Tuesday, 2 October 2018

The Rise and Fall of Akinwunmi Ambode. “Baba Sope” Political Ideology and the Myth of Yoruba Omoluabi Ethos – Kayode Ogundamisi

It is faulty to equate the deep loyalty Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu attracts in Lagos as exemplary of ‘Omoluabi loyalty’ or being reflective of the entire Yoruba or South-West populace. Ondo State electorate will argue for example that they "liberated" themselves without compromising the 'Omoluabi' ethos. 
In the 2012 Ondo State Governorship election the current Governor of Ondo State Rotimi Akeredolu as a candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) was perceived as a “Tinubu imposed” candidate, he ran against the then incumbent Governor Olusegun Mimiko of the Labor Party, the people of Ondo rejected Akeredolu.
I recall stomping across Ondo during that election, excited crowds in Ondo State could not but approve with songs and folk songs as Mimiko invoked the tradition of the people of Ondo State not to take imposition from “outsiders’. 
Then most nook and crannies in Ondo State the campaign was more about resisting Tinubu than on Mimiko’s performance. Mimiko did not have to say much about his performance during his first term in office, it was almost above his peers, particularly in education and health care, is Abiye healthcare project was celebrated even by his opponents.  
In 2016 when Akeredolu was to run again, ironically against a candidate handpicked by Olusegun Mimiko, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), he presented himself as an independent candidate, his own man, not only did he defeat Tinubu’s anointed candidate in the APC primaries, he canvassed for votes also reminding the people of Ondo State of how they should not let outsiders chose for the people of Ondo. Akeredolu won against the candidate of the PDP and today the rest is history. A number of other factors contributed to the victories in the 2012 and 2016 election of Mimiko and Akeredolu.
A lot has been written about current Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, the irony is Ambode’s problem isn't his Godfather, former Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Akinwunmi Ambode’s problem is Akinwunmi Ambode. 
Power overwhelmed the Governor, he completely detached himself from the strong political party structure, a party that has been in power in Lagos since 1999 is not the kind of party you would ride on and ignore, you may ignore the man who brought you from obscurity, but to survive, you need to be an exceptional performer and keep your party structure happy. Ambode did not read the hand over notes of Governor Babatunde Fashola, if he had, he would not be facing the political battle of his life, the people stood with Fashola even when the body language of his godfather was hostile, even the mighty Tinubu knew moving against Fashola would have been political suicide. 
The Lagos APC power structure is filled with contradictions, sometimes progressive, sometimes self-serving, mostly operating like a bunch of mafias, highly close nit, those who control the party at every level expect absolute loyalty and no questions asked, it reflects most political parties in Nigeria, even newly formed political parties are mirroring the model, they have improved on it, 6 of the newly INEC registered political parties have founders, who are party Chairmen/Women and also sole Presidential Candidate.

Lagos civil service is an extension of the party structure, if you come in as a governor, you are not expected to rock the boat or ‘change the template’ (apologies to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu) it is a structure mostly servicing the few against the majority. Hardly would you find a Lagos State civil servant that is not a card-carrying member of the APC. Particularly the Alausa based civil servants, what happens in Alausa always remain in Alausa. 
Lagos APC has political leaders who depend on state resources, they have no other means of livelihood than politics, they know Lagos like the back of their hand and have foot soldiers beholding on them, from NURTW members, to genuine party members who desire progressive change to just anyone that can be a yes man or woman, mostly reliant on on a rental system, they cannot just be cut off and be neglected by any Governor no matter how powerful or resourceful.

Ambode broke the first commandment, “thou shall not be unreachable”.

