•Party elders urge APC candidate to learn from history
Lagos Central All Progressives Congress (APC) leader Prince Tajudeen Olusi yesterday advised the Lagos State governorship candidate, Jide Sanwo-Olu, to learn from the mistakes of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, if elected in next year’s election.
He also advised the flag bearer to restructure his campaign organisation to reflect inclusiveness to prevent the pervading perception that his candidature is on the platform of the Mandate Group, a caucus within the chapter.
Olusi, a Second Republic member of the House of Representatives and former Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, reminded chieftains behind the various groups and caucuses in the Lagos APC that the order banning the groups was still in force.
The elder statesman urged Sanwo-Olu’s associates to cultivate the habit of telling him the blunt truth to avoid slipping into the pit, warning that those who fail to learn from history are liable to commit the same mistake.
Noting that party elders made strong moves to avert the obstacles on the second term ambition of the governor, Olusi said Ambode lost the chance to be re-nominated as a matter of destiny.
The party elder charged the people of the district to gird their loins, stressing that the next governorship election will be a big battle.
Olusi spoke at the ‘thank-you’ visit of Sanwo-Olu to Lagos Central APC faithful. At the Iru/Victoria Local Government Secretariat, the venue of the event, were Prince Murphy Adetoro, one-time Finance Commissioner Olawale Edun, former Whip of House of Representatives Olawale Oshun, former Secretary to Government Omotilewa Aro_Lambo, former Commissioner Oyinlomo Danmole, Senator Muniru Muse, Comrade Joe Igbokwe, Lagos APC Women Leader Jumoke Okoya-Thomas, former House of Assembly Deputy Speaker Toun Adediran, Tayo Oyemade, Hon. Musa, Mrs. Vaughan, Gbolahan Yishawu, Bola Lawal-Olumegbon, Segun Dawodu, Raheem Alli, Rilwan Alesinloye, Fuad Lawal, Wale Adelana, Abiodun Mafe, Yemisi Coker, Mrs. Lola Essien, Yahaya Dosunmu, Teju Philips, Olasunmbo Ajose, A.G. A. Sodiq, Princess Onu, Lateef Apatira and Alawiye King, who was master of ceremony.
Sanwo-Olu was accompanied by his campaign manager, Tayo Ayinde, former Works Commissioner Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, Cardinal James Odunmbaku, Abdullahi Enilolobo, Bayo Ajisebutu, and Gboyega Akosile.
At the request of Olusi, a party elder, Jawando Ope, prayed for the flag bearer on behalf of the people of the district.
Sanwo-Olu thanked God for his success at the direct primary and the people of the district for voting for him. He asked for forgiveness from the party members for his inability to contact all of them, ahead of the shadow poll, noting that they still endorsed him, despite the omission.
Thanking Asiwaju Bola Tinubu for his support, Sanwo-Olu said: “God has hand in my plan to be governor. God used Asiwaju Bola Tinubu for me and I want you our leaders to thank him. I thank the GAC leaders and the senatorial leaders of the central senatorial district, where I have lived for 50 years.
“The victory is for all of us. As imprutu as the journey may have appeared to be, you accepted me and my aspiration. It is a lot marathon and all of us will benefit from it. The campaign will be unique. The campaign will reflect inclusiveness.
“We have our campaign office for the Central District at 50, Awolowo Road, Victoria Island. Our main office is at 50/60 Oduduwa cresent. Ewe will have another office at Ladoke Akintola Street, Ikeja GRA for the West District. We will also have an office for the Lagos East.”
Urging party members to adopt door-to door campaigns, Sanwo-Olu added: “Let us touch every household. If we touch one million households, we would have touched between four and six million people between now and December.”
The flag bearer promised to fulfil his promises to Lagosians. He said: “Nigeria is poor. There is a disparity between the rich and the poor. The gap must be bridged. I saw women carrying my banners. How can we reach them? We must mobilise the private sector to assist us. The next government will not forget the people. The benefit of welfare must spread to the wards and zones.
“Our government will be a listening government. Our government will work with the party and party manifestos. We will not condone wastages. We will work for the greater good of the greatest number.”
Olusi prayed that the candidate will be the next governor of Lagos. But, he urged the party faithful to renew themselves to the cause of the party, adding that a profound reflection was required on the recent developments in the political family.
The party leader said: “General election is a battle and we must be battle ready. We must go into it loyally and conscientiously. If we do that, we will win.”
