President Muhammadu Buhari made a last-ditch attempt to save Lagos Governor Akinwunmi Ambode from a looming embarrassment at the Lagos APC primary, by calling for an emergency meeting with godfather Bola Tinubu and former national Chairman of the APC Adebisi Akande.
Sources in the presidency reveal that the meeting took place in the early hours of Monday, October 1, 2018.
“The president had to call for the meeting after Ambode’s press conference on Sunday. As leader of the party, he is worried about a possible implosion of the APC in Lagos and he was quite disturbed by some of Ambode’s allegations during his press conference”, the source offered.
Tinubu and Ambode are not the best of friends at the moment. Tiinubu has accused Ambode of deviating from the Lagos masterplan.
Tinubu is backing Babajide Sanwoolu, a former commissioner in Lagos, for the governorship seat of Nigeria’s commercial capital.
The APC godfather has handpicked his successors since his reign as Lagos Governor came to a close in 2007.
Ambode’s angry press conference
During what turned out a nasty press briefing, Ambode dodged questions on his frosty relationship with Tinubu and labelled Tinubu’s anointed candidate, Sanwoolu, a recovering drug addict, a misfit for the office of governor and a phony who was arrested for splashing fake dollars at a nightclub in the United States.
Sanwoolu has denied all of the allegations.
The presidency source revealed that Buhari’s meeting with Akande and Tinubu dwelt extensively on the “Lagos primaries. Abuja is worried by the decision of Ambode to go dirty and to drag his party in the mud”.
One APC chieftain in Lagos warned Abuja to steer clear of the primary process in Lagos and “allow Lagosians decide for themselves. After all, it’s a direct primary process and no one is stopping Ambode from contesting. Look how they keep shifting the Lagos APC primary because of Ambode. Let Ambode and everyone else be allowed to test their popularity at the poll”.
The Lagos APC governorship primary election has been slated for Tuesday, October 2, after three previous postponements.
APC sources in Lagos disclose that the exercise is being postponed in the hope that Tinubu and Ambode can bury their differences and find a common ground before delegates take to Acme Road in Ogba to vote.
“That isn’t going to happen. Tinubu has told the presidency before that Ambode’s fate is now beyond him and that APC members in Lagos will be the ones to decide whether he gets a second term ticket or not”, another top ranking APC chieftain in Lagos said.
Ambode’s spokespersons have not been permitted to speak to the press since the crisis began and so couldn’t be reached for this story.