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 successor, Mr Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu.
Yes, the events countdown to the All Progressives Congress (APC) primary in the state which substituted Ambode’s return ticket with a fresh hand in person of Sanwo-Olu were full of oddities and hence questionable, but the governor gave in to party supremacy and crashed his support group into that of Sanwo-Olu.
In addition to that, Ambode’s support base has been seen in a statewide rally for the gubernatorial candidate of the party and the reelection of President Muhammadu Buhari. All these are uncommon political displays unknown in this clime until now as demonstrated by Governor Ambode.
In the light of the above extrapolation, it would be very unfair both morally and politically to insinuate that the governor could be guilty of double standards in his loyalty to the party and its candidates at the state and at 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 the hydra-headed problems in the country.
For sure, the mayhem that greeted the APC flag-off rally at the Skypower, Ikeja, Lagos, orchestrated by factional fracas between two 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 also allowed it to come at the time he was having the floor? Nothing could be farther from the truth than that; it is unrealistic very illogical and out-rightly laughable.
According to reports of the political event, Governor 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 that “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,” he said.
Ambode sustained the crescendo when he was marketing the party’s candidate in the state, 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.
According to him, “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 the gubernatorial candidate of the party, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, saying they were more qualified than the candidates put forward by other political parties in the State.
“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.
“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 some lives and landed some in the hospital for medical attention.
Ambode, who has been seen junketing Abuja and Lagos, has sold himself to the task of reelecting Buhari just as he has spearheaded the enthronement of Sanwo-Olu as the party’s candidate in Lagos State.
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.
►Henry Oluwakayode Smith writes from Surulere, Lagos