By Issa Itopa Lucky
2019 is still very fresh in the mind of many Lagosians and consequently Nigerians as to how former governor of Lagos state, Akinwunmi Ambode was denied a chance to run for second term under the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
On this fact, Ambode made history as the first governor of Lagos state since 1999 to fail to return for a second term. Whether Ambode will vie again someday for that highest office in Lagos, is a question left for him and time to tell.
However, the facts on ground in 2019 had it that he could have had a good shot at that office if he had, considering the anti-Tinubu and anti-APC sentiment on ground then, defected to the main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the state to get a ticket to run for that election, having lost out at the APC primaries.
As it played out, he refused to defect from the APC and right under his own very nose, his would-be successor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu was elected to fly the flag of the party at the 2019 governorship election in his stead, having defeated him (Ambode) at the 2019 Lagos APC primary election.
Two years after, the torch now reflects fully on Sanwo-Olu. The big question however is, will Sanwo-Olu also likely fail to secure a second term ticket should there be a sudden need to disgrace him out of office by the powers that be in the ruling APC in the state?
While it is certain that thus far, Sanwo-Olu has been focused on his job as governor of the state, it is not a secret that there is an obvious “king-making process” in the state, this is such that if the king-makers fall out with a certain personality or even if the governor himself, they will obviously crown his or her replacement ahead of time, before his or her own very eyes.
A big testament to this fact is what is today known as the “Ambode treatment”. It is called the “Ambode treatment” because of the manner in which Ambode lost his second term bid in 2019 and yet could not dare to defect to challenge the influence of the powers that be. Ambode seemed too made of the powers that be, that he could not dare to dare them beyond the primary election process of the Lagos APC which before the day itself was already hugely not in his favour and rather hugely in favour of Sanwo-Olu by the grace of the powers that be.
After all that drama, Ambode would later congratulate Sanwo-Olu for defeating him at the primary and later on went to urge his supporters, if he had any of his own aside from that of the powers that be, to join hands together and work for the emergence of Sanwo-Olu as governor of Lagos state and so it happened as Sanwo-Olu later got elected to succeed Ambode as the governor of Lagos state in 2019, while Ambode has since then retired to his solitary confinement far away from the politics of Lagos.
Hopes are high that Sanwo-Olu will thread carefully to govern Lagos by the books of the powers that be, so that he can continue to be in their good books enough for him to get their support to return in 2023 as a second term governor of Lagos state.
But however, surprise is possible. But if Sanwo-Olu will decide to upstage the powers that be and end their influence and become a new godfather in the state, time and only time shall tell.