By Bashir Adefaka
“One good turn, the adage says, deserves another. The people, though in diverse categories, are saying if infrastructure, welfare and security are pivotal in determining a performing government, Ambode has done well. Yes, some others have put him up to be on the average in terms of performance rating, both still to his favour to continue. But the root of Ambode’s dilemma stems from beyond mention. Lagos elites, particularly the home owners are not happy with him and they have their points.”
The dynamics of Lagos politics as 2019 governorship election activities in the state thicken may have spelt a dilemma for the energetic Governor, Akinwumi Ambode, except information flying around is inauthentic.
For quite sometimes now, fragrance of an in-house muscle flexing among major players has been smelt, yet none of the stakeholders publicly admits until recently, when the National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, made clear what the pattern of primaries will be in determining who the flagbearer of the Party will be for the 2019 gubernatorial contest in Lagos State.
The debate as to whether Ambode should be given automatic ticket to seek re-election or not however relocated to the social media on Tuesday with many stakeholders home and in the Diaspora asking questions as to what the offences or inadequacies of Ambode are to warrant his being denied the APC ticket to re-contest.
Abass Adetunji (USA), Capt. Odularu Olugbenga (Oyo), Sunday Ogo (South South) and Ayo Ojeniyi were among political observers, who expressed concerns as to the looming implosion that awaits the broom Party in event that the deciders of who runs tinker with the idea of changing Ambode, who has been sunk into the consciousness of an average Lagos person as all-inclusive performer.
The spate of massive infrastructural development the Epe Division son of Lagos has brought to the hinterland to the feel of common people of the Centre of Excellence, joined with the security and safety that have been ensured, even at a time certain governors had unnecessarily dragged President Muhammadu Buhari’s name into the security challenges they naturally should have tackled in their own states i.e. Benue and Taraba, is one major area an ordinary man in Lagos is looking at the game ongoing and putting it off as a huge joke to tinker with idea of not allowing Ambode to return.
One good turn, the adage says, deserves another. The people, though in diverse categories, are saying if infrastructure, welfare and security are pivotal in determining a performing government, Ambode has done well. Yes, some others have put him up to be on the average in terms of performance rating, both still to his favour to continue.
But the root of Ambode’s dilemma stems from beyond mention. Lagos elites, particularly the home owners are not happy with him and they have their points. His Land Use Law says it all. Many Lagos house owners are embittered about the way they are now subjected to paying through their noses even on houses that fetch them nothing.
The long avoided issue of the Ibile, that is the Indigenous People of Lagos is there and is now seriously eating deep underground into the situation he finds himself, although Ambode did not start the neglect of Lagos indigenes who say they are now the most marginalised Nigerians as indigenes from other states of the country, who have taken over governance of Lagos since 1999, have made it difficult for them and their children to benefit from the goodies of State that Nigeria bequeathed to them as indigenes of the City of Atlantic Splendour.
The high cost of living, which multiple taxation policy of the Ambode Administration has imposed on the business residents of the state, is also now lying in wait to ambush the Governor and thus making it difficult for him to find as huge support against a stoppage of his second term as Fashola found in Lagosians when the now minister of the Federal Republic was faced with similar challenges.
Another factor that is going to work against him is the refuse situation in Lagos. There are refuse dumps everywhere, yet we all see the efforts and are aware of huge fund being committed to ensuring cleaner Lagos by the governor. It then leads us to the questions being asked: “Who is doing this to Ambode? Is it that people who do not want him to return are the ones making his cleaner Lagos project unsuccessful to discredit him? What about the much difficulty that people are made to go through because he is reconstructing roads for the people? Fashola worked from May 29, 2007 to May 28, 2015 without indiscriminate refuse dumps in Lagos streets and all the road works he did were done without inflicting hardship on movement of people and he also beautified Lagos with flowers. What is the basis for the Ambode’s government neglecting the Fashola style? Could it be some people so advising him to make him unpopular to their own favour like what he is currently facing?”
Questions like these have been asked but one cannot provide answer because only the players of the game know best. Not even when efforts at our own level as media persons to get the spokesman of the governor to speak out to us per adventure we will be able to know and tell people who ask questions what they seek to know that we were given the opportunity of audience. Eko for Show they say. But who will help Ambode against his opponents within?
Recall when he came to succeed Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) as governor, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode started off by painting his immediate predecessor in bad light. The uncouth language and concocted allegations of corruption that nearly cost Fashola what turned out to be the rare opportunity of driving the nation’s Power, Works and Housing revolution as it now stands were claimed to be the very machination of the man who is now at the mercy of people he ordinarily could use executive order to silence to talk never again.
But how will that happen by him when the finger that feeds him he is accused of biting it? To neglect of the party on which platform one rises to the top seat of a Governor is not a sin that requires the services of any member of the Lord’s Vineyard but total surrender and submission to the will of a particular political Garrison Commander.
But the Garrison Commander, going by his body language, says he is not the victimizer of the prodigal son but that the issue against his ability to grab a second term as governor of the Centre of Excellence is well seated, uninfluenceably, between him (Ambode) and ACME Road (that is what APC State Secretariat is called in Lagos).
Whatever the offences and inadequacies of Governor Akinwumi Ambode may be, deciders of who flies the governorship kite of Lagos APC must be able to sheathe their sword, swallow their anger and develop the spirit of forgiveness. If you must stop him because you no longer like his face, you should allow him because of the achievements he has made. If it is about areas he has inadequacies, for the sake of better Lagos, security and welfare of innocent masses of Lagos, and Nigeria as a whole, render him your support and help him to mend those fences.
It is better to allow Ambode a second than to gamble with uncertainty, as doing so will be “dangerful”, using the word of Pa Zebrudaya, for “dangerous”. That is the way to go.
A stitch in time, they say, saves nine!
*This is opinion article of Prince Bashir Adefaka, a Lagos-based media practitioner.