Yoruba and especially Lagosian’ s do not like Governors or political appointees who are perceived as ‘arrogant’ or cannot be reached, if you like tar the whole of Lagos roads with gold, they want to be able to ‘visit’ and expect TP on the way home, party leaders and members expect you to attend meetings at intervals, they don’t want you forgetting them during ‘Ileya’ ‘Christmas’ or any festive period, the street talk is that Ambode was not only unreachable to party members and leaders, he lived in his own world, his appointees are also detached, party members can’t even remember the name of commissioners in Ambode’s cabinet. Gone are the days when Rauf Aregbesola, Musiliu Obanikoro, Muiz Banire, Tokunbo Afikuyomi and co were Commissioners and you need not see the Governor to have a say in the government. Ambode ran a one man show. 
For every progress Ambode made with road construction in inner city Lagos and futuristic projects such as the Lagos-Airport road, Bus Terminals, he undid with unpopular policies that targeted the very poor, it was as if he was in a race to undo some of Tinubu and Fashola’s projects, they say if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. Ambode was busy fixing projects that didn’t need fixing, from bus stops, to remodelling roads, it was a waste of time and resources. BRT buses were disappearing one after the other due to neglect, even Ambode’s newly constructed roads started developing potholes, the solutions became a problem. He did so well looking into inner city roads and improving on the Lagos Security Architecture, Lagos under him is one of the safest city by Nigerian standards.  

Ambode’s greatest sin was taking away the garbage clearing project, thousands of poor people in Lagos, mostly party members employed as street cleaners and operators lost their means of livelihood. Ambode handed the task of cleaning Lagos over to a relatively unknown company called Visionscape Group, they did a terrible job, the only clean effort from Visionscape was to create a clean looking website, the new face of Lagos became the dirty face of Lagos. 

Ambode unleashed one punitive tax system after the other on the people of Lagos, his most controversial being the land use tax, when he was advised to review the tax policy he was stubborn, indifferent and ruthless until the protest grew louder, he did not stop at that, he legislated his God fathers alleged tax collection firm company Alpha Betta as the sole collector, when citizens screamed scam, the state legislator claimed that legislating Alpha Betta into a state tax collection system was an “administrative mistake.”

Of all his attempt to fix inner city roads, Ambode waged war on poor people in waterfront areas, the people of Otogbgbame paid dearly for Ambode’s land grab schemes, over 200 structures belonging to poor people were razed down in 2016, the Egun and settler community around Lekki were seen by the government and elitist friends as an eyesore, to make matters worse the government disobeyed court orders, even when they got an injunction from the courts, like his predecessors Ambode mocked the Freedom of Information Act. Lagos is one of the few states where budgets are released without a breakdown. 

Ambode is a product of the ‘baba sope’ collegiate contradiction and a victim of same. Hopefully the Yoruba "progressive" will learn from the resistance in Ondo, Ekiti, Kogi and the disaster of losing a Senatorial seat to a dancing clown and almost losing Osun Governorship to him as a warning shot. The warning being democracy is not a gift, it is a right, leaders are servants, entrusted with superintending the fair distribution of the commonwealth, they can’t keep distributing to their lackeys, friends, cousins, wives, concubines, brothers at the expense of qualified members of the public.  

The Tinubu Clampdown on Ambode
The assertion that Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu is behind Ambode’s travails are false, Tinubu would have been swept by the revolt from within his own political base. He was smart enough to be led by the mass, rather than lead them. The revolt also exposes Tinubu’s vulnerability, if he had not moved against Ambode, the mass in his party structure would have moved against him, Tinubu barely yield power and influence, he was forced to stand with the party and base than stand against them, even overtures from Abuja could not have changed that. The crises within the Lagos APC against the Governor had been allowed to fester for too long. The chicken had come home to roost.

