The Governorship candidate of the All Progressive Party (APC) in Lagos State, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode, has dedicated his victory to the people of Lagos, saying his emergence as the APC candidate “is renewed hope for Lagos.”
Ambode emerged in a landslide victory early on Friday (December 5) morning after defeating 11 other aspirants in a keenly contested primary election that took place at the Onikan Stadium in the centre of Lagos amid tight security.
He will be presented with the party’s flag on December 10 during the APC national convention which is slated to hold in Lagos.
But contrary to expectations, the primary election which began with accreditation as early as 9am on Thursday and ran till 6am on Friday morning, was very orderly and peaceful with all the 12 aspirants present in a true spirit of party cohesion and camaraderie. The election was conducted in the full glare of the media and international observers from the British and American embassies, among others.
Ambode, whose election by majority of party delegates from the 20 Local Government Areas in the state did not come as a surprise to those conversant with the politics of Nigeria’s foremost metropolitan state, polled a total of 3735 votes out of the total of almost 6000 cast, ahead of his closest rival Dr. Femi Hamzat, who polled 1201 votes.
The result for other candidates is as follows: Senator Ganiyu Solomon – 272; Lanre Ope – 0; Adekunle Disu – 9; Abayomi Sutton – 0; Tola Kasali – 69; Supo Shasore – 121; Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji – 182; Dr. Leke Pitan – 112; Tokunbo Wahab – 7 and Tayo Ayinde – 17.
Ambode’s victory was announced by chairman of the APC gubernatorial electoral committee for Lagos and former Deputy Governor of Edo State, Rev Peter Obadan.
Dr. Hamzat who is the current Commissioner for Works in Lagos State has congratulated Ambode for his victory, promising to work with the Epe-born technocrat to achieve victory at the governorship election on February 28, 2015.
The announcement of Ambode as the winner of the primaries was greeted with wild jubilations from the crowd of supporters who had begun arriving at the venue as early as 9am in the morning. They all waited peacefully till the votes were counted and the winner announced just before midnight.
A delegate, who apparently spoke the mind of many others, expressed delight at Ambode’s emergence and charged everyone who vied for the ticket to come together and work for the interest of the party now that the election has been won and lost in a free and fair manner.
Also, Senator Ashafa, evidently impressed with the conduct of the voting enthused: “This is democracy at play, this is transparency at play.”
Party stalwarts who were at the primaries included Chairman of the party in Lagos State, Chief Henry Ajomale; Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire; Senator Oluremi Tinubu; Senator Gbenga Ashafa; former Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora; Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, other members of the House of Representatives and Lagos State House of Assembly, among others.
Reacting to his victory, an elated Ambode said: “It is with a deep sense of gratitude and humility that I accept this ticket to run as the flag-bearer of our great party, APC, in the 2015 gubernatorial elections. The victory was made possible by you the people.”
The former Accountant General of Lagos State who also thanked all the other 12 aspirants for running a good race added that his candidacy is “renewed hope for Lagos State.”
He said: “The orderliness, the transparency of the process and the spirit of sportsmanship devoid of bitterness that characterized this process signpost a better future for our democracy. Our party has demonstrated to all that we are a party of great minds and democratic ideals.
“We have a legacy to build upon. We have a challenge to meet and speedily too. The responsibility belongs to all of us. Let us put aside the disappointment of yesterday and embrace the opportunity of today. Not forgetting that the future begins today. We must never forget that the future of Lagos is bigger than the summation of our ambitions.
“After this victory, we must move quickly to retain the party APC in the column of the progressives by returning the APC to power in Lagos. On my part, I promise never to waiver or fail. I promise to energize and mobilize our teeming supporters in the next phase of this struggle. I put myself to the task, knowing full well that the foundation laid must never be destroyed but built upon. I commit to the continuation of excellence and the upliftment of the lives of all Lagosians.”
The APC candidate was born 51 years ago at the Epe General Hospital on June 14, 1963. He stared his educational career at St. Jude’s Primary School, Ebute Meta, Lagos, in 1969 and in 1974 he sat for the National Common Entrance Examinations in primary five after which he was admitted into the Federal Government College, Warri (DElta) in the same year.
Ambode spent seven years in Warri, where he completed his Ordinary and Advanced Levels and had the distinction of achieving the second best result in all of West Africa in the Higher School Certificate Examinations in 1981. He was on the school’s Hockey and Cricket teams and was part of the then Bendel State Cricket team while still a student.
He then proceeded to the University of Lagos where he studied Accounting, graduating at the age of 21 in 1984. He completed his mandatory National Youth Service Corps year serving with the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sokoto, Sokoto State, where he started his journey into qualitative management.
Akinwumi Ambode who is commonly known as A-Plus by his close friends and associates, voluntarily retired as the Accountant General of Lagos State in August 2012, after a 27-year meritorious career which saw him in different arms of the Lagos State Civil Service, as Auditor General of the Local Governments and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance. Ambode is said to be one of the creative minds behind the astronomical growth in the volume of Internally Generated Revenue of Lagos State, especially between 2005 and his retirement in 2012.
An experienced Administrator and Public Finance Management expert, Ambode is the Chief Executive Officer of Brandsmith Consulting Limited – a firm that specializes in public sector finance management. A Fulbright scholar and Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), he is also a Member of the Nigerian Institute of Management. He is the founder of La Roche Leadership Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on developing the next generation of leaders.