Oba of Lagos: Why I anointed Ambode as governor

by Kolapo Olapoju

Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu I is a staunch proponent of Governor-elect of Lagos state, Akinwunmi Ambode and over time, many have sought to understand why the monarch chose to pitch his tent with someone who was relatively unknown a few months ago.

Just in case you’re one of such persons, the Oba has rationalised his reasons for being a strong advocate of Ambode.

In a recent interview with Punch Newspapers, the monarch stated that when former President, Olusegun Obasanjo withheld Lagos state’s allocation, Ambode was the financial expert who developed strategies that helped the state overcome the challenges.

He said:

“It is only Almighty Allah that knows everything. Let me be honest with you, I do not play politics. But if you look at things, you have to consider what is best for the development of your people and the one that can bring good tidings for your people. From 1999 to 2007, when Bola Tinubu led the government, it was by the grace of God and prayers of Lagosians and my ancestors that saved us from what somebody who I don’t want to mention did.

I will not mention his name because I have been persuaded by our highly respected Awujale in Ijebu Ode, and Tinubu. Sincerely, if I disclose some things, it will shake this country. I am not afraid of anything, I swear by Almighty Allah. But a tortoise does not come out completely from its shell; you only see its head.

When that problem (withholding of Lagos State allocation) started, I prayed to God. In my life, I do not condone criminality and I don’t encourage it. Somebody somehow, because of his desperation and because he felt after Almighty Allah in Nigeria, it is himself, wanted to destroy by all cost, Tinubu and some other people but as God would have it, that didn’t happen. What Ambode displayed at that time impressed me.

Despite all the tribulations, he stood firm and his loyalty and commitment to the progress of Lagos State impressed me and since then, I have been having my eyes on him that may be in the future, if the opportunity presents itself, and he has the opportunity of becoming something in Lagos, I will encourage him in his aspirations.”

Speaking further, Oba Rilwan Akiolu stated that the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Adamu Mu’azu also wanted to field Ambode as the standard bearer of his party in the Lagos gubernatorial elections.

“Well, I can tell you in all honesty, I went to Mecca as the head of Nigerian delegation and I met the present Chairman of the PDP, Adamu Mu’azu. He is someone I have known for a long time. He is a very close friend. In Mecca, there was nothing he did not say to convince me to support his party.

He told me support him but I told him what Almighty Allah had shown to me regarding Ambode. He said I should convince Ambode to defect to the PDP and they would adopt him as their candidate but I said I no. I told him that I did not hate the PDP. Some very good people there are my friends. The late Funsho Williams was very close to me and I had a very high regard for him. He was a peace lover.”

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