Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos state, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, has picked his former rival for the party’s governorship ticket, Babafemi Hamzat, as his running mate.
Sanwo-Olu, who became the candidate of the APC after defeating the incumbent governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, in the primary election, made the decision due to the support he received from Hamzat in the runoff to the primary, a source familiar with the situation told our correspondent.
Hamzat, a former Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure in the state, was a major contender in the race for the APC governorship ticket before stepping down for Sanwo-Olu.
He had said that his decision to withdraw from the race was borne out of greater good for Lagos than the benefit of an individual.
“Having been part and parcel of the formulation and execution of various policies and programmes that transformed Lagos right from former governors Tinubu and Babatunde Fashola’s administrations, I strongly believe that Sanwo-Olu is equally rooted to fly our party’s flag in the 2019 elections.
“I have no doubt that he is well placed and equipped to take Lagos to greater height, hence my stepping down for him,” Hamzat had said.
A source told our correspondent that Sanwo-Olu’s decision to pick Hamzat was part of the agreement reached before the latter stepped down.
This decision, the source said, became imperative due to the political weight Hamzat currently enjoys in the state as a major member of “The Justice Forum, which partnered The Mandate Movement”, a group loyal to Bola Tinubu, to affirm Sanwo-Olu’s candidacy.
“Yes, I can tell you that he has picked Hamzat, in fact he made the decision before the primary”, the source told our correspondent, noting that “an official statement will be issued soon to that effect”.
When asked why Sanwo-Olu picked Hamzat rather than a female running mate, the source said: “Hamzat is from a strong group (The Justice Forum) and they had a deal with The Mandate Movement to ensure Sanwo-Olu wins the primary.”
The source added that: “With the kind of political weight Hamzat enjoys in Lagos, Sanwo-Olu cannot in anyway ignore him.”
But at the time of this report, Sanwo-Olu, who would battle Jimi Agbaje of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at next year’s governorship election, had yet to issue a statement.