As the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State gets ready for the emergence of its 2019 gubernatorial candidate on Sunday, the national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has openly endorsed one of the aspirants, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
He backed former Commissioner Jide Sanwo-Olu and explained why incumbent Governor Akinwunmi Ambode would not receive his blessing.
Tinubu highlighted the qualities expected of the party’s flag bearer in next year’s governorship election.
He urged party faithful to vote in today’s direct primary for an aspirant with a wealth of experience, who understands the importance of the blueprint for development and who can reach out and work with other compatriots to maximise development and provide the best leadership.
Describing the shadow poll as an encounter with discipline, Tinubu said the candidate should possess superlative vision and commitment, and the ability to restore enlightened governance.
The former governor said in a statement that the flag bearer should have the attributes of dynamism, tolerance and ability to extend a collegial hand to all stakeholders, far and wide.
He said: “I am encouraged by the presence of a candidate in this primary, who has served the state in senior positions in my administration, the Fashola administration and even in the current one. While possessing a wealth of experience and exposure, he is a young man endowed with superlative vision and commitment.
“Most importantly, he understands the importance of the blueprint for development. He esteems it as a reliable and well-conceived vehicle for the future development of the state. He also knows the value of reaching out and working with others in order to maximise development and provide people the best leadership possible. With people like him at the helm, the state will write the proper history for itself.”
Two chieftains-Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and former Special Adviser, Commissioner for Establishment, Training and Pensions, and Managing Director of Lagos State Property Development Corporation (LSPDC), Babajide Sanwo-Olu-are competing for the party’s ticket.
Sanwo-Olu has been endorsed by the Gubernatorial Advisory Council (GAC), which is the highest advisory committee of party elders and leaders, 377 councillors, 57 chairmen of local councils, state and federal legislators, religious leaders and traders.
Reflecting on the adoption of the direct primary, Tinubu described the ground-breaking and character-defining option as a step toward greater internal democracy and progressive governance.
Thanking party members for embracing the selection method, he said today’s exercise cannot be shaped by any selfish ambition and perceived personal grievance .
Tinubu said what is at stake is the future of Lagos and how best to maximise the collective destiny of Lagosians.
He added: “By resort to direct primary, the party places the people’s future soundly in their hands. As democracy would have it, you shall be the author of the party’s nomination and hopefully our next government.”
Tinubu spoke on the legendary Lagos State Development Master Plan, which, he recalled, was put together about 20 years ago by dedicated and patriotic Lagosians who put aside personal interest and rivalry.
He also recalled that he had the honour of implementing the plan faithfully, adding that his successor, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), also honoured the enlightened plan.
Justifying the import of the master plan, Tinubu said: “Where state government remained true to that blueprint, positive things happened. During my tenure and Governor Fashola’s, Lagos State recorded improvements in all aspects of our collective existence, from public health to public sanitation, from education to social services, from the administration of justice to the cleaning of storm and sewage drains. Businesses, large and small, invested, hired millions of workers and thrived.”
He added: “All Lagosians were to fully participate and justly benefit from the social dividends and improvements wrought by this plan. From the common labourer to business leaders, to professionals and our industrious civil service. We all were to be partners in a monumental but joint enterprise. None was to be alienated. None was to be left out. And none were to be pushed aside.
“This is especially true for those who contributed so much to our development, whether as a business leader who has invested heavily in Lagos, the homeowner who struggles to pay his fair share of taxes or as someone employed in the hard work of keeping our streets and byways clean so that others may go about their daily tasks unimpeded.”
In Tinubu’s reckoning, the master plan is perfect, although it can always be fine-tuned. “Whenever a government departed from this plan without compelling reason, the state and its people have borne the painful consequence of the improper departure,” the former governor said.
In his view, when the “blue-print for progress” is ignored, the tendency is to replace it with ad-hoc schemes of a materially inferior quality, which contravenes the spirit of progressive governance espoused by the APC.
Tinubu said “such narrowness of perspective does not bring us closer to our appointed destination; it takes us farther from that destiny”.
The former governor lamented that many Lagosians are experiencing deviations from enlightened governance, pointing out that it has become a major concern as the party prepares for its primary.
Tinubu urged the party to halt the deviation to save the future of Lagos.
He said: “We must arrest this trend before irreparable harm is committed against the people and their future. For the record, let it be known that I shall vote in this primary because I see it as one of extreme import to our state and our party. Just as I shall vote, I equally urge all party members to do so.
“We must vote in a manner that returns Lagos to its better path, the one that promises a just chance for all to enjoy the fruits of our prosperity. We must always pursue our goal of a Lagos energised by creative dynamism, tolerance of others, and guided by a leadership capable of extending a collegial hand to all stakeholders, far and wide.”
Tinubu said Lagos APC will wax stronger after the primary and return the platform to its finest path.
He added: “We walk into this primary strong and confidently believing in the right course we are to take. We shall emerge from this primary even stronger and more confident that we have taken that course by returning Lagos and our party to their finest path.”