As the All Progressives Congress (APC) primaries draw closer, a particular state on the lips of many is Lagos state. The reason for this is not unknown to many people, the most popular contestant in the primary election is likely to lose! That candidate is the incumbent governor of the state, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode. How he was unable to get a straight ticket, considering the numerous positives he has achieved within three years, is still difficult to fathom.
Unarguably, Lagos state is the strongest stronghold of the APC and the party is always almost confident about winning the state in the coming 2019 elections. Even members of the major opposition party can attest to this. Pathetically, this is likely to change. The APC in Lagos stamped itself more on the Lagos state political scene after defeating the PDP governorship candidate, Jimi Agbaje, in the 2015 election and the audible work carried out by Akinwunmi Ambode since assuming office made Lagos state a ‘one-party’ state
It is, however, an irony of some sort that the factor that made the APC the ‘only party’ in Lagos state will almost likely lead to its downfall in the state. That factor is the ‘Ambode factor’. Believe it or not, Ambode is well appreciated by majority of Lagosians and even in the midst of the ‘bad-mouths’ being spread about him, most of his fans are still very loyal. A disadvantage to the APC is that the population of those who still believe in the good works of Ambode is higher compared to the real Lagos politicians and the Alausa ‘Ogas’ who no longer want him.
Ambode has appealed to average Lagosians by carrying out projects even in the nook and crannies of Lagos. Akinwunmi Ambode was able to complete the construction and rehabilitation of 450 major roads and 50 other impactful projects within three years. Some of which are pedestrian bridges delivered by the state government, laybys and slip road at Ojodu Berger; the Jubilee Bridge and adjourning roads at Abule Egba; Jubilee flyover at Ajah and replacing the Ajah roundabout with signalized intersection and also rehabilitation of Freedom Road and Admiralty Road in Lekki; completion of 21 Lagos-Ogun boundary roads with two bridges; construction of Aradagun-Iworo-Ajido Bridge in Badagry; rehabilitation and upgrade of arterial roads in Epe and Omotayo Banwo/Kola Iyaomolere Road, as well as Alapere Road and Junction Improvement Works in Ketu, five new pedestrian bridges, among others.
In lieu of the arguments by some state governments that prompt payment of salaries and infrastructural developments cannot be actualised. The Ambode administration has not only been consistent with infrastructural developments, the remunerations of workers with the Lagos state government have always been paid duly. The arrears of the pensioners in Lagos were also cleared and numerous youth empowerment projects are being carried out under the Ambnode administration.
Indubitably, there are political analysts who would reel off hundreds of loopholes in the Ambode administration. This is never unexpected as no leader has never been criticised. The criticisms of Ambode has been largely on the LAWMA issue and some of his actions as regards human relations, particularly his hiring and firing techniques. Only time will tell if any other person elected at the party’s primary would be better off.
The drama of the Ekiti and Osun elections are clear pointers that individuals rather than party affiliations are now becoming the yardstick used by the electorates in voting. Even though Lagos state is largely an APC state, the closeness of the results of the previous elections shows that other parties might as well fancy their chances if there is a slight slip within the party. One thing that is almost certain is that if APC uses Akinwunmi Ambode as the flag bearer of the APC in the 2019 governorship election in Lagos, no one else could compete with him, If any other candidate is presented the ticket tomorrow, the APC might win but the win will fade. The APC stronghold will be up for grabs among the other political parties and ‘sooner or sooner’, APC will lose Lagos state!