Not that I think much of him, but Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State made my day yesterday. He stopped begging Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a former governor of the state, who thinks he owns Lagos, by calling the latter’s bluff. Ambode made it known at a press conference yesterday that he intends to contest the governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) slated to take place in the state today.
In so doing, he told Tinubu to bring it on. With a bit of providence and political guile, Ambode’s gamble may just pay off. If the so-called national leader of the APC was so certain that he could impose his new boy Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Nigeria’s commercial capital, there would have been no need to threaten to impeach Ambode should the governor refuse to drop his quest for a second term in office.
The APC led by Tinubu in Lagos had initially insisted on conducting direct primaries to select its governorship candidate for the 2019 elections. Then the former governor suddenly reversed himself at the weekend by ordering Ambode to withdraw from the contest to allow the APC to present Sanwo-Olu as the consensus candidate of the party in the state. Using his influence also, Tinubu got the party’s leadership at the centre to postpone the APC governorship primary by two days. If the entrenchment of democracy was at the heart of the choice for the direct primary, why the sudden need for a consensus candidate to contest the governorship election in Lagos next year? All these actions point to the uncertainty in Tinubu’s camp to supplant Ambode with Sanwo-Olu.
The handwriting is very clear on the wall that Tinubu is no longer as invincible as he once was. The Lion of Bourdillon is aging and is losing his grip in a state over which he has held sway for almost two decades. Otherwise, there will be no need for the impeachment threat. Tinubu through Sanwo-Olu should go and test his popularity at the primary today. May the most popular man win.