It became pretty clear just a few hours into the governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s defeat was a fait accompli. And as it turned out, he was beaten black and blue. Were elections a boxing contest, the incumbent Governor would have been knocked out, spread-eagled, punch-drunk, desperately gasping for breath and unable to get back on his feet even after the count of 10 by the referee.
However, like in every game, he is not alone in the camp of losers; there are many others licking their wounds, with their tails behind their legs and heads bowed. We present you the winners and the losers.
JIDE SANWO-OLU: According to his credentials, he has been in the Lagos political space for years but until this primary he was relatively unknown to many Lagosians. This election has brought him from obscurity to limelight. He can also pride himself on the singular achievement of being the first person to scuttle the re-election bid of an incumbent Governor in Lagos ever since the country’s return to democracy in 1999. Whether he will win the governorship election proper and find his way to the government house next year is left for the electorate to decide.
THE MANDATE GROUP: This group is said to be so powerful that they have the ears of the political bigwigs in the state. It is even believed in some quarters that it was the group that first moved against Ambode’s second term bid and insisted he must go. Prominent among the members of this group is Rauf Aregbesola, the Governor of Osun State.
BABATUNDE RAJI FASOLA: You may be wondering why his name is included in this list after all that has been said about the state of affairs between him and the king maker of Lagos State, the fact that there is no love lost between them. But the truth is the man should be praised for the calmness and equanimity he displayed for solid eight years to manage the insufferable dictator that the kingmaker of Lagos has become. It’s the lack of tact, political savvy and maturity, especially in the face of frustration that led to his successor’s undoing. There must be a self-satisfied smirk brightening up the face of the Minister of Power, Works and Housing. In retrospect, he is the chief winner.
VENERABLE FEMI TAIWO: Does the name ring a bell? He is a former chaplain of the Chapel of Christ the Light, Alausa, whose immediate sack and disgrace Ambode and his wife (Bolanle) oversaw. Being a deeply religious country, many will believe it is the wrath of God being visited on the Lagos first family, a kind of comeuppance. The Venerable too may momentarily forget the “love your enemies and do good to those who hate you” injunction of the Bible and savour Ambode’s defeat.
TINUBU: No need to waste words on this man. The emergence of his anointed candidate has proven that he still calls the shot in Lagos politics. He has the APC structure in the state in his clutches and the fear of the man called Jagaban in Lagos is the beginning of wisdom.
AMBODE AND HIS WIFE: The first family in Lagos politics, at least for now, is the chief loser in the whole contest. In their desperate and last-ditch attempt to patch things up with Tinubu, there was no ridiculous length the duo did not go. The wife got down from the high horse of power and groveled at Tinubu’s feet, the husband cast aside, publicly, the trappings of office and ran to pose for a shot with the kingmaker. And like the drowning family that they were, in the days before the primary, they clutched at any straw to stay afloat in the vast and tempestuous ocean of Lagos politics and win the affection of the kingmaker, but it was too late. The first family’s fate at the APC primary was a foregone conclusion. What will be the next move of the family in the days ahead is yet to be known.
ANONYMOUS APPARATCHIKS: Since the Governor was rendered solitary pariah prior to the primary, nobody really wants to identify with him. But surely there must be some faceless factotums and other loyalists in his camp. They will strategize their next move together.