Lagos 2019: Sanwo-Olu replies Ambode, explains criminal, mental health allegations

An All Progressives Congress, APC, governorship aspirant in Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Sunday said he was disappointed by what he termed attacks on him by the state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode.
Sanwo-Olu, a former commissioner of Training and Establishments, spoke in a statement he issued in Lagos, in reaction to a press conference addressed earlier in the day by Ambode where he claimed he (Sanwo-Olu) was not fit to govern the state.
Ambode had claimed that his rival for the party primary has criminal records and had undergone rehabilitation over an unnamed issue, as he regretted that APC elders in the state had been misled into endorsing Sanwo-Olu to lead the state despite not having what was required for the job.
Responding in a statement titled: ‘It’s time to respect the people of Lagos state and the office of Governor of Lagos state,’ the governorship aspirant reportedly favoured by Bola Tinubu, said he had expected the campaigns ahead of the primary to be about issues and not attacks on personalities.
Sanwo-Olu said he held the office of the governor in high esteem and would not do anything to undermine it or launch attacks on the holder of the office.
He, however, stated that the claims by Ambode that he was rehabilitated in a hospital and that he was arrested for possessing fake dollars in America were false.
The aspirant said the governor should rather have explained why he has failed residents instead of attacking, saying his aspiration to seek the number one seat was out of passion to serve.
The statement reads: “Let it be heard by all that I hold the people of Lagos state with great respect and affection
“Their welfare is my utmost concern and it is what drives my pursuit for the governorship nomination of the APC.
“As such, I also hold the office of governor of our state in high esteem.
“I shall never consciously do anything that will undermine the dignity of the office nor will I engage in personal attacks against the holder of that office.
“My pursuit of office will continue to be based upon issues that matter to Lagosians and not on attacks against someone’s character, even when he attacks mine.
“For anyone to engage in unwarranted character attacks against me, reveals more about that person’s character than it says about mine.
“Thus, I felt sad for Lagos as I watched the Press Conference by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
“Many things he said were beneath the dignity of our people and the exalted office he now holds,” he said.
The Lagos gubernatorial aspirant said perhaps the tension and anxiety of the moment got the better of Governor Ambode.
His words, “If given a chance at cooler reflection of what he said, I am sure he would regret his descent into such low conduct.
“In this vein, I forgive him and hope he regains his balance and proper comportment no matter the outcome of tomorrow’s contest.
“After all, we are both here to improve Lagos, not to wrestle in its streets,” Mr Sanwo-olu said.
He said that he must, however, clear up some inaccuracies in the Governor’s statement.
“His allegation that I was arrested for spending fake dollars at a night club in the United States was untrue.
“In fact, the governor knows I travelled to the United States just last month.
“I would not have been allowed to travel or even get a visa if I had been involved in what the Governor falsely alleged.
“That the Governor claimed that I underwent some unidentified type of “rehabilitation” at the Gbagada General Hospital was also shameless and untrue.
“Promulgation of salacious rumor should not be part of the job description of a governor.
“It is not the stuff of high office,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu called on the people to question whether it is ethically right for the Governor to turn what should be confidential medical information about a citizen into a weapon of political warfare.
According to him, “But for avoidance of doubt, let it be stated that I never received any treatment whatsoever at the Gbagada General Hospital.
“Today, instead of making a convincing defense of his performance, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode sought to sow fear into the hearts of Lagosians.
“But Lagosians are intelligent and brave people. They can see through the smoke and the fog.
“I am here not to tear my opponent down but to help build Lagos up.
“With me, you will hear about progress on education, health, sanitation, proper tax levels, economic development, infrastructure, jobs, public services and other things that enhance the lives of people.”
The governorship hopeful described himself as a serious person, and the primary a serious matter.
“I have not the time or inclination to attack character when there are so many real issues to address.
“We will continue to focus on the issues that matter in the lives of the people of Lagos.
“Lagosians want an answer to the sanitation crisis and loss of jobs caused by Mr. Ambode’s Visionscape misadventure.
“Our people will want to know why Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has not been able to build a single General Hospital in the State when his immediate predecessor Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) built 11 General Hospitals.
“Lagosians are waiting to hear what our solutions are. They want to know why hundreds of competent civil servants got summarily dismissed and how this has undermined public services.
“As a candidate for the party’s nomination and hopefully as your next governor, my approach will not be to sling insults but to propose solutions to the problems of the day,” he said.

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