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Takeaways from Lagos APC governorship primary


[FILE PHOTO] Ambode.

One of the enduring takeaways from the book, Thirteen Days, by Robert Kennedy, the younger brother of President John F. Kennedy, was the principle that by and large you gauge the ultimate success of an event or action by how you manage its outcome, good or ill.

In other words, even if all the world acclaims or renounces what happens to you or what you do, your story or history is unfinished until we see how you handle that outcome.

Kennedy came about this political correctness stand during the Cuban Missile Crisis in the early 60s.

At a session of the War Cabinet, a US military general suggested to the president that Washington should resort to the final solution of a preemptive atomic attack on the Soviet Union, which was establishing a nuclear base on Cuba, just on the doorstep of the US.

That was when the younger Kennedy brought in the question of the consequences of an action being weightier than an event.

He asked the million-dollar poser: would the Russians not retaliate with their own lethal atomic weaponry? At the end, it would be mutual destruction. Poor management of the initial event would be the cause.

I have had to resort to the days of the Cuban Missile Crisis as I ponder over the All Progressives Congress governorship primary vis-à-vis the admirable conduct of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode in managing what ensued.

Just as President Kennedy resisted great pressure from his generals to strike the USSR and rock the boat of planet earth by triggering a nuclear world war, Ambode has rejected hawkish calls of loyalists and has stoically handled the result of the APC directly that is displacing him as the party’s flag-bearer in the 2019 poll.

I identify seven lessons from this noble son of Epe.

First, he teaches, as JFK taught during one of the tensest periods in man’s contemporary history, that greatness is not only when you assert your strength or unleash your arsenal.

You can stoop to conquer. He wielded wisdom in averting an implosive crisis in APC and in Lagos at large.

That is what the Bible means when it declares that ‘’Wisdom is better than strength.’’(Proverbs 9:16).

Secondly, Ambode has refused to pander to a move considered popular among outwitted politicians but what would go down in history as politically incorrect and vindictive, namely switching to another party in search of a return ticket to the number one seat in Lagos. The noble lesson is you don’t leave where you’ve excelled because of the conspiracy of a few.

Thirdly, when you are loved by those you have governed, as it has been proved in the case of Governor Ambode, you would be doing them avoidable disservice if you depart soiling your hard-earned name in a roforofo fight with those who might not bother being mired in dishonor.

Fourthly, although many dropped their support for the governor after the Sunday news conference where he delivered some below-the-belt punches on his rival, Jide Sanwo-Olu, Ambode rapidly regained lost grounds and even made new friends with his state-wide radio-tv broadcast.

That initiative quickly restored amity among the restive populace. Their state was not about the fight of the titans. When two elephants fight, the poor grass suffers.

Fifth takeaway: When you have discharged your duties and halfway challenges emerge through saboteurs to suggest you haven’t performed, you don’t seek self-redeeming efforts to fight back.

In the case of Ambode, there is no doubt he has done fantastically well as attested to by all, including the present crop of naysayers.

But because they can’t change the record of history, the governor has decided to rest in the nest of history. Public office holders must follow suit in the interest of the people they serve.

Number six takeaway: when you are holding public office, spend every day as if you’d not be there the next day.

Ambode has pumped such energy and hard work into his less than four-year tenure that it looks as if he’s been there for two terms.

Indeed, there is hardly any governor with corresponding quantum of verifiable achievements as we’ve had it in Lagos under Ambode.

Takeout number seven: the world wouldn’t have forgiven Ambode if he had succumbed to the early party call not to obtain nomination form for the primary.

Why? If you have served your people well without a guilty conscience, why would you budge when you are falsely accused of under-performance by gang-up?

He did the right thing, believing in the justness of his actions before those who elected him.

We are taught by motivation speakers that it is better to try and fail than not try at all.

The point is you have no chances of winning if you don’t attempt. But if you put in some effort in a race, you come in for mention as a worthy participant.

As the situation, stands, the implication for APC is that Governor Ambode remains the man he has always been: the poster boy of APC.

He is the main man the party would need next year to retain Lagos. Yes, the party may be the engine to roll out for the campaign.

But given the massive work Ambode has done to make the people of Lagos love APC these years that he has been in the saddle, he can’t be dismissed or undermined.

The party may worry about a few party chieftains grumbling over issues that don’t move the masses.

But they must be more agitated by how they treat a man adored by the majority of the public.

They must consider how to handle the day after the displacement of such a man, by a cabal.

Otherwise the State is set to drop out from the fold of the APC.

Adeyemi, a journalist lives in Surulere, Lagos 

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