Opinion: Agbaje, Ambode and the vision of a ransomed Lagos

by Dehinde Chord

Agbaje could not be linked with any terrorist tendencies, either in actual deployment of  NURTW thugs or verbal intimidation along the lines of rigging, roasting, arming and charming the ballot process.

Why is there a conflict in Ambode’s form fillings? Why is simple truth so complicated? Is he from Ilaje in Ondo state? Is he from Epe in Lagos state? Why is a man’s progeny so controversial? Would this man just explain the conflict between his Lagos claims and his Ilaje realities? Why does he fill an information, on one legal document and fill a direct contradiction on another?

In truly democratic climes, Ambode would not be contesting. He would be in hiding, praying and fasting that one busybody in his residential or vocational neighborhood would not run him into jail for perjury and other malfeasance. But in Nigeria, there are only consequences for the righteous. None, for the wayward.   Rather, the wayward is bountifully rewarded. That is why Ambode is in our faces. Smiling at us.  In mockery.

And to complete the utter disdain these men have for the people, Fashola now campaigns for Ambode. He makes it look like no one knew why Ambode had to leave the civil service. As if we did not know the circumstances of Ambode’s soft-landing. Fashola campaigns for Ambode as if we did not know his slogan when the selection process was between the wealthy godfather and the nouveau riche godson. As if his slogan was not , “anyone else but Ambode”. Fashola knows precisely what the treasury would be facing. He did his own bit too, but no matter how awful you might think you are, you still had folks who outdo you in infamy. Those ones scare the living daylights out of you by their sheer profile. Capabilities!

It would be quite one-sided to dedicate so much time to explaining Ambode and not give equal dedication to his foremost opposite. Well, the truth of the matter is that Jimi Agbaje in public is his own man. He is a successful businessman who has nothing to do with public treasury so far. Keeping it or looting it.

Agbaje could not be linked with any terrorist tendencies, either in actual deployment of  NURTW thugs or verbal intimidation along the lines of rigging, roasting, arming and charming the ballot process. He campaigns, votes and goes back home after each round of cheating, which could come in the form of jeun soke or jeun sapo. It is certain that fresh titles would float out to us soon concerning the other route to public office. Some folks have no second addresses to return to, so the election field is as comfortable a dying place as home.

The other time, Jimi Agbaje’s photograph was not even on the ballot paper, yet, our great court said that was not enough. Equity was sold in court that day. Agbaje went home and waited for another day. He wanted no one roasted. He is too refined for inflammatory and thoughtless outbursts. Agbaje knew he would not march out his family on any roasting front, so he takes extreme exception over venting insults on people to either submit their children to a round of roasting or as roasters. Why must Ambode’s sponsors be so sold on human barbecues? The greater part of the shame was the discomfort of the Americans as expressed by the Ambassador. They, too were shocked.

In serious democracies, we would have known by now, who the joker is between these two men. The man with a very heavy baggage should be the butt, but such certainties are not given here, and so the clean must work harder than the filthy. The voter of this country has a lot to contend with. So does the gentleman who offers himself for service. The voter has to work his way through the fog created and labeled democracy. He has to preen his eyes to see beyond the thick tissue of deceit which veils his vision. The good contestant must dig deep for otherwise unnecessary and even crazy expenditure. He then begins to answer great moral questions, which the wayward politician ignores.

How do you descend to the gutter and pay thugs to unleash mayhem? You actually pay them monthly allowance towards deployment during election! Then you mount the rostrum afterwards to jubilate your victory and celebrate same as the triumph of democracy. How does a Jimi Agbaje match sixteen years of intense enrichment off the public purse? Who could pray should add prayers to the permanent voters card. God, when His mercy rises, has a way of making iron melt.

On the internet right now, a former APC Local Government Chairman of Alimosho, has gone super-viral, bathing human blood in an unknown grove. Asking that the law enforcement agents forget about all the money he stole in office. We are not really concerned about the rituals, but every Lagosian should be concerned about the kind of characters Asiwaju pushes forth to lead the polity. The concern should not be directed at working out any change in him, because there would never be. The concern should be about neutralizing his influence on the emergence of leaders. Look, if you thought the state required a Senior Advocate of Nigeria in Alausa, what kind of mind puts illiterates and thugs in Local government offices? Whatever is wrong with a senior advocate running the councils? Are we saying different kinds of human beings occupy these strata? The folks presented from this stable since 1999 have always been suspect. It has to stop and only you could stop it.

When the votes turn up massively, we would contend better with the jeun soke and jeun sapo syndrome. Vigilance might just bring this great vision home.

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Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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