Gbadebo: Born-To-Rule Syndrome In Lagos
THERE is an old saying that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. That saying is very applicable to the APC as it positions for power its candidate in the forthcoming Lagos State governorship elections Akin Ambode against his opponent Jimi Agbaje of the PDP. This is because for a long time, the APC has been the ruling party in Lagos State such that it won’t be inappropriate at all for the party and its henchmen to adopt the nickname of Born To Rule, which an oligarchy in a part of the country adopted when it dominated Nigeria’s leadership. The botched June 12 election of MKO Abiola put an end to the rule of the Northern Oligarchy under that infamous slogan when the nation conceded power to the South West; and Obasanjo was elected president in 1999. It is apparent such loss of power after a long spell of it, is looking the APC in the face in Lagos State in the forthcoming gubernatorial elections in the state. And the reasons are its style of governance and distribution of political largesse and influence. These have somehow created a powerful and wide network of relations, friends, associates and hangers on who have held important positions and wealth from being in government for so long that they think they have become a dynasty of Lagosians ‘ born to rule ‘, like the defunct Kaduna Mafia.
In a democracy such as Lagos claims to be, such dynastic or Crony governance must be thrown into the dustbin where it surely belongs given the calibre and pedigree of the electorate in the state. This coming guber elections is a grand and God-given opportunity for the people of the state to call a halt to the personalised style of leadership of Bola Tinubu who is believed to handpicks political office holders for the three rungs of government in the state.
Party appointments and positions have become intertwined with government bureaucracy and positions such that a serving public servant was selected as running mate to the party’s candidate Akinwumi Ambode. How can a serving civil servant become a party Number Two overnight? Has she not compromised her work ethics as a non-partisan civil servant who is to be seen and not heard?
To show how the APC has fused party and government, it was Initially rumoured that civil servants in Alausa were not happy with the emergence of Ambode at first, hence their placation with the selection of one of them as Ambode’s running mate. Where is transparency and political accountability in all these? The answer lies again in the way the people of Lagos state vote in the guber elections in Lagos later this month. If they vote for Ambode and his running mate again then they are voting for servitude from the Mafia, which is drunk with power and believes it will rule Lagos forever. If they vote for Jimi Agbaje, which is the sensible thing, they will be voting for their freedom from the bondage of the Bourdillon Mafia, which thinks, wrongly of course, that it has Lagos in its pocket and Lagos resides and sleeps in Bourdillon.
Lagos is a very cosmopolitan and prosperous state and Lagos city is the commercial capital of Nigeria in spite of the existence of? Abuja. Its governance should be based on the availability of the appropriate political human capital elected at the polls on merit not selected on the born to rule formula that has stunted growth for almost two decades. Clear vision and insight, earned political skills and capabilities are what PDP candidate Jimi Agbaje brings to the coming governorship election. These are talents that the ruling APC has shown it lacked these long years it has ruled Lagos State and surely with the election of Agbaje’s opponent, it has shown it has run out of ideas. The people of Lagos State should show the party the honourable way out by voting it out of office and electing Jimi Agbaje in next month’s elections. Surely there can be no alternative to freedom of choice, which Agbaje brings to the elections.
Gbadebo, a public commentator writes from Lagos.