Opinion: Why Lagos Youths Prefer Akinwunmi Ambode to Jimi Agbaje By Temitope Adewale
Jimi Agbaje is a gentleman and no doubt appeals to several youths in Lagos State. The pharmacist turn politician wowedLagos youths with a Nollywood style campaign in 2007, and have ever since been in the minds of Lagosians as a man of the future. Pundits regretted that Jimi failed to take the humble pie and become a commissioner under Governor Fashola in 2007; a move many claim will have sealed his fate as a possible successor of Fashola in 2015.
Agbaje shunned what may have been a lifetime opportunity to learn from service which a much more politically experienced Hilary Clinton took in 2009 serving under her former rival President Barack Obama. Hilary Clinton, a United States Senator and former first lady knew that to boost her chances of being the first female President of the United States in 2016, she needed to boost her foreign policy experience which she successfully did as Secretary of State. Beyond that she showed to the entire world that she had the capacity to collaborate with past rivals, learn from them and even serve under them. These are important leadership qualities that Jimi Agbaje failed to demonstrate during the 8 year tenure of Fashola, and unfortunately, he lost a lifetime opportunity of understanding how the public sector works beyond the current textbook knowledge he has. Governor Rauf Aregbesola of OsunState cut his tooth in governance as a Commissioner of Works in Lagos for 8 years and same for the much celebrated 2015 Vice-Presidential candidate of the APC, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo who served as Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice in Lagos for 8 years.
The APC Lagos Governorship Candidate for 2015, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode is a man that understands leadership not only because he has learnt to serve but because he is a professional guru with unprecedented achievements in Lagos Public Service. More importantly, Ambode is running on a platform APC (formerly ACN) that Lagos youths can trust. Ambode’s combination of this qualities is reminiscent of the 2007 Lagos Governorship election when the relatively unknown Babatunde Fashola was flying the flag of the then ACN. Less than 8 years down the line and today Governor Fashola is regarded by both friends and foes as the best performing Governor in Nigeria. While credit must go to the man Fashola, the reality is that he benefited from the structure and foundation laid by his predecessor.
He understood that structure so well because he served in that administration just as Ambode understands the existing structure having served in senior government positions under Governors Bola Tinubu and Babatunde Fashola. This is a structure that Jimi Agbajedesperately needs but lacks and does not understand.
Before sharing my views on the role of so called godfathers in the 2015 governorship elections, I want to clearly state that there is nothing wrong with politicians having more experienced politicians as mentors. At least in Lagos State, Governor Fasholaand Asiwaju Tinubu have proven that a godfather-godsonrelationship can be positive. Jimi Agbaje’s biggest problem which is the major concern of Lagos youths is not his obvious lack of experience in public administration but the kind of godfathers he has chosen or that have chosen him, as well as the platform of PDP that most Nigerians are now wary of, much more Lagosians. Chief Olabode George and Senator SeyeOgunlewe are Jimi Agbaje’s godfathers. As Mr. Joe Igbokweaptly described Senator Ogunlewe: “Ogunlewe is a troubled man, haunted by the crimes he committed against Lagos, which included launching a terrorist group to kill and maim Lagosiansand leaving federal roads in worse conditions as he met it while was Works minister.” PDP’s frontline politician Senator MusiliuObanikoro said of Chief Bode George, “Indeed, there is nothing unexpected about the recent tantrums by Chief Bode George targeted at me in spite of the ignoble role he played in the fraudulent outcome of the Lagos PDP gubernatorial primaries. For whatever it is worth, it is to Chief Bode George’s credit that his family name is tainted and now constitutes a generational blemish as Nigeria’s leading metaphor for gross moral deficit, lack of integrity and public dishonor… Let someone remind him that the post-traumatic stress disorder that comes with a time in jail would take more than just an unholy alliance with a pharmacist to heal.”
Lagos Youths are watching with keen interest with some noting that J.K is no more O.K. You may hate Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for fighting to protect Lagos State from President Obasanjo’s invasion in 2003 and 2007, being a godfather to Governor Fashola or whatever you may want to believe but the description of Chief Bode George and Senator Ogunlewe’s desperation is far from Asiwaju’s person. The PDP desperate godfathers are looking for an inexperienced person in political matters that they can manipulate and it seems that that they have selected the handsome looking Jimi Agbaje is their fall guy. Chief Bode George has always looked for a candidate that can be manipulated such as Mrs. Williams in 2007 and Mr.Dosunmu in 2011.
Lagos youths are pragmatic and know better. Asiwaju is a man you can only hate to love and he remains the only leader in Nigeria that has been able to successfully develop other leaders that can outperform him without being jealous, in a country where leaders look for incompetent people they can manipulate to place them in position of leadership…ditto Olusegun Obasanjo.
In 2011, some Lagos youths were swayed by the “I had no shoes” campaign strategy of President Goodluck Jonathan and decided to ignore his party and vote for him. Less than 4 years down the line and those youths can clearly see that the PDP is a visionless party capable of blinding a man of vision. Lagos youths are more sophisticated and experienced than they were in 2011, and can see that some selfish godfathers are trying to use their genuine admiration of Jimi Agbaje’s person to carry out their vow of capturing Lagos State to obviously oil their pockets and those of their masters as they have done with Nigeria’s treasury.
Jimi Agbaje needs Lagos youths to reject him at the polls to save him from the quagmire he has found himself in. MrAkinwunmi Ambode is another Fashola, a better Fashola having spent years learning under Asiwaju and Fashola. We trusted Asiwaju and his party in 2007 and did not regret it, and I know for sure that Lagos youths will not gamble with their future. In 2007, while Babatunde Fashola polled about 848, 424 votes, Musiliu Obanikoro Koro had 389,688 votes. By 2011, Ade Dosunmubarely managed to get 300,450 votes against BabatundeFashola’s 1,509,113.
I challenge Lagos Youths to deliver a minimum of 3 million votes to Mr Akinwunmi Ambode in the 2015 governorship election as both the man and the party hasthe requisite experience, manifesto and strategy to take Lagos State to the next level. With this mentions I so much believe in him and I assure him Lagos State youths are fully Behind him.
Written By: Temitope Adewale
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