Taiwo: Lagos elections and advertised misinformation
A MULTI-COLOURED full page advert in a national newspaper of Monday February 23 titled ‘Let My Experience Work For You’ showed the CV and work experience of APC governorship candidate Akin Ambode in various colours of the rainbow. It was an advert meant to arrest attention and it surely did because of its picturesque layout and bold typeface.
It showed at once how desperate those behind the candidature of Akin Ambode are and how far they can go to sell their candidate whose sole weakness on the campaign trail is that he cannot debate. He has been dodging a chance of a debate with the Lagos PDP governorship candidate Jimi Agbaje who has already endeared himself to the Lagos electorate with his oratorical skills and calm manner of articulation.
Going through the one page multi typeface montage of figures, dates and information, it is clear that the APC decided to sell Ambode with his civil service experience. But this is a mistake because Ambode himself by his articulation has not shown the grit and brilliance of someone who attended such courses. That is why the equally aloof governor of the state Raji Fashola, a lawyer and a SAN, has been drafted to be his mouthpiece on the campaign trail – and he too has been talking from both sides of his mouth because he too never campaigned for himself to become governor. Anyway Akin Ambode’s former accountant colleagues are indignant on the singling out of his CV as campaign material. These former colleagues of Ambode at Alausa have simply taken umbrage at that.
Their contention is that such advertised and elaborate attendance of courses at prestigious overseas training institutions is commonplace amongst Lagos top civil servants who are mostly not gainfully employed on their sinecure jobs in the first instance. Attending such courses then has always been arranged to relieve their boredom on the job which could have been identified as redundancy in any vibrant and cost effective government; such as the one Jimi Agbaje of the PDP has promised to bring on board once he is elected on April 11 as the next governor of Lagos State. It is, therefore, a misnomer they say, to single out Ambode on such training attendance, which is common place amongst many of them and which they believe does not set them apart from any educated person because they never really focused on the courses, but the highly beneficial estacode allowance they all look forward to at any time. To them, the objective of making the CV looks like a preparation for leadership or politics is dishonest and misleading and Ambode’s lack of articulation at campaigns has proven that the hood does not make the monk.
A close look at the advertorial CV showed the concern of these former colleagues and that of the discerning public on how the state government has been using the state hard earned foreign currency to send top civil servants to courses overseas. Unfortunately, it made their candidate tongue-tied at the campaigns where he needed to show the benefit of such foreign courses.
Also on cognate experience in the advert, he was in 1991 and 1995 Auditor and Treasurer Somolu.
How could Ambode have been allowed to serve in Somolu Local Government first as Auditor in 1991 and Treasurer of the same local government? Was there not a conflict of interest in such assignment that could have compromised integrity and transparency? Definitely there was little respect for the use of insider information against the interest of the local government or for personal gains in such a guided posting. That alone showed the environment in which the APC candidate was nurtured and that sort of record cannot buy the votes of Lagosians who regard the local governments in the state as avenues of corruption. This time, however, Lagosians are not deceived and will not be hoodwinked by a multicoloured advert to vote for Ambode as governor and go on to enhance his CV with Lagosians having nothing to show for it in terms of meaningful progress and improvement in their quality of life. Their salvation lies in a man like Jimi Agbaje of the PDP, whose simple advert said ‘I am not one of them.’ Surely that difference is enough for Lagosians to shun the APC and Akin Ambode’s media tactics on diversionary and irrelevant ‘experience ’ on the plight and future of the Lagos electorate. They know whom to vote for on April 11 2015.
• Taiwo, a public commentator, writes from Lagos
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