Whatever will later turn out to be the outcome of the current political imbroglio going on in the “City of Excellence” (as the people of Lagos State will like to pride themselves), between Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinibu, Jagaban, the strong man of Lagos politics, and his now estranged political godson, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode, I firmly stand with the latter.
It does not matter whether or not Ambode would in the end triumph, what is of paramount importance as far as I am concerned, is that Akinwumi Ambode is courageous enough to look Tinibu in the face and say no to his demand to forgo his second term bid.
Instead, Ambode insisted that what come may, he must seek to recontest the gubernatorial ticket of Lagos State on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), of which Tinibu is the almighty national leader.
Since the dawn of the current democratic dispensation, Bola Ahmed Tinibu, former Senator during the ill-fated Third Republic, and former two-term governor of Lagos State (1999 to 2007), is like an octopus as far as Lagos State, and to a large extent, the entire South West geopolitical zone is concerned. He holds sway throughout the zone, building massive economic and political empire.
It was Tinibu that made almost all the current politicians from that part of the country, both at the state and the national levels. For that reason, he holds grips on virtually everyone of them. He can do and undo. He leads the people by the nose. Whatever he says is law. Nobody dares challenge it, or has the temerity or power to dispute it. Once he has spoken, nobody speak again. Whatever he desires, he must get.
Tinibu is very powerful that virtually all his “boys” worship him like god. He has both the yam and the knife. As such, he decides who gets what and what quantity such fellow must get, and everybody accepts his authority will nilly.
At the national level, Bola Tinibu is also very powerful. He is the National Leader of the ruling party, APC, and he decides what happens in the party, where the pendulum must swing to. Even our President, for political expediency, now kowtows to him.
This is the man that Akinwumi Ambode, a mere civil servant, who Tinibu picked and made governor, has decided to snub, to challenge his choice candidate for the governorship of the state.
Tinibu had passed a vote of no confidence on Ambode on his first tenure and decreed that the Governor was not fit to seek a second term in office. Accordingly, he picked Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to contest the APC Governorship ticket against Ambode. But Ambode would have none of it and vowed to challenge Tinibu’s candidate. This was unheard of.
The significance of Ambode’s challenge is that he has been able to say no to the “godfather”. He knew that he might not have his way, but he decided to make a statement, to tell Tinibu that he is not God, that no matter what he thinks himself to be, that somebody can look him in the face and challenge him.
Now, Ambode has made Tinibu vulnerable. He has shown that Tinibu is not God, that he can be challenged. By his defiance, Ambode has succeeded in putting a wedge, in cubbing Tinibu’s overriding influence not only in Lagos politics, but in the South West as well, and by extension, the entire apparatus of the ruling party, the APC.
At the moment, the APC both in Lagos and at the national levels, are singing discordant tunes. While the Lagos APC has declared Sanwo-Olu as winner of the primary election, the election committee set up by the National Working Committee of the party has toed the Ambode line, that no election took place in Lagos. With Ambode’s rebellion, Lagos APC will no longer be the same.
But what sin did Ambode commit that made Tinibu decide that the man should not go for second term? Tinibu admitted that Ambode has worked very hard in Lagos, only that he was not “a good party man”.
The mistake Tinibu made was to have picked an accountant, someone who is very conservative, who finds it difficult to part with money, as governor. That Ambode has failed to oil Tinibu’s political machinery is no longer in doubt. That is why he must go.
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