By Folasade Adeniran
Lagos – Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State on Wednesday expressed his readiness to participate in Saturday’s Primary Election where members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) across the state are expected to choose the party’s flagbearer for the 2019 governorship election through direct primaries.
The governor said in seeking re-election, he was approaching the founding fathers and teeming members of the party with a “grateful heart, open arms and a pledge to open and deeper attention to the concerns of this one, big family”.
Ambode, in a statement issued by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Kehinde Bamigbetan, said he was restating his readiness for the primaries in line with the choice of the party in Lagos State and the validation given to the direct primary preference by the Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC).
“As our great party approaches Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018, earmarked for the direct primary election to choose the candidate to fly our party’s gubernatorial flag at the next general election, I am happy to restate my commitment to participate in that process, having procured and submitted my nomination form and having formally declared my intention to seek a second term to continue on the path of unprecedented growth and development that our State has witnessed since 2015,” the governor said.
He expressed profound gratitude to National Leader of the Party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; party elders and executives; GAC members; all APC members and every Lagosian.
According to him, their support, understanding and prayers have assisted him in no small measure in being used as an instrument through which the tate has redefined the concept of greatness.
The statement said that a return of the party’s ticket to Gov. Ambode would guarantee the stability of the state’s growing economy, ensure the continuation of the growth and development it has witnessed over time and ensure that the opposition does not take root in the state.
It congratulated the governor’s co-contestants for the courage and commitment to the party and urged party faithful to come out en masse and vote peacefully in all the 20 Local Governments and 245 wards where the election would take place.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Jide Sanwo-Olu, the Managing Director, Lagos State Development and Property Corporation, and Dr Femi Hamzat, a former Commissioner for Works, are also in the race for the governorship ticket of the party in the state.
Their fate would be determined at the party’s direct primaries on Saturday.
In spite of mounting opposition to his second term bid ticket, Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode’s kinsmen and women had on Saturday resolved to take the battle to God in prayers.
An indication to this effect came from Mr Adeyemi Ikuforiji, a former Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, as he urged Epe indigenes to pray for Ambode’s successful clinching of the All Progressives Congress’ ticket at the governorship direct primary.
Ikuforiji made the appeal at the grand finale of Kayokayo festival in Epe on Saturday night.
Epe is home to Ambode and the late Gov. Michael Otedola.
Ikuforiji urged the people to be calm and support the governor in prayers for him to be successful in the re-election bid.
He said prayer became necessary because of the “speculations” that Mr Jide Sanwo-Olu has been tipped to succeed Ambode as the next governor on APC platform in 2019 election.
Several groups had also held rallies across the state to drum support for Ambode’s reelection.
Meanwhile, Sanwo-Olu, Ambode’s major challenger, had said that he was motivated to seek the number one seat in the state out of the need to deliver innovative and an inclusive government.
He said he would bring about a state which everybody would be proud of, if elected as governor.
The aspirant said he would be a listening leader and would do so many things differently to actualise the Lagos of everybody’s dream.
Sanwo-Olu decried what he called the filthy state of Lagos environment and said that he would restore the cleanliness of the state if elected.