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Why I refused to be Ambode’s running mate in 2015

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Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, has said that he was not comfortable being Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s running mate four years ago.

He said he rejected the deputy governorship slot in 2015, but accepted it in 2018 because he was more comfortable working with Sanwo-Olu, Punch reports.

Why I refused to be Ambode’s running mate in 2015 – Hamzat

Hamzat – who stepped down for Sanwo-Olu, who got the backing of the Asiwaju Bola Tinubu-led Mandate Movement – said this on Tuesday as a guest on ‘Arise Africa,’ a programme on Arise TV.

Speaking on why he stepped down for Sanwo-Olu, Hamzat said:

“There are various things you have to consider in governance. There can only be one governorship candidate and that’s the reality. And you have to look at different dynamics in various sections of the state.

“In our country, you have to consider religion, because that’s where we are as a nation. We have to look at different parts of the state and when I looked at all of that, I realised that it’s better for me to step down for Mr Sanwo-Olu.”

He added:

“I’ve known him (Sanwo-Olu) for 15 years. I see him as a friend and a strong person that has the interest of the state at heart. Don’t forget that I was offered the position of the deputy governorship candidate four years ago, but I said no.

“So for me to take up the position now, it means I’m more comfortable working with him (Sanwo-Olu). I believe that together we can do a good job and take the state higher from where it is today.”

The deputy governorship candidate, however, said he was delighted about the endorsement he and Sanwo-Olu had received from Ambode, saying all that happened in the past was all good for democracy.

Ambode’s hope of running for the governorship for second term had been quashed when the Lagos APC’s Mandate Movement picked Sanwo-Olu over him.

Speaking on the friction that occurred within the party as a result of the primaries’ result, Hamzat said, “It’s unique for a sitting governor of a state to be challenged, so this caused friction initially, but we understand that you can’t have democracy without democrats.

“The constitution says a governor shall govern for four years, which is renewable, and candidates can emerge from various parties. That was what happened and it is part of the democratic credentials we must build as a nation.

“The issue was not just with the governorship primaries; it’s the same with the House of Representatives, Senatorial and state Houses of Assembly primaries. But as a party, we’ve come together and we realised it’s better for us to work as a team to keep moving Lagos forward rather than fighting ourselves internally.”

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