Akinwumi Ambode: What Really Changed – Ajayi Temitope
The popular saying is that 24 hours is very long in politics. The normal 24 hours make a full day but in politics it acquires some mysticism and mere mortals like us, they say, can’t comprehend it.
Again, didn’t the towering and magnificent Mahatma Ghandi admonish us that politics should not be devoid of morality?
For Governor Ambode, how did he suddenly turn within 2 months from the hero of Lagos APC stakeholders to the ‘filthy villain’ of today who must be destroyed? The ways of the world we may say!
Less than 3 months ago the same Lagos APC Mandate Group with their Governor’s Advisory Council and other ‘stakeholders’ who are now endorsing Mr. Sanwo-Olu, his main opponent for party ticket, took turns to endorse Ambode as a miracle worker who should continue for a second term in office and if the constitution can be amended for him, a 3rd term and possibly a 4th term should be good for him too.
Senator Oluremi Tinubu, the darling wife of the ‘Dear Leader’ of APC, led 3 APC senators to endorse Ambode in his office with pomp. Femi Gbajabiamila led APC House of Representatives members from Lagos to sing song of praises of Ambode for second term. Mr. Obasa also led a vote of confidence of Lagos State House of Assembly members to endorse Ambode for second term for his exemplary leadership.
The 57 Local Council Development Areas Chairmen also endorsed him for second term for his sagacity and other epithets they used to qualify him. Market women/men, traditional rulers and other groups within and outside APC endorsed him for second term. Even the main opposition PDP in Lagos appears to have conceded second term to him without challenge.
Again, what has changed that suddenly turned friends and endorsers of yesterday to mortal enemies of today.
Ambode’s traducers have not said he has not performed well as a governor of Lagos because that will be a very difficult tale to sell to the public. The Ambode sins are that he is not settling all the Baba and Mama Isales of APC well not that he is not doing at all. They said he is arrogant and vindictive and no concrete evidence except made-up stories. Some said he does not greet them well or prostrate enough. He didn’t attend their Owambes or spend enough time whenever he managed to show up. He kept Osun State Governor in his waiting room for 7 hours and other things that have no bearing on good governance in Lagos.
Okay, the unforgivable sin is he took away PSP operators from waste management, a grand design project for political settlement of APC grandees in Lagos and the state of aquatic splendor became the dirt headquarters of the world. I concede he failed on that for not being sensitive or lack of emotional intelligence. Do we have examples of leaders who got it right all the time? Do we have leaders anywhere in the world that never made wrong decisions they had to correct or drop altogether? I will love to know such infallible one.
In case many have forgotten, the PSP model was not an instant success too in Lagos. It was operationalized for almost 3 years before it became a success. The cart pushers resisted too initially when PSP was introduced and they sabotaged it same way PSP operators are resisting and sabotaging the Visionscape’s Cleaner Lagos Initiative. It is good a middle ground has been found between the PSP operators and Visionscape. I hold the view the Cleaner Lagos Initiative can be successful too with time the way PSP became successful with time.
Another sin of Ambode is civil servants do not like or love him. I asked if Lagos owes civil servants and pensioners months of unpaid salaries under Ambode. Nobody can answer me. I asked if Ambode stopped promotions of civil servants in Lagos, no answer still. I asked further if Ambode stopped trainings and travels – local and foreign for civil servants in Lagos, they said no. So on what basis do civil servants hate him?
Let’s call a spade a spade, larger majority of Civil Servants in Nigeria do not like any Governor or Head of MDAs that do not allow free reign of stealing. Civil Servants hate him is a euphemism for he is not allowing them to steal as much as they want. Ambode should be happy civil servants do not like him. He is in a good company with President Buhari who is also hated by the federal civil servants.
I have a reason to also hate Ambode too, but I do not elevate my personal interest above public interest. I got my Uncle to bid for 2 of the advertised Lagos 184 inner city roads last year. The tender was advertised twice, first in February 2017 and re-advertised in October 2017 because of vested interests within Lagos APC. My Uncle spent over Two million naira to prepare the tender twice. His company was shortlisted for two of the roads he bided for because he runs a successful construction firm. At the end Ambode still jettisoned the recommended and shortlisted contractors and awarded the contracts, due to unmitigated pressure on him, to the same APC Baba Isales and Iya Isales who are now vilifying him. I was livid and mad at Ambode. I called his aides and commissioners I know and abused him for deceiving over 1000 contractors who submitted tenders for the road projects.
Would that make me blind to his good works in Lagos? No way.
I am happy he has not dropped out of the race for APC ticket in Lagos despite enormous pressure on him to do so.
Akinwumi Ambode, if you must die tomorrow, fight and die like a warrior with your honour.