By Kazeem Ugbodaga
Ahead of primaries for the Local Government elections in Lagos, the leadership of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has endorsed automatic ticket for 18 council aspirants of the party.
APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, spoke at a stakeholder’s meeting held at the APC Secretariat on Acme Road, Ogba, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria on Wednesday.
While urging members to accept the decision of the party with respect to the LG election, Tinubu said as agreed earlier, the 18 chairmen who were promised automatic ticket for their efforts in the party and the State would be allowed to return, while the Sole Administrators who took over from Executive Secretaries (ES) of the LGs and LCDAs would not be allowed to contest in the election.
He commended members of the party for supporting Ambode in the 2015 elections, and urged that the candidates of the party for the forthcoming Local Government Election should also be supported.
Tinubu, who described the election as the most challenging, recalled how the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former President Goodluck Jonathan moved to take over the State by all means, including spending huge cash, but that the APC members resolutely stood their ground and ensured the victory of the party.
He also directed party leaders in all the 57 councils to give special concession to youths and women, while also urging members of the party in Surulere to give peace a chance and drop all forms of public disorder.
Responding to issues raised by party members that the ES should be disallowed from contesting, Tinubu said: “Doing such would amount to denying them their rights having left office more than a year ago. It is just like saying that Governor Ambode or Senators and other party leaders should not be allowed second term.”
Besides, Tinubu commended Governor Ambode for his sterling performance so far, saying that the governor had not let the party down.
“Governor Ambode you have not let us down. He is doing a fantastic job, in an environment where there is economic recession is a big challenge, they say he might not be able to do it, but he is doing it and doing it perfectly.
“He has a very good team of performers, it takes a leader to lead a team to victory and a leader to think and dream. He thinks and performs and he is doing a great job, we are very proud of him,” Tinubu said.
Speaking, Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode on Wednesday charged members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State to work round the clock to ensure that the party wins all available elective positions in the forthcoming July 22 Local Government elections.
Ambode, who addressed members of the party at a stakeholders meeting, which attracted thousands of faithful and top chieftains of the party, said it was important for the party to come out tops in the elections, adding that it would go a long way to ensure that the State continues to make steady progress.
While attributing his success in the 2015 gubernatorial elections to the dedication of party members and chieftains of the party, especially the National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the governor charged them to rally round the party yet again to ensure victory for the APC in the polls.
“Almost exactly two years after, we have cause to thank God. I am able to look back that the confidence you give me two years ago and all of you working together to make sure I defeated the PDP candidate was no small feat.
“I have come here not only to attend this meeting but to say a big thank you to all of you. I want to thank you for being the first set of people that believed in me and thereafter God has been so gracious, he has not allowed me to disappoint u. I want to say a big thank you to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the State APC Chairmen and Exco members for supporting that course.
“If there is any party remaining in Nigeria today, that party is manifested in all the good things coming out of Lagos State. Why are we here; we are here to count our blessings and renew the course of unity to move forward as one great party.
“I want to implore all of us, whatever it is that would have transpired, it is very clear that this coming LG elections is all in your hands; just the same way we have done in the last two years, my call to all members of our great party is that all 57 Local Governments and 37 Local Council Development Areas must be won by APC without exception,” the governor said.
Noting that there were challenges and issues that had emanated in the run-up to the local government elections, Ambode, nonetheless urged members to stand by the decisions of the party leaders, which according to him would bring about the best for all.
“This is our first gathering this year, it is very significant, it is instructive and we are meeting on a very happy note. We have begun a new journey into the crusade to make Nigeria a progressive nation and it is starting from this process that we would use; our Chairmen, Councilors, SLGS and this is the new chart that we want to follow in this state.
“A whole lot of things have happened; it is left in the hands of Asiwaju to proclaim the way forward for all of us. So, whatever direction Asiwaju says we should go, we would go,” he said.