Bola Tinubu, national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), says Jimi Agbaje, governorship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Saturday’s election, approached him for the ticket of the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in 2011.
Tinubu said he declined the request because he was convinced that Babatunde Fashola, governor of the state, who was seeking re-election at that time, was better than Agbaje.
The former governor of Lagos was speaking on Tuesday during the rally of APC in the Orile Iganmu area of the state.
“In 2011, when Jimi Agbaje asked me to give him the governorship ticket, I told him he was not qualified and I told him I was going to support a man of character and sound mind, which is Fashola,” Tinubu said.
“Since then, Fashola has performed tremendously well and has not been sentimental.”
He appealed to residents of the state to vote for Akinwunmi Ambode, the party’s governorship candidate in the election, “because he has the integrity and ability to do a good job”.
“As you vote on Saturday, pray that God will not let you waste your vote; a vote for progress is a vote for development,” he said.
“Vote for the man who will give you solid development, happiness, hope and great progress in Lagos and in Nigeria. We have a president-elect from the party now; we have gotten victory and we will continue with the progress that Nigeria deserves.”
Reacting to the controversy generated by Rilwan Akiolu, the Oba of Lagos, over the attempt to coerce the Igbo in Lagos to support Ambode, Tinubu said Akiolu was not a politician.
“The Oba is not a politician. His job is to accommodate all political parties, whether PDP, APC or SDP,” he said.
“To you Igbos, don’t we pay your children’s school fees like others? Or is it the palace that pays for it? When we conducted an exam and a spelling competition, an Igbo boy, Ebuka, from Anambra, came first and he became the governor for one day.
“Those that won the competition three times in a row were Igbo. Ebuka was sent to Switzerland computer school and then Obafemi Awolowo University. We did not say he was an Igbo boy and he would not enjoy. He became an executive in Oando and he is now in Canada.”
Tinubu added that he was the first Yoruba governor to ever appoint an Igbo person as commissioner. He accused the PDP of trying to use the Akiolu controversy to reduce the chances of APC in the state but said they would not succeed.
Fashola, who was also at the rally, urged residents to vote for Ambode, saying that the state must not remain in opposition to the centre.
“We are 5.8 million on the voters register and I will want three million votes for Ambode,” he said.
“Put ethnic sentiments aside, there will be no discrimination. As your governor, I have defended you every time you have been intimidated without discrimination.”
Fashola said that Buhari had promised to compensate the state for all federal government assets it had maintained.
Ambode also solicited the support of the people, urging them to vote APC as they did on March 28.
“I want to say a big thank you to you all. March 28 was historic for Lagosians; we said we wanted change and we made it possible,” he said.
“I urge you to repeat that on Saturday. We are united on one cause; we will not discriminate against anyone. We are all one, be you Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo; that is how we will remain forever.”
Ambode urged Lagos residents to consider the possibilities they stand to gain with APC being the party at the centre.
Also present at the rally were Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers, governor of Rivers state; Audu Ogbeh, a chieftain of APC; Chris Ngige, former governor of Anambra state and John Oyegun, national chairman of the party.