Olusi said party members should learn lessons from the inability of the governor to achieve his second term ambition.
He said: “We have a governor a governor who wanted to have a second term. That ambition did not come to be. As a Muslim, that is the will of Allah. My teacher used to talk about Kadara. I asked for the meaning. My teacher told me that, after all efforts, the end result is the will of God. God teaches human beings lessons.
“Why was the governor denied a second chance? All of us as politicians should inquire. We should find out. All of those who know should learn lesson from it. I tried all I could to ameliorate the event. We have discharged our duties as elders and members of the GAC. I was the leder of the delegation pleading with our national leader. I was also the spokesman of the GAC that confirmed the nomination of Sanwo-Olu.
“When Sanwo-Olu visited me, I told him certain things. I repeated it in the GAC. I recalled the story of my father. Oba Esugbayi Eleko was removed by colonial masters. They made my father king and later shoved him aside. Ibikunle was king; an educated oba, a product of CMS, who studied Wood technology in U.K. he was prominent and qualified. My father succeeded him for three years. I am called a prince. It was because my father was king that made Oba Adele not to be thrown out of the palace.”
Waxing philosophical, Olusi said he who slips into the pit will be an example to others. (eni to jin si koto, o ko ara yo ku logbon).
The party elder enjoined Odunmbaku, Ayinde and other associates of Sanwo-Olu to always give him the right advice.
He said: “When someone wants to go into a pit, those eating from him will urge him on. If Sanwo-Olun is making mistake and those of you around him refuse to tell him, God will punish you. Be honest with him.”
Olusi said the campaign organisation should defer to the party during the campaigns, stressing that thjt was the tradition.
He added: “Forget about Mandate Group. I am not a member of mandate. If you do something and we don’t know, you create division. We have cancelled groupings. That decision came at my instance. Camping is not good for the party. We signed document that we will not promote groupings. If you promote groupings, people will be forming groups. My days are numbered. But, I have responsibilities to call your attention to these issues.”
Olusi also denied allegations that he collected bribe from Ambode. He said: “I did not collect money. They said I collected N400 million. They said Adetoro collected N450 million, and Pedro N550 million. I had land. The state government collected my land when my son was in power. I have not been given a replacement.
“After the primary, concentrate on the candidate. There is no division again. A pro-Ambode group was formed. I said you don’t need it. Where is the group today? If you are forming a group for Sanwo-Olu, it is for eight years. After that, what happens? You should build love and unity.
“If dividends of democracy get to the people, they will not leave our party. It is only through the machinery of government that this can happen.”
Olusi appealed to aspirants who fail at the primary to accept the decision of the party in good faith and in the interest of the party. He specifically thanked Ambode for accepting the decision of the party.
He urged them to support the party loyally during the election, assuring that their loyalty will not be in vain.
Adetoro, former Chairman of Eti-Osa Council, urged sanwo-Olu to fulfil his promises to the people, if elected.
He advised him to set up a “government of inclusiveness”, stressing that members needed a sense of belonging.
Aro-Lambo called for unity, advising the party members to work for the victory of the party as one united family.
Muse said: “I sent I sent a text to Sanwo-Olu and he replied me immediately. We should campaign unanimously. Those who are in mandate cannot leave. But, after the campaign, you can return to mandate.”
Oshun said: “God who enabled Sanwo-Olu to be the candidate will make him governor. There are lessons for human beings to learn. Nobody is ever wise. The party should go into the election in unity.”
Hamzat said that the challenge of voter apathy is real, advising party members to mobilise for victory.
Ayinde unfolded the campaign slogan: “Igbega Ipinle Eko, ajumose ni.” He thanked Lagos Central leaders and members for voting for Sanwo-Olu at the primary.
He said: “ Despite the fact that there was no time to meet APC leaders across the 57 councils, you mobillised members to vote for him.”
Ayinde said plans are underway to synegise all the structures that will work for the victory of the candidate victory at the poll.
He added: “I have 30 directors working at the campaign organisation BOSCO is not to jeopardise the party leadership. We have requested party leaders to send the names of their nominees to the campaign organisation. We don’t want the outcome of the primaries to have negative impact on his chance at the poll. We are targeting 2.5 million votes.
“All those who did not make it at the primaries will be incprporated into the campaign organisation. Having survived the first hurdle, the second is the general election. With yiur support, we will get the projected 2.5 million votes.”
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Author: Emmanuel Oladesu