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The men who want to rule Lagos

The political tremor set off by ex-Lagos State governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu to deny Governor Ambode a second term ticket may not ease off soon.

Ismail Omipidan, Lagos

The political tremor set off by the perceived move of National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and ex-Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to deny Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State a second term ticket, may not ease off soon.

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Since news of the breakdown in their relationship became public knowledge about a month ago, political alignments and realignments have been ongoing within the party, with core Tinubu loyalists openly taking sides with Mr. Jide Sanwoolu, a man many believe has been “anointed” to unseat Ambode at the APC primary.

Tinubu’s political trajectory is littered with several broken records. He appears set to set another political record.

In the league of progressive politicians where he is a leading light, the tradition is to allow a governor, especially one who in their estimation has performed well, a second term.

But with the happenings in Lagos APC in recent times, the tradition may be confined to the dustbin of history.

Although no member of the party appears to have issues with Ambode’s performance as governor, the elders of the party believe that party patronage is an important component when measuring performance. And they have unanimously returned a verdict of failure on the governor in that regard.

This and many more, Daily Sun gathered, are the reasons the governor’s promising political future is about to be cut short.

Apart from Ambode and Sanwoolu, there is also Femi Hamzat.

Ambode

He is the incumbent governor. Apart from the menace of fuel tankers and trucks still holding sway in Lagos, which are daily causing traffic gridlock, an issue his predecessor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola tackled headlong and the threat of refuse dumps taking over Lagos, Ambode is believed to have done well in his first term as governor.

But he appears to have offended the ‘political gods’ of Lagos, and unless President Muhammadu Buhari personally intervenes, Ambode’s allies fear he may not return, and would therefore be making history as the first governor from the progressives’ family to be denied a second term ticket on account of anything but performance.

As things stand, the governor is in a dilemma. If he gets the ticket, there is trouble ahead.

Explaining the trouble ahead, a chieftain of the party said, “he can no longer be trusted by the party elders and leaders. If he gets the ticket, the party will practically handpick those who will go to the state Assembly, in addition to getting a strong person as the deputy governor. When he begins to misbehave, we will just impeach him.”

Another chieftain of the party added, “we all know that the governor is working. But he wants to kill the party by refusing to give money to elders of the party. He has failed to award contracts to party members. The PSP that we use to help the party and party members as elders of the party, this boy (governor) stopped it. Instead, he is building his own political structure. What for? Can he do anything politically without the leader? I understand the president (Buhari) is already intervening on his behalf. I pray it works,” he said.

Born in June 1963, Ambode was a civil servant for 27 years and a financial consultant before running for public office in 2015.

Sanwoolu

Mr. Jide Sanwoolu, who is in his early 50s, is the current Managing Director of Lagos State Property Development Company (LSPDC). He was appointed by Ambode in May 2016, barely one year after the inauguration of the government.

In the hierarchy of the list of those on the long queue to be Lagos State governor, he is regarded as a non-starter. He has no deep pocket to prosecute the kind of venture he is venturing into. But he is very popular, intelligent and has the capacity to govern Lagos State.

Like Ambode, he is a Christian. But he is not from Epe division. He is from Lagos Island. If the Lagos State governorship rotation sentiment is anything to go by, he should not have indicated interest to run. However, the mere fact that he has obtained Expression of Interest and Nomination form shows that he has strong backers.

He is widely regarded as a public sector expert in human resources and policy formation. He served in the Tinubu’s administration and that of Fashola as Adviser, Commissioner for Commerce and Industry; Budget and Planning; and that of Establishments and Training.

A former banker, before joining the public service, Sanwoolu was said to have served as Treasurer at the defunct Lead Merchant Bank Plc between 1994 and 1997, and also as Senior Manager (Head, Foreign Money Market) at the UBA.

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Before serving as Commissioner, he was first appointed in 2003, as Special Adviser on Corporate Matters to the then deputy governor, Mr. Femi Pedro.

He was also said to have been responsible for the preparation and publication of the Lagos State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (LASEEDS).

Femi Hamzat

He is a computer expert, whose name is synonymous with the Oracle, a software designed by him that has made it near impossible to steal Lagos State government’s revenue. He was been tipped to replace Fashola in the build up to the 2015 election. But the decision by his father to ascend the throne as a traditional ruler in Ewekoro, Ogun State, put paid to that aspiration.

A former Lagos State commissioner for works and infrastructure, he is largely seen as being part of the Fashola’s camp. In August 2005, he was appointed Commissioner for Science and Technology in the Tinubu’s administration. He retained his position when Fashola took over in 2007.

As commissioner for Science and Technology, he was said to have enforced the application of modern technology in the state’s ministries, which changed the face of data and record keeping, a thing that helped to eliminate ghost workers.

He currently serves as an adviser to Fashola in Abuja.

Born on September 19, 1964 in Lagos, Hamzat is said to be the brain behind PSP, the agency responsible for making Lagos State clean.

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Tokunbo David :Sun News Online team writer and news editor

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