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Exclusive: 2023: Sanwo-Olu In Race Against Time To Secure Second Term

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…Wary Of Receiving Ambode’s Treatment

…Why Tinubu’s Presidential Ambition May Pave Way For Him- Source

…Governor Focused On Delivering Governance Not 2023- APC Spokesman, Oladejo

…Sanwo-Olu Waiting For Green Light From Powers That Be, Says Jandor

By Our Reporter

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu is now in what many described as the race of his life as he battles to convince powerbrokers in the State to give him another term in office.

Sanwo-Olu, in September 2018, emerged as a replacement for former governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, who was abruptly denied a second term despite having a massive run of his first four years with several legacy projects dotting the length and breathe of the State within May 2015 and May 2019.

Ambode, who was alleged to have stepped on the toes of top politicians in the State, including his benefactor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, seemed to have his second term all secured as representatives of Lagos State in the National Assembly, lawmakers in the State Assembly, 57 Local Government Chairmen, including several pressure groups from the All Progressives Congress (APC) openly endorsed him for a second term, even until July 2018.

But in a sudden twist of events, barely two months after the series of endorsements, it emerged that the party hierarchy had sealed Ambode’s fate to limit him to a single term as governor and had given its blessing to Sanwo-Olu as his replacement.

With the 2023 elections fast approaching, the fear of suffering the same fate is already gripping Sanwo-Olu, who sources said, has embarked on a ‘fasting and prayer’ session to soften the heart of the ‘kingmakers’ to give him the benefit of doubt.

A top source close to the powerbrokers in the State told Thepledge that while Sanwo-Olu may be lucky to land a second term, there are many variables that may work for or against him.

“He (Sanwo-Olu) is fasting and praying along with his family to secure a second term. The general feeling among the political circle is that he is more level headed than Ambode.

“Fate may work in his favour. One of the things to first consider is that he is more subservient to Tinubu than Ambode was. Ambode was more ambitious, bolder and more assertive than Sanwo-Olu.

“Even the political leaders in the state who though do not really have a say in the matter, are of the feeling that Sanwo-Olu might be lucky because he is not too assertive, he is not vindictive, that is what he has going for him.

According to the source, Sanwo-Olu knows the tide and knows the possibilities that could spring up, hence since assumption of office, has been careful not to rock any boat or step on toes.

“He has been faithfully abiding to every instruction given by Tinubu and this may work in his favour, the source said.

The source also alluded to Tinubu’s presidential ambition, saying that should the APC stalwart proceed with his quest to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari, he (Tinubu) might concede a second term to Sanwo-Olu on a silver platter.

“Tinubu has his eyes on Abuja. He is likely to be preoccupied with that ambition, which may favour him or not and it is likely to impede his control on Lagos and by so doing, he may allow the governor to go for a second term.

Even so, there are speculations in some quarters that Tinubu was also prepping his son, Seyi to succeed Sanwo-Olu. But our source told our reporter that the option may not be viable or feasible, owing to stiff opposition that has already greeted the plot.

“Another factor is that of his son, Seyi. Most of the leaders are vehemently opposed to this option and have subtly told Tinubu to refrain from throwing his son into the race. Apart from that, Senator Oluremi is not favourably disposed to this plan.”

The source, however, said Sanwo-Olu on his part is doing everything possible not only to win the heart of the party hierarchy but also Lagosians.

In the last one year, the governor’s style of governance has come under severe scrutiny from Lagosians, many of whom are divided on his performance in the last two years and five months.

While some Lagosians feel the governor has yet to live up to the hype that greeted his election campaign, others feel he may have been hampered by the unforeseen events the state witnessed in the last one year.

According to our source, Sanwo-Olu is not unaware of his unpopularity across a section of the State and is strategizing to change the narrative before the elections draw closer.

“The awards he has been collecting up and down is to show the public that he is popular even though there is really nothing to show on the ground like legacy projects. By the end of Fashola’s first term, it was obvious that he deserved a second term with the projects that Lagosians could see and feel the impact on a daily basis.

“Same can be said for Ambode, who within four years did a lot of legacy projects which till today Lagosians remembered him for. But the last two years, while not forgetting the challenges of 2020, Lagos is an economic melting point of Nigeria and therefore cannot afford any excuses. There is not much excitement right now in the State and it is not a good omen for Sanwo-Olu.”

Speaking on the chances of Sanwo-Olu getting a second term, Publicity Secretary of the APC in Lagos, Oluseye Oladejo, told Thepledge that the governor was firmly focused on delivering his mandate to Lagosians, hence was not distracted by the possibility of missing out on a second term.

