Posted by Emmanuel Aziken | 13 April 2019 | 680 times
How the Ambode Treatment turned into a catchy anecdote in Nigeria’s political phraseology is one that associates of the outgoing governor of Lagos State will rue for a long time to come. Nevertheless, the episode that made Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to be the first governor of Nigeria’s most populous state to be stopped from seeking re-election is one that is bound to escalate in the near future. It would indeed, turn into a learning curve in fashioning relationships between sitting governors and godfathers who help them into office.
Following this week’s roll-out of the schedule for the next set of governorship elections, permutations on where the Ambode Treatment would be next served are now being imagined. It is certainly not in Kogi or Bayelsa. The first two of the seven states involved in off-season governorship elections.
Governor Yahaya Bello’s political godfather is in Aso Rock and detached from the ugly events unfolding in Kogi State. So long as news of the months-long arrears of salaries is filtered from President Muhammadu Buhari, the governor may have no issue grabbing the All Progressives Congress, APC ticket for a second term having recently forcefully taken over the state executive of the party.
The election in Bayelsa State does not involve a sitting governor. So, conspiracy theorists will have to look further for the possible re-enactment of the Ambode Treatment. Their sights are now set on Edo. Even before the conclusion of the 2019 general election, political stakeholders there had started making permutations.
That scenario began to unfold penultimate week after stakeholders in the state chapter of the APC began to take positions in the possible conflict between godfather and godson. It was a rehash of what happened in Lagos State.
Now the comparisons of the political scenarios in the two states are quite interesting. The governors in the two states were foisted by former governors who fought off bitter opposition to plant their chosen professionally inclined and seemingly apolitical surrogates.
Both governors in their first two years comparatively tried their best.
Both governors are under the oversight of nationally renowned chieftains of the APC.
The two are said to be distasteful of the political class who brought them into office. The refrain in Governor Obaseki’s case was that he was so much revolted by the way politicians reaped from the election that brought him in that he was wont to tell them that they had been sufficiently settled! It was as such no joke that some of those who hitherto dictated the pace and pattern of politics in the state have come into hard times.
However, it is still premature to hazard a guess on why Ambode was punished. His reported contempt for people was certainly not enough. Indeed, other political calculations that are bound to unfold may reveal reasons why he had to go. After all, no one has been able to point at a single offence he may have committed against his godfather. The 114 interior roads he delivered within his first 100 days, and other completed or ongoing infrastructure projects including the Oshodi Exchange, Pen Cinema flyover, Airport Road, Berger are among key infrastructure landmarks the governor could have used to sell himself for a second term.
Well, he would also have had to face serious questions from citizens who ply the Mile 2-Badagry and the Mile 2-Apapa Expressways who quarrel that he left the two roads far worse than he met them!
But on balance, he would have soldiered on if physical performance was considered as the barometer for a second term. It is within that context that the unfolding drama in Edo State is now playing out.
Penultimate week chieftains of the Oredo Local Government Area chapter of the APC in Edo State met and adopted Obaseki for a second term as governor of the state. The governor is from Oredo. However, within hours sounds of dissent started emitting from expected quarters to the contrary. It was a replay of the endorsements and rebuff that trailed the Ambode affair last year.
It is doubtful if Obaseki has the political capacity to fight the godfather. There are indications that the Edo governor may have impacted positively especially, given claims of the inflow of high-tech companies like Microsoft, HP into the state in the proclaimed scheme to turn the state into the technological backbone for the state. But will such count if push comes to shove in the battle for Edo State? Other local issues may count for Obaseki, notably the Benin factor and the presence of one of the country’s most dynamic opposition state chapters of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP led by Chief Dan Orbih. The APC was able to push Ambode because the PDP in Lagos was largely rudderless. That is not the case in Edo where the party is united, popular and on the ground.
Willy-nilly, even before the rain, the ground in Edo is wet and set for a muddy fight! •Culledf rom Saturday Vanguard.
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