Lagos State governor Akinwunmi Ambode has accepted his loss in the Lagos State governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress.
“I wholeheartedly congratulate the winner of the Lagos State APC Primaries, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu and urge all Lagosians to immediately support our party’s gubernatorial candidate in the 2019 elections and work for the success of our dear party,” Ambode said at a press conference on Wednesday.
Ambode also pleaded with the party members to remain “one family and unite behind the candidate of the party adding that the progress of the state was non-negotiable.”
The incumbent governor lost his party’s governorship ticket to Sanwo-Olu in a controversial, however, widely participated primary election.
After postponing the primary poll twice, the party state leaders and members including the APC national leader, Bola Tinubu and the state deputy governor, Idiat Adebule, took to their wards to elect the flag bearer for the party in the 2019 general election.
According to the state chairman of the party, Tunji Balogun, who announced the outcome of the exercise at Lagos APC headquarters Ogba, Ikeja, on Tuesday night said Sanwoolu emerged winner with 970,851 votes while Ambode scored a total of 72,901 votes.
However, the National Working Committee panel of the state, which was sent by the National Working Committee to conduct and supervise the exercise, said the election was null and void.
The chairman of the panel Clement Ebri said the results announced cannot stand and that “fresh time and date for the election will be announced later.”
He added that all materials meant for the election are still in their custody, hence, an election could not have held.
Also, although the exercise was conducted via direct primaries method, loyalists of Ambode alleged disenfranchisement and threatened to hold their own exercise.
Ambode’s supporters accused Lagos APC leaders of employing high-handed tactics to ensure the victory of Sanwo-Olu.
Curiously, on Wednesday morning, the Ebri-led panel reversed his stance and declared to affirm the result which was announced by the Lagos chairman of the APC on Tuesday night.
Ebri said despite the hiccups on Tuesday, the Lagos State governorship primaries committee collated the results of the 245 wards in the 20 local government areas from the collating officers.
“At the end of the exercise, the following votes were scored by the respective aspirants: one, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode 72,901 votes. The other aspirant, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, scored 970,851 votes.
“Following this results, I, Clement Ebri, the chairman of the Lagos State APC Governorship Primary Committee, hereby declare Babajide Sanwo-Olu the winner of that election.”