Many us have been saying it for years, both privately and in public, the Asiwaju Tinubu political structure would have to adapt to modern democratic ethos. The collegiate "baba sope" methods is plagued with contradictions and abuse, thus repeated conflicts. It is only a matter of time before it caves to the anger and discontent of followers and the electorate. For all his contributions to Nigeria’s democratic process, the legacy of Governor Tinubu will be better served if he stops getting involved in every selection process, let contest and processes be free and fair, Nigeria’s democratic process can only improve if internal party democratic process is free, transparent and fair, party membership open and attractive to the best who may disagree with the leaders of the party. It will be a shame for all his contributions for Governor Tinubu to leave the public with the image of the Lord of a Mafia group. 
Many are sympathetic to the ideological left in Yoruba land, but really if you de robe the masquerade, it is becoming very difficult to spot the differences between the Yoruba PDP or Yoruba APC. 
Land and resource ownership and control in Yoruba land, particularly in Lagos is now for the benefit of the few, economy of YORUBA circulates within the same elite. Thus, a Governor Ayo Fayose could challenge the traditional Yoruba left and “win” in Ekiti and it took the traditional left in Yoruba land adapting the play book of Ayo Fayose to “win’ back Ekiti. Usually it takes invoking the spirit of Obafemi Awolowo to win elections in the South West, that is fast changing, the people can’t spot the deference any more, they will rather take their chances with so called ‘akotiletas’ than stay with the so called ‘disciples of Awolowo’  
The class structure of modern day YORUBA politicians is modelled after the so-called Hausa-Fulani hegemony style we all have been brought up to detest. Check beneficiaries of government appointments both at the federal, state and local levels in Yorubaland many are family members of Yoruba ruling elite. A very ‘progressive’ Yoruba Senator who mouths JUSTICE was already a pensioner in America, when the opportunity came for the ‘progressive’ to present a name to President Buhari for NAFDAC Chairperson, our Senator did not need to search far and wide Yoruba land for younger qualified Yoruba, he recalled his wife, who by the way was already a pensioner to take the position, the office of the Vice President is littered with sons and daughters of who is who in Yoruba land, Lagos House of Assemble like most Yoruba House of Assembly in Yoruba land is an extension of family meetings,  ‘Familitocrcy’ is replacing fairness, New generation Yoruba leaders are winning the battle of who is more nepotistic in the Nigerian federation. The politics of 'godfatherism' is replacing the ‘omoluabi’ ethos. ‘Omoluabi’ is just a theme to cunningly use the load of bread to wipe the soup from the plate of the commonwealth. 

Yoruba OMOLUABI ethos should not be the subjugation of the will of the people to the few. It is Justice for all, equality for all who live and reside in Yoruba land, irrespective of who they are, where they come from, what language they speak, we are meant to be the beacon of hope, the welcoming people who rejoice at the arrival of new settlers, the one who vacates the most beautiful part of the household to make the guest comfortable, the tolerant one, the one who’s strength is not in the ability to spill blood but the diplomatic prowess of stopping a war, the people who agree, but mostly agree to disagree. The ‘omo Karo o ji ire bi?’.
Fairness in the distribution and allocation of Yoruba resources for all who contribute to Yoruba land should now be the priority of Yoruba leaders, it should cross party and ideological lines. Not all Yoruba progressive or conservatives have done badly, even with their faults but a lot of bad has been done, yes, we can still point to some progress, but that is due to the determination and can-do attitude of Yoruba and all those who have chosen Yoruba Land as home. It is never too late to stop the house from fallen.

Kayode Ogundamisi is a commentator on Nigeria and producer/presenter of the political TV show #PolitricksWithKO on BEN-TV UK 

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Nigerians are killing Nigerians! The Bloody Road to Rwanda - Kayode Ogundamisi

Perpetrators and victims of Ethnic/Religious conflicts are usually the poor and extremely vulnerable on both sides. Elites from both sides pour a lot of fuel into the fire. They are journalists, politicians, social media influencers etc, mostly far removed from the conflict zones. Most visit the conflict areas in time of peace.

They spread second hand information back and forth to paint themselves more as victims and not perpetrators. Most of them live in Abuja, Lagos, London, New York and co with easy internet access as tools to escalate crisis. Blood is a tonic for them. When the country burns it validates their theory.

When was the last time you saw the poor analysing the conflict on Channels TV. CNN or Al Jazeera ? All you are are elites from both sides conjuring propaganda to suit their narratives, to make their own side the victims and the other side the aggressor, the real reason for the conflicts are hidden, when you cover up the real reason for conflicts how do you hope to get solutions.

Conflicts are good news for Nigerians politicians, it gets them elected, they are good news for journalists as it sells papers, brings in adverts on TV. They are good news for bloggers as it drives traffic to the website, they are amazing news for Nigerian NGO's as it increases money donors give them, they are good news for the office based Generals in the Armed forces as they get more security votes to steal.

The only people who never gain from conflict are those based in the conflict zones and they are too ignorant, emotionally charged to pause and think, too angry to see the solution right in front of them. The THEY against US narrative is an effective weapon, a deadly one at that.

