Just last week, I began to see buses painted in electioneering colours with embossed 2019 messages and the governor’s chubby face.
I embark on this two-part testamentary serial unperturbed by oppositional tantrums and scurrility of mischief-makers whose DNA is buffoonery. In each of the superlative series, I will mention four core areas where our subject has performed creditably and also four detractions.
Recently, participants in town hall meetings in Lagos endorsed the governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, for a second term. When I read the reports that followed the profound sessions, I said to myself that there was no need for the evolving campaigns.
Just last week, I began to see buses painted in electioneering colours with embossed 2019 messages and the governor’s chubby face. Going by his robust antecedents before and after three years-plus in the saddle, Ambode’s encore is a divine mandate.
In this serialized testimony, I will list 16 factors that guarantee Ambode victory and 16 things that vitiate his candidacy, Each edition of this column will contain four of each side, starting from today. One of the most enduring decisions Ambode has taken is the disengagement of officers and men of the Vehicle Inspection Office and the Federal Road Safety Commission Their highway extortionist tendency was giving the state a very bad name.
Next is the Land Use Charge which was significantly brought down after public outcry following excessive increase in the rate by the state government. It is confirmatory of the unassailable fact that Ambode is a listening/ responsive/humane governor. By that review, my five-flat property in Surulere attracted approximately N30,000 instead of about N120,000, if the governor had stuck to his guns!
READ ALSO: The Lagos Land Use Charge controversy
The cancellation of the unproductive monthly environmental sanitation by Ambode remains indelible in the minds of Lagos residents who hitherto were imprisoned for three hours every last Saturday of the month. Cleanliness cannot be achieved by force — it is a habit that is voluntarily internalized over time. The four distractions this week are: mismanagement of refuse, impassable roads — particularly in Aguda and Ijeshatedo — local government touts (which I will expatiate on next week) and police harassment with the state not doing anything to check the exponential brutality and daylight robbery.
As I declared in 2015 that Candidate Ambode will win the governorship election, there is even more justificatory aplomb to assert that the 2019 poll would be a terrestrial victory for ‘Double A’ for reasons adduced below in this quadruple intervention. I have the conviction that the unfolding campaigns are mere “formalities”!
With the multitudinous sea of human heads I saw at the Onikan Stadium, Lagos Island, Lagos, on October 24, 2014, the day Akinwunmi Ambode, an administrator par excellence and public finance management icon, declared his epochal candidacy for the office of the Governor of Lagos State, on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), something just intimated me to the fact that certainly this is the man that would most likely take over the reins of government.
If indeed figures have anything to with democracy and elections, the innumerable crowd I saw on that occasion was summative of what to expect next February when the polls take place. I know of rented crowds for mega rallies to give the deceptive impression that such a gathering is a confirmation of the candidate’s popularity and associated prospects of victory at the concomitant electoral contest. The October 24 assembly was real as the air, flora and fauna in that vicinity could testify. What I witnessed that day — the outpouring of emotion, belief and commitment to the party’s strong vision and leadership— is demonstrative of convictional superfluity of the emergence of this man as the APC candidate and consequently Fashola’s successor. It was obvious that whosoever the APC endorsed for the race was the next governor of this centre of excellence.
At the risk of overconfidence and summit optimism, with the predominance of the APC in the South West, there would be no contest in Lagos next year. And if for procedural electoral formalities there is a competition after the primaries, the margin of victory for the APC will be astoundingly significant. It is incontrovertible that Lagos is the stronghold of the APC and unthinkable that there could be any polling upset.
The reportage that ensued after Ambode’s carnival-like October declaration was unprecedented. The impression I got the next day, Saturday morning, at the Lagos Airport on a trip to Kano en route to Katsina State at the invitation of my friend and former governor, Dr. (Barrister) Ibrahim Shehu Shema, one of the few referential ex-governors in the country, was almost hallucinatory! Virtually all the seven national newspapers I bought that morning celebrated the event as if Ambode had just been sworn in — when in reality it was just mere declaration. Another thing that captured my interest was the spread of the publications. If it had just been one particular medium, there wouldn’t have been any surprises. It foretells what is about to unstoppably happen. The imagery, the concept, the picture, the goal and the actualization were well laid out for Ambode’s Oval Office occupation on May 29, 2015 — and now, by extrapolation, May 29, 2019.
On December 2, 2014, when the APC held its state governorship primaries, Ambode emerged as the consensual candidate to stand the party’s revolutionary torch. Everything today points at the unanimity of his choice on grounds of his local governments’ service robust antecedents, profound civil service career of unparalleled distinction and unprecedented achievements since coming to office in 2015. Ambode, a former Accountant-General, incontrovertibly has played critical and catalytic roles in the administrative successes of the state so much that cannot be captured here because of space constraint. The outpouring of celebratory emotions and unsolicited testimonial avowals and overheard reaffirmations by Lagosians on that declarative day at the Onikan Stadium were justificatory of what to expect in 2019 when the elections hold. It will take only unexpected divine intervention to alter this conclusively overwhelming proposition.
There is no doubt the PDP is waiting on the wings to reap any whirlwind that may engulf the APC should its elders and leader not get their act together. May that never occur because Lagosians need someone who will consolidate on his quintessence by completing the megacity plan envisaged for the state. A PDP option, going by most of their members’ scandalous pedigree, will take Lagos back to 1967! It is unimaginable that in no circumstance can the PDP have a foothold here, particularly with its track record of incompetence and incapacity exemplified by its rapacious membership.
The only challenge that will confront the APC leadership with regard to Lagos is that all the aspirants are eminently qualified to be the party’s choice for the one-horse race. With this kind of scenario, the best way out will be for a pooling and subjection of individual interests of aspirants for the greater glory of the party and by extension Lagosians. Personal ambitions must be collapsed to ensure that the PDP is resoundingly trounced and routed next February.
It is also good to underscore the zoning policy of the APC which will go a long way in reducing misgivings about the ultimate governorship choice made. Zoning, if credibly applied and respected by one and all, minimizes representational squabbles to a large extent such that each aspirant will see clearly the futility of any selfish pursuit against the collectivity of preferences and internal party mechanisms. The APC should not emulate the PDP which does not respect zoning principles agreed to by its members because of anticipatory pecuniary objectives.
What I do not understand about zoning is why aspirants from other senatorial zones other than the accepted one still go ahead to pursue their vaulting dreams!