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Ambode and the rage of godfatherism


Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode

At times, life plays some little pranks on us, you play life and toss it behind you, then later, just after you have forgotten all about it, it bounces back at you to burn those fingers you have used to fiddle with it. That is exactly what has come back to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, or how else would one explain the voting out of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode at the just concluded APC primary elections across the state? That’s more reason, we should all remember that evil men do lives after them or what do will call all these that just befell the Lagos State governor? Though, many times, human beings set their ambitious and hopes on something and strive towards it, but by some twist of fate, they do not achieve the goal, sometimes also, people sit down on a spot hoping for something, with virtually folded arms and without making any serious effort; their goal just rolls down to meet them at their place.

After much ado, brouhaha and hullabaloo of APC primary in Lagos State, my mind casted back to those day and time for reflection that uncertainty in life is a reality you are not certain about anything in life, you may have dream of things, doesn’t mean achieving them, you may have very nice lofty ideas, but in order to attain them, you may have so many obstacles on your way. My amiable governor should realise that there are some who almost became Lagos State governor but for fate, they couldn’t get there, remember in 1979 Chief Akanbi Onitiri, Chief Obafemi Awolowo wanted him to be the Lagos State governor but Chief Lateef Kayode Jakande (LKJ) took the mantle of leadership and in 1987-91, Dr. Femi Ayantuga and Chief ‘Bayo Dejonwo, the duo were the front runners in the committee of friends, the leading political group of the era then, but they died before the ban on politics was lifted, Chief Dapo Sarumi and Prof. Femi Agbalajobi, either of the duo was as good as becoming governor until General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB) banned them from further participation in the electoral process, that paved way for Mr. Yomi Edu to contest, he was the popular Social Democratic Party   (SDP) candidate but was done in by the intractable crisis in his party, thereby lost to the unpopular National Republican Convention (NRC) candidate, Sir. Michael Agbolade Otedola.

In 1997-98, Funsho Williams was the leading guber aspirant/candidate of the then popular United Nigeria Congress Party (UNCP) and would have become the governor of Lagos State if the scheduled guber election was held but the death of the Gen. Sani Abacha put point to it and truncated his dream. The late Prince Ademola Adeniji-Adele, the man who used his initials for the number plate of Lagos Island Local Government and which remains so till date, was loved by all but the platform he belonged to then, Grassroots Democratic Movement (GDM), couldn’t have pulled a surprise at all, they got a majority in only one local government, Lagos Island Local Council. He was later to become the deputy guber candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 1999.

It was the big mistake for Adeniji-Adele, had he joined the Alliance for Democracy (AD), he would have been given the Senate ticket given to Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi and who knows he could have been in a pole position to bid to succeed Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in 2007, but still in 1999 election, Sen. Dr. Wahab Dosunmu would have become the Lagos State governor too, but for the last minute decision of the Justice Forum to revisit its shadow primary which was held before the return of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu from exile. If not, Dr. Dosunmu, the Otun Apesin of Lagos would have been fielded by AD and he would have won the election landslide. Mind you, Chief Michael Otedola who ruled for a year plus remained grateful till his death, if you had the opportunity of ruling Lagos for four years, please, don’t be ungrateful, if they say it is enough, just return home, don’t rock the boat, you are not better qualified than those who never got there but due to fate.

My candid advice to Ambode is that why don’t you just walk away sir, indeed, honourably? Your last move by pointing accusing fingers at Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu depicts unbridled desperation and lack of decency on every count. Have you forgotten that you emerged governor in 2015 at the expense of the aspiration of many other contenders? In fact, it includes Mr. Obafemi Hamzat, Ganiyu Solomon, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, Olasupo Shasore, Lanre Ope, Leke Pitan, Tayo Akinde, Abayomi Sutton and Tobun Agbesanwa. Heaven did not fall then. I would have thought you were a true party man, I doubt this, you have so messed thing up by the so called World Press Conference you organised the other time. You are just about to fritter away whatever is left of your goodwill, do you stand on chances in this battle? Now, my amiable Ambode, you need to just apply wisdom and prove different sir, at least, just for you to be unable to walk freely again on the street of a state you have once governed, if the entire APC architecture in the state has asked you to go, common sense should have dictated for you that your time is up. Please sir, don’t make thing any more difficult and just walk away sir. That is honour. That is integrity. That is decency, moreover, that is Lagos for you. Won’ti fi te’eko won yin, meaning, they have shown you the Lagos.

Regardless of how this may end sir, you still owe Tinubu eternal gratitude for this lifetime opportunity. I don’t like him or what they have all done to you, but that is the truth. So, just thank him and walk away with your head high. It is now quite certain and crystal clear that no umpire lasts forever and power is transient. Had power still belong to the people, this time that general election is around the corner, it would have been an appropriate time to wield the power through our Personal Voters Card (PVC). But, it is not so for election, it has been monetised where it is hinged on money as witnessed in Ekiti and Osun states respectively that Dibo ki’o se obe and Dibo ki’o kole meaning, cast your vote, prepare soup or cast your vote build a house. No morality, probity and integrity in our daily activities anymore, people are now going extra miles to make a survival, doesn’t care how it comes from, just to make their living.

What Ambode should realise is that yesterday is gone, he should forget it, tomorrow does not exist, he shouldn’t worry, today is here, let him carry on, the future is unknown. But, he should have it in mind that he has performed excellently well according to Tinubu, so, he should give thank to God for his blessing over his affairs for the past three and half years. After heavy losses of some opportunities and he should understand that whatsoever comes his way is his fortune. The most painful aspect of it, is that of the ongoing project across the state, especially those of his hometown (Epe), that one too make me recall of the proverb which says ‘a dead man has no sorrow, but unfortunately those people left behind will be in sorrow. And, a dead man suffers no pains because his missions is finished and accomplished,’ Ambode has done his best for the people of Lagos, now left for the people to be given the baton of the race. What I believe is that ‘no objectivity is without subjectivity’. I really doff my hat for you Mr. Governor, it is very difficult to concede defeat just like that, especially a serving governor. Have never seen such a person like you sir, he would have turn it into bloody primary for the fact he has the immunity and all it takes to run it. More grease to your elbow sir, and may God continue to lead you on your future endeavours.

Now, that the godson has begged the godfather for his misdeed and anomalies during the hard time of primary election, he now realised that he has no option than to work hand in glove with Babajide Sanwo-Olu to let the state move forward in order that the gains of the last three and half years should not fade away, he also promised that he would do everything possible, indeed with wholeheartedly to ensure a smooth transition in the remaining period of his administration and to the coming governor, come May, 2019. It is left for the Tinubu, the reformer, strategist, generalissimo and Awolowo of our time to forgive and forget his godson, Ambode so as to let the sleeping dog lies, concentrate on his governance and never have it in mind sir to punish him after the expiration of his tenure as governor because ‘to err is for human and to forgive is for divine.’ Moreover, the Lagosians should not take advantage of the rift between Ambode and Tinubu to count scores and deviate from the political party All Progressives Congress we all built to sustain the highest standard of democratisation process.
• Orunbon, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Epe, Lagos State.

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