The Chairman of the All Progressives Congress in Lagos State, Tunde Balogun, has spoken on what he called the real reasons the immediate past Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, was not given a second term ticket by the party.
Balogun gave the reasons in an interview with The PUNCH.
Since the return of the country to democratic rule in 1999, Ambode was the first governor of the state who did not serve a second term.
His two predecessors: Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), both did two terms of eight years each.
The APC is an offshoot of the original party that brought Tinubu to power in 1999, Alliance for Democracy.
Ambode was denied the party’s ticket for a second term in preference for the incumbent, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, amid the belief that he was performing creditably, especially in the area of infrastructural development.
But Balogun, speaking with The PUNCH, said Lagosians had contrary opinion. He said Ambode had derailed from the party’s vision for Lagos, which he told the highly influential newspaper was the hallmark of the Tinubu and Fashola Administrations.
He said: “The APC as a party started from Alliance for Democracy.
“From AD, when Asiwaju Tinubu was the governor, we had a 10-point agenda for the development of the state.
“These areas touch on transportation, health, education, security, and others.
“When he (Tinubu) was there, he did a lot in the area of transportation, health, and the environment before he left office after eight years.
“Babatunde Fashola took over and followed the same programme to the letter and you found development all over the place.
“When Fashola sought re-election, he won with a very large margin because of his performance.
“When Ambode took over, at the beginning he was adhering to the programme of the party but after some time, he deviated.
“That singular mistake cost him his second term.”
When he was asked to explain further what he meant by Ambode having deviated, Balogun told The PUNCH: “I will tell you how.
“The people of Lagos were disenchanted with the performance of his (Ambode) government.
“In the area of environment, Lagos was taken over by dirt.
“Maybe you have forgotten because it is so easy to forget.
“In the areas of roads, there were potholes and the major road projects embarked upon by Fashola were abandoned.
“These were not part of our dreams and vision for Lagos.
“We plan to have very good management of wastes and complete projects.
“We did not plan to have abandoned projects and potholes everywhere.
“We could not wait to look at that kind of thing that was why we took the necessary step to ensure that our programmes for the improvement of Lagos and making life better for the people are strictly followed.
“That was what cost him the second term that he wanted.
“Some of the projects Fashola embarked on were the railway and the express road from Mile 2 to Badagry.
“He (Ambode) abandoned them.
“We also had conspicuous housing projects, one in Ilubirin that he abandoned, while the waste management system was run aground.
“As a party, we have to be responsive to what the people want otherwise we would become a failure.
“Along the line, another brilliant man, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, showed interest and of course the whole party embraced him.
“He won the primaries and he is the governor now.
“You can see that he has started righting the wrongs.
“He has started addressing the road and engaging the traffic gridlock frontally at the different points in Lagos, while waste management is getting better.
“Abandoned projects are now being kick-started.
“Once you have a programme, follow it to the letter because Lagosians cannot be wrong.”