The individuals of Epe have moved the battle to a religious degree as they embark on combative prayers to dismantle the forces arrayed towards the embattled governor
Ade Alade and Tunde Thomas
The storm raised by the troubling politicking over the All Progressives Congress (APC) get together nomination for the Governorship of Lagos State within the 2019 polls continues to rage unabated, and unlikely to dissipate any time quickly.
Earlier than anybody, nevertheless, can hazard a guess on how the saga will doubtless finish, it’s prudent that he visits Epe, the hometown of the incumbent, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode. The temper in Epe–a city gripped by pressure––is fever pitch. The individuals’s sentiment is at boiling level. In rallying for its personal, individuals of Epe city have gone ballistic spiritually to quell the tempest threatening to deliver to a halt the upward trajectory of their rising son.
Gov. Ambode is presently battling an inner wrangling inside his celebration that has resulted within the emergence of two different APC stalwarts, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Mr Obafemi Hamzat, who’ve each signified their curiosity in slugging it out with him on the celebration’s main for the APC governorship ticket in Lagos State. The emergence of the duo adopted a rumoured frosty relationship between Ambode and APC Nationwide Chief, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who hitherto was regarded as his political godfather and mentor.
READ ALSO: Rift with Tinubu: Ambode seeks Buhari’s intervention
Whereas cloak-and-dagger maneuverings proceed to play out within the get together, the individuals of Epe have moved the battle to a religious degree as they embark on combative prayers to dismantle the varied forces arraying towards the embattled governor.
Whereas pressure is rising within the political firmament of the centre of excellence, a gaggle of APC elders referred to as the Governor’s Advisory Council, GAC dominated primarily by Tinubu’s trusted allies, will at this time at a scheduled assembly in Ikeja take a remaining place on who the social gathering will current to the general public for help within the 2019 polls.
The physique had met on Tuesday to contemplate pleas and numerous interventions from totally different teams and outstanding people to think about Ambode for a second time period. The assembly nevertheless ended with no particular reply to the embattled governor. One of many selections taken on the Tuesday assembly was that the governor won’t be allowed to sit in immediately’s assembly when the celebration elders will determine his fate. A notable supply who attended the assembly advised Saturday Solar that, “For us, we already know the direction things will go in today’s meeting because after the Tuesday’s parley, Asiwaju left us with a strongly coded rhetorical question, that is, ‘can you pack back into a bottle the beer you want to drink after spilling same on the floor?”
With this, immediately’s assembly might simply be a mere ceremony to say a capital NO to the governor as majority of those that will attend the occasion are already bitter towards Ambode and haven’t hidden their opposition to his type of governance and bid for a second time period.
Saturday Solar visited Epe on September 18, 2018, and located a city that was to a big extent a cauldron of anger. Proper from the park, numerous gatherings––of Okada riders, free readers at newsstands and merchants––have been engaged in animated discussions and heated debates that centred on Governor Ambode’s present political travails.
That was not shocking, given that the governor has confirmed himself as an illustrious son of the soil, having introduced exceptional infrastructural improvement to Epe, a group that was hitherto an financial backwater.
Saturday Solar’s survey of suburbs like Noforija, Odomola, Ketu-Epe, and Odoragunshen turned up details that indicated that the Ambode difficulty is shut to the guts of many residents. The zeal devoted to the difficulty leaves nobody unsure that anybody in opposition to the governor is up towards an entire city. The city roiled with solidarity for the governor. Within the prevailing “We against Them” aura, a majority of the Epe people envisaged themselves battling towards Lagos forces making an attempt to undo their son’s progress.
A serious improvement has been a uncommon present of unity between Christians and Muslims, who put aside their spiritual variations and joined forces collectively in every day prayers of intercession and vigil for Gov. Ambode on the Saint Michael Anglican Church, which is the governor’s household place of worship.
The over 100-year-old church at Popo-Oba Road has assembled a 21-man prayer warrior group. Very quickly, the staff has since been joined by a number of volunteers, each Christians (from different denominations) and a few Muslims.
Findings by Saturday Solar confirmed that the staff holds a few of its prayer periods for the governor on a big expanse of land reverse the church.
Throughout a go to to the church, a number of the volunteers have been sighted sitting on white plastic chairs on the land throughout from the church. Of their response to questions from Saturday Solar, all of them spoke in unison about their dedication to the “Save Ambode Prayer” venture.
The church’s help
A cleric of the church who spoke on situation of anonymity confirmed that intercessory prayers are being held for Gov. Ambode. He vowed that the day by day vigil and prayer session wouldn’t cease till Ambode’s second time period ticket is assured by APC.
