Dayo Oketola, Sesan Olufowobi and Success Nwogu
President Muhammadu Buhari, Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi; and Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, have embarked on a last-minute move to save Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, from an impending loss of the state All Progressives Congress ticket for the 2019 governorship election.
There had been reports that Ambode was no longer in the good books of an APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, which might endanger his second term bid.
But the tension became palpable on Tuesday when two new aspirants under the APC umbrella - Dr Obafemi Hamzat and Jide Sanwoolu - emerged to vie for the governorship ticket with Ambode in the direct party primary billed to come up in two weeks' time.
Hamzat and Sanwoolu, former commissioners in the state, were said to have claimed to have Tinubu's backing.
Ambode was also said to have the APC national leader's backing when he declared intention to go for a second term on Monday.
However, impeccable sources within the ruling party said on Wednesday that the prominent personalities including the President, the monarch and Ajimobi had stepped in to resolve the crisis, noting that the matter would be resolved.
"There are serious moves to end the crisis. Many people, including the President have waded in. And it is not yet too late for the issue to be resolved," said the source.
"President Buhari, Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State and Oba Rilwan Akiolu are making efforts to ensure that the matter is resolved and Ambode's second term bid is not terminated," the source added.
Another source said there was no problem between Ambode and his political father, Tinubu, but the governor was believed to have drawn the ire of party leaders and key supporters when he allegedly sidelined them from his administration.
Reminded that many APC members in the state were of the opinion that Ambode might fail to clinch the APC governorship ticket having been abandoned by the 57 local council chairmen in the state, the source said there was no cause for alarm.
He said the President, who was a father to all the APC members, would resolve the logjam.
Another source said the party elders, who were said to have sponsored Sanwoolu, had decided to open discussion on Ambode after pressure from different quarters.
No rift between Tinubu and me - Ambode
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, on Wednesday played down speculations of a rift with a national leader of All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, saying reports to such effect were untrue.
Both the social and traditional media have been flooded with news of a major rift between Tinubu and Ambode over an alleged disagreement on the second term bid of the governor.
Addressing party faithful in Epe during the election of delegates for the presidential primary election and national convention of the party, Ambode said the reports indicating a fight between him and Tinubu were out of place and that there was no fight anywhere.
“I want you to know that there is no fight anywhere. The National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and my good self, we are not in any fight, we are not in any controversy.
“We are praying to God that the best is yet to come and the best will be what Lagos State deserves and I want you to just continue with your prayers that at this time, God will show His hand and make sure that everything that is of blessing to Lagos State and also blessing of Epe will come to pass,” Ambode said.
He specifically commended all the leaders and party faithful who contributed to the success of the delegates’ election in Epe, saying APC remained the party to beat in Lagos and Nigeria.
“We have just concluded our Delegates’ Election in Epe Local Government and by consensus, we have picked our three delegates that will be going to the National Convention come October 6 for the Presidential direct primaries and the convention for all other people.
“I want to say a very big thank you to all our delegates that are present here; I want to say a big thank you to all our leaders that have also supported us to make sure that this event has come and is done very successfully.
“I want to reiterate once again that our party, All Progressives Congress (APC) remains the party to beat; we are the party at the national level and we are going to remain the party in the State,” the governor said.
Don't put Lagos on fire - C&S leader
Meanwhile, the Spiritual father/Chairman, Cherubim & Seraphim Movement Church Worldwide, Ayo Ni O, Most Rev. Samuel Abidoye, has urged Tinubu and Ambode to avoid any action that will cause crisis in Lagos.
He said the state must continue to have peace, adding that Lagos was strategic to Nigeria.
Abidoye, represented by the International Organising Committee chairman of the church, Pastor Nathaniel Ayakanmi, spoke on Wednesday on the sidelines of the church pastor council summit in Kwara State.
The cleric appealed to Tinubu to continue being a stabiliser in Lagos politics and act according to God's dictates and for the benefit of the people.
He warned against imposition, adding that the people should be allowed to elect their leaders.
He said, "Nobody should impose leaders on anybody no matter how powerful you are. You should not forget this fact that you are there today because God allowed you to be there.
"They should not put fire in Lagos. Lagos is the centre of Nigeria. Although Abuja is the headquarters, Lagos is the centre and if there is fire in Lagos, it will affect every part of Nigeria."
The C&S leader also admonished President Muhammadu Buhari and the presidential aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party not to overheat the polity.
Pa Abidoye advised them to shun violence and a do-or-die approach to their ambition.
He also urged Nigerian leaders to avoid self-serving interest and deliver dividends of democracy to Nigerians.