WHATEVER decision Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode eventually takes on his botched or controversial second term, he will have to rue the saying “what goes around comes around.” Four years ago, others got disappointed by the godfather so that he, Ambode, could be appointed, as it were. While others were kicking, wailing, moaning, and mourning like “Wailing Wailers,” to quote my brother Femi Adesina, Ambode was grinning from ear to ear; together with his supporters, associates, friends, and family, they were dancing, back-slapping, and in celebration mood and mode.
Scriptures cannot be faulted: there is a time and season for everything under the sky; time to be happy and rejoice and time to be unhappy and weep. Others wept four years ago while Ambode and company celebrated.
Now it is Ambode’s turn to run helter-skelter; it is his turn to be sad and to weep. This life is also exactly as Gen. Mamman Vasta, looking death straight in the face via the firing squad, described it: Turn by turn and up and down. Another lesson to learn is that the business of godfather and godson is very dangerous.
It is like riding on the tiger’s back. The godfather is the tiger while the godson is the rider. The golden rule is simple but equally difficult to keep: The tiger dictates and the rider, if he must continue to ride unmolested and undisturbed, obeys. Otherwise, he is forced to disembark and could end up in the tiger’s belly.
We have seen godsons who have turned their godfathers out in the cold even as we have seen rebellious godsons who have been cut to size and shown the gutter from which they were picked, as it were. Smart godsons! Smart godfathers! Which of Tinubu and Ambode is smarter? At the moment it looks like Tinubu, the wily fox and an old master of the game; unlike Ambode the greenhorn and political novice or neophyte.
But even if Tinubu again wins this time around, his stay at the top, having been questioned again and again, is drawing inexorably to a close. Who says the same power game that played out between him and two deputy governors, Kofoworola-Bucknor and Pedro and then with Babatunde Raji Fashola, and now with Ambode, is not waiting to repeat itself with new anointed godson Jide Sanwo-Olu?
In all of this, where is “we the people”? You may never know until someone stands up to the tiger. Rather than do, Fashola begged his way out of the problem and got castrated by the Capone and his lieutenants. His second term arising therefrom was lacklustre and a charade. He simply marked time and “ate.”
The people were ready to side with Fashola to confront Tinubu but Fashola chickened out of the fight. Some believe Ambode, like Fashola, may still succeed in placating the man who prides himself as “Eko;” meaning that he is Lagos personified.“Eko” is Yoruba word for Lagos. But should Ambode fail – as it seems he has or will – he will have two options: Stand and fight or capitulate without throwing a punch.
If he capitulates, the people will lose a second opportunity to try their “People power” against the entrenched interests that have treated the richest state in the country as their personal fiefdom. I do not know Ambode closely enough to be able to say whether or not he has the heart of a fighter.
Will he gamble? Nothing ventured, nothing gained, as they say. Or will he simply acquiesce, stay in his comfort zone, put his head down and “eat” for the remaining months of his tenure, and secure his future, as it were?
Ambode is a man who lives in a glass house and must, therefore, not throw stones. Like Peter Tosh, the Jamaican reggae maestro crooned, it is not likely the Lagos governor can take stones.
Since this second term crisis broke, information hitherto unknown about Ambode has surfaced. Expect more if he stands to fight. Moreover, the stakes are heavily stacked against him; especially with APC’s control of the Centre and Tinubu’s influence writ large there. Ambode must be a Japanese “kamikaze” to dare a fight, for such venture looks every inch a sure hara-kiri. But remember: Nothing ventured, nothing gained!
I once witnessed in one South-West State that what matters to cabals is not performance but deference to political interests and holding the cow down for them to milk. A very brilliant guy head-hunted by the governor from abroad worked tirelessly to turn things around as local government chairman but when the time for second term came, the cabals cut him down despite the governor’s pleas.
They said he was busy serving the people and was not putting money in party leaders’ and members’ pockets. Let the people now save him, they taunted. But how can the people come to the rescue, upset, and unseat the cabals when they are not even given the chance to try?
LAST WORD: Did you watch erstwhile US President Barak Obama trending on social media agonising about tainted elections and senseless killings in Nigeria? Will his pleas for change of heart strike the right cord in right places? Time, as they say, will tell.
*Written By Bolanle Bolawole