“It is true that this church is coordinating series of prayers for Gov. Ambode. What we are doing is not evil. We have no regret over it,” he declared.
Requested why the governor’s difficulty is pricey to the church, the cleric fired again: “Gov. Ambode and his family are part and parcel of this church. Although Gov. Ambode himself is no longer a member of the Anglican Church, when he was young, he used to worship with us here with his parents. Up till today, the governor’s mother, Mama, is a regular worshipper with us. Mama is very close to us, and up till today, there is no programme or project we have in the church that Mama, the governor and other members of the family don’t join us in doing. Like every other family in this church, the Ambode family also observed its own yearly harvest and thanksgiving in the church.”
Persevering with, he said: “Even before Mama asked us to mobilize prayers to save the governor’s political career, on our own as a church we’ve already started the intercessory prayers. Although it is not every day or night that Mama is with us; whether she is here or not, our prayers and vigil for Ambode is every day.”
The cleric who denied the church’s involvement in partisan politics defined the idea of their help for the beleaguered governor. Stated he: “Our support for Ambode, apart from his family’s connection to us, is due to his performance. Ambode has done marvelously well. If he has not done well, I would have said so. He has transformed Epe.”
He stated additional: “Before he assumed office in 2015, Epe was in darkness. Not only that, the town had no good roads, and other infrastructural facilities were lacking. I know what I’m saying. I have been working in Epe and its suburbs for a long time. There is no governor in the history of Lagos State that has transformed Epe the way Ambode has done. And from available reports, he has also done well in areas of infrastructural development of Lagos State. I think the man should be given a chance for second term.”
READ ALSO: Epe Division youths canvass help for Ambode’s re-election
The cleric delivered a parting shot thus: “Let me, however, state this categorically. There are talks about some individuals and groups. There are those mentioning that one group called Mandate has sealed the fate of Ambode and that he is a goner. People should however know that with God nothing is impossible. It is only God that can give anybody a mandate. If God gives Ambode a divine mandate, not even one million Mandate Group can stop him. Let’s leave everything in the hand of God.”
Saturday Solar investigations reveal that the prayer group, as a part of its actions often go around the church seven occasions within the night time–– an allusion to Joshua’s army maneuvering within the Bible––praying aloud that the God that pulled down the partitions of Jericho ought to pull down all of the partitions of Jericho threatening Ambode’s second time period ambition.
Whereas leaving the church to transfer to one other a part of the city, Saturday Solar ran right into a rally organized by artisans and Okada riders in help of Ambode.
The gang was shouting in unison. Their rally cries: “Ambode for second term. It is Ambode and nobody else.”
The spokesman for the group, Adetayo Adedayo who additionally doubles as chairman of the cyclists riders group, defined the drive behind their motion.
“Nobody is sponsoring us,” he affirmed. “Even Gov. Ambode is not aware of this rally. We are supporting him for a second term because he is from Epe. Everybody in Epe and environs support the governor 100 per cent for turning Epe and its suburbs into Small London.” For him, the governor has executed rather a lot for Epe. “The people of Epe will not take kindly to any attempt to humiliate or deny him the second term ticket,” Adedayo declared.
He waxed philosophical. “Ambode is the Moses of our time. He is Epe’s liberator. Denying him a second term is like punishing Epe people. He is a good ambassador of this place. No individual from another part of Lagos State can do what Ambode has done for us in Epe.” He concluded with a warning to APC. “If they finally conspired against Ambode, then APC should forget votes from the people of Epe in 2019.”
The Chief Imam of the Ansar-U-Deen Society in Epe, Alhaji Zakariyah
who described Ambode as Allah-sent additionally weighed in on the problems calling for a compromise. “I’m a religious leader and not a politician,” started the mullah, “Ambode’s tenure has brought monumental development to Epe. In fact, Epe, and its environs, has never been so blessed. We plead with those who will determine Ambode’s fate for a second term to forgive him his shortcomings.”
Septuagenarians Alhaji Yeeken Dairo and Alhaja Taibat Akingbehin at Oke-Balogun Road and Imokun Road respectively echoed comparable sentiments. Dairo, group chief of Imokun LCDA, appealed instantly to the great nature of Asiwaju Tinubu to forgive Ambode his perceived sins.
Alhaja Akingbehin, 75, stated: “I have been on my praying mat, praying for Ambode since this crisis started. I have not benefited or received one kobo directly from Ambode, but I’m pleased with how he has transformed Epe. See how Ambode has turned Epe into a beautiful place. Many of our sons and daughters that came home during the last Ileya (Eid-el-Kabir) festival didn’t even know the way to their father’s compound again because of the new network of roads, and street lights Ambode has put in place in Epe.” Will probably be an enormous loss to Epe, she stated, “if Ambode is denied a second term.”
