASHOLA’S INCOMPETENCE AND ITS CONSEQUENCE

          Well, okay, let’s say or rather let’s put it this way: you guys can only be right if we assume one thing. We’ll have to assume that Raji Fashola is a puppet and a dunce for you to place the entire blame at Bola Tinubu’s feet. It was Raji Fashola who afterall concretized Islamist ideology in Lagos state because Bola Tinubu had only four years to lay Islamist foundation between 2003 and 2007.

          To me, since they say Raji Fashola is educated (although i don’t see the education in his deeds) he must take 50% of the blame, even if he was Bola Tinubu’s puppet, because a supposedly educated man who chooses to be a puppet for the perpetration of evil, is a principal criminal in the act – not merely an accomplice.

          Raji Fashola is a disgrace to educated Nigerians for making official personnel decisions wholly based on Islam. Even if he was failing and repeating in school, as he’d said, he still fell below the intelligence quotient of an average man without much education but merely possessed of clarity of thought on right and wrong.

          For mismanaging Lagos schools into producing 80% school certificate failure rate since the year 2003, Raji Fashola’s incompetence has almost destroyed the immediate future of Lagos state, besides the un-precedented debt of 3.7billion dollars he’s incurred as at today and placed on the neck of Lagos state government: a debt equivalent to forfeiting the next three and half years of Lagos state revenues from federal allocation.

          • Wähala

            Deri stop lying… live a clean life, biko!

          • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

            What cheap drug are you on, friend?

          • Shotgun

            My brother Kay Soyemi:

            Ah, ah, haba! What has K. Magregor said that’s not true? Lagos is badly degrading. Un-informed opinion is all that covers up the rot and sets false standards for those entrusted with public treasury to continue to ride roughshod over the populace. That’s why Raji Fashola had the audacity to declare publicly to all Lagosians that they have no right to freedom of information.

            Not even General Sani Abacha – infamous as the worst dictator ever – dared say such insulting nonsense to the general public. But what did our mushrooming civil rights groups say in retort, let’s even say in pretence to upholding their own self-given creed? Nothing but absolute silence in pure conspiracy! And, the journalists in Lagos, what did they say? No objection – just quiet.

            And how about the self-described civil rights activists and constitutional lawyers – what did they say? Nothing – just the same evil conspiratorial silence. So, you can see. Anyone wondering when the rains started beating Lagosians into a hardscrabble place of illiterates – where folks now behead one other in the afternoon at Fadeyi; right in the centre of town – must date the time when cash bribes from Alausa secretariat of the Lagos state government overrode all journalists and media houses into horses of instruction and finished off the scrum of civil and human rights groups; including the self-described constitutional lawyers amongst them.

          • Figaro

            Theft has created a crass elite structure in Lagos having no sensible member
            a Nigerian youth can look up to as innovative and morally upright role model
            amongst the treasury thieves prancing around in criminal garb as politicians.

          • emmanuel

            The type you take.

            I thought you had some semblance of forthrightness and good character in your person through series of tantrum on issues relating to Jonathan and the PDP?

            Your short statement here speaks volume and confirms that you are a sentry posted here to do hatchet job for those who trouble Nigeria in the name of opposition

          • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

            Try another one!

            This one won’t stick!!

          • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

            At least you are not denying that your encephalon is already riddled with cheap substance!

            But you presume too much that we are at par!!

            You are too far gone.

          • Aikuola

            Yes O. Me too i can remember that in 1999 Gani Fawehinmi rightly exposed Bola Tinubu as ‘a plea-bargained drugs-running criminal’ who perjured himself on oath as having attended the University of
            Chicago, which he never did. But rather than join that fight for decency in public office, Femi Falana was railing baselessly in newspapers against Gani Fawehinmi, just to cover up Bola Tinubu. Whereas, America’s permanent court records indeed show Bola Ahmed Tinubu as a plea-bargained criminal who later perjured himself on oath in Nigeria as having attended the University of Chicago – which he never did.

