Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has conceded defeat in the Lagos APC governorship primary conducted on Tuesday. He becomes the only governor to fail to get a reelection ticket among all those seeking a second term.
Ambode was trounced in a landslide by Babajide Sanwo-Olu who was endorsed by the powers-that-be in the ruling party.
In his speech, Governor Ambode stated that he believes “the time has now come for the State to move forward in order that the gains of the last three and half years are not lost.” He said that the interests of Lagos State “must always supersede that of any person or group.”
“I wholeheartedly congratulate the winner of the Lagos State APC Primaries, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and urge all Lagosians to immediately support our party’s gubernatorial candidate in the 2019 elections and work for the success of our dear party,” Ambode said in his statement.
He promised to do everything possible “to ensure a smooth transition in the remaining period of this administration and ultimately to the new Governor, come May 2019.”
The biggest question yesterday when it became clear that Ambode was heading to a certain victory was whether he would defect from the APC. There were even speculations that Ambode would be given the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which is yet to hold its own primary in Lagos. However, Ambode’s comments that he would hand over to a “new governor” seems to foreclose the possibility that he would seek reelection on the platform of another party.
It is widely believed that the governor had little or no choice in the matter. With the APC controlling the state assembly, a defection could lead to an impeachment.
However, the governor’s actions in the remaining weeks before the elections would be closely monitored. It is not unusual for a politician to remain within a party while covertly working for the success of another party.