BACKLASH: Ambode Has Spoilt My Business
I am not among persons jubilating because the APC’s candidate, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, won the April 11 governorship election in Lagos. While I would have loved the Lagos State Development Plan to terminate at 16 years, instead of yet another eight-year extension to 24 years, my disapproval has nothing to do with my political sentiments regarding the last general elections. I just lost an opportunity to turn around my fortunes with the outcome of the election.
Something in me said I should see differently, the threat to soak some people in the lagoon, if a particular governorship’s candidate failed to make it. Or more precisely, and as preachers of the gospel of prosperity would say, I saw an ‘opportunity in the opposition’ and a ‘stepping stone in the stumbling block’ to Jimi Agbaje’s victory. I mean, if per adventure, things didn’t go Kabiyesi’s way, one or two things could be done to increase the chances of survival of those that would be cast into the lagoon.
As part of the feasibilities, I consulted some prominent prophets in town if they could repeat the miracles on the Sea of Galilee to save the day. They said the days of walking on water and speaking to a raging storm to remain calm ended with the Lord Jesus Christ more than 2000 years ago. I refused to give up. Being put in the lagoon might not mean sure death if the right efforts were made. Accordingly, I assembled the best swimmers and swimming instructors from Ijaw land (where people live on water and even under it) to begin an intensive programme on how to stay under water for hours without gasping for oxygen and swim long distances without berthing.
The whole idea actually was to make the would-be victims of the lagoon ordeal attain submarine capabilities to navigate effortlessly through the Lagos coast southwards to where the River Niger enters the Atlantic via many channels — the Niger Delta. They would detour and move upstream against the tide along the Niger, until they arrive Onitsha, where a multitude would be waiting at the river bank, to pull them from the water to safety. This was in order because the last time a handful of Ndigbos were forced out of Lagos by land (not by sea) due also to non compliance with the laws of another type of ruler, they were received in Onitsha.
Anyone who didn’t want to die a miserable death in the Lagos lagoon, where he would be dumped by Kabiyesi, would subscribe to the training programme at whatever cost. Even so, I wasn’t prepared to make a kill. The Bible teaches us to be our brother’s keeper and I had settled to offer the super swimming training for a paltry N100, 000 per person. That was nothing compared to life. There is no market (black or official) where a full grown Ndigbo auto spare part dealer would sell for only N100, 000.
Conservatively, I put the number of people that would be cast in the lagoon at two million. This was most conservative, I must stress. But at that, the turnover stood at N200 billion. I resisted the entrepreneurial greed of pushing just about 20 or so per cent of the turnover into the operations while holding on tight to the lion share of 80 per cent. I was ready to do 50-50 so that all sides could go home happy, leaving a healthy N100 billion for my ingenuity.
Now, come to think of it! This mega bucks slipped off my grip just like that because an Ambode won the governorship election in Lagos. Compressed at the official exchange rate, it comes to least $500 million. Even a Bill Gate, not to talk of a Dangote will not take this lying low. I am considering all the options open to seek redress.
And having reviewed the entire circumstances of the failed deal, I want to say all sides, except the Kabiyesi are culpable. The APC and PDP candidates are guilty, so are the Ndigbos, who were to be dropped into the lagoon, and then INEC. The Kabiyesi was unambiguous in striking the bargain that fired my own investment interest. Perhaps, tired of being too passive with routine royal duties, he had asked to be challenged so that he could come out more forcefully to exercise his over lordship of the land. He said: ‘Vote Agbaje and land in the lagoon.’ It was that short and straight forward and I had picked it up from there. If anything, Kabeyisi would rank as the real originator of the big idea and deserved to be paid royalties if the deal had succeeded.
Now to the others: For losing the election to Ambode, in spite of all the predictions to the contrary, and thereby nullifying the Kabiyesi’s plan to throw people into the lagoon, Agbaje caused me a golden opportunity to turn a billionaire overnight. I shall ask my lawyer to write him for compensation for loss suffered as a result of his inability to compete effectively in the Lagos governorship election.
This Ambode of a man should have known also that somebody else’s business was hanging precariously on him. And since he had seen it all as a civil servant in Lagos, retiring as the state’s accountant-general at the unprecedented age of 48, he would be losing nothing if he laid back for eight or at least four years to let Agbaje, who was making his third attempt at the governorship have a bite. Ambode, who is only 52, would still be tenable and competitive by 2019 or even 2023. Why the rush to Alausa, which has now scuttled my multi-billion naira investment?
Also, the electoral umpire, INEC exhibited an equivocation that was not good for business. While it lamented the low turnout of registered voters in the governorship election nationwide including Lagos, the same INEC turned around to post figures that were higher than what was recorded in the March 28 presidential poll, which according to all accounts, witnessed massive turn out of voters in Lagos State. The final result in the April 11 election showed that the winner, Ambode, polled 811,994 votes and Agbaje 659,788 to put the total votes of the two top contenders at 1,571,782.
In the presidential poll, the APC had 792,460 votes and the PDP, 632,327 to give a total of 1,424,787, a shortfall of more than 100,000 votes to the governorship election that purportedly witnessed low turnout of voters. There is God O! I know there are enemies everywhere, but I was not expecting to have any in INEC of all places. What for; when I am not a politician? I’m, indeed, baffled by these inconsistencies between INEC’s claims and its figures that have vanquished my extra-ordinary plans of becoming rich enough to contest the next governorship election of my state, in 2019.
Finally, Ndigbos failed me big time! After assuring them that I had put everything in place to contain the impending lagoon ordeal and that they should go ahead bravely and face the storm like soaring eagles, they still chickened out cheaply. I also explained that in addition to the hi-tech swimming training, I had ordered millions of life jackets from China and Southeast Asia that would keep them afloat in the lagoon till the arrival of fleets of canoes and motorised boats from the South-south to ferry them to safety. They still caved in. They are really men and women of little faith.
I want to thank Kabiyesi sincerely for the wonderful opportunity offered me to get rich. It is not his fault that things went wrong. He did try to help me, but the other variables just did not add up and I don’t know why. There are too many PhD (Pull Him Down) degree holders in this part of the world and they came together to pull me down from glory. I know God will still use Kabiyesi to create another good opportunity for me in future. I shall patiently wait for it. May your reign be long Kabiyesi!