The national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, on Friday, threw his weight behind Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State and his deputy, Obafemi Hamzat, to run for another term of four years.
Mr Tinubu performed the ceremonial raising of hands of both men at a party’s stakeholders’ meeting at Alausa, to applause from party members.
“We have a brilliant governor at the helm of affairs, who is supported by his deputy to build an unbreakable team that has raised the bar of excellence in governance in Lagos,” said Mr Tinubu.
“I specially thank Dr Hamzat, who has been a very good assistant and a pillar of support to the governor.
“Sanwo-Olu with Hamzat has raised an impenetrable team. I commend both of you and all members of the cabinet. You have all done wonderfully well and I must say that I am very proud of you.”
The development comes days after the Governance Advisory Council (GAC), the Lagos APC apex leadership body, had unanimously endorsed the duo for a second term.
It puts paid to speculation that Mr Sanwo-Olu would suffer the same fate as his predecessor, Akinwunmi Ambode, who failed to secure the nod of the party leadership for a second term in office.
Mr Tinubu’s raising of the governor’s hand was preceded by a motion moved by the Vice Chairman of APC (Lagos East), Saidat Oladunjoye, for open endorsement of the governor by the party’s leadership.
Kehinde Joseph, a member representing Alimosho Constituency in the House of Assembly, seconded the motion.
Mr Tinubu said the party in Lagos would not prevent an aspirant vying for any position from testing their strength at the primaries.
He said candidates that would be fielded by the party across elective positions must go through a delegate electoral system.
“Aspirants who are showing interest in positions from House of Assembly to governorship, go and get your forms; you are going to contest primaries. There will not be any favouritism in the primaries,” he said.
“We want you to contest and test your popularity. Nobody will ask to step down for another aspirant. Let all aspirants mobilise their supporters; if you win, you win. If you lose, there will not be a refund of the nomination form.”
Mr Tinubu charged all leaders holding the party structure at the local government level to rise above their challenges and work with the community leaders in their respective councils to mobilise for the APC victory at the general election.
He directed the resolution of all grievances and disagreements causing disaffection among party members ahead of the primaries, stressing that division would not bring any good to party candidates standing for election.
Speaking at the meeting, Governor Sanwo-Olu said Mr Tinubu paid the N50 million fee for the expression of interest and nomination forms for his second term bid.
“Asiwaju Tinubu is a generous man and he is doing a lot for people. He paid for my APC nomination and expression of interest forms to run for the second term,” he said.
Mr Sanwo-Olu thanked Mr Tinubu for his guidance and the GAC leaders for standing by his government despite personal attacks they suffered from “wayward children” who turned against the party elders after benefiting from them.
The governor said it was time for the party members across levels to foster cohesion and work for the APC’s success in the State and at the federal level.
Mr Sanwo-Olu, who described Tinubu as a “priceless symbol” of Lagos, said all hands must be on deck to ensure the state was not robbed of the presidential ticket of APC at the national primaries of the party.
“It is time to come together as determined party members and show genuine love towards our national leader, who is our priceless symbol and pride in Lagos. We are taking him national and we must ensure his house is fully united.“
The stakeholders’ meeting, convened at the instance of Mr Tinubu, was attended by Lagos APC chairman, Cornelius Ojelabi, party executive members, GAC members, senatorial leaders, and stalwarts across all local councils in the State.
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