Ahead of 2019: Ambode, Fashola in Political Mudslinging

When Governor Akinwunmi
Ambode of Lagos State, in an
unusual candour few days ago, let
out his frustration against his
immediate predecessor and
current Minister of Power, Works
and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji
Fashola, not a few political
observers have started connecting
the dots to the likely implication
of what the outcome would be.
After leading a team of journalists
across specific places where there
are ongoing projects of his
administration, Ambode lamented
how his efforts to rehabilitate the
roads leading to the Murtala
Muhammed International Airport,
Lagos, and the Presidential Lodge,
Marina, were being hampered by
the Federal Ministry of Works.
“The road linking Oshodi to the
international airport, you would all
agree with me, is a national
embarrassment. In the spirit of
the regeneration and urbanisation
this administration has set out to
achieve, we believe strongly that
the road must be repaired. And we
took it upon ourselves to
appropriate the 2017 budget and
asked the House of Assembly to
approve the total reconstruction of
the airport road, from Oshodi to
the international airport,” Ambode
The governor had gone a step
further ýto reveal that prior to his
emergence, the ministry, now
presided over by Fashola, was
owing the state the sum of N51
billion as reimbursement for
reconstructions carried out by the
state government on federal
He further said, “The historic place
we refer to as Presidential Lodge
is still more or less being tossed
about in terms of being handed
over to us. We believe strongly
that by May 27, 2017, we should
be able to invite Mr. President and
other people who have actually
made Lagos what it is today to
that Presidential Lodge for the
final banquet and dinner to mark
Lagos at 50.
“As we speak, we are yet to gain
entrance into that place, and this
is frustrating our programme. So I
want to use this medium to appeal
and say that the approval of Mr.
President should be rightly
honoured, and the agencies
concerned, that is the Federal
Ministry of Works and Housing,
and the security services, should
honour that promise by Mr.
President. We just believe strongly
that we must proceed to gain
access into that place so that we
can roll out our programmes for
Lagos at 50.’’
Less than 24 hours after the
mass media went to town with the
story, Fashola, returned his own
salvo. In a statement issued by
his media aide, Hakeem Bello, the
former governor was short of
calling his successor ungrateful.
Indeed, he was emphatic that what
the governor said was not true,
saying he was only “raising storm
in a tea cup.”
”This response is to ensure that
members of the public are not
misled. The allegations of lack of
cooperation from the ministry and
frustration of Lagos
State government development
initiatives are simply not true,” a
part of the statement read.
Fashola recalled that in 2016 he
approved the use of the Federal
Ministry of Works yard at
Oworonsoki for the Lagos State
government to create a lay-by to
ease traffic. He also approved that
Lagos State be granted the right
to manage the street light on the
3rd Mainland Bridge to support
the security initiatives of the state.
He added that within the same
year, the minister also supported
the approval of the World Bank
Loan of $200million to Lagos
State, a request the previous
administration had denied the
“As far as the international airport
road, which is currently the
ground for the alleged ‘frustration’
is concerned, the correct position
is that the Lagos State
government presented a request
for four roads it would wish to
take over.
“The ministry has presented the
memorandum conveying the
request of the Lagos State
government to the Federal
Executive Council (FEC) as was
done with a similar request by the
Kaduna State government in 2016.
“Due to the fact that two of the
roads also connect Ogun State,
the FEC could not reach an
immediate decision on them
because it requested the input of
the other state government
affected,” the statement added.
On the Presidential Lodge,
Marina, Fashola said the building
was actually under the purview of
the Presidency and that whereas
the ministry has been directed to
work on the modalities for
transfer, it still has the survey
plan pending.
The minister further queried the
motive behind Ambode’s public
accusations, saying it should be
scrutinised because it came barely
a week after the governor spoke
with him on phone, “the first of its
kind since the assumption of
office on May 29, 2015.”
Although pundits say the actions
of both gladiators go beyond
official disagreement, the Lagos
State chapter of the All
Progressives Congress (APC) has
said that all is well.
“There is no crisis anywhere.
Whatever you have seen so far
was a minor issue that must have
been caused by communication
gap, which we, as a party, will
look into and address.” Joe
Igbokwe, the party’s publicity
secretary in the state said,
Igbokwe, however, agreed that the
road leading to the international
airport has actually been a shame
to the country. But he was quick
to attribute the state of the road to
years of abandonment by the
former ruling party, the Peoples
Democratic Party (PDP). “It used
to be an issue when the PDP was
in power, but not anymore. The
APC government is the same.
There is no rancour anywhere.
And I can assure Lagosians that
in the next six months or
thereabouts, the road leading to
the airport will be renovated. We
are together,” he said.
But it is not known whether the
two gladiators involved in the
political brickbat share Igbokwe’s
Indeed, the alleged political
discord between Fashola and
Ambode was a matter of
speculations ahead of the 2015
general elections. At the time,
while the candidacy of Ambode, a
former accountant-general of
Lagos State, was being promoted
by ýthe party’s national leader and
former governor, Bola Ahmed
Tinubu, Fashola was said to have
vigorously pushed for the
candidacy of his former attorney-
general and commissioner for
justice, Olasupo Sasore, a Senior
Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
Ambode eventually defeated
Sasore and other contenders in
the APC gubernatorial primary
election by a wide margin. The
bad blood the outcome of the
primary generated was carefully
managed such that both Ambode
and Fashola were always on the
campaign trail together. But the
newly found love between the duo
could not thrive for long after
Ambode won the gubernatorial
election and was subsequently
sworn into office.
As President Muhammadu Buhari
assumed office and started
searching for personalities that
would work with him as ministers
and advisers, speculations
became rife that the hawks within
the Tinubu/Ambode caucus of the
party were out to prevent the
appointment of Fashola. In what
seemed to be acting true to the
playbook, at a point, how Fashola
as governor of the state had spent
N78.3 million to develop a
personal website with mobile
applications was revealed. The
noise was yet to simmer when
another damaging report crept to
public domain concerning how the
former governor expended a
whooping sum of N139 million on
the construction of two boreholes
at the state’s Government House.
The allegations failed to
discourage the president, who
eventually sent Fashola’s name to
the National Assembly for
subsequent confirmation as
The appointment of Fashola
appeared to have opened a new
vista of politics in the South-West
geopolitical zone. It is believed
that observers are sensing
attempts to checkmate Tinubu’s
political relevance in the zone. On
more than one occasions,
Fashola’s name, alongside that of
the Minister of Solid Mineral
Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi
and the Ogun State Governor
Ibikunle Amosun, was mentioned
as the president’s henchmen who
were saddled with the
responsibility of taking the region
out of Tinubu’s political grip.
Those who believe this line of
thought are quick to pinpoint how
Tinubu’s godson, Segun Abraham,
was schemed out of the recent
APC gubernatorial primary
election in Ondo State. The party’s
candidate, Rotimi Akeredolu, a
Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN),
eventually emerged winner in the
general election. His emergence
was said to have been made
possible by Fashola, Fayemi and
At the home front, however, the
APC structure is still firmly in
Tinubu’s grip, with his loyalists
occupying strategic positions in
the State Executive Council. That
notwithstanding, insiders told
Daily Trust on Sunday that
alignment of forces opposed to
Tinubu’s control are not relenting.
It is believed that their efforts
would become more manifest as
the 2019 general elections draw

Ahead of 2019: Ambode, Fashola in Political Mudslinging Ahead of 2019:
Ambode, Fashola in
Political Mudslinging Reviewed by AkmnaijaTv on 25 March Rating: 5

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