Former Governor of Lagos state, Bola Tinubu, has debunked a media report alleging a rift between him and his successor, Governor Babatunde Fashola. Tinubu, in a statement on Saturday, ascribed the publication to the handiwork of “political charlatans and enemies.” He said the sponsors of the story aimed at causing a rancor “in an otherwise cordial and respectful political relationship.”
“My relationship with Governor Fashola remains cordial both at the personal level and at the level of commitment to ensuring Lagos State remains on the path of political stability, growth and development,” he said.
The fallouts of last Thursday’s governorship primaries, in which Tinubu’s anointed candidate trounced the preferred candidate of Governor Fashola have been adduced for the purported rift between them. The primaries produced Akinwunmi Ambode as winner of the primary election, defeating Obafemi Hamzat and Olasupo Shasore, touted to be nudged by Fashola to join the race . There were media speculations that both of them have disagreed on the choice of who gets the governorship ticket.
Continuing, Tinubu said it less an issue that the governor preferred a particular candidate to succed, but insisted that the primary election was a “transparent process in the spirit of democracy to which we both subscribe”.
Tinubu said the “current situation and issues around the Lagos gubernatorial primary are being overblown. What we have done is ensure that no one is denied his or her rights to participate and compete for any elective position.
“Such a disposition should not translate into anger and divisiveness of the party as it is being peddled.”
He said whereby he and Governor Fashola debate, agree and disagree, such ‘conflicts and disagreements are part of every political process.’
Tinubu added: “The capacity to solve these conflicts in-house and not on the pages of newspaper is a tradition in Lagos.”
“At my age and with my level of political experience, I am expected to seek (for) solutions, work for reconciliations and find a common ground where disagreements exist.
“That is what I have dedicated myself to in the larger interest of Lagos State and Nigeria at large.
“That is what Governor Babatunde Fashola and myself are about. That is what Lagos state deserves as Nigeria’s pacesetter in terms of democracy and development.”
Tinubu asked Lagos people to be wary of ‘speculative, self-serving stories aimed at destabilizing the party and its leadership, while admonishing the media to properly scruitinise stories to detect those meant to achieve narrow political gains.