Above all the @MBuhari like those before him is displaying gross incompetence in protecting it's citizens. Sadly members of the governments too are far removed from the conflict zones. @NGRPresident barricaded in Aso Rock Villa

Most State Governors and local government heads of most of the Northern and middle belt states govern their States from Abuja. Like us, they hear the news of conflicts on TV. They wait for self centred religious leaders on both sides to take ownership and misinform the world.

Those killing Nigerians are Nigerians, those inflaming the crisis are Nigerians, those benefiting from the crisis are Nigerians, the victims are Nigerians, the solution is in Nigeria. We have a choice, Continue to DIG TRENCHES and BARRICADES or start a process of building BRIDGES or we may chose the bloody Road to Rwanda.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

The Countdown: 21 Nuggets on Muhammadu Buhari and 2019 Nigerian Presidential Election - My Take - Kayode Ogundamisi

1. A number of folks have asked me about 🇳🇬2019 @NGRPresident election. My choice of candidates so far until we get a surprise candidate. ⛔= No way. 💛= Maybe. 💚Strongly support. 💕Reluctantly.
@atiku ⛔
@GovAyoFayose ⛔
Kwakanso ⛔
Donald Duke 💛
@MBuhari 💕     

2. In 2011 and 2015 I 💚Strongly supported @MBuhari to the elective post of @NGRPresident as a matter of fact I supported GMB candidacy   physically, financially and in other ways in 2011 under the Congress for Progressive Change and opposed the then proposed merger with then ACN

3. My then opposition to the proposed CPC/ACN merger was born out of the principle that the CPC would over time become a party that would attract everyday people, it may lose in 2015 but slowly attract transparent grassroots across Nigeria like Labour was doing in Ondo State.

4. Despite the opposition by several supporters of the CPC to the merger  with ACN the political reality was that defeating a ruling party as  entrenched as the @OfficialPDPNig the, would involve a marriage between the good, the bad and the ugly and the grassroot base of @MBuhari    

5. Fast-forward 2015 a combination of CPC @MBuhari grasroot base, the political machine of @AsiwajuTinubu, a massive chunk of opportunistic @OfficialPDPNig vampires who were smart enough to notice the electorate’s desire for change, they read the  last rites to @GEJonathan & PDP.

6. @GEJonathan the opportunistic alliance of @MBuhari's base, the good, the bad and the ugly produced @APCNigeria Presidency and a first historic defeat of the ruling party in Nigeria @OfficialPDPNig   

7. Expectations of several core CPC base was that @MBuhari would use his first term in office to carry out a needed radical reform especially has he had nothing to lose bearing in mind his age, track record on transparency, his patriotism and love for Nigeria and experience. 

8. @MBuhari failed very high expectation that he would do things radically 
different, he may have performed by some standards but not to the standard of those of us who hold a higher performance indicator. Yes, better than the PDP days, not radically different from the PDP days. 

9. Party Politics: @MBuhari did not provide leadership to his @APCNigeria knowing that he was in bed with a coalition of good, bad and the ugly, he compounded things by letting his Uncle & few trusted clan mates to run his government in the early days. By his own admission he failed.

10. Emergence of @bukolasaraki : I am not a fan of Saraki, in fact I think he should be housed in the hottest part of Kirikiri for his corrupt tendencies, but he contributed to the emergence of @MBuhari as @NGRPresident but PMB mismanaged Saraki's emergence as @NGRSenate President.

11. The moment @bukolasaraki was able to emerge as @NGRSenate President in spite of @MBuhari's posturing of (I belong to no one) his Presidency and agenda became demystified to an extent, those corrupt ones we assumed will take flight discovered GMB as PMB was vulnerable.

12. @MBuhari assumed office as @NGRPresident, first move was to alienate his core supporters, his new friends and his Uncle started making appointments for him, appointments indicated unrivalled nepotism especially those from Northern Nigeria. It was embarrassing to put it nicely.

13. When some parts of Nigeria started screaming about marginalisation, we told them to look at the so called Northern appointment, Dr Tilde put it so well as 'family affair' most appointment representing the North had traits of Cousins, wives, associates of Northern ruling elite.

14. From day 1 core ‘BUHARISTS’ not later day debutants ‘BUHACHOPS’ started warning the @MBuhari Presidency about mismanaging the peoples mandate, we were labelled ‘attention seekers’ ‘just looking for appointment’ but @aishambuhari confirmed our position that today's PMB is not GMB.

