The ruling party’s presidential candidate for the 2023 elections, Bola Tinubu, cannot take credit for the accomplishments made under the administrations of former governors Babatunde Fashola (commonly known as BRF) and Akinwunmi Ambode, according to APC Chieftain Tunde Bank-Anthony.
Bank-Anthony stated this on Wednesday when he featured as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.
“The people that succeeded Asiwaju (Tinubu), BRF succeeded him, and his eight years was more visible than Bola Tinubu’s eight years…He (Tinubu) cannot claim glory for what they did; it’s not possible,”
He claimed that Ambode was a governor who was pulling his weight and was barred from running for re-election.
Ambode is the only previous governor of the state to hold office for just one term since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999. Tinubu served as governor from 1999 to 2007 before handing the reins over to Fashola, who served as governor from 2007 to 2015.
Ambode took office in 2015 but lost his bid for re-election in the 2019 primary due to infighting within the APC, whose strongman in Lagos, Tinubu, was rumoured to have favoured the outgoing governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, over Ambode.
Sanwo-Olu, who won the party’s nomination in the 2019 governorship election, has once more locked down the APC nomination for his reelection in the 2023 elections.
A spokesman for Concerned Nigerians, Bank-Anthony, stated in an interview with Channels Television that Tinubu did not create modern Lagos and that his guys should not minimise or denigrate the achievements of Ambode and Fashola to Lagos.
He said, “I read something not too long ago. The chairman of the party in Lagos said Ambode did not follow the blueprint of Lagos. What is the blueprint of Lagos? It should be online for people to see.”
Speaking on why Ambode could not get the party’s ticket for re-election, the APC chieftain said, “The primary was held in Lagos, Clement Ebri was in Lagos, and he said it loud and clear that there was no primary, but he later turned around and said, ‘Okay, let’s accept it like that’.
“Ambode was a loyal party man, and he stood by it and accepted it. And he has never commented on it since that day, but people are insinuating so many things about him.”
Ambode hasn’t been spotted with his predecessors, Tinubu and Fashola, at any political or social events since the conclusion of his one-term in 2019. Additionally, he hasn’t been spotted with the current governor at events.
The former governor has also been reserved when he has been photographed at APC national events, like in May 2021 when he was named the deputy chairman of the South-West subcommittee of the ruling party’s Contact and Strategy Committee.
There were rumours that Ambode may run against Sanwo-Olu for the party’s governorship ticket in the primary election in May 2022. Still, his buddy Wale Oluwo entered the race instead and finished second to Sanwo-Olu.
Asked whether Tinubu has forgiven Ambode, Bank-Anthony said, “I am surprised that you said Tinubu had not forgiven Ambode; it should be the other way round that Ambode has not forgiven Tinubu. Saying that Tinubu has not forgiven Ambode, on what basis is that? Is it poor performance or what? Is it that he didn’t do well as the governor of Lagos State or as an accountant general? For me, it is more or less than a performing governor was yanked off for no reason, for a personal reason.
“Since Ambode left office, he has not said a word against Bola Tinubu. All he has said is that please go and register for your PVCs. He (Ambode) is still an APC member, he is still loyal to the APC. He is not leaving the party.”
On whether Ambode will support Tinubu’s ambition, Bank-Anthony said, “I don’t see why not…As I sit down here now, if I tell you I will vote for you, I can change my mind.”
Ambode, unlike Fashola and Sanwo-Olu, has not openly sponsored or appeared at any political event associated with Tinubu’s bid for Aso Rock in 2023. However, the months leading up to the February 2023 election are still quite pregnant.