          • Newsday

            “Although the total cost of the completed section of the Lekki-Epe express road concession remain shrouded in secrecy, information from various media sources suggest that about N35 billion
            in total may have been expended to construct the completed 15km of it, which represents N2.3 billion per kilometer in construction costs.”

            “In other words, about 70% of the estimated total costs of the project, five years ago, have been expended to construct only 30% of the project. If the project continues in this manner,
            with the new demand from LCC, it would not be long before it becomes clear that
            the project has become a fraud and negates the interests of Lagos tax payers.”

            ………………….Vanguard newspaper

            [November 26, 2013]

          • Mary Laja-Payne (England)

            With more revenues coming in, Lagos deteriorates further and further,
            all because of Raji Fashola’s inept governance. Lagos is being governed

            by a cabinet of look-alikes in ignorance. With good thinking and cognate knowledge,

            more finances should NEVER be inversely proportional to improvements in theory or
            practice. Whenever more resources worsen affairs, ignorant people are at the helms of affairs.

        • Public Tribune

          “The January 2014 global study of cities in the world done by the British Economist
          Intelligence Unit has ranked Lagos, Nigeria, as the 3rd worst liveable city in the world.
          Lagos has degraded further from its awful status in 2012 as the 4th worst city.
          On a scale of 100 Lagos now has the third poorest score of 39.0 of all cities in the world
          assessed. The study titled ‘livability’ assessed particular characteristics of each city,
          such as its crime levels, the threat of conflict, the quality of medical care, the levels
          of censorship, the city temperature, the quality of its schools and its transport links.”

          ………Reported by British Telegraph

          [January 2014]

          • Davido

            All Progressives Congress [APC] is an illicit organization – full of Alhajis, signifying nothing.

          • No Comment

            APC LEADERSHIP MANIFESTO IN NIGERIA………

            “The only way to stop us from stealing is to stone us. The Nigerian followers are as guilty as
            the Nigerian leaders. The Nigerian institutions are all compromised; and there is no alternative
            to them as it is. Nigerians appear not to be against stealing and corruption but only against how
            long you stay stealing and being corrupt. Don’t ever expect those in public office to fight corruption
            on these facts.”

            ….…..Governor Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers state)

            (June 30th, 2014)

          • Eroli Reuben

            Why are you quoting the British Telegraph. ..what indices and parameters were used in the study? What population and cultural values were employed as index for the so-called study? Were Nigerians, West Africans and Africans who are 97% occupants of Lagos sampled for said study? My brother. ..l have lived in the West for 27 years and have practiced my profession out here for twenty years. All that glisters is not gold. Lagosians should always love and appreciate what they have.

          • Akintobi Dare

            Oh, i see. He should have cited The Nation newspaper owned by Bola Tinubu, not so? Yeye dey smell!

    • Mosun

      I think this Ambode, or whatever his name is, may be wasting his time and money.
      Lagosians don’t know him to start with, except as Bola Tinubu’s nominee, but then;
      that is a burden, because Lagosians won’t buy a second-hand car from Bola Tinubu,
      after the destructive experience they suffered under Raji fashola’s treasury ransack.

      • Sola Philips

        “Nigeria is a land where thieves are celebrated even in religious gatherings.

        Today, our collective social existence is gloomier than what it was in 2012.
        In its April 13, 2013 edition, The Economist magazine of London compared Nigeria
        to a heavyweight boxer who has gone too many rounds, but sometimes seems
        punch-drunk.”

        “One minute it acts like a champion by virtue of the size of its girth

        and the smile on its face, the next it could be flat on its back, groaning in anguish.
        On the whole, the country is tottering along, acclaimed as much for its massive
        potential as for its actual achievements. It is still a sick man all the same”.

        …….………..The Punch Newspaper

        (October 1, 2013)

      • The Poet

        “Those who unleashed Boko Haram on the nation [Nigeria] are not poverty stricken.
        They are politicians ….desperate for power, intelligent enough or perceptive enough
        to recognise that the cocktail of politics and religious fundamentalism can only yield
        them dividends. They think they have nothing to lose.”

