The suspicion in the Lagos State chapter of the All Progressive Congress (APC) heightened yesterday when news filtered in that the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Lagos State Property Development Council (LSDPC), Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, had purchased form to challenge his principal, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
The LSDPC led by Sanwo-Olu is one of the agencies of the Lagos State Government and his entry into the race had altered political permutations, with sources saying Senator Bola Tinubu who had allegedly parted ways with Ambode, was behind his aspiration.
Sanwo-Olu was said to have been supported by the Mandate Group, one of the two powerful caucuses within the Lagos State APC, the other being Justice Forum.
The Mandate Group is anchored by Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, another Tinubu loyalist.
At a reception held within Watercress Hotel, Ikeja, on Monday evening, Sanwo-Olu was surrounded by prominent party stalwarts and members of the Mandate Group, including Chief James Odunmbaku, a former deputy chairman of the party in the state.
Regarded as a public sector expert in human resources and policy formation, Sanwo-Olu had at different times served as Special Adviser to former governor Tinubu and ex-deputy governor Femi Pedro.
He equally served as Commissioner for Commerce and Industry; Budget and Planning as well as Establishments and Training, all under former governor Babatunde Raji Fashola.
Governor Ambode had on Monday obtained his forms at the APC headquarters Abuja, before coming to officially declare his interest at an open ground in Alausa, Ikeja.
The event was held at a rain-soaked venue attended by thousands of party faithful. However, some political pundits had raised eyebrows as to why no member of the state executive was at the reception.
During his speech, Ambode said he had fulfilled his promises to Lagos State residents and therefore urged them to join him in his quest to run for second term.
“I thank all members of our great party, the APC political leaders and most especially our national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for giving me the platform to contribute to the growth and development of our state,” he said.
Three days earlier, another long time loyalist of Tinubu who served as commissioner, Mr Babafemi Hamzat, also obtained APC forms.
He is believed to have the support of the caucus loyal to the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola and National Legal Adviser of the party, Muiz Banire.
The announcement a few days ago that selection of candidates for general elections in the Lagos chapter of the APC would be determined by direct primary option as against the delegate system, had fuelled speculation that Tinubu might not be well disposed to the idea of Ambode returning as governor.