The national leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, wednesday disclosed that former President Goodluck Jonathan spent huge amount of money to stop Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, from being elected in the 2015 elections.
Despite Jonathan’s sustained struggle to take over the state, Tinubu acknowledged that party members stood by Ambode and the APC during the election.
He described the period as the most challenging since he left his flourishing career in a multinational oil company for active politics.
He gave an account of how Jonathan struggled to take over the state at a stakeholders’ meeting he addressed at the APC secretariat, Ogba alongside Ambode, Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, and the party Chairman, Chief Oladele Ajomale, among others.
The party convened the stakeholders’ meeting, which was the first of its kind since the 2015 elections were concluded to chart a new path for the local government election scheduled to hold on July 22 and resolve all issues that might give rise to disaffection and internal rift ahead the electoral process.
At the meeting the party faithful attended across the state, the national leader specifically, commended all party members for supporting Ambode in the 2015 election, noting that the candidates of the party for the forthcoming local government elections should also be supported.
He said the 2015 elections were the most challenging, recalling how the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Jonathan moved “to take over the state by all means including spending huge cash, but the APC members resolutely stood their ground and ensured the victory of the party.”
With the support of the people, the national leader said Ambode won the election and had not let the APC down in any way, thereby citing the governor’s sterling performance.
Tinubu said Ambode “has not let us down. He is doing a fantastic job, in an environment where there is economic recession is a big challenge. Initially, they said he might not be able to do it, but he is doing it and doing it perfectly. He has a very good team of performers. It takes a leader to lead a team to victory and a leader to think and dream. He thinks and performs and he is doing a great job, we are very proud of him.”
On the council elections, the national leader urged party members to accept the decision, which he said, had been taken by the party leaders at the state and local government levels with respect to the forthcoming election.
He said 18 chairmen, who were promised automatic ticket for their efforts in the party and the state, would be allowed to return, while all sole administrators who took over from executive secretaries of 20 local government areas and 37 local council development areas would not be allowed to contest.
Also, the national leader urged party leaders and members in all the 57 councils to give special concession to youths and women and party leaders in Surulere to give peace a chance and drop all forms of public disorder.
However, he said the party would not disallow members, especially executive secretaries from pursuing his/her aspiration, noting that doing such would amount “to denying them their rights having left office more than a year ago. It is just like saying Ambode or senators and other party leaders should not be allowed second term.
Also at the meeting, Ambode charged all party members in the state “to ensure that the party wins all available elective positions in the forthcoming council elections.”
He said it was important for the party to come out top in the elections, adding that it would go a long way to ensure that the state continues to make steady progress.
The governor attributed his success in the 2015 governorship elections to the dedication of party members and chieftains of the party, especially the national leader, thereby charging them to rally round the party yet again to ensure victory for the APC in the polls.
“Almost two years after, we have caused to thank God. I am able to look back that the confidence you give me two years ago and all of you working together to make sure I defeated the PDP candidate was no small feat. I have come here not only to attend this meeting but to say a big thank you to all of you.
“I want to thank you for being the first set of people that believed in me and thereafter God has been so gracious, he has not allowed me to disappoint u. I want to say a big thank you to Tinubu, the state APC Chairmen and Exco members for supporting that course.
“If there is any party remaining in Nigeria today, that party is manifested in all the good things coming out of Lagos State. Why are we here? We are here to count our blessings and renew the course of unity to move forward as one great party.
“I want to implore all of us, whatever it is that would have transpired, it is very clear that the next council elections is all in your hands; just the same way we have done in the last two years. My call to all members of our great party is that all 57 councils must be won by APC without exception,” Ambode said.