        “The foot soldiers have been indoctrinated for years, from childhood, and they
        believe that their religion [Islam] is in danger….but Islam is not in danger. It is the
        pervert followers who are being used and who use others and proclaim that they
        are fighting for Islam. Look at the histories of the world: Boko Haram, if not contained,

        and eradicated, will be found in the heart of Lagos (Nigeria) before you know it.”

        …………Professor Wole Soyinka

        [July 12th, 2014]

        • Dr. Whyte

          @ The Poet:

          The 2015 Lagos agenda must therefore be focused. It is not so much to
          vote out these bigoted and thievish APC Muslims as to emplace
          a rational order where merits will start to count. Islam is not the lodestar of merits.
          To the contrary, religion as criterion is the very opposite of merits. The pitchfork of
          Islam by Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Raji Fashola led to a parlous state in Lagos.

          Incompetents now rule the roost in Lagos without any competitive assessment.
          What Lagos needs is not this amateurish patchwork of the city’s existing roads.
          Ninety [90%] of Lagosians afterall have no cars. Raji Fashola’s ignorance of public
          administration led to his muddling up priorites to create this un-liveable city today,
          marked by 50% un-employment underlying widespread and deadly violence all around.

          The task in 2015 is to reverse all of this mess caused by Raji Fashola’s utter ignorance
          and bring the years of the locust (1999-2014) to justice by recovering all stolen assets
          and jailing the raft of thievish Lagos state officials – from Commissioner to Auditor.

          Raji Fashola is not a deep thinker but an impulsive person, brash and uncouth, who takes un-thinking short cut in reflex action as solution. But short cut reflex can’t solve poverty.

          Trying to sweep poverty under the carpet, by getting rid of poor people, is not governance,
          but idiocy.

        • Chief Thomas

          If Yoruba unity ends up being destroyed for these religious reasons, the Yoruba Muslims must
          take 100% of the blame. The Muslims’ new but insidious and un-enlightened ‘ideology of separateness’ – close in practice to apartheid – is tearing up the fabric of Yoruba society, forever.

          That is the truth educated Yoruba people are too bashful to confront. But whilst they hide

          their heads in the sands; like ostriches at noon, Yorubaland now fissures so badly
          that communal peace is now being violently threatened.

          • Words on Marble

            “Any little child in any other part of Nigeria knows there’s an on-going Islamic Jihad in Nigeria. The only group of people who do NOT know this simple fact are Yoruba Christians in the South-West having the highest number of professors, doctorates and university graduates, but who rather
            throng, en masse, behind an Islamic party, APC. How my people perish for lack of knowledge!”

            ….Encore

          • W.M.B

            “Any little child in any other part of Nigeria knows there’s an on-going Islamic Jihad in Nigeria.
            The only group of people who do NOT know this simple fact are Yoruba Christians

            in the South-West having the highest number of professors, doctorates and

            university graduates, but who rather throng, en masse, behind an Islamic party.
            How my people perish for lack of knowledge!”

            ….Encore

          • Phil Esichie

            @W.M.B:

            Boko Haram speaks clearly. No ambiguity. It is a Muslim militia committed to genocide.
            It announces it will kill all Nigerian Christians. That means 99% of Igbo people and
            a good half of the Yoruba are those targeted for mass murder.

            President Jonathan rather sees Boko Haram as an insurgency. It is not.
            Boko Haram is a genocidal and armed Muslim militia committed to the treasonous
            overthrow of the present constitutional order, including President Jonathan himself.

            Genocide is an international crime. No government has a right to amnesty genocide.
            Public policy should be based on that knowledge. The question then is: are those
            targeted for genocide still bound to ‘national unity’ with those who intend to kill them,
            and, in the case of Yoruba Christians – buffeted by Muslim-led governments internally;
            are they entitled to self-defence by force of arms under international law?

    • Tee

      It’s funny how Ambode claims he has the support of epe but if you check the list of obas that attended the declaration on his Facebook page, not one single oba from epe attended even though we have about 4 or 5 obas in epe! The only notable oba on the list is Akiolu, who I believe should not be playing partisan politics. What if PDP wins Lagos? How will he be able to rule over his subject with an opposing govt?.