“I don’t think I should really speak for the governor and I believe at the appropriate time, the governor will answer that question. Besides, INEC has not signalled that serious campaign should start yet for the 2023 polls. You will notice that even Asiwaju himself has not spoken out, it’s just huge number of people across the country who believe in his credibility and the fact that he will deliver to move our nation forward.

“In that vein too, I think at the appropriate time, Mr. Governor will speak out and we will know exactly where we are going to. You will also notice that Mr. Governor, as a matter of policy for him has refused to be distracted by the intrigues of politics, he has concentrated more on governance which is quite commendable.

“He remains the governor of the entire state and not just the APC, even though it was the platform via which he came into office. At the appropriate time I believe it will be explicitly clear, the position of Mr. Governor on 2023,” Oladejo said.

Also speaking, Olajide Adediran, Convener of the Lagos4Lagos group, a fast-rising group within the fold of the APC, said the incumbent governor has not indicated interest to run for a second term for the reason that he has not been given a green light by the power brokers in the party.

Adediran, fondly called Jandor, however, said he and his teeming supporters remain focused on the task of taking over Lagos come 2023.

“The governor that you mentioned, I can’t recollect that he has indicated interest to run for a second term. If there is any body or any group that has signified interest to run, it’s us and it’s because we are not waiting for anybody to tell us what to do, every other person is waiting to be called or to be given the directive. So all I can say is that we are doing this to be governor of Lagos state, not just a party flag bearer.

“If you have seen our strategy, you will see that from day one, since the last six years we started this race, we have been doing like tomorrow is the general elections. So, one thing that is so certain that we continue to assure our teeming followers, which they know is that we are going to be on the ballot,” he said.

Asked if he be willing to square up against Sanwo-Olu in a free and fair primary contest, Jandor said, “Of course, you have said it all, in a free and fair contest why not.”

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Israel Adesanya Beats Jared Cannonier To Retain UFC Middleweight Title

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Israel Adesanya defeated Jarred Cannonier via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 50-45) to retain the UFC middleweight championship.

Adesanya fought against middleweight contender Jared Cannonier at UFC 276 at the T-mobile Arena, Las Vegas Sunday morning.

Since making his debut in 2018, ‘The Last Stylebender’ has looked better each time he’s stepped into the Octagon and is still undefeated in the middleweight. He first captured the interim title in the Fight of The Year winner against Kelvin Gastelum in 2019.

‘Izzy’ then defeated Robert Whittaker and unified the titles that same year.

He has successfully defended his title four times since then. On an otherwise perfect record for Adesanya (22-1), his only loss was during his unsuccessful step up to light heavyweight, losing to then-champion Jan Blachowicz.

On Sunday, the Nigerian-born New Zealander successfully defended his middleweight title for the fifth time.

While Adesanya defeated Robert Whittaker in February for the second time to retain his middleweight strap, Cannonier knocked out Derek Brunson in the second round in February to become the weight’s No.1contender.

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Ekiti Election: INEC Calls For Speedy Prosecution Of Arrested ‘Vote-Buyers’

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Saturday called for the quick prosecution of all those arrested for vote-buying during the Ekiti State governorship election.

INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, made the call during a meeting with members of the Inter-Agency Committee on Election Security in Abuja.

He said he was satisfied with the conduct of security agencies during the election, and that the speedy prosecution of culprits of vote-buying will serve as a deterrent for others.

“Vote busying remains a major area of concern. We appreciate the role played by anti-corruption and security agencies,” he said.

“We are working with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to ensure the prosecution of persons arrested in the Ekiti governorship election.”

The INEC Chairman also highlighted the commission’s activities lined up for the forthcoming Osun State scheduled for July 16.

According to him, INEC is committed to the conduct of pre-election activities to perfect the Osun polls.

“The Commission is deploying a readiness assessment team to Osun State next week to assess our preparations. We will visit some of our local government offices in the state, hold meetings with our staff, we will also observe the mock accreditation of voters in some polling units across the three senatorial districts in the state,” the INEC Chairman added.

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Let Me Go, I Hate Playing In Europa League, Ronaldo Tells Man United

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Cristiano Ronaldo has asked Manchester United to let him leave should they receive a satisfactory offer this summer, the UK Times reports.

The 37-year-old’s decision is driven by his desire to play in the Champions League for the remainder of his career.

Ronaldo has featured in Europe’s top tier club competition for the last 19 consecutive seasons since he left Sporting Lisbon in 2003.

The Portugal captain has made 183 appearances in the Champions League, notching 140 goals and providing 42 assists.

Ronaldo has never played in the Europa League, in which the Red Devils will feature this season, after they could only finish sixth in the Premier League.

According to Ronaldo, he has “three or four years” left at the highest level.

The player has been linked with Chelsea and Bayern Munich in recent weeks.

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