20180918

Ambode Efforts To Secure Tinubu’s Support Fails: What Next?

As it becomes more obvious that the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu, will not change his mind on his decision not to support Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s second term of office ambition, the embattled Lagos governor is weighing his options.

What are the realistic moves open to Ambode now?

Although Tinubu has not spoken publicly about his reported opposition to Ambode’s ambition, his political foot soldiers, massed in the Mandate Movement, the same group that facilitated Ambode’s ride to power in 2015, have publicly declared their support for the Managing Director of Lagos State Property Development Corporation (LSPDC), Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Even as his aides kept hope alive last night, saying further discussions were on in Osogbo, the capital of Osun State, where the party’s regional and national leaders have assembled to hold a final rally for APC’s governorship candidate in next Saturday’s election, Ambode is said to be weighing the options available to him.

According to his close aides, who spoke to THISDAY yesterday on condition of anonymity, Ambode's options are step down because without Tinubu’s support, he has no other structure with which to fight; join another party; or fight at the state nomination congress slated for Monday and go down like a man.

In the event that Tinubu remains adamant and withholds support, the aides said, the most viable option for Ambode is to step down and go home.

“Ambode did not prepare for the prevailing circumstances,” said an aide, “therefore, he does not have alternative plan to respond to his dilemma.”

Brought in from political obscurity by Tinubu and helped into office through the massive political machine, called Mandate Movement, headed by Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola, Ambode was not in a position to attempt creating his own structure.

The initial attempts he made, said his aides, were stoutly resisted by the political establishment.

“The few policy changes and appointments he made were seen as a move by him to stand alone and assert his authority. This is what has brought him to the current sorry state,” said another aide.

Without a structure of his own, his close associates, according to THISDAY sources, are advising him to step down and let go. “After all, he was in his quiet corner before he was asked to come and be governor. If they don’t want him again, why would he fight them? How will he do it anyway?” said a source.

The thinking, said another source, is that a soft landing could be arranged for Ambode, whereby he would be allowed to serve out his term and go home in peace without any further molestation, which could include removal from office since his traducers have control of the House of Assembly.

The other two options, said a close associate, could not be contemplated without serious complications and consequences.

According to him, “Yes, he could join another party, as being proposed... but that could be grievous as the APC dominated House of Assembly could move against him before the general election.”

However, some other associates argue that a removal from office move might be difficult to carry out since the Chief Judge of the state, who is expected to constitute the investigation panel might not cooperate being a wife of a traditional ruler in the state that is sympathetic to the embattled governor.

The third option of going into the congress, knowing full well that he would be beaten, is also being advised against by his associates and aides who think that would undermine his political legacy and record and bring him in full conflict with the national leader and his political machine.

“Once he takes that route and he is defeated, and he sure would be, the political establishment would not spare him. If they can’t remove him from office, he would spend the rest of his term fighting battles he is not likely to win. Is that what he wants?”