by Kole Onikoyi
I used to be a supporter of APC candidate Akinwunmi Ambode for the Lagos gubernatorial elections for 2015. My support was because of a personal liking for the man who smiled at me from all those posters and billboards. However, that has changed and I am now in the Jimi Agbaje’s PDP corner. You need to know why.
The first reason is that the APC will control the federal government from May 29. They will also be in the majority in the Senate and the House of Representatives. From my projections, it seems they will also win more governorship positions next Saturday.
I am very worried about the implications of such a super majority for the APC. I believe that every democracy needs strong opposition to really thrive. If the APC becomes such a super majority, I fear that they would begin to take Nigerians for granted the way the PDP did for so long. Since the APC will be the dominant party it would be a great thing for the PDP to control a large state like Lagos from where they can be the voice of the opposition. That does not stop the federal government and Gen. Buhari from doing positive projects for the state, unless the APC is saying that the FG it will lead will discriminate against non-APC states.
To be sincere are you not worried about how things are going to be with APC leader Bola Tinubu pulling weight in the centre and in Lagos as well? A man who ‘Financial Times’ recently called ‘Machiavelli’, who knows how to manipulate the media and divert resources for the extension of his personal fiefdom. We need a counter check for him and his party. So Agbaje should win.
Ambode as the APC candidate of APC has professional qualification and experience as an accountant. Jimi Agbaje on the other hand belongs to an entrepreneurship background where he has founded a company, excelled as the CEO and subsequently as director of JayKay Pharmacy. An accomplished pharmacist, he held several positions in the pharmaceutical union and has vied for the position of Governor of Lagos, no less than two times.
Ambode, just like Fashola is a product of the Jagaban school of the unknown. The recent documentary on Asiwaju Bola Tinubu makes me fear what the implications of voting Ambode is. Governor Fashola did well in his first term and I wondered what happened in his second term and I figured from what I saw about Tinubu in that documentary that Fashola may have refused to play ball. What if Ambode decides to play ball and gives in to Tinubu’s every whim? Then Lagosians will be in trouble.
In Lagos, the APC collects tax indiscriminately from traders, vocational workers, professionals etc. They collect money from the toll gates in Lekki which has proven to be bad business because they have paid up to 62billion on the Lekki-Epe Expressway road and the road is not halfway complete.
The APC regime has been very elitist, with Tinubu converting The General Hospital land into estate according to the documentary and backdating the Certificate of Occcupancy of Lagos State lands to claim ownership of land in Lagos anytime he wants. Even the land where the Ikeja Mall now belongs is for him- that land originally belonged to Lagos State.
The Lagos State Polytechnic land at Ikosi was converted for commercial use for TV continental and Radio continental. What sort of governance is that? We need to try someone else who will look at Tinubu and not be under any obligation for his sake. Besides Agbaje is not beholden to any godfather in the way Ambode is. People keep referring to Bode George as his godfather. I was surprised to hear recently from an Agbaje campaign staff that George has not contributed a dime to Agbaje’s campaign since he won his primary. He doesn’t even have such wealth like Tinubu to contribute as much. So on what basis Would Agbaje be his stooge?
It’s evident that we need a new lease of life in Lagos based on this message of change. Buhari was given benefit of doubt to ensure that things work well in Nigeria, we need to give Jimi Agbaje that opportunity. Jimi like General Buhari has been attempting to serve us and we need to consider that in this season of change. We need to be wary of people that are deliberately selected by godfathers that have the state on lockdown already.
Lastly, what finally made me conclude to vote Agbaje was the outburst of the Oba of Lagos. The Oba gathered Igbo leaders because of their support for Jonathan and their impending support for Agbaje and said that they will perish in the Lagoon if they vote the way they voted last Saturday – that is voting for Jonathan.
This is a free country. What sort of desperation will make a retired Assistant Inspector General of Police say that? In Nigeria when such happens, you should know that it’s more than the credibility of the candidate. It’s the benefit of the ruling elite which constitutes the Oba of Lagos, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and other APC stalwarts. It’s more than it meets the eye. I am a Yoruba man but I will vote Agbaje and make a point to the Oba that Nigeria is bigger than us all and we are one people.
Godfatherism has reached a great milking level in Lagos. We need an election of Jimi Agbaje to cut the milking of Lagos by godfathers and monarchs. Should Jimi Agbaje allow godfathers to rule him? We will vote him out in 2019 because our votes now count.
Kole Onikoyi is a political analyst. He writes from Lagos.
Opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.