WHY Are There No Governorship Contenders Against Ambode
By Aistine Uche-Ejeke
IN an election that is barely 10 months to go, it is befuddling that a state like Lagos with its peculiarities and interests is yet to witness a beehive of political activities. These activities are supposed to be a plethora of candidates coming out to contest the post of Lagos State Governor.
In states like Ekiti as at the last count are having over 50 candidates from all the political parties jostling to take over from Governor Ayodele Fayose. In Imo state we have more than 20 Aspirants to collect the baton from Governor Rochas Okorocha.
Even the Presidential Elections as at the last count has over 100 contenders gunning to retire President Buhari from the office.
And that has evoked our curiosity to ask why and where are the contenders that will like to slug it out with Governor Ambode or are there no candidates . Will it be a good a case of “Carry out Go, No tension! You are returned unopposed for Governor Ambode .
Whatever that is scaring people to come out early to announce their intention to contest against Governor Ambode only time will tell. But what we may not need time to tell us is that when a product or brand is good, imitators or competition will be in serious trouble on how to incubate an exact product or better one that will match the one in the market. And that is the case of Ambode with the things he is doing in Lagos.
This Is a man that came with many baggage and controversies ranging from accusations of fraud while in active service of Lagos state, coming from relative obscurity in the mainstream politics and having the burden of inexperience as a seasoned politicians. But like somebody that knows his onions, he has already articulated his game plans, strategies and mode of operations to deliver unprecedented dividends to the good people of Lagos state.
His approach has been markedly different from others. It has been methodical, less noise and much talk and grandstanding to that of more actions.
Ambode has been doing what seems to be impossible for others to do; to give Lagos state the desired Mega City status it deserves.
In this direction the spates of Road Construction and Rehabilitation in Lagos since Ambode assumption of office is unprecedented. The programme of the 114 Road Project in which each Local Government Area in Lagos benefited from at least two new Roads was simply superb. This opened up many hitherto locked up roads and streets in the state. It’s is that same vision of road construction that turned Berger to a mini wonder city. Those who know Berger area of Lagos three years ago can hardly recognise the place with the Fly over, well constructed parks and roads . This has also been extended to Agege, Ikorodu, Epe and other areas of Lagos.
The other most spectacular of all these infrastructural redesigning of Lagos is the revolution that is going on in Oshodi and Muritala Mohammed International Airport Road. Nobody could believe that the new look Oshodi is wearing is possible. Oshodi has for decades been an eye sore, with filth, congestion, suffocation, crime and criminality. But that is not the story of Oshodi today.
For years the major gateway to the country which is the International Airport Road has been a national disgrace and calamity. But now the road is wearing a new look that by December 2018 deadline slated for the completion of the road and that of Oshodi many people will doff their hats for Governor Ambode.
Added to this is that under the three years of Governor Ambode he has carried out the programme of Light Up Lagos. This has made it possible for virtually all the major streets and roads in the state to have a functional Street lights at nights that now scares away criminals and hoodlums that hitherto operate under the cover of darkness.
As that one is not enough in order to solve the problem of unemployment and crime in the state Governor Ambode instituted the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund with the initial seed capital of N25 billion. This wonderful package has empowered many Lagosians who previously had nothing doing or their businesses were not doing well. They now have funds at a very ridiculous interest rate to prop up their businesses.
When a comparative analysis of Ambode and Fashola is done, it will be seen that there is a wide gap of difference. By this time in 2010, the second coming of Fashola was in serious doubt as even the National Leader of the then Action Congress of Nigeria Bola Tinubu was said to be making moves to replace Fashola with another Governorship candidate. But nothing of such has been heard in the case of Ambode. Actually his performance is speaking for him that any attempt even from Tinubu or Buhari to foist another candidate will receive massive revolt from the good people of Lagos state.
And that is what good governance should be all about. As of today virtually all the local government areas, traditional rulers, youths organisations, non indigenes, religious organisations etc have come out to endorse the second term bid of Governor Ambode. Even some of us that are in the opposition attacking the bad governance at the Federal level have fully thrown our weight to Governor Ambode to contest, win a second and complete his laudable work.
This has also buttressed the fact that good product need not so much marketing and advertisement.
But it has not been all kudos to Governor Ambode. There are few knocks here and there. For instance the proposed BRT Buses to replace the derelict Red Buses that we have now is yet to take off. Same buses were promised to fully take effect in October 2017 and thereafter retire the yellow buses off major roads of Lagos.
In the area of Refuse collection the Governor has not done well particularly lately with the streets of Lagos being over taken by refuse. The untidy transition of previous handlers of Refuse collection in the state by PSP to new handlers Visionscope was not well managed. Thus residents and streets of Lagos are the unfortunate victims of that laxity.
Also the case of the astronomical increase in Land Use Charge has received severe knocks as the timing and logic for the increase did not meet the expectations of Lagos residents.
But in spite of all these shortcomings Governor Ambode may still bask in the fold of what I term as Merit Vote Syndrome. And by Merit Vote Syndrome it simply means that what a public officer has achieved in his outgoing tenure would incontrovertibly speak for him and his government than volumes of speeches he deliverers at rallies and occasions.
Perhaps it’s all these achievements and feats that other contenders and Aspirants have seen and decided to respect themselves by not wasting their time, energy and resources to contest against Governor Ambode.
The deafening silence in the opposition camp could only but mean and translate to be consent ; that Governor Ambode should carry on with the good work he is doing as he will not need distractions from his tight schedules to waste time and money campaigning for an election he knows that he is going to win!!