Governor Akinwumi Ambode has the gift of presence. When he walks into a room, people sit up, straighten their ties, hold their breath in anticipation. And he dazzles them with his graceful command. He enjoys the bequest of performance too, which often translates to rare excellence.
The moment he set foot in the State House of the coastal city of Lagos, as Executive Governor and number one citizen of the state, Governor Ambode imbued his office with unprecedented nobility and passion for excellence. This perhaps explains the palpable storm of accomplishments coursing through the Lagos State Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, and every sphere of governance in the coastal city.
However, as it was in 2010 when the godfather of Lagos politics, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was hell-bent on ditching the then Governor of Lagos and his immediate successor, Babatunde Fashola, for another candidate in the run-up to 2011 governorship election before voices of reason prevailed, so it seems to be again in Lagos as the nation inches closer to 2019 general elections.
As things stand, in spite of his excellent leadership and sterling delivery of governance across the length and breadth of Lagos State, the incumbent Governor, Ambode, might need to find a common ground with his political benefactor or choose to look elsewhere for supports if he intends to successfully seek a second term in 2019; as the rumour that Asiwaju is not well disposed to Ambode re-election bid is gaining momentum at the passing of each day.
There are reliable hints that the once blossoming relationship between Asiwaju and Ambode is heading towards the rock; and unless some leaders of Lagos political and cultural establishments step in to stem the tide, the silent feud may soon snowball into a serious issue of great concern. While the root cause of the festering disaffection remains shrouded, sources privy to things between the due have expressed that concerns that Asiwaju is done with Ambode as far as governorship election in Lagos State is concerned.
It is reportedly gathered that Asiwaju, whose knack for head-hunting for first-rate performer is legendary, has narrowed his choice to two public sector experts of proven integrity. Like reasons prevailed between Asiwaju and Lagos erstwhile governor, Fashola, it is hoped that reason would also prevail between Asiwaju and Ambode whose growing popularity among Lagosians should be leveraged rather than discarded as 2019 fast approaches.
Indication that Governor Ambode’s might be having formidable forces to contend with emerged several weeks ago when Fouad Oki, an ambitious but now estranged loyalist of Tinubu, went to town with the allegation that some of Tinubu’s men were plotting to scuttle Ambode’s second term bid. Oki publicly revealed that Osun State Governor and die-hard Tinubu disciple, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and a Lagos lawmaker, Bayo Oshinowo, popularly known as Pepper in Lagos political circle, had shared the idea of dumping Ambode with him. Oki further challenged them to deny their plan, that he was ready to confront them with the truth.