IN what appears to be a boost to his chances of winning the March 9 governorship election in Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the All Progressives Congress, APC standard bearer, has been endorsed by the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, who in turn are seeking six slots in his government after his victory.
Ohanaeze leaders, who promised to mobilise two million registered Igbo voters to vote for Sanwo-Olu conveyed their decision at a town hall meeting on Sunday night, in Lagos. Sanwo-Olu was at the event with his running mate, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat.
In a quick response to the development, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, governorship candidate, Mr Jimi Agbaje considered to enjoy the support of many Igbo in Lagos, said he was not bothered about the endorsement but that the APC should allow people to cast their votes on election day without intimidation.
Assuring Sanwo-Olu of their support, Ohanaeze leaders who alleged attacks on Igbo in some parts of the state during and after the February 23 Presidential and National Assembly polls, tasked Sanwo-Olu on protection of Igbo in the state and six appointment slots after the election. President, Ohanaeze Lagos State, Chief Solomon Ogbonna, hinted that they have concluded plans to cast their votes for him but he must yield to their demands after the election. Ogbonna said: “We are endorsing him because this is the man that will give us what we have been craving for in Lagos. This is the best that can happen to Ndigbo in Lagos, so come out and vote for him. Hold me responsible for this because I know him and I have seen what he can do.”
The president disclosed that when their members were attacked after the Presidential and National Assembly elections, “Sanwo-Olu’s actions showed his love for the Ndigbo to live peacefully in Lagos.” Former President, Chief Oliver Akabueze, explained that their members voted against the APC candidates during Presidential election because they did not like the choice of the party. “What played out during last election will not happen next Saturday because we love Sanwo-Olu. During last election, the choice of the party did not meet our expectations and that is why we did that.”
Secretary, Ohanaeze Lagos, Chief Everest Ozonweke, stressed that the endorsement does not indicate that Ohanaeze has started engaging in politics but “we very concerned about how we are governed. The lives and property of Ndigbo are our priorities.” The Woman leader, Mrs. Nkechi Agubuzor, disclosed that over two million of their members would be mobilised to cast their votes for APC candidate. Responding, Sanwo-Olu argued that next Saturday’s election was about the future of the state and not about any individual. He urged that residents to avoid anyone that raise ethnic sentiments before and after the election because it would not aid developments but crisis. When I am elected, I will operate an inclusive and transparent government. I can assure anyone of that.”