The contentious primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to various political offices in Lagos State may have been concluded and names of the winners released but the echoes are still resonating in the state. As GEORGE OKOJIE writes, the emergence of the candidates summed up the supremacy of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in Lagos State politics
When many years ago, admirers of the strongman of Lagos politics, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, decided to give him the unusual nickname, ‘Lion of Bourdilon’, most people thought it was just any other nickname.
Overtime, political events in the country have proven that indeed that there is something in that nickname because anytime the lion roars the other animals go into hiding.
His antecedent as a political bulldozer has continued to manifest from time to time. The last being the recent All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primary election where he also clipped the wings of incumbent Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and some other prominent lawmakers who sought the party’s tickets to return to their positions.
The Mandate Group he controls in Lagos installed virtually all the party’s candidates vying for one position or the other. In some cases where some popular individuals allegedly emerged, they were replaced by candidates supported by the group.
In the case of the Lagos State governor, if any soothsayer had told him that he won’t get the party’s ticket for a second term in office, he would have told the soothsayer to swallow his crystal balls and learn a new trade. Not after the endorsements that started with the three lawmakers representing Lagos State in the Senate including Senator Oluremi Tinubu, the wife of the national leader of APC Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, for a second term.
The series of endorsements were not a myth because they cited massive infrastructure projects his administration had developed in less than three years in office.
The lawmakers comprising of Senator Gbenga Ashafa (Lagos East), Senator Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos Central) and Senator Solomon Olamilekan (Lagos West) unanimously passed a vote of confidence on the governor.
This was swiftly followed by the endorsement by members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the House of Representatives from Lagos State who also came all the way from Abuja to endorse Governor Ambode for a second term in office, citing the massive infrastructural development and giant strides in all sectors and sections of the state.
The APC Caucus in the House of Representatives led by the Majority Leader, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, presented a letter to the governor at Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja urging him to re-contest in 2019.
According to him, “We are members of the House of Representatives APC Caucus from Lagos State. We all came into Lagos today to perform a very unique and sacred duty; something we did not take very lightly at all; something we deliberated over a couple of days ago and we spoke with one voice.’’
Interestingly, the governor won the governor of the year award year after year from a number of major national newspapers in the country and beyond.
To the chagrin of all, the endorsements crashed like a pack of cards and the political actors started acting funny to the amazement of all observers immediately the ‘Oracle of Lagos politics’, Tininu spoke.
Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s firm grip of Lagos politics is not a fluke, he abundantly possesses one of the hallmarks of leadership which is the ability to assemble a good team of advisers and cabinet members.
The man for all times working in the order of the likes of President Lee Kuan Yew who remarked in his book entitled, ‘From Third World To First’ that having a good crop of brilliant minds was central to the success story of Singapore, devoted better time of his political career raising brilliant minds and self assured people in Lagos.
The dogged fighter, welfarist and team player having succeeded in the area of human capital development had more than enough eggheads in his kitty and willingly distributes them to positions and in some cases change them when they fail to live above board and maintain set standards in their assignments.
As a strategist and tactician, he has never lacked the courage to try new things in the slippery terrain of Lagos politics.
Thus, when he felt some sectors in dire straits in the state can be fixed if a new man comes on board, through his power of persuasion and good communication team he was able to sell Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to the electorate to build on his legacies and that of the his predecessor Mr. Babatunde Fashola within four weeks to overrun the incumbent Governor Mr AkinwunmiAmbode Ambode who was widely acknowledged as best among equals in the country.
Political observers say another trait that gives insight into why Lagosians have decided to worship him forever could be found in his book entitled,’ The Faith Of A Democrat ‘ where he wrote,’’ I know I am here in this world for a purpose . I know that the purpose is to promote the good life for God’s creation….It is then left for me to vindicate God or disappoint him. My choice is to vindicate Him by being an important agent for the promotion of the good life for all. My faith in my ability to do so is what drives me in all my activities, whether political, social or religious.’’
Despite the fact that he installed the incumbent governor, he was eternally vigilant to know how the man was discharging his duties , whether he was on track and when he felt derailed from the master plan of the state development, Tinubu came out openly to write off the governor saying, ‘’I make no pretence that the master plan is perfect. It can always be fine-tuned. However, whenever a government departed from this plan without compelling reason, the state and its people have borne the painful consequence of the improper departure.
‘’To ignore this blueprint for progress in order to replace it with ad-hoc schemes of a materially inferior quality contravenes the spirit of progressive governance and of our party. Such narrowness of perspective does not bring us closer to our appointed destination; it takes us farther from that destiny.
‘’For reasons unknown to me and most Lagosians, we have experienced such deviations from enlightened governance recently. This trend is that which most concerns me as the primary nears. We must arrest this trend before irreparable harm is committed against the people and their future.’
‘’I am encouraged by the emergence of a candidate in this primary who has served the state in senior positions in my administration, the Fashola administration and even in the current one. While possessing a wealth of experience and exposure, he is a young man endowed with superlative vision and commitment. Most importantly, he understands the importance of the blueprint for development. He esteems it as a reliable and well-conceived vehicle for the future development of the state. He also knows the value of reaching out and working with others in order to maximize development and provide people the best leadership possible. With people like him at the helm, the state will write the proper history for itself.’’
Another area where he showed his supremacy in Lagos politics was in the case of Hon. Bayo Osinowo who won the Lagos East Senatorial Primary.
From the very outset Hon. Bayo Osinowo who polled 247,743 to defeat Senator Gbenga Ashafa that polled 20,385 made it very clear to whoever that cared to listen that he had the backing of the strong man of Lagos politic to pick the APC ticket.
The point must be made that apart from the outstanding performance of his wife Senator Oluremi Tinubu which stood her out, it was very clear that no politician in the district could mutter the courage to contest the senatorial seat because they didn’t want to incur the wrath of her enigma husband.
Having seen the political hand writing on the wall , Senator Ashafa humbly chickened out and said, ‘’The events of the past few weeks in the build up to the Senatorial Primaries of our Party in Lagos East have led to quite a level of apprehension within the district.
‘’In the light of the foregoing, and upon due consultation with party leaders and relevant stakeholders, I believe that the time has come for me to sacrifice my ambition for the unity and continuity of our party at the senatorial level and across all elective offices. Hence, I hereby release my unopposed ticket to the leadership of the party in Lagos State.
‘’To this end, I would like to appreciate the leadership of our party at the State and National levels, our members and constituents alike for the opportunity afforded me to serve. This is an opportunity that I do not take lightly or for granted. I would also like to appreciate the magnanimity and generosity of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu towards me throughout this journey.
‘’Consequently, I urge all my followers and supporters across the district to support all the candidates of our party the All Progressives Congress in Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole in the forthcoming elections in 2019. I remain committed to the principles and ideals of our party and will continue to contribute my quota in service to both our party and the nation. I stand with APC.’’
In the state’s House of Assembly virtually all members of Lagos State House of Assembly who got the backing of the Mandate Group to contest the just concluded All Progressive Congress (APC) primaries won their constituencies.
In fact, the emergence of Ibrahim Obanikoro who won the Eti-Osa in the primary election conducted by Chairman Primary Election Committee, Lucky Imasuen, and Secretary Primary Election Committee Barr Chima Okafor speaks volume of the fact that one must belong to the right political circle to get elected in Lagos.
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