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After Ambode, will Obaseki follow suit?

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History repeats itself because man in his usual frailty learns the stories but never the salient lessons. This weakness of man ensures that events are perpetually recycled when such needless rigmarole could have been nipped in the bud.

In the build-up to the 2015 governorship election in Lagos State, the question on the lips of most Lagosians was, Ambode who? Akinwunmi Ambode had no political antecedent after leaving the state civil service.

The then incumbent governor and current Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, had his preferred candidate in the state’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Supo Shasore.

At the end of the day, the ‘Governor-General’ of the state had his way and his protégé, Ambode, won the keenly contested primary of the newly formed APC.

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Power intoxicates as it is the elixir that makes puppets want to dislodge their masters. Ambode was no different as he wanted to prove to the Jagaban Borgu that he was indeed his own man. He introduced a new form of environmental waste management when he brought in a foreign firm called VisionScape to manage the waste crisis of the state. It was bad that the firm couldn’t deliver on their grand promises, it was worse that the governor alienated some stakeholders in the waste management sector who were compensated with it as part of a robust party patronage.

Lagosians wouldn’t forget the ordeal of a vicar who got a raw deal in the hands of the then First Lady with a conspiratorial silence from the governor.

In 2019, he was taught the political lesson of his life when a hitherto unknown Babajide Sanwo-Olu defeated him in a similar manner a school principal flogs an errant student on the assembly ground on a Monday morning.

Ambode is now so politically irrelevant that he is alleged to have gone to Ghana on a self-imposed exile when his Ikoyi home became too hot for him to live in.

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In 2016, Edolites asked a similar question: Obaseki who? He wasn’t a known politician as the then Governor Adams Oshiomhole took him from Lagos where he ran a successful financial institution to lead the economic management team of the state.

He worked quietly and mostly behind the scenes and used his clout to attract some investments to the state. During the campaign, Oshiomhole played the role of the spokesman as he was the one that was publicly lampooning the then PDP candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who ironically was the Director-General of his second term campaign team in 2012.

The federal might and Oshiomhole combined in harmony to ensure that Godwin Obaseki got elected. Typical of most godsons, he chose to assert himself when he tasted power which didn’t go down well with his former benefactor who later became the National Chairman of the APC.

They clashed and their initial alliance crashed like a pack of cards.

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Pundits were amazed when Ize-Iyamu defected from the PDP to the APC. He had been in and out of the two parties since 2007. He left the PDP for the then Action Congress of Nigeria where, by his own admission, he helped Oshiomhole win the govership election. He later jumped ship by returning to the PDP when it was clear that Oshiomhole wouldn’t hand over power to him before his recent defection to the APC.

The psychology of an average Nigerian politician is to win elections at all costs and not on any foreign ‘political ideology’ which is viewed as a strange western phenomenon.

Recently, Ize-Iyamu was endorsed by all the APC stakeholders including seven aspirants who unanimously endorsed his candidacy making it now a straight fight between him and Obaseki.

Oshiomhole has been publicly silent but the ‘Voice of Jacob and ‘Hand of Esau’ can be seen playing itself out here.

Even if Ize-Iyamu defeats Obaseki in the APC primary scheduled for June 22 and becomes the next governor, Oshiomhole cannot still become the Edo State godfather as Ize-Iyamu is far too street smart and wily to be caged like a bird. Where really will that leave Oshiomhole? He would only succeed in replacing his seemingly docile Obaseki with a power hungry Ize-Iyamu.

Obaseki has been running from pillar to post including an alleged secret visit to Tinubu to ensure that he returns to power later this year.

Some of his aides have been quietly reading the handwriting on the wall with some jumping ship, most notably Taiwo Akerele, his former Chief of Staff, who surprisingly threw in the towel this year.

Can Obaseki who is more of a technocrat than a politician spring a surprise by pulling the rug off Ize-Iyamu’s feet? Will Oshiomhole who has fought many political battles including permanently retiring the late Chief Tony Anenih from Edo politics have the last laugh? Will the PDP cash in on this crisis to win the election as a house divided against itself cannot stand?

Only time will tell!

Tony Ademiluyi, Lagos

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