According to news correspondence, the sad episode of Ex-governor Akinwumi Ambode lingers on as there seems to be no resolution between him and his political assailants in the APC.
Any ardent follower of Lagos state politics would never phantom a scenario whereby the immediate past governor of Lagos state, Ambode who was witnessed presenting himself delightedly in front of the camera, after reaffirming his membership of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) last month, would still be facing challenges with majority of the stakeholders within the Lagos state branch of the party as a result of the lingering crisis between him and the major stakeholders within the party which transpired during the 2019 governorship primaries that eventually led to the ouster of Ambode’s political desire to secure re-election as Governor of the state.
Many people were even of the opinion that Ambode, haven failed to secure any form of political appointment at the federal level, in this administration, was predicted to be considered for a senatorial seat or lucrative appointment at the FTC in Abuja if the party secures victory again. However, recent events have revealed that the controversies that exist therein between Ambode and his successor, Governor Sanwo-Olu as wells as the National APC leader could continue for a while even after the 2023 general elections.
Recall that In September 2017, Ambode while in office commissioned the construction of the Agege-Pen Cinema Bridge, with a promise to accomplish it by December 2018. Since events didn’t go as planned as a result of lack of endorsement by leading members of APC who withdrew their support for his second term and rather approved Sanwo-Olu who happened to be Managing Director/CEO of Lagos State Development Property Corporation (LSDPC). at that particular point in time.
Ambode eventually did not win the governorship primary in October 2018 as Sanwo-Olu emerged victoriously and crushed the original intentions of Ambode.
Meanwhile, Sanwo-Olu promised not to jettison all the projects Ambode couldn’t accomplish before leaving office a decision most residents of Lagos applauded in comparison to Ambode who did the exact opposite when he took the reins of power in May 2015 as he was seen to abandon some of the projects of Babatunde Fashola his predecessor.
Furthermore, at the grand opening of the Agege-Pen Cinema Bridge last Friday, critics were quick to observe the conspicuous absence of Ambode the brain behind the project. Upon inquiries, the news source revealed that no reasons were given for his absence.
While Sanwo-Olu spoke on the importance of continuity in the APC administration and its various projects, even though there were in-house controversies, Tinubu focused more on the fact that he made the right decision by ousting Ambode.
Commenting during the event, Tinubu maintained that Lagos State headed in the wrong direction under Ambode which prompted party leaders to seek an alternative solution in the person Sanwo-Olu. Tinubu described Ambode’s failure to clinch the APC 2019 governorship ticket as historical and disclosed that governor Sanwo-Olu has proven doubters wrong.
“Sometimes in 2017-2018, the ship of this state seems to have headed in a very wrong direction. History had it that we came together, an election came and we chose a democratically-elected government of the people, our people, and for the people. They say ‘who is Babajide Sanwo-Olu’? We said, ‘you will find out.
“Ever since Babajide became the captain of the ship of our state, he has turned it round to the right direction of progress, development, and good leadership quality. Both of you (Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat) and the entire cabinet have demonstrated unequal determination to redevelop, rebuild for the people of Lagos. You have made us seen a fine and determined government for the progress and quality of life of our people.
“We have a team led by Babajide Sanwo-Olu, partnered with Hamzat, and it is a team of great performers and doers. Building Lagos back for progress to showcase needs a focused government.
“Out of adversity, you make prosperity. Instead of showing demonstration and frustration, you put your hands on the plough. Since then, Lagos State has become one giant construction site throughout the nation. We thank you for not letting us down.”
Nevertheless, in all of the above attacks on Ambode by Tinubu, there seems not to be any form of protest or counter-attack from The ex-governor Ambode, who surprisingly, has maintained a dignified silence over the remarks. Some Nigerians have come to his aid and have heavily condemned Tinubu for his recent negative comments claiming it was wrong to talk about a fellow party member in that manner.
They went on to remind Tinubu of how he had earlier lauded Ambode. he now condemns in public by making available a video in 2017 where Tinubu, while commissioning some projects
They went on to remind Tinubu of how he had earlier lauded Ambode. whom he now condemns in public by making available a video in 2017 where Tinubu, while commissioning some projects in the Alimosho Local Government Area of the state on March 29, 2017, thanked Ambode for his developmental strides in the state.
Tinubu had said “Akinwunmi Ambode, thank you very much. You will not be put to shame. Evil will befall those who wish you evil. You will not fall sick. That is a reflection of a very good governor, who sensibly is a thinker and a doer and when you combined the two –thinking and doing, there is no way you will not have development and progress.”
However, Chief Olabode George, a former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) negated Tinubu’s claim that the ship of Lagos was headed in the wrong direction under Ambode’s stewardship but rather attacked Tinubu claiming that the ship missed its destination under Tinubu’s charge as governor of Lagos between 1999 to 2007.
He continued stating that he, Tinubu was the one who drove the state in the wrong direction, vowing that he would not stop tackling him.
“The ship of Lagos has been going in the wrong direction since he (Tinubu) ascended the throne of Lagos. Right from the days of Brigadier Mobolaji Johnson, Lateef Jakande, Buba Marwa, and all those who have ruled Lagos, people still talk of their legacies. But the ship of Lagos started going in the wrong direction when he (Tinubu) ascended the throne”.
“I stand by all that I have said about him. I don’t have anything personal against him but his policies. His daughter is the Iyaloja of Lagos, his son is the only one that has adverts all over the city and his wife is the one representing Lagos Central in the Senate. O to ge (Enough is enough)!
“We met very encouraging things when we were growing up but today where are they? No scholarship for students, no help for the masses. I don’t have anything against Tinubu but his policies. If he were in Osun State, I wouldn’t have been concerned but as a Lagosian, Tinubu is too important to be left alone and that is why I will continue speaking against his policies”.
Gift Joseph Okpakorese