#Pausibility: Ambode and The Burden of Continuity by Adebayo Coker.


Two Sundays ago, Mr Jimi Disu, the host of The Discourse With Jimi Disu, dedicated the whole of his one hour phone-in radio programme to discussing the possible solutions to the problems Lagos State is seemingly faced with in recent times. It is expected that some people will see such an eye-opening discourse as a threat to their political hegemony, but I found it incredulous that someone will resort to name calling in the guise of doing a rejoinder to the many elicitations by Lagosians through the programme. JD is an egbon to ju agbalagba lo and he was never rude to anyone on that particular programme, nor at anytime on his radio show.

Anyways, I would not want to deify nonsense and its peddler, hence I will summarise the so-called ‘response’ as one of those cries of insanity. It will take the deepest level of insanity for anyone to agree that Lagos is working as it is presently. It is that level that so many of us will not slither to. Nobody is just kidding here.

This will be my second note after: #Pausibility: Ambode, Lagos Is A State Of Excellence!

Governance is usually measured based on deliverables of tangibles and intangibles. Physical and social infrastructures are tangibles because they are what the people can see: Roads, water, hospitals, etc fall under this divide. For the intangibles, both social and economic policies occupy this divide; if I may add: security of lives and properties. These are things that are felt. Any Lagosian can attest, we took both almost for granted under the immediate past administration, hence, the nostalgia.

During the campaigns, we were sold a first class graduate, a chartered Accountant per excellence, a guy who self-financed his education. A man who almost went through his childhood shoeless like the former President. He was not a talk-active but his action-packed posters caught some people’s interest. Even when dust was raised about his ancestry, many ignored it with the faith that we are certain of continuity of the changes that were heralded by BRF. But little did we know that the clout that governed Lagos till the morning of 29th May, 2015 took flight immediately Fashola left Marina; instead a Jonathanian spirit gained the Right of Occuppancy in Lagos House. It is the ilk of Jonathan that will serenade their audience with: I had no shoe, get into office, and raise the hopes of the people because they believe his humble background will make him align with the common man, but instead of stepping up to the plate, steep deeply down the curve due to incapacity and intelligence. The first could be pardoned but when arrogance will not make you call out or listen to people that can help you out of your quagmire even when they are available, then the latter cannot be overlooked. I see no reason why Fashola should not be reached out to at this time. One thing I know, Fashola would not want his town razed because he was not born in Ondo. He gave his words when he was leaving, he said he is always a phone call away and he never gives his word and go back on it, although, The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born.

A friend of mine would always say that this guy he is looking at doesn’t strike him as someone who has the smartness of Lagos to govern Lagos but I will always argue that the guy does not need to do more than is expected (Fashola’s stroke can only be Fashola’s), he only has to follow a path that is already paved with shinning light. But when a son inherits a well-maintained archetype of his father but decides to remodel the structure and pulls down the edifice, first of all, before contacting the draughtsman or considering the financial implication of such a task, then such a child doesn’t deserve anyone’s praise.

Why would any sane person disrupt the easy flow of events?

If one wants to know how a state is governed, test the impulse of the commercial bus drivers then you will know the volition of the state Governor. The directive to LASTMA of non-impoundment of vehicle even when such a vehicle is caught in the act of grievous violation of traffic rules is meant for a society that can boast of adequate biometric of citizenry and verifiable vehicular databank. The insanity of the commercial drivers that followed that directive threw Lagos back into several decades of incivility. We know you may have some good intention beyond your usual populist approach( populist: like the one that was reported that you went on vigil with the police in one of those dark spots in Lagos), but that good intention was immediately eroded, that even the Danfo drivers themselves became nostalgic of the metropolis they had just few months ago. Iya Ramota with her lambebe sef dey ask if the government for Lagos no be APC to APC again? Any sane mind expected Lagos to run on Plug-And-Play. It takes more than executive pronouncement or recitation of Riot’s Act to curb the madeness of Lagos traffic.

We were told that when the OBJ-led Government saw the need to muscle Lagos in order to frustrate the existence of the additional local government areas created by Bola Ahmed-led Lagos State government by not releasing the fund accruing to Lagos state from the Federation Account, Ambode designed the IGR masterpiece which is quintessential in the nation. The Fashola-led administration enjoyed the plan and he was able to perform to the level that Lagosians took both the tangibles and the intangibles of governance for granted. We have not been told the people have refused to pay their taxes because me I dey pay my tax. Till few months ago, I drove on better roads well lit at night with refreshing greenery greeting me here and there. I felt like a cosmopolitan in my city without having to be in Dubai or in any of the cities of the Queen or Obama’s lane before I savour the beauty of nature. Today our dear green is gone and I don’t think they will return in a long time to come. Hardly would one drive for ten minutes without your car having to screech because our roads are punctuated with potholes at alarming intervals that one would wonder what happened to those yellow-overall guys we used to see blocking those deathtraps few months ago . Anytime I come to such a stop, I reflexively jam my palms and say: Orisa bo le gbemi… Apart from the need to have a very sharp headlight for night drive in Lagos recently, you also must make sure your car cooling system is working fine. Bereft of the two, you either get buried in the hole or get brazenly robbed that you would suddenly realize what those Armoured police vehicles stationed at various points few months back meant.

As the Chief Security Officer of the state, Mr Fashola never for one day gave Lagos the excuse that he couldn’t curb the menace of robbery because the security agencies were not under his control. Fine, he complained of inadequacy of men of the security agencies but never did I read where he opened up the State to the robbers of whatever operation level on the premise that it is the job of the Commissioner of Police to secure the state. Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF) was even instituted to assist the security agencies in carrying out their duties smoothly and we all were better off.

What happened to those novelties?

I am fortunate to live close to a Water Works but for several days now I can only patronize meruwa. Few months ago my tap would not go dry this long. I was recently in the office of one of the senior members of your cabinet, we could not get water to drink. The excuse was that they had to go to the Office of the Deputy Governor to make requisition before they can refill their water bottles. What pettiness!

That someone run to the press claiming that they curbed wastages does not mean it is not a ploy for greater ‘wacking’. Now, we are asking: who sent you to save money meant for service delivery? Watch out, because soon, the ‘wacking’ will start vociferously like no man’s business and if you raise any question, the answer is there: Weren’t you the one that told us to spend?

We should stop concentrating on people’s degrees but rather, we should screen their pedigree. Fashola’s pedigree was a no-nonsense man, even as the CoS to Asiwaju. But the story of someone being pushed out of service was politically quelled with some old good story. The unfolding events point to a vendetta: the striking move to undo Fashola at all cost.

If you must undo what is good, replace it with what is better or put in its stead what is best. The way you are going about it may spell your political doom regardless of who your godfathers are. You are allowing the service that you were employed for to suffer.

I wonder the level of excellence you have brought in.


NB: This piece is written in simple English.

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In the beginning...Let there be Light

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