SANWO-OLU: The task before him

It’s no longer news  that the junior officer of the incumbent Lagos State Governor, Akinwumi Ambode, who is the Managing Director, of Lagos State Development and Property Corporation, LSDPC, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu may take over the exalted office of the Governor in 2019 if he win the state election. He has emerged the candidate of All Progressives Congress, APC.

No doubt, events of the last few days in the state have witnessed intense political activities that have gripped the attention of the nation and created palpable tension in the polity. But after intrigues and political maneuvering in the race for guber ticket  the time has now come for the state to move forward in order that the gains of the last three and half years could be consolidated.

Sanwo-Olu had before and after victory enumerated why he wanted Ambode’s job.

In his acceptance speech after victory at the primary, he said it was time to roll up his sleeves to face the challenges in the state.

In the spirit of party’s supremacy, Sanwo-Olu whole-heartedly, promised inclusive governance across board. Though, the outgoing Governor promised same at inception he got carried away in the corridors of power, no thanks to his own attitude, bad advisers and to a large extent, some of his aides.

Ambode was having it good, until the ship hit the rock with the leaders of the party who called for his removal. They were championed by Cardinal James Odunbanku, popularly called “Baba Eto”, who has not hidden his disdain for the governor.

It was gathered that at a point, Asiwaju was considering pardoning Ambode but party leaders stood their ground and threatened to also move against Tinubu if he did not heed their call.

A one time loyal member of Tinbu’s caucus who later fell out of favour before his final return to the fold, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro once affirmed: “Politics or no Politics, Tinubu gave birth to me politically, he introduced me to the real politics of Lagos. I was a successful player in his team but I decided to coach a team against his team.

“Then, I realized that either he didn’t teach me everything enough about politics for me to defeat him or because a master’s Joker remains in his chest and it is unteachable. I have been with him, I have been against him, I know better now. I will never be against him again till I die”

Obanikoro’s affirmation should serve as lesson to Ambode who just went through an ordinary loyalty test and failed.

Ambode, thus became the second Nigeria’s state governor to be denied a second term in office by his party. Former Anambra State Governor, Chinwoke Mbadinuju was the first in the category.

It was a contest that arrested not only the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari, APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, but also Nigerians in diaspora.

The episodes started like a joke but gradually snowballed into conflagration of sort consuming Ambode at the end of the seemingly show of strength.

Ambode was accused of being personally  vindictive of anyone that criticized him.

However, as residents look up for a new dawn   in Lagos, Sanwo-Olu is expected to restore the lost glory of the state.

For example, the case of the Chaplain of the Church of Christ, Alausa, is expected to be reopened and restored. Ambode had thrown the chaplain and his family out of their residence within 24 hours   because the man did not “recognize” his power wife, Bolanle in a church event.

Ambode also ejected the mother of the former National Legal adviser, Muiz Banire from government quarters house because Banire was said to have opposed him.

Sanwo-Olu is also expected to reabsorb the over 25, 000 Lagos State Waste Management Authority,   LAWMA, and deal with the issue of Visionscape , an environmental company engaged by Ambode but which has failed Lagos residents, making Lagos a very filthy city.

The flood and traffic in Lagos, particularly, the Apapa   gridlock , Badagry Road and pot holes on Lagos roads are expected to be tackled headlong.

The comatose projects left by former Governor Babatunde Fashola, like Badagry Expressway, the Light rail Project, Housing projects will be revived and awarded to more competent contractors by involving party leaders.

Sanwo-Olu is expected to give free hands to commissioners, respect party structures, thereby building the party, people and policies, among others.

The structures include: All powerful Mandate Political Group founded by the Asiwaju himself, the Governor’s Advisory Council, National Assembly members, members of the state House of Assembly, Chairmen of almost 57 Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas, LCDAs, and wards. Market women and men led by Asiwaju’s first daughter, Mrs. Tinubu-Ojo, the Iyaloja of Nigeria, among other stakeholders.

The last straw that broke the camel’s back for Ambode was when his deputy, on Tuesday, October 2, Adebule publicly denied his boss. She completely disowned Ambode.

Adebule who probably had read the hand writing on the wall, at her Ward A and D, Iba LCDA, during the guber primary, along with some of her aides, carrying posters of Sanwo-Olu, said : “The party has chosen a man and it is that man that I will support and follow. I have no doubt that anybody who emerges today as the candidate of the party will have my support. I choose to stay with my party at this time.

“My party has spoken and I have no doubt to state that on the position of my party. I stand. It is a very clear election as you can see. People are voting in line with the dictates of the party. We have voted for the person who the leaders of the party have chosen. It is an overwhelming experience as you can see it, and we will continue to support the party and abide by its rules.”

Adebule statement came as a rude shock to civil servants in Alausa, the seat of power, as many tongues were left wagging over what would be the fate of Ambode as he seemed to be a lone ranger.

Sooner than later, news started filtering in that more commissioners (Names-withheld) in his cabinet have pitched tent with Sanwo-Olu.

The usual boisterous activities in the state house have come to an abysmal level as the entire place is a shadow, a reflection of the fact that his allies have started keeping some distance in order to be relevant in the incoming government.

However, few of his closest commissioners, after his defeat had to advise him to save some honour by conceding defeat in order to douse the already heightened tension within the party and the state.

“The centre of attraction has changed,”a party leader said.

According to Comfort Obi, a public analyst, ‘“Ambode’s rejection by everybody is unprecedented. It was total. Never in the history of politics has any rejection been this overwhelming. It is like a bad dream.

“His fall should be a lesson for people who forget those who made them in life, or helped make them, once they find their feet. They not only forget, they run the person down behind, even publicly. Fact is: such attitude is a sin before God and man.

“It beats me that Ambode could attempt to tango with Tinubu. For now, Tinubu is the most powerful, the most influential politician, not only in Lagos, but in the South west. He commands followership. And loyalty. But that’s because Tinubu, on the average, has a forgiving heart, and rewards loyalty. When he sneezes, Lagos shakes.”

The man Sanwo-Olu

APC governorship candidate in Lagos state, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, was born on June 25, 1965 in Lagos. He had a fairly good upbringing, in the midst of a well groomed Christian family.

Most of Sanwo-Olu graduated from the prestigious University of Lagos, where he studied and obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Surveying. Shortly after obtaining his B.Sc., he proceeded to acquire his Masters Degree. He re-enrolled into the University of Lagos and duly obtained his MBA in Surveying.

While Sanwo-Olu is a trained and certified surveyor, he has a strong knack for business. He enrolled at the Lagos Business School, where he acquired his advanced business training and duly obtained his degree in Business Administration. He also attended the Business School in London, where he obtained his MBA.

Sanwo-Olu, as a corporate guru who knows the importance of governance, enrolled at the United States’ Kennedy Institute of Government. He was aptly trained in the area of government administration and civil responsibilities.

Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who is a trained Surveyor, started his career on a much different path. He was able to carve out a desired career path for himself and subsequently started out as a banker. He was, to say the least, highly successful in his chosen field of banking.

Sanwo-Olu, who hails from a Christian home, is happily married with kids. Babajide Sanwo-Olu is married to Dr. (Mrs) Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu.  (Vanguard)

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