A once favoured political godson has suddenly become a pariah, just four years thereafter. And another political godson has been lifted for the APC governorship ticket.
Four years ago, Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, was the star in the political firmament of Lagos State. Emerging as a favoured aspirant, he was, unarguably, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) even before the battle started. There were other aspirants in the race who were qualified for the job and had pedigree. They stood no chance, since the godfather had made a choice. Ambode was to clinch the APC ticket. As winner, he stood high, while the losers squatted low.
READ ALSO: Why I dumped Ambode – Tinubu
Ambode’s candidature was not without controversy. No Lagos resident would forget the threat by the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, that the Igbo would be “banished” to the Lagos lagoon, if they failed to support Ambode. He had everything going for him. And he went ahead to win the governorship election, which was keenly contested against Jimi Agbaje of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other candidates. He became governor and with it carried the liability of a political godson with a powerful political godfather. That was in 2015.
A few days ago, when former Lagos State governor and national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and the political machine in Lagos State anointed another APC aspirant, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for the 2019 governorship race, which was a vote of no confidence in Ambode, I could not help than to laugh. A once favoured political godson has suddenly become a pariah, just four years thereafter. And another political godson has been lifted for the APC governorship ticket. It is a confirmation of the fact that political power remains transient. It also shows that nothing is permanent. Power could be gained by a snap of the fingers and also lost within the twinkle of an eye.
Listing Ambode’s sin, Tinubu said the Lagos State governor derailed in governance. According to him, the governor dumped the master plan of Lagos and started pursuing projects considered inferior, more or less, to those in the master plan. He saw this as an unpardonable sin, for which Ambode must go. He, therefore, endorsed Sanwo-Olu for 2019, to return he state to the path of progress, which he laid out as the first governor of the state in this democratic dispensation.
Some people may say that this excuse is not cogent enough to warrant the political coup against Ambode. I agree. The abandonment of a master plan, which Tinubu admitted is not perfect, cannot be such a grievous offence. There must be other reasons, which those against Ambode have not told us. A master plan is not cast in stone. I believe that it could be altered if the exigency of time has made it obsolete. Government should be progressive and a governor or president should be discerning enough to know what should be stopped, those to be strengthened and others to be amended. A leader who fails to make a progressive change, simply because things have always been done that way is not worth his office. What I am simply saying is that a master plan could be altered to meet up with the realities of the present.
I must say at this juncture that I am not, in any way, taking sides with Ambode. In fact, I have every reason to be angry with him because of some things he has failed to do as governor. The fact that Lagos is extremely dirty presently, owing to the failure of those charged with the responsibility of clearing garbage, is enough reason to be angry with Ambode. This is moreso because the Ambode government scrapped a working Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) regime for an arrangement, which is a colossal failure.
A filthy Lagos is annoying, to say the least. Also, one would be angry with Ambode if one experiences the traffic mess on the Oshodi-Apapa expressway, Mile 2 area and Apapa, where trucks have defied all ultimatums and constitute themselves as menace and nuisance. One cannot help than be angry with Ambode if one has seen the Mile 2-Badagry expressway, a federal road, which Lagos State government has taken over, where gullies and craters hold sway. Every resident in Lagos has cause to be angry with Ambode for his attempt to hike the Land Use Charge, just with the aim of making more revenue, without thinking of the impact on the people he leads. Even with the reduction of the Land Use Charge to 25 per cent of what he earlier proposed, Ambode cannot get anybody’s commendation. Increasing taxes to raise revenue is not ingenious. It is a lazy and wicked way of boosting the economy, as it makes government rich, while the people suffer.
Be that as it may, Ambode’s final fall should serve as a lesson to those who occupy positions of authority. If it is true that as soon as Ambode assumed the office of governor he became something else, not picking or answering his calls, not returning phone calls, not giving people access, then we have to really mourn for humanity. No matter how one thinks highly of oneself, no matter how one thinks one is important because of a political or executive position, one should not alienate oneself from the people.
One may not like the fact that Tinubu has become one man who determines the political life of others in Lagos, but it did not just happen. He must have done some things that endeared him to the people, for him to be so entrenched as a godfather. If APC members in Lagos obeyed his command to dump Ambode, it simply means that they have confidence in him. They see him as a better human being. However, Tinubu should watch it. When a man begins to play god, to the extent of presenting himself as he who must be obeyed and satisfied, there is the tendency to attract opprobrium. No matter the structure he thinks he has built, he should know that a political dynasty or empire does not last forever.
For Sanwo-Olu, it is not celebration time. He is the man of the moment today. Tomorrow, he could be a villain. We saw it with Babatunde Fashola, although he was eventually not denied a second term ticket. It has happened with Ambode. Indeed, if Ambode knew that there would be a day like now, perhaps, he could have been circumspect. Sanwo-Olu should know that the cane used to flog the first wife would be hung above the fire for the second wife in future. A word is enough for the wise.