By Eric Elezuo
Many has described it as a sad trend in the political life of the Jagaban of Borgu, former Governor of Lagos State as well as revered national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu that whenever his so called anointed candidates conclude a first term, he seeks ways to deprive them of a second term in office even when it is against the people’s will. The case of Mr. Babatunde Fashola, now the Honourable Minister of Power, Works and Housing readily comes to mind. The duo had engaged in a running battle prior to the 2011 elections as rumour mills went to town broadcasting the fact Tinubu had lost faith in Fashola, and as a result sought his replacement. Fashola’s refusal resulted in a heated battle that was supposedly settled amicably, but far from it as both men hadly see eye to eye today. Tinubu lost a son, and Fashola lost a father.
Today, the whole scenario is playing out again as Governor Akinwunmi is the newest scape goat. Tinubu wants him out! What started like a spot of an idle hour suddenly has blossomed into a seasoned battle of wits. Though no verbal tantrums have been thrown, the war of silence has blared louder than a siren.
While Fashola only received the threat of being removed, Ambode’s case is a bit different, dangerous and dicey; his replacement has been named. He is Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu. He is a former aide to both Tinubu and former deputy governor, Mr. Femi Pedro. Sanwo-Olu also served as a commissioner under Tinubu.
With a satisfied notion that he has performed very well, Ambode is not bulging in his renewed resolve to seek a second term in office. He is also backed by a cross section of Lagosians in the quest.
However, the Mandate Group, 100 percent loyal to Tinubu, had enumerated Ambode’s sins which necessitated the need for him to be replaced including but not limited to alleged disrespect of the ‘leader’ and other party stakeholders. They accused him of running a one man show in his administration without recourse to anyone. In fact, they added that he has become very arrogant and must be taught a lesson.
The Boss investigation reveals that Lagosians are divided on the choice of Ambode with some saying that it is a wise decision that he should be replace while some others say it is not proper having achieved a lot in infrastructural development. The anti-Ambode group has said that there is nothing to show for the infrastructure as everywhere in Lagos has been turned upside down, and the populace is suffering greatly on the road on a daily basis. They maintained that the development of infrastructure does not warrant locking down a whole city.
“The roads have all been scattered and people go through hell every day in the name of traffic,” a respondent said.
More accusations ranging from the ‘poor’ handling of the PSP project which entails disposing of refuse in Lagos as well as reducing the powers of LASTMA among many other unconfirmed accusations have been adduced as some of the reasons why the powers that be want Ambode out.
But the incumbent governor does not feel like going anywhere as he declared on the day he picked his expression of interest and nomination forms that ‘I am undaunted, I am not tired…”
Reports also say that the governor has hinted that with or without the APC or godfather, he will win the 2019 governorship election in the state.
While Tinubu has not spoken directly, the invitation by the President to settle the fracas seemed to have yielded result as Sanwo-Olu cancelled his rally scheduled for Thursday on the order of ‘our leader’. The respite for Ambode was only temporary. The next day, Sanwo-Olu addressed the press to renew his campaigns one of which is scheduled for Sunday, September 16, 2018.
The die is actually cast. Ambode with the power of incumbency, and Tinubu, with a cult-like followership in Lagos State, it is actually uncertain who will have the last laugh, or rather who blinks first.
It is obvious however, that whatever happens on the long or short run, the damage is already done; things will never be the same again. The same Ambode that worshipped the footsteps of Tinubu may now have a rethink. It may resort to a no love lost situation like it is with Fashola.