– By Capt. Jide Asipa
It was a hot January afternoon in Lagos last week. I walked into a bar at Iwaya in the Yaba area of Lagos, and I stumbled upon a fortuitous conversation. Sitting on the veranda were a couple of commercial motorbike “Okada” riders, their bikes leaning against a tree.
I’d trekked from my department at the University of Lagos, and all I needed was a cold bottle of Coca-Cola. As I waited for the bartender to hand me my drink, the noise from the “Okada” riders rose to near-deafening decibels.
It was impossible to ignore eavesdropping on their conversation:
”My friend, wetin you sabi? You dey this Lagos sef? I say the man na Science Student!”
”Make we hear word”, retorted his partner while readjusting his bike. “Na so una dey spread yeye rumour”.
”Sanwo-Olu na kolomental, jare”, insisted a third biker who had joined in the conversation. ”Everybody for Lagos sabi that one, joo. Even small pikin wey dey JS 1 know that one”, he added matter-of-factly.
”How you take know? You dey there?” the second man wasn’t giving up. ”Olofofo Wazobia FM!”
I stopped in my tracks. The mention of the name “Sanwo-Olu”, and the said “rumour” were enough to occasion a pause in my stride. Their argument went on and on, as a few more Okada men and a couple of other “Area Boys” joined in the verbal fracas.
Rumour or not, truth or fallacy; these were not my primary worries. But to think that one of the two frontrunners for the exalted seat of Governor of Lagos State is being ridiculed as a “Science Student” (a commonplace reference to a drug addict), or even more disturbing, as one with a questionable mental health problem (whether now, or in the past), were worrisome.
From the time I first heard his name barely four months ago as the choice of the Jagaban to take over from Ambode as the occupant of Government House, Alausa, I was silently excited! My namesake might just be the next Governor of Lagos State! Why won’t one Jide support another?
However, after this unplanned encounter with my Iwaya Okada riders, men who always had their ears to the ground, my mind went racing; my pulse on over-drive! Why Sanwo-Olu? How sane is he? A dark-horse and an unknown quantum whose online presence had grown in a few months via recent postings by paid bloggers on social media. A man who is now being touted by many as a once-upon-a-time mental health patient in the squalid surroundings of beer parlours in Lagos, is an urgent cause for concern. A clear and present danger!
Lagos State is not just the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria. It is arguably Africa’s 5th largest economy. Both the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Purchase Power Parity (PPP) of Lagos are higher than those of no less than 40 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. In view of its status as the commercial nexus of Nigeria, Lagos cannot be toyed with. So to have a man with a dark and questionable past, albeit with the growing belief by many of being a mental health patient, is at best a travesty!
Thus, one is bound to ask: Where did the Jagaban get this man from? What indeed is Tinubu’s grand agenda? What are the subliminal and long-term implications of Tinubu’s singular decision to foist a man who is rumoured in loud whispers as “Kolomental” on 21 million Lagosians? A “Science Student” (God Bless Olamide) as Governor of Lagos State? Olorun ma je (God forbid)!
The profile of the Jagaban as the Governor-General of Lagos who draws the political map of Lagos to his whim and caprice, behind the sanctuary of his palatial Bourdillon Road, Ikoyi residence, is no news. But bringing a “Kolomental” ex-patient as Governor of the Centre of Excellence, is jagabaning his luck a shade too far. For the 21 million Lagosians, with arguably the largest per capital wealth and brain power in sub-Saharan Africa, this is indeed a jiggered joke taken too far!
As the Yorubas will say: “Ènìyàn kì í ṣe Ọlọ́run.” No Man can play God! This time around, many PVCs will rise up against the hitherto unchallenged and boisterous disposition of the Asiwaju.
The case of Sir Michael Otedola’s election as Governor of Lagos State in January 1992 is not lost on us. As a student of Sociology, I’ve tried to profile Bola Tinubu and his penchant of play “Ayoo” with Lagosians and our collective patrimony.
Tinubu brought Fashola in 2007. The grapevine had it that Fashola became increasing too independent to dance to the deadly beats of Tinubu’s bata drum. Next, he smuggled in Ambode, while not even allowing Fashola (as incumbent Governor) to have a say in the process.
It is common knowledge that Fashola had sacked Ambode, who as the State’s Accountant-General, had handed Lagos State funds, running into tens of billions of Naira to Jagaban’s infamous Alpha Beta Consulting company.
Till today, Lagosians still bear the brunt and pains of being collateral damage in the Ambode-Fashola war of attrition. The unending queues of trailers and tankers on Lagos highways bears testimony.
Now Ambode is the new pariah, and as his replacement, Tinubu brings in a near-vegetative Sanwo-Olu to do his bidding. Lagos deserves better.
The script is clear even to the blind. It is clear that a Puppet-Governor in Alausa with a rumoured drug habit and a mental health problem, will be the perfect fall-guy for a puppet-master, pulling the strings from the comfort of his Ikoyi residence! With his long-vaulted ambition to be President of Nigeria dimming by the day, Tinubu will now directly run Lagos as Governor-General.
With his paws on our necks, Tinubu is going for the jugular of Lagos State! This must NOT be allowed to happen, as Lagosians will not stand idly by while one man destroys the collective future of our Children yet unborn.
The 2019 Governorship Election signals the end of Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BAT) in Lagos. It is that SIMPLE! This is a clarion call. As the great Ola Rotimi wrote, “To sit down and do nothing, is to cripple fast”.
Now is the time to cage the Lion of Burdillon, and free Lagos from the shackles and stranglehold of the Pharaohs of Lagos.
My dear Jagaban sir, Our PVCs are Ready!