Everything was going on well for the incumbent Lagos state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode until a few weeks ago when the news of the acceptance of Babajide Sanwo-Olu as the next governor of Lagos state surfaced. Since then, the tune of the music has changed and as the primary election moves closer, it gets really difficult to confidently say that Ambode will paddle the ship of the affairs of Lagos state for the next four years. The reason for this is not far fetched. Ambode has stepped on toes and he has to face the consequences.
From the look of things, Ambode has attempted to deconstruct the first law of power in Robert Greene’s “48 Laws of Power” which is ‘ Never outshine your master, always make those above you feel comfortably superior”. He has unwittingly tried to outshine his masters- the leaders of the Lagos state APC. You might think Ambode is a master in his own right, well, you are not outrightly incorrect but when you think of the 57 local government chairpersons that publicly assented to Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s candidature and the fact that Ambode played a vital role in their emergence as against some other candidates, you will realize that Ambode after-all has numerous superiors,
The Ambode plight has clearly shown that you can be in politics and not in power and you can obviously be in power and not in control. The numerous obvious projects the present government has engaged in are presently being given malign connotations by the people. For instance, the wondrous work being done in Oshodi is now being replaced with the bedlam sight of Oshodi. People have started talking about how dirty Lagos state is presently, how all projects are being carried out at the same time and a lot of other ‘hows’. As if that is not enough, the heavy rainfall in most parts of Lagos coupled with the numerous uncompleted projects have made the road almost impossible to be plied by commuters.
The claim of a ‘dirty Lagos’ under Ambode was further voiced by members of the Association of Waste Managers of Nigeria, popularly called PSP operators. The members of the PSP also embarked on what they call a ‘free waste collection’ rally on major roads in the state on Thursday in order to solidarise withe Babajide Sanwo-Olu. A statement worthy of note in the rally is one credited to the Chairman of the association, Alhaji Ola Egbeyemi. In his exact words, he said “We are very sure that if all the votes of the masses are given to Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos is going to reclaim its past glory; that is the purpose of this support rally”. The ‘glories’ received by Ambode are now being overlooked and he is now seen as the destroyer of ‘glories’
The nonacceptance of Ambode is not just fueled based on the various projects he is carrying out, there have been rumours about numerous skirmishes between Governor Ambode and senior workers at the Alausa secretariat. Among those that have been sacked by the Ambode Administration are the MD of LAGBUS Asset Management Limited, Tunde Disu, Director General, Lagos state safety commission, Odebunmi Dominga, General Manager of LASTMA, Babatunde Edu and a host of others. A notable sack that generated lots of controversy among the people was the sack of a Chaplain at the Chapel of Christ the light, Alausa, Lagos state. The chaplain, Venerable Femi Taiwo, was sacked by the Governing Council allegedly on the order of Governor Ambode. The sack was rumoured to be as a result of the Chaplain disrespecting the governor’s wife.
These and other series of ‘toe-stepping’ have been allegedly the causes of Ambode’s issues with major stakeholders in the Lagos sate APC. The Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC) of the Lagos state APC headed by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has however denied Ambode the right of first refusal which could have earned him a direct ticket of the APC for the 2019 elections. The campaign team of Babajide Sanwo-Olu, BOSCO, has since intensified their campaigns. Sanwo-Olu now has the majority of the leaders of the APC behind him and if the primary election were to hold today, he will no doubt win the ticket for the APC’s governorship candidate in Lagos.
Although, all odds point to Sanwo-Olu to be the APC governorship candidate, the GAC has since distanced itself from supporting any candidate. The spokesperson of the council said it is not a Tinubu affair as being peddled around on the social media and some quarters.
“The GAC members at the last meeting held during the weekend deliberated on how to conduct peacefully, the forthcoming party primaries. We decided to adopt Direct Primary to choose candidates for the party. “The GAC has no preferred candidate among the gubernatorial aspirants. It is not about Tinubu, it is a collective decision. We resolved to provide a level playing field for the contenders.
“The adoption of a direct primary is to further democratise the electoral process in the party and do away with anointed candidates. This will also ensure a credible exercise. “Every aspirant should go to the field and test his popularity because the people will decide.”
With all these being said, Ambode might fancy his chances but the reality of Lagos state politics is that when the major stakeholders are on your side, you are almost the winner.