Ambode put on slaughter slab by APC - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Sunday, September 23, 2018

Ambode put on slaughter slab by APC

Akinwunmi Ambode

Bademosi Adekunle

The political landscape in Lagos State is quite charged. Incumbent Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode seems to have fallen out with the APC political leadership in the State, who seem to think they have more right to the State’s resources than the over 20 million Lagosians, who are benefitting from the Governor’s iconic socio-economic development programs in the State. The question begs to be asked, why a few self-serving politicians will take a tendentious path to turn their backs on the popular choice of the greater majority by far of Lagosians.

Bad Politics
In the last few months, news of political uncertainty in Lagos has been filtering to the public space. While there is largely a consensus in the public domain that the incumbent Governor has done enough to get the support of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) for a shot at re-election, feelers indicated that the powers that be in the State are uncomfortable that the Governor has put millions of Lagosians ahead of a few of them in the allocation of the State’s resources. Essentially, their case against the incumbent is that he is deploying the State’s resources on things like improving road infrastructure network, healthcare, education and security to the detriment of their pockets.
This is a new low in Nigerian politics. The narrative at discrediting a serving governor is usually about non-performance but in Ambode’s case, a strange scenario is playing out. His traducers have not accused him of poor performance. For politicians, who have a significant say in the emergence of the leader of one of Africa’s largest and fastest growing economies, this is bad politics and must be condemned. In saner climes, politicians are judged by their impact on the majority, not on the pockets of the few who feel they have a sense of entitlement to the public’s finances. It flies against all sense of reason and we are particularly worried that Lagosians seem to be taking this relatively calmly.
Bad Precedent
Lagos State is socially, politically and economically significant. It is a forerunner State, not just for Nigeria, but for Africa. It makes up about a third of Nigeria’s GDP, around 10% of the country’s population and far beyond half of the country’s trade gateways. As such, a decision on who becomes the leader of the State must be taken based on more honorable considerations.
The current situation where the few are lording their personal considerations on the majority,sets a really bad precedent and could lead to domino effects that may further weaken the already fractured representative democracy in Nigeria. If it is allowed in Lagos, arguably Nigeria’s most socio-economically advanced State, what hope do we have as a country? It has been argued that one of the challenges with leadership in Nigeria is the absence of political office holders who have the character, competence andcapacity to lead. Therefore, allowing this situation in Lagos sends a bad signal and underlines the weakness of our political institutions and systems in throwing up the best for the citizens to choose from.

Where are the People?
Dishonest politicians play on the reticence of the people. It is canon for their projectile and they must be comfortable in the seeming quietness of Lagosians to take them to task on the current political situation in the State. This situation to say the least, is a significant affront to the right of the people to choose. Former US President, Barack Obama famously stated Africa’s need for strong institutions and not strong men. This statement seems clairvoyant about the current situation in Lagos.

We should have a political context where the performance of the incumbent in delivering the campaign promises on which he was elected should be the yardstick for assessing his right to a re-election, not his willingness or otherwise to deploythe State’s resources on fueling the insatiable appetite of just a few. AkinwunmiAmbode is on the slaughter slab because he has chosen to put the people ahead of political jobbers.If Lagosians do not come out to condemn his persecution, they will be giving tacit approval to a system of political trading which goes from the highest bidder to the pockets of a few. This is not the democracy we waited for between 1983 and 1999 and which we have been hoping will mature between 1999 and 2018.

If indeed this turns out to be the twilight ofAkinwunmiAmbode’s iconic leadership in Lagos, then the famous words of Edmond Burke who said ‘the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing’ would have come true.

Bademosi Adekunle, a Public Commentator, writes from Badagry.

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