There were indications on Wednesday that the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, conceded victory to Babajide Sanwo-Olu, his main opponent for the All Progressives Congress governorship ticket in Lagos, to calm frayed nerves and avert impeachment.
There had been expectation that the governor would fight the declaration of Sanwo-Olu as the winner of the state’s Tuesday governorship primary, which was initially cancelled by the APC National Working Committee panel that had promised to announce a new date for the primary.
The panel made a U-turn on Wednesday to declare Sanwo-Olu the winner, sparking speculations that the governor would reject the move.
A few hours after the panel’s new decision, the governor’s media team sent a press statement that the governor would host a “world press briefing” by 2.pm, causing more speculations.
In the briefing, which eventually turned out to be a broadcast by 4pm, Ambode accepted defeat and congratulated Sanwo-Olu.
One of our correspondents gathered through sources in both Ambode and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s camps that the move was meant to remove the tension, as well as avert the impeachment move being considered by party elders.
One of the sources said before and after the broadcast, Ambode had contacted Tinubu and some party leaders in a bid to assure them of his loyalty to the party, and in order to avert the impeachment option.
“He (Ambode) did not want the matter to get to that level; that is why he accepted the defeat to reduce the tension in the state and stop any panicky action by the party elders. He also wanted them to leave him in peace to complete all his projects,” the source said.
The APC Publicity Secretary in Lagos State, Mr Joe Igbokwe, said he did not know about any peace move by the incumbent governor, as well as any deal.
He said, “I don’t know about that.”
One of Tinubu’s aides also said it was still early to say.
He said, “Ambode just made his speech, every other thing would flow from the governor’s decision to accept defeat and congratulate Sanwo-Olu.”
NWC bows to Lagos APC, declares Sanwo-Olu winner
Earlier on Wednesday, the APC panel changed its position on the validity of the primary conducted in the state on Tuesday.
The fresh stance was contrary to the position of the NWC panel, led by Mr Clement Ebri, on Tuesday that the primary did not hold.
The panel said on Wednesday that the primary held.
It went on to declare Sanwo-Olu as the winner of the primary with 970,851 votes ahead of Ambode, who recorded 72,901 votes.
The Ebri-led panel in a press statement, said, “After resolving some of the hiccups, the Lagos State APC Governorship Primary Committee collated the results from the 245 wards in the 20 local government areas.
“At the end of the exercise, these are the votes scored by the aspirants: 1. Gov Akinwunmi Ambode, 72,901 votes. 2. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, 970,851 votes.
“Following these results, I, Clement Ebri, the Chairman of the Lagos State APC Governorship Primary Committee hereby declare Babajide Sanwo-Olu as the winner.”