By Henry Oluwakayode
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode would go down in the political history of Lagos State as a rare politician with the heart of kindness; even when an average politician would nag or turn grumpy, the civil servant-turned-politician stayed afloat and focused while campaigning for his party’s governorship candidate in the 2019 elections in the state, Mr Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu.
Yes, the events ahead of the All Progressives Congress (APC) primary in the state, which substituted Ambode’s return ticket with a fresh hand in the person of Sanwo-Olu, were full of oddities and hence questionable, the governor gave in to party supremacy and crashed his support group into that of Sanwo-Olu.
In addition, Ambode’s support base has been seen in a statewide rally for the candidate of the party and the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari. All these are uncommon political displays unknown in this clime until now as demonstrated by Ambode.
In the light of the above, it would be unfair, morally and politically, to insinuate that the governor could be guilty of double standards in his loyalty to the party and its candidates in the forthcoming polls at the state and the national levels. Beyond reasonable doubt, he has demonstrated that the APC remains his party and that the party remains the best the country can have to proffer solutions to its hydra-headed problems.
For sure, the mayhem that greeted the APC flag-off rally at the Skypower, Ikeja, Lagos, and orchestrated by factional groups of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), was the implicit handwork of politicians in the state, who have, over the years, used them to consummate their hold on the state politics. Could the governor be in the know of such chaos and allow it to come at the time he was having the floor? Nothing could be farther from the truth; it is unrealistic, very illogical and out-rightly laughable.
According to reports of the political event, Ambode, who was at the rally with his wife, Bolanle, said the forthcoming elections would not be about religion or ethnicity, but basically about the need to return a government that had showed genuine care for the people, adding that it was clear that the President had walked the talk.
The governor noted: “At the national level, we have only one choice, the choice of continuity is what we want and we need continuity and consolidation. We need to vote for President Muhammadu Buhari and Professor Yemi Osinbajo.
“This election at the national level is not about religion neither is it about tribe. It is about those who have the poor at heart. You know at the national level, we are already doing TraderMoni, we are doing N-Power and we are already doing Employment Trust Fund, among other things.
“We know that we would be glad to have Muhammadu Buhari as the next President in this country; all the abandoned infrastructure that we have had in this State, it is only Muhammadu Buhari that has been propagating the renewal and so we are very conscious that we need to continue voting for the APC.”
Ambode sustained the tempo when he was marketing Sanwo-Olu as he said that, from 1999 till date, Lagos had continued to witness progressive growth, and there was need to support the candidates put forward by the APC to consolidate and further take the state to higher levels.
His words: “The first question to ask is why we have been experiencing progressive growth in the last 20 years in Lagos and the answer is very simple – that is because I have had predecessors that have actually delivered on their promises starting from Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to Babatunde Raji Fashola and to myself.
“It has been 20 years of progressive growth and it has been under one single party, APC. We have had an uninterrupted continuity of governance in the last 20 years and that is why you can corroborate that with other things that are happening with the development and growth of Lagos State.
“Now, what I seek from all of you is the continuous growth and continuity in this State and for us to continue in that governance spirit, that is why we have no other choice than the choice of our party. In this context of this country, our party – APC is the party to trust and also the party that we can rely on.”
The governor did not mince words while calling for massive support for Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, saying they were more qualified than the candidates put forward by other political parties.
“The qualities of Babajide Sanwo-Olu, a former banker, former cabinet member are very strong and he is also very strong in public sector management. When you compare his qualities to the qualities of other candidates, he is very competent and he is very reliable and I have no doubt that we will have him as the next Governor of Lagos State”, he said.
“So, come February 16, we will vote President Muhammadu Buhari and Professor Osinbajo and come March 2, we will vote Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Dr Obafemi Hamzat.”
There cannot be a meeting line between the governor’s position and the mayhem perpetrated by the hoodlums. Most of the lead actors are known faces and have no record of undue access to the governor before, during and after the chaos that claimed lives and landed some in hospital.
Ambode, who has been seen junketing Abuja and Lagos, has sold himself to the task of re-electing Buhari just as he has spearheaded the enthronement of Sanwo-Olu as the party’s candidate in Lagos. Though while one cannot foreclose avenue for more efforts, the governor definitely deserves the accolade of all without prejudice, for his kind of politician is uncommon.
- Oluwakayode lives in Surulere, Lagos