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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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