Governor Akinwumi Ambode’s rise to his position in Lagos didn’t start in 2015. Before his emergence as Lagos governor, he had served as a civil servant in a career stranding diverse role in accounting consultancy for 27 years. But due to his loyalty to the political hierarchy of Lagos state, he was considered as the heir fit to take the mantle of Lagos political leadership from the former governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola.
In 2015, Ambode defeated other political giants like Jimi Agbaje of the PDP to become the governor of Lagos state. Fast forward to 2018, with a couple of months to the end of his first term tenure, Governor Ambode’s desire to continue another 4-year term has been met with declination due to differences that took an irreconcilable turn with the political bigwigs in the states, which included his estranged godfather, Asiwaju Tinubu and 57 council chairmen. This development has made the state’s stakeholders to take a new dimension, pledging their support to Sanwo-Olu, Tinubu’s newly found political godson. This piece identifies the possible reasons why the Tinubu -Ambode’s rift may deny the governor his second term dream.
1. Refuse disposal policy: Lagos was believed to be one of the dirtiest cities in the country due to its overcrowding population. Immediately Fashola mounted the leadership seat, he was said to have introduced programmes against indiscriminate dumping of refuse and open defecation, the ‘Cleaner Lagos’ initiative,which was allegedly dropped by Governor Ambode leading to bodies like Private Sectors Participants Operator (PSP) registering displeasure with his policy on waste management.
2. Ambode’s alleged arrogance: Governor Ambode’s obedience and loyalty which made him the darling of Lagos political hierarchy was said to have suddenly disappeared few months after he became the governor. He was accused of running the state as a solo affair.
3. Lack of political savvy by Ambode: The present internal crisis in Lagos has raised up a debate over who is politically savvy between Governor Ambode and his predecessor, Fashola (SAN) The offshoot of this is what has made the council chairmen to drive their support for the APC-Mandate group endorsed Sanwo-Olu.
4. Ambode’s failure to carry others along: He was accused of not building on the legacy of the APC national leader, making Asiwaju to wait till the time of reckoning before he takes his pound of flesh. Of great note is a rumor that Governor Ambode and the Obasa-led Lagos Assembly were at war making the former to wage impeachment war against the governor if he attempted to re-contest.
5. Tinubu’s political will to give new faces chance: Sanwo-olu used to be a commissioner in Lagos state and a loyal disciple to Tinubu’s political ideology. Sanwo-olu, like Ambode, had set his eyes on the number political seat of the state for a long time. After the eight-year administration of Babatunde Fashola, Sanwo-olu was reported to be among the 10 leading contenders to register their interest before Ambode got the nods of the state’s political stakeholders. Immediately Ambode indicated his desire to contest again, crisis reportedly started brewing in the the Lagos APC camp. But in his bid to avert the crisis as a national leader of APC and ex-governor of the state, Tinubu, riding on his alleged displeasure for the Ambode-led government, decided to give new faces chances.
In conclusion, from the look of things, the APC primary election is in few days, and there is no certainty that Ambode will get the nods of his party leaders in the state.