The story of who becomes the governorship flag bearer for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos, took a new turn on Saturday as one of the aspirants Obafemi Hamzat stepped down and endorsed fellow aspirant Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Hamzat renounced his decision to contest in the APC governorship primary election at a press briefing attended by Sanwo-Olu and other party members in Lagos.
This could pose a huge challenge for the incumbent governor Akinwunmi Abode as the two aspirants have joined forces to defeat him in the APC primary.
According to reports, the national leader of the ruling APC Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is believed to have withdrawn support for Ambode’s re-election in favour of Sanwo-Olu who was a former Commissioner of Commerce and Industry in the State.
The party leader however has been under intense pressure to have a change of heart after President Muhammadu Buhari and other state governors tried to persuade him to support the incumbent.
A member of the party in Lagos who pleaded anonymity insisted there is no going back on Sanwo-Olu’s ambition, unless Tinubu plans to self-destruct.
"It is political suicide for Tinubu to allow Ambode to go for a second term.
"This is because of the way the governor conducted himself and sidelined party members since he emerged,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu is also believed to have the backing of a grassroots structure of the party, Mandate Group, led by Tinubu.
The group, on different occasions maintained that Ambode’s exit is a done deal, stressing that under a democratic setting, a President lacks the powers to dictate who becomes governor in any state.
Also, chairmen of 52 out 57 local councils in the state have endorsed Sanwo-Olu to be the party's governorship flag bearer going into next year's elections. The three in exclusion are the chairmen of Epe division of the state where governor Ambode hails from.
Some of Ambode's alleged "sins" includes sidelining party elders and the advisory council in policies and affairs of the state since his emergence as governor in 2015.
Ambode was asked to step down to avoid the humiliation of a seating governor losing his party’s ticket. A move which the Governor has shunned to declare his readiness to contest his return ticket for next year’s election.
The ruling party's governorship primary in the state is scheduled for Sunday, September 30.