Grapevine sources say Lagos Governor Ambode is bracing up to dump the APC for Accord Party.
Lagos Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has perfected plans to dump the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Accord Party, sources familiar with the intrigues in Alausa disclosed to Pulse on conditions of anonymity.
Ambode fell out with his godfather, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, before the APC governorship primary election which held on Tuesday, October 2, 2018.
Ambode had also lost the support of the APC grassroot structure in Lagos and the governor was abandoned by his deputy on voting day.
Ambode retreats under the shadows after defeat
Since his humiliating defeat, an embattled Ambode has shunned the spotlight and he has lost the support of lawmakers in the State House of Assembly—an indication that he can no longer see key legislation to fruition until the May 29, 2019 handover date.
There are also insinuations in Lagos APC circles that Ambode could be impeached before his handover, even though the Speaker of the House recently dispelled the rumours.
Now feeling increasingly frustrated on the job and alienated by his own political party, Ambode has settled for a platform from where he will at least be allowed to call the shots to some degree, Pulse has learnt.
Ambode, said one source, has purchased the Accord governorship nomination form through a proxy.
How the Accord deal will work
According to one of the sources; “Ambode is set to contest the next governorship election in Lagos state as the candidate of the Accord Party. Someone purchased a governorship form for Ambode. The name there is a dummy which will be replaced by exploiting the provisions of the electoral law.
“A dummy name is in place under the Accord party and the necessary substitution will be made just before the final date".
When Pulse reminded our sources that it isn’t possible for Ambode to run for the office of Governor on another platform since the deadline for submission of names of candidates by political parties has since elapsed, we were told that since the names of candidates nationwide haven't been made public by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), it will be foolhardy to rule anything out.
“Just wait for the list of contestants across the parties to be made public by INEC. Right now, the information we have is that Ambode has purchased the Accord party governorship nomination form and that’s what we are sharing with you”, one source added.
Another source disclosed that Ambode has also purchased 40 House of Assembly nomination forms for aspirants from Lagos; as well as three senatorial forms. “Recall that Lagos State House of Assembly has 40 lawmakers. The conclusion is that Ambode is planning to dump APC”, Pulse was told.
One Lagos lawmaker who went through the entire scenario with Pulse at a pub and who asked that his name be left out of this story, recalled that aggrieved APC members have been flirting with the Accord party in recent times. “Ogun state Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, recently threatened to decamp to Accord party and he has in fact told some of his followers to do that.
“Tokunbo Afikuyomi and Fuad Oki are now Ambode's political advisers. They are back full time after they failed to deliver the APC ticket at the primaries to him.
The lawmaker added that “Fuad Oki's political pedigree is not suited for his new found assignment of being Ambode's lackey. His sudden flip flops and opposition to the imagined impeachment move are attempts to justify the investment Ambode made in him.
“Fuad will soon find out that Lagos is discerning”, he added.
Silence is the word from Alausa
Sanwo-Olu scored 970,851 votes to beat Ambode who polled 72,901 votes.
Pulse could not independently verify Ambode's defection story as relayed by our sources; as all parties didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.
An email sent to the Governor's office through Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan, Ambode's Information Commissioner, remains unanswered, 72 hours after.
Mr. Habib Adamson Aruna who is Ambode's Chief Press Secretary, also didn't respond to requests for a comment, with calls placed to his smartphone returning unanswered.
The publicly available Accord party phone number also rang repeatedly with no one picking up from the other end.
Ambode promised not to leave APC
Hours before the primary election which he lost, Ambode had vowed not to exit the APC, whatever the outcome of the vote.
"I am not leaving the APC. I am going nowhere. We are a one happy family in the APC", Ambode had vowed, before going on to label Sanwo-Olu unfit for public office for allegedly spraying fake dollars in a US night club and spending some time in a drug rehabilitation center.
Ambode was spotting an APC shirt when he made the promise to remain in the party. He also promised to support Sanwo-Olu and the APC during the election campaign season.