Indigenes and residents of Epe and its neigbouring communities have threatened to dump the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in Lagos State to register their disappointment over the truncated second term ambition of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, a son of the area.
Besides what they described as deliberate move to shortchange Epe by depriving Governor Ambode the opportunity to serve two terms like his predecessors, many residents who spoke to Sunday Sun expressed the
fear that the inability of the governor to secure a second term ticket was capable of truncating ongoing developmental efforts in Epe and the surrounding communities.
Ambode had penultimate weekend lost the ruling party’s ticket to re-contest in 2019 to Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who is believed to have had the backing of the party’s leadership in the state. The outcome of the governorship primary election thus put paid to the governor’s second term ambition.
This was palpable anger among the people in Epe town and other neighbouring communities of Imokun, Odo-Mola, Odo Iragunshi, who felt greatly disappointed by the ruling party in the state.
A chieftain of the party in Epe who craved anonymity said people of the community were yet to recover from the reality of what he termed a gang-up against the governor, whom he described as a harbinger of progress and development to the community.
“The event of the last few weeks was a major disappointment to most of us and what that has shown is that sometimes we play politics without conscience. One of the unvoiced sins of the governor is that he is too
frugal with state resources.
They may accuse him of not doling out money the way they expected but they can’t accuse him of not performing. You, yourself said you were here about five years ago. Can you compare Epe of today with Epe of that time? No!
“If you go round the state you will see the wonderful work this administration is doing. Politics should not be all about party patronage. Good governance should be the ultimate. And that’s exactly what Ambode is giving us in Lagos,” the source said.
Asked if the turn of event could affect the fortune of the party in the area or if there was likelihood of protest vote in 2019, the source said: “We don’t have to play a bull in China shop to register our displeasure. More so, that is totally uncalled for in this situation more especially when the governor has displayed unprecedented level of maturity and equanimity by not only congratulating the winner of the contest but by also pledging to work for his success at the main election. Taking such action will be tantamount to destroying the house we have built with our sweat.”
However, residents of Epe and its environs have vowed to protest their displeasure over the situation with many threatening to dump the party for other parties.
A community leader in the town, Chief Babatunde Hassan, told Sunday Sun that the decision to prevent Ambode’s second term was a vote against the development of Epe and its environs. “Since 1979 to 1983 when Jakande ruled the state, Epe has been deprived of dividends of good governance.
Politicians have shown us that they were only interested in getting our votes after which they would desert us until it was time for another election. But with the coming of Ambode, we once again saw ourselves as being part of Lagos.
“If you move round you will see what I am talking about. Since Jakande left in 1983, Epe has been neglected. We were close to witnessing a repeat of Jakande’s treatment when Otedola, an indigene of Epe, was elected as governor of Lagos in 1993, but the June 12 crisis cut short his reign. It was not until Ambode came to power that Epe began to wear a new look.
“If he could do all this for Epe in the space of three and half years you can imagine what Epe would look like if Ambode had been allowed to have a second term in office. But the enemies of progress, for selfish and personal reasons ganged up against his reelection. We won’t forgive them; we will be waiting for them at the next election,” he vowed.
Another resident of Epe, Mr. Kehinde Olawale said the people of Epe would not be pacified by the deputy governor slot, a position he likened to a spare tyre in a car.
“We heard that they are now planning to field an Epe indigene as Sanwo-Olu’s running mate. I don’t see how that can benefit us in Epe because you and I know what the office of a deputy governor means in Nigeria of today.
Occupants of the office are like spare tyres which you only need when there is a problem with any of the other tyres. We will not accept that. APC won’t get our votes,” he declared.
A top member of the ruling party in Eredo Local Council Development Area, told our correspondent that stakeholders of the party in the Lagos East are currently pre-occupied with how to assuage the people to take the situation in the same stride as the governor has done by continuing to support the party.
“I can tell you that officials of the party are not unaware of the anger of the people of Lagos East. And for us we know it is a major challenge we cannot afford to lose. But I can assure you that we will ensure our people see reason why they have to continue supporting the party.
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It is only when the party does well in Epe that the governor can be seen to have lived up to his promise to work for the success of the party’s candidate otherwise, he could be accused of working against the party in case of any problem,” the source opined.
He noted that the sympathy and love the people of Epe and other neighbouring communities have demonstrated for the governor was borne out of his performance in the area.
“Our people only need to be convinced that the good work will not stop at the end the of the governor’s tenure. We know this and we will ensure we work towards it,” he said.
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