It is within the fragility of the moral structure of our society that one can surprisingly witness the stripping of the old base of the colonialists. Yes, Lagos is now being undressed on a fashion runway of change. Within three months, we were ushered back into the Lagos that BBC described as ‘hell’, the untamed Lagoon brewed with debris of lawlessness.
To look back was to be confronted with the glorious ruins of the old Yoruba empire, institutional chaos, political disorder and a nineteenth century in which they had fought themselves into a state of political coma until the colonialists came and ordered the warring generalissimos to go home and fight no more. But in a showdown of influence just after the 1951 regional elections when Ita Eyo of NCNC was elected as the Leader of Government Business East and Obafemi Awolowo was elected as the Leader of Government Business West, Awolowo single-handedly shopped for his replacement in his party, the person who would become the Premier of the Western region. He failed in hoodwinking the Yoruba hegemony to accept his options and as such, Ladoke Akintola was foisted and the rest, as it was, became historical history. It was the fullness of time that saw Akintola struggling to wear the big shoes of Awolowo.
So why is Lagos back to the hazy days of perennial frustration? Could it be that Fashola had left a shoe that was too fashionable for Ambode to stain? Or it could be that Ambode is just too timid to accept the reality of the complexity of governance? Or may be Fashola had taken the bar beyond where Ambode could start from. The fate of the current Lagos Governor seems to hang in his own convoluted vision that is beclouded in nothingness. He seems to have lost himself in the midst of the uptight that saw his emergence as Lagos governor.
For some of us that penned a number of narratives to examine the prospect of Ambode in the build up to the elections, the killer effect of the return of ‘hell’ to Lagos is not lost on us. Unfortunately, Lagos was so unlucky to have witnessed a contest between two candidates with filthy companions – one stood on dented platform, the second lacked success stories. In the end, we chose to rely on fate to create the success stories on-the-go.
How did we reduce governance to empty programmatic agenda in Lagos? How come the sanity in public service entrenched by Fashola is fast eroding? How can we keep dropping the ball by diminishing the ivories of confidence erected by Fashola? How come all we could achieve in three months was to lay claim to the publication of budget spending of previous administration without single evidence of violation of any sort? How come we have laws and we are struggling to enforce them in the face of situations that demanded unrelenting enforcement? How come all we could achieve in four months is to visit traffic flashpoint, burnt markets and accident scenes with no immediate short term follow-up actions except press statements?
We are talking about the old Oshodi back in full scope unchecked, Obalende, Mile 2, these hubs have put on their old regalia. Indiscriminate use of roads by commercial bus drivers, where everywhere a person stands is a bus stop. The trash bags are back on the roads, round-about flowers have been overgrown by weeds, and sellers are back to the roads with their wares, touting is now a full time job. Armed robbers now have the space to innovate, making recourse to traffic robbery as cash cow to finance bigger adventures. With law enforcers becoming lawless themselves, Lagos is warmly welcome back to hell where anything goes.
It is a valid point to say that it is too early to access Ambode and given that he is yet to put in place his cabinet, but what can we say of El-Rufai who inherited Kaduna from PDP? While it is understandable that management style varies, lack of leadership brand is a defenseless posture. When you think of Buhari, what comes to mind is that lanky tiny Daura man who doesn’t tolerate corruption. When you think of El-Rufai, what comes to mind is that pint-sized man who is known for his hard stance on physical infrastructure sanity. When you think of Fashola, what comes to mind is that fine public servant who redefined public service beyond the ordinary and could confront lawlessness in raw form. When you think of Donald Duke, what comes to mind is that handsome Calabar man who is in love with nature and could make business out of tourism. When you think of Ambode, what comes to mind is a soft-spoken Bourdillon graduate who is in search of his leadership brand. Little wonder why a pundit described Ambode as the real intern in Lagos government house.
Fashola commanded and still commands respect across divides. He worked for it from day one; he earned it, now he commands it. For Ambode to command respect, he will need to earn it first. You earn respect by performance, public perception, success stories, and governance innovations. For those who think that we are too harsh on Ambode or it is too early, our age is not in love with time.
It’s me, @Obajeun