It is no longer news that they are playing cat and mouse. The cat appears to be former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu. The mouse is his godson and current Governor of the state, Akinwunmi Ambode. As the game becomes more interesting, Lagosians get more confused. And they have been asking, what is going on?
Tinubu, also known as Asiwaju or the Jagaban, allegedly does not want Ambode to go for his second term as governor. All entreaties to him have reportedly fallen on deaf ears. Not even Ambode’s wife, Bolanle, could convince him to support her husband.
So far, it is not clear how this game will end. Even the meeting Ambode had with President Muhammadu Buhari behind closed doors appears not to have resolved the issue. But for the Jagaban and his clan of supporters, the new pawn is Babajide Sanwo-Olu, a former commissioner in the state.
The questions are: Why does Tinubu (or his supporters) want Ambode out? Has the governor not performed well in his first term? Or did he not carry the major stakeholders along in the scheme of things in the state?
There have been different permutations and analysis on the cause of the alleged rift. Poor performance in office has not featured as one of them. The governor, from the reckoning of many Lagosians, has done relatively well. For instance, there is massive infrastructural development in the state.
Last Friday, the state government said work on the Pen Cinema Flyover in the Agege area of Lagos was at 60 percent completion stage. The government also said the 10-lane Oshodi-International Airport Road was at 50 percent completion stage and that it would be completed by the end of the year. There are reportedly over 70 major projects ongoing in the state.
The governor has his faults, no doubt. The environmental eyesore Lagos has become of recent is one of them. Whatever he has done to clean up the city has not worked. VisionScape, the new company saddled with the responsibility of evacuating refuse in Lagos, has not got it right. Consequently, Lagos is looking dirtier than before.
Also, some inner streets and roads are riddled with potholes. From Lawanson Road in Surulere to Okota Road, the story is the same. The rainy season does not help matters as the roads get worse each time rain falls. The governor had concentrated on the big projects, leaving out the smaller ones to suffer. Nevertheless, he has just directed immediate repair of potholes statewide.
There is also the issue of heavy taxation on the residents of the state. Ambode’s government, for instance, jacked up the land use charge such that the average landowner in Lagos is wondering if he made a right choice by investing in the Centre of Excellence. The governor tried to reduce the charge when landlords cried out. But to some people, even the reduced rate is still high.
The governor has also mulled the idea of jacking up the price of some state land that people had already paid for. For instance, I bought a piece of state land at Ibeju Lekki area in 2011 for about N3.5 million. It was during the administration of Raji Fashola. It is called Oko-Orisan scheme. I have paid everything and have been waiting to get my certificate of occupancy. But, recently, I was told to hold on because the state government was reassessing the scheme. According to state government officials, what we paid cannot provide the required infrastructure. So far, some of us are yet to get the C of O. Neither have we taken physical possession of our land.
However, should I, because of my selfish interests, begin to attack the governor even when his ‘sins’ are menial and do not warrant his being removed? That would be inconsiderate of me to do. And this is where I fault our politicians. If the Lagos APC leaders want Ambode out on account of bad leadership, I will support them wholeheartedly. But that is hardly why they want him out.
Forget whatever these politicians want you to hear. The so-called Conference 57, comprising the 57 council chairmen in Lagos State and the Babajide Sanwo-Olu Campaign Organisation, (BOSCO) want us to believe that they want a change of leadership in order to move the state to greater heights. Which height, if one may ask? Height of intrigues! Height of manipulations and greed!
BOSCO claimed there were torrents of endorsements and outpouring of love from Lagosians. It debunked the insinuation in some quarters that the support of Conference 57 and some others was for economic reasons.
But verily, verily, I say unto you, what is at play here is the self-serving inclination of many Nigerian politicians. No matter what, if Tinubu changes his mind and supports Ambode, all the Conference 57 conferees and Mandate Movement men or whatever you call them will do likewise and forget moving the state to greater height.
What is on display here is the hand of Esau and the voice of Jacob. Tinubu, who is also the national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), looms large in the politics of Lagos and the entire country. He alone knows the talisman he has used to have a firm control on the APC in Lagos.
This brings us to the bad influence of godfathers in Nigerian politics. The Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige, suffered this fate when he was the governor of Anambra State. His nemesis then was Chris Uba. In July 2003, armed policemen kidnapped Ngige and forced him at gunpoint to sign a letter of resignation. He outsmarted his godfathers and remained as governor until a Federal Court of Appeal ruled in March 2006 that his election victory was fraudulent. Peter Obi emerged and displaced him at Government House, Awka.
The amala politician, the late Lamidi Adedibu, is another typical example. Adedibu was constantly on the neck of the then governor of Oyo State, Rasheed Ladoja. At a point, Adedibu complained that Ladoja was too greedy. According to him, the governor was collecting N65 million as security vote every month. “You know that governors don’t account for security vote. He was to give me N15 million of that every month. He reneged. Later, it was reduced to N10 million. Yet, he did not give me,” Adedibu had said. On January 12, 2006, 18 lawmakers of the 32-member Oyo House of Assembly loyal to him illegally impeached Ladoja.
There are many other godfathers in different parts of the country. Their objective is usually the same: To project a candidate through whom they would continue to dominate the economic and political affairs of their states. But Nigerians can call their bluff if they choose to. The only problem is that for some them, once they see as little as N5,000, they are ready to sell their birthright.
If I were Ambode, I would do as governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has advised. Damn the godfather and move to be a man of yourself. Two things will happen. It is either you win or you lose. If you lose, it is not the end of the world. And who says you can’t mobilise and get your own supporters?
But in case everything fails, don’t worry, dear governor. I am available to give you free tutorials on how to survive a life of retirement.
Re: Nigeria’s presidential warfare and politics of endorsements
Dear Casmir, you are Nostradamus of Nigeria. The man that saw today. Kudos to you for this article. You are damn right. Buhari has proved you right. The taste of the pudding is in the eating. Buhari has made Nigerians wiser. All that glitters is not gold. Once beaten, twice shy.
– Dr. Goddy Okeke, +2348185580605
My brother, Cas, thanks for a beautiful piece in The Sun today. Your write-up is nothing but the truth about Buhari. What you did not say about him is more than the ones you said. Nobody can contradict you here. What pains me is how some power drunks hero-worship Buhari and Hausa/Fulani oligarchy. As a fact, Buhari is a religious bigot, tribalist, clannish and first class hater of Igbo. Besides, he is illiterate and unintelligent.
– Anonymous, +2348030762730
Biko, God and Amadioha and other deities in Alaigbo will never allow Buhari to come back as Nigerian president next year. He is a sadist, he believes in the use of brute force to murder Christians and non-Hausa/Fulani people. In short, it is a shame that he is the President of Nigeria today.
– Ojoh Okafor, Esq. +2348055217580
- First published in the Daily Sun of Monday, September 24, 2018