Wale Oluwo, an associate of a former governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, has submitted his N50m governorship form to the All Progressives Congress.
He submitted his Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms to the party on Wednesday at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
Oluwo, who is the chairman of the Akinwunmi Ambode Campaign Organisation, was the Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources during Ambode’s tenure as governor.
The APC aspirant vowed to defeat the incumbent governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, at the APC governorship primary election later this month. Speaking with The PUNCH on Thursday, Oluwo said, “Lagos must be free.”
So far, only two aspirants have submitted the party’s governorship forms in Lagos — Sanwo-Olu and Oluwo.
The Governor’s Advisory Council, the highest decision-making organ of the party headed by APC chieftain, Bola Tinubu, had mid-April endorsed Sanwo-Olu for second term in 2023. GAC had in 2018 kicked against the second term bid of Ambode, which led to the emergence of Sanwo-Olu as the APC candidate in the 2019 governorship election in the state.
Ambode’s predecessors were in office for two consecutive terms.
They include Tinubu, who was governor between 1999 and 2007; as well as current Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, who was governor from 2007 to 2015.
Since he left office in 2019, Ambode has been extremely politically reserved. He also has not been seen at functions with any of his predecessors or his successor.
Though political permutations have earnestly begun ahead of the 2023 elections, Ambode has not declared his intention to run for second term in office but there are indications that Sanwo-Olu wants to return for another four years.
Asked whether he submitted the governorship forms on behalf of Ambode, Oluwo told The PUNCH on Thursday that the forms were for himself and not the ex-governor.
Asked further if Ambode would be running for any political office in 2023, Oluwo said the ex-governor would speak on that himself.
In February, Ambode, broke his political silence when he thanked Lagosians for endorsing his contributions to the development of the state.
The APC member also urged youths to get their Permanent Voters Cards ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Amid controversy that Tinubu had dumped Sanwo-Olu for another candidate, the APC chieftain had last week publicly endorsed the Lagos governor and his deputy, Obafemi Hamzat, for second term.
The APC presidential aspirant, however, said no automatic ticket for Sanwo-Olu.
Tinubu had said, “Aspirants who are showing interest in positions from House of Assembly to the governorship, go and get your forms; you are going to contest primaries. There will not be any favouritism in the primaries.
“We want you to contest and test your popularity. Nobody will ask to step down for another aspirant. Let all aspirants mobilise their supporters; if you win, you win. If you lose, there will not be a refund of the nomination form.”
But the Ambode camp in the party in the state has consistently kicked against the imposition of candidates, saying neither GAC nor Tinubu has such powers. “GAC doesn’t have such powers. Ambode did well. We want to be the driver of that change in Lagos,” Oluwo had said in a recent interview.
Groups within the APC in Lagos have persistently decried the imposition of candidates by the powers that be. Last December, a major block within the Lagos APC family, the Lagos4Lagos movement, dumped the ruling party and joined the Peoples Democratic Party.
The Lead Visioner of Lagos4Lagos, Olajide Adediran, had said APC does not have a level playing ground and added that the ruling party has a list of persons who will become governors in the state against democratic tenets.