Will Ambode leave a legacy?
Not much about 2019 election result in Lagos remains a mystery. A combination of fear (of Tinubu AKA Jagaban), loathing (APC party structures) and the fact that the major opposition party have been quiet for 4 years has brought the outcome to a fixed point.
But one question lingers: why on earth, did the party turn their back on Ambode? In an interview in September, Ambode mentioned some of his achievements and was canvassing for the support of Lagosians against a common ‘enemy”.
Was it cock-up or conspiracy? A brilliant, pre-planned announcement or just a straightforward “I -am-out-of-cards” moment of candour? I don’t know the answer but I’d put my money on the latter.
I might well be wrong about all this. But the problem with the alternative theory – that Ambode’s apparent attack of openness was, in fact, carefully scripted after a long night of strategic chin-stroking with his advisors – is that it doesn’t make one bit of sense. It didn’t when he said it and it still doesn’t do him any favours to have revealed all that, post-2019, he should be seeking alternative employment but not under APC.
What his announcement did do, however, is give Sanwo-Olu a proper lift into the party primaries. Ambode could, of course, perform one of the greatest comebacks, and find some credible reason to stand again but he has lost the support of Lagosians.
Assuming Ambode did the right things during his first term, and Lagosians realised that he had their best interest at heart taking away political differences. He could have succeeded against Jagaban just like Fashola did going into his second term.
But, what does this preferred legacy of Ambode look like? Economically, Ambode has, so far, played a blinder. His welfare and education reforms will most likely not stand the test of time. Since the governorship ticket has been given to Sanwo-Olu, Lagos became a mess. Like nothing works, every parastatal seems to be on holiday waiting for the decision of the governorship election in 2019. This is not a legacy Ambode should be looking to build if at all, he ought to be looking at canvassing and winning people over for the last time.
So with a legacy under threat, Ambode’s next big issue is how and precisely what happens post-2019.
My theory is that the “former” Governor of Lagos State, Ambode is plotting his next course. Will Jagaban forgive him and hand him a ministerial ticket if President Buhari makes it for the second term? Or will Ambode cross-carpet into another party? Ambode has a lot of tinkering to do in the next few months.