15. If @MBuhari and @APCNigeria had carried out half of the roadmaps presented to Nigerians, it would have radically transformed Nigeria. What Nigeria needs is a ‘shock treatment’. Nigeria has Cardiac arrest and we cannot continue to apply semantics, whilst those elected to find a lasting solution keep doing the opposite, keep repeating same failed experiment.

16. Today what is left of APC are PMB himself 1. VERY FEW Core GMB Loyalist’s, 2. Disgruntled APC members who are (Rightly or Wrongly) not happy with PMB but too scared to leave. 3. APC Members who do not want to lose power and hoping their turn will come. 3. PDP members disguised as APC loyalist.

17. It is sad that even the worst of PMB is good enough to run for a 2nd term, it confirms the distressing state of Nigeria. 1. Good people can’t be attracted to politics. 2. Not 1 person good enough amongst today's candidate to challenge PMB on transparency. We are truly in deep trouble based on the very limited electable choice.

18. PMB can redeem himself if he rededicates himself to the radical transformation of Nigeria. Be more open to people outside his comfort zones. Open more channel for self-criticism & stop depending on praise singers, history wont forgive him if he fails Nigeria.

19. The question is not about PMB wining in 2019 the question is what will be his legacy after 2019. He needs to entrench party politics, help in democratising his own party, attracting young folks and also learn the spirit of give and take in politics, bring back the GMB that we all know.

20. It is in the interest of PMB and his legacy that the opposition party must be given a level playing feed to operate, that he PMB has failed to mentor anyone YOUNG and ready enough to take over from him in 2019 does not speak well of his leadership qualities. Never too late to make amends.

21. With ache, gritted teeth I Kayode Ogundamisi who have been following GMB since 2003 Strongly supported him in 2011 and 2015 can only 💕Reluctantly support him in 2019 to stop the VAMPIRES of yesterday, who are now gathering momentum and forming axis of evil until we get it right 4🇳🇬

Sunday, 15 October 2017

.@WorldBank Loan: @MBuhari as a Northern @NGRPresident. When Bigots See a Reflection – Kayode @Ogundamisi

@MBuhari's chances of becoming @NGRPresident 2019 are increasing by the day. The irony is that the ignorant and vitriol opposition is the one campaigning for him. Strengthening his Northern base with their daily dose of propaganda both online and offline, they are first to accuse Buhari of being a Northern President, every action is interpreted in the tribal, religious or primordial prism, if Buhari gets a loan from Islamic Bank to develop South Nigerian roads he is accused of trying to Islamise Nigeria.
Another out of the many examples is the recent propaganda about the World Bank. So seriously you don't expect the WB to focus on one of Africa’s worst humanitarian crisis because you so hate Buhari and the Hausa Fulani’s? when you guys accuse Buhari of tribalism just consider the reflection in your mirror, you are referring to your bigoted selves. 

When we had the militancy in Niger Delta then President Yaradua and your hero Gridlock diverted billions of dollars to some few men who took up arms against the state, they called it ‘Amnesty programme’, today a chunk of the budget go into a programme that does not benefit the whole of Nigeria not even the whole of Niger Delta, just hundreds of violent kidnappers and militants with AK47.
Today those folks get the salary for doing nothing, you bigoted souls turn the blind eye. So, because Buhari is from the North he should not draw the attention of an international agency to his countries humanitarian crisis.
Guess what? if the North and hundreds of 'talakawas' in his base had lost confidence in Buhari because of the state of the economy, you guys keep mobilising them for him. First you wanted the Hitler of Abia to humiliate him and Nigeria, that failed. 

Now it is another propaganda series. There are many other ways to expose Buhari such as his handling of ‘Grass cGrasscutter, his NNPC contract saga, his inability to deal with corruption from within his own circle, the slow pace of recovery, some of his obvious acts of nepotism, his off and on sickness records as President, his inability to sack none performing Ministers and many more, but no, you go for North and South divide, when your hero failed it was Nigeria that failed, if Buhari fails Nigeria fails again. The choice is yours.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

#NigerianNGOWatch Part 1 of Full Thread on Funds Received by Nigerian NGO's CSO's - Kayode @Ogundamisi