by Chris Adetayo
I hold the view that this Ambode quagmire is way too nuanced for the interpretations it is getting. So I am not joining the bandwagon of those who want him out or want him in. Neither position is infallible.
What seems clear to me is that the Governor’s travails can be nailed down to his demonstrable deficiency (if not complete lack) of emotional intelligence. There are several examples to buttress this point, the most obvious of which is his relationship with his immediate predecessor, Babatunde Fashola.
Anyone who followed the 2015 elections will recall the gargantuan efforts that Fashola put in to ensure Ambode’s election. He was everywhere campaigning with him, notwithstanding that he (Fashola) had backed another candidate in the primaries. But no sooner had Ambode been sworn in and he commenced a vicious campaign against all that Fashola stood for. It was a needless civil war. And even if Ambode was a slave having to do his Master’s bidding, he ought to have done it with the intelligence of a freeman. He didn’t and, today, the antagonism between them is so evident that their wives refuse to share a table at public events.
The Fashola example is just one in a long list of his failure to manage key stakeholders. It explains why, at the very first sign of trouble, there’s virtually no one inside his own party who is standing up for him. It is way too easy to blame herd mentality. And it’s escapist to point the finger at Tinubu. After all, Fashola faced the very same issues when 2nd term elections beckoned and it never became this acrimonious. More importantly, he didn’t lose everyone in his party and many stakeholders stood up for him.
So what has Ambode got going for him? Principally, outside of the fiasco that is VisionScape and waste disposal, many will give him credit for a number of strides especially in the area of infrastructure. His road construction projects, focusing largely on under-served parts of Lagos, have been well received. His unique solution to traffic bottlenecks (by creating lay-byes and drive byes) has worked brilliantly. His SME Fund has benefitted many. He has also built on the work of his predecessors with LAMATA, LAGBUS etc. He now has to hope that all these end up counting for something when the dice finally roll.
As for me, I’m going to wait this out. Whatever happens, may Lagos be the ultimate beneficiary!
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