Najeem Quadri, a baker, tackled APC management and Tinubu instantly.
.“You give a man a job to do, and you are breathing down his neck again that you want to look into everything he does, what do you call that? Tinubu should stop playing God.” The baker suggested the governor to be level-headed. “Ambode should not see the second term issue as a do-or-die affair. If they allow him good, and if they say no, he should come back home, we all love him.”
Persevering with, Quadri avowed: “Ambode is a good ambassador of Epe. If they are making life too difficult for him, he should go to another party, and Epe people will vote for him.”
As soon as extra, Quadri raved at Tinubu and others, whom he described as grasping.
“Did Tinubu not serve two terms? Did Fashola not serve two terms? Now they are deciding another man’s fate. Tinubu and his co-conspirators in APC should know that God will also decide their own fate,” he stated.
He resented the thought of anybody begging Tinubu to endorse Ambode for a second time period. “They should leave him to God,” he declared.
One other respondent who spoke with Saturday Solar, Otunba Maruphdeen Babatunde Abdulrahman, urged Gov. Ambode not to give up. “Whether Tinubu or people in his camp like it or not, if Allah has ordained Ambode for a second term, no individual can do anything against it,” he quipped.
Abdulrahman who belongs to a unique and opposing faction of APC stated: “I don’t belong to Ambode’s faction of APC but I’m supporting him for a second term because of his records of achievements and performance. Ambode has really worked for Lagos. He has transformed Lagos State.”
He defended him additional: “I don’t know why the so-called godfather and others are angry with him? Some are accusing him of not sharing money and that he is tight-fisted. Do they expect him to be sharing money? Lagosians voted for Ambode to transform the state, and that’s exactly what the man is doing. He should not dance to the tunes of these godfathers who are exploiters and don’t have conscience at all.”
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As Moses within the Bible has his disparagers, so does the person described as the “Moses of Epe.” One of many dissenting voices is a secondary faculty instructor in a public faculty in Epe who spoke on situation of anonymity. He described Gov. Ambode as a partial chief, declaring that he has no pity for him.
“I have never been an Ambode’s admirer. He is a very biased and partial leader,” he stated. “How I wish people in other parts of Lagos can take a trip down to Epe to see how Ambode has transformed Epe. They should come and see the beautiful road network, the beautiful landscape, and the glittering streetlights. While he is taking care of Epe, look at the refuse menace in other parts of Lagos; look at the bad state of roads; look at the traffic gridlock in other parts of Lagos State.”
He concluded solemnly: “Let him go. I have no tears for Ambode.”
The dissonance is loud in such areas as the Ayetoro market space, Waterfront and Marina streets. Some teams even appeared to be detached.
Shefiu Kasali, a shoemaker, complained that Ambode has solely been reworking Epe when it comes to infrastructural improvement however has not empowered Epe individuals.
“What is the use of beautiful roads, and street lights when we are all hungry? I boldly challenge Ambode to tell the whole world: how many Epe people he has empowered financially? How many people has he empowered in their business and trades? It is good that he is developing Epe physically; it is also good that he should give us what they call stomach infrastructure,” Kasali stated.
Additional findings by Saturday Solar revealed that Epe, made up of Epe Eko and Epe Awori/Ijebu individuals, has two conventional rulers––Oba Shefiu Adewale, Olu of Epe, for Epe Awori/Ijebu individuals; and Oba Kamorudeen Animashaun, Oloja of Epe, for Epe Eko individuals (people who have their origin from Lagos Island).
Each kings are staunchly behind Ambode as the governor is reported to have unfold his tasks in Epe throughout all divisions.
Nevertheless, Saturday Solar gathered that a group from the Epe Eko part of the city are rooting for Mr Jide Sanwo-Olu, who hails from Lagos Island and is being backed by the Mandate Group consisting of Asiwaju Tinubu core loyalists, and the Group of 57 (LG and LCDA chairmen).
The reporter carried out his final interview with a cab driver on his approach again to the storage, out of the city. What the driving force stated continued to reverberate in his thoughts as he journeyed again to Lagos.
“Oga, time and luck will determine Ambode’s fate. At this stage, he needs all the luck in the world. But with prayer, nothing is impossible as APC still have some days left to make the final decision on whom the party fields as its candidate for the election.” The cab driver might certainly be saying the reality. Gov. Ambode definitely wants all of the luck on the planet to survive the political tsunami threatening to eat him.