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Friday, 14 November 2014



-Hamzat, Ambode, GOS Remain Committed To Aspiration
-Ikuforiji Confused, Weighs Options
-Sashore Technically Knocked Out As Party Zones Governorship To Lagos East
-Ayo Ayinde Drops Aspiration In Exchange For HoR Ticket
-As Age Factor Poses As A Challenge For Pitan
-Losers To Support Whoever Emerges Candidate

Governor Fashola

It was meant to be a frank talk among aspirants and a collective demand on the leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, but it turned out as an affirmation of Tinubu's deft political moves and his lordly influence on the party machinery in Lagos.
At the emergency meeting which held on Sunday evening at Tinubu's Bourdillon home in Ikoyi, all the 10 aspirants jostling to succeed Fashola, except Tayo Ayinde, were in attendance. Each was given an opportunity to speak and express every concern.
Only one question was common to most of the aspirants: Has Tinubu anointed any of them as his candidate at the expense of others?
In other words, is Tinubu trying to impose any candidate on the

Obafemi Hamzat
At the end of the long meeting, Tinubu's emphatic answer of NO, was what calmed every frail nerves. To demonstrate his neutrality, Tinubu, who is fondly called the Jagaban of Borgu said openly that not only would there be a primary election on December 2 to choose the candidate among all the aspirant, he assured that it would be a free and fair exercise. The delegates across the wards in all the 57 development councils will determine who flies the party's flag at the February election.
In a manner that was meant to quell every concern that certain aggrieved elements in the party are expressing in the media, Tinubu said there would be a level playing ground for every aspirant while also urging them to sheathe their swords and desist from any overt or covert attack on each other. He announced categorically that he

Supo Sashore
would rather have them abuse him than abuse each other in the media.
He then got each aspirant to pledge their total support for whoever emerges at the primaries and work for APC to retain Lagos come February 2015.
All the aspirants felt assured and satisfied and left on a warm note knowing that there is no longer any fear of imposition.
But checks by The ELITES revealed that the meeting was a demonstrable evidence of Tinubu's superior political strategy to ensure that his speculated preference for Akinwunmi Ambode, the former Accountant General of Lagos State is achieved without any damaging rancour.
An influential party chieftain who attended the meeting said: ''Now that all the aspirants have committed themselves to a primary election, with a pledge to abide by the outcome and support the winner, can anyone still cry foul? Who owns the structure of the party? Will the vast majority of delegates who owe their

Akin Ambode
opportunities and positions in the party to their leader not read the lips of the same leader in voting for a candidate? Was that not how those crying imposition now emerge at their own time?''
The chieftain also said with the outcome of the meeting, a former Attorney General of the State, Supo Sashore, who is touted as Governor Babatunde Fashola's candidate may have been technically knocked out from the race since he is the only aspirant among the lot who is not from Lagos East senatorial slot where the party has zoned the governorship slot to.
''Sashore is from Lagos Central like Fashola. If he proceeds to submit his form, he will be screened out before the primaries.

Ganiyu Solomon

The ELITES checks further revealed that at least three or four of the aspirants may step down and queue behind another aspirant in the coming weeks as consultations and compromises are made.

It was also learn that Obafemi Hamzat, the current Commissioner of Works, is still resolute in his aspiration to win the party ticket. Hamzat, who is among the top contenders has embarked on extensive tour of the local government councils and has been intensely engaging in consultations with most party faithfuls.

Sources disclosed to The ELITES that loyalists of the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Honourable Adeyemi Ikuforiji, are

Adeyemi Ikuforiji

said to have reminded him of the unpopularity of his candidature even in the House of Assembly judging by the fact that while just 15 members attended his modest declaration at the Blue Roof, Ltv 8 premises last month. Party chieftains say if Ikuforiji spends 10 minutes with Tinubu privately, he would never go against the preference of the party. ''He only needs the assurance of the party hierarchy that his future will be protected, more so, that the EFCC has appealed the judgement against him,'' a source says.

Leke Pitan
It was also learnt that if push comes to shove, the contenders will not want to be seen in the same camp as Muiz Banire, a former commissioner and APC's National Legal Adviser who has been expressing condescending views against Tinubu and the party leadership. Multiple sources revealed that most party members are not fooled by Banire's self-serving tantrums against Tinubu.

Meanwhile, Tayo Ayinde, a former aide of Tinubu, is set to drop his aspiration in exchange for a House of Reps ticket.

For Dr. Leke Pitan, a former Health Commissioner, who also formally declared at the Onikan stadium on Tuesday, age is said to be his biggest impediment as the party has an informal rule not to field anybody above 60 as a first-term governor. ''You can see that even Pitan is yet to declare. He was being encouraged by his ex-commissioner colleagues and some spiritualists who want to exploit his good nature. But he is a wise man who knows when to back down and discuss, '' says a party chieftain.
Like other aspirants, the chieftain says Pitan will not want to jeopardize the party's chances for the sake of his personal ambition, since his Epe kinsman will still emerge as the flag-bearer.

Ayo Ayinde
As the primaries draw nearer, observers say the politicking might increase but commonsense will prevail in picking Fashola's successor, when reality dawns.

Posted by Abeke Olabode

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