No Tears for Akinwunmi Ambode
I am not such a believer in the law of Karma. But I know that whatever a man sows, that he will reap. Immediate past governor of Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, seems to be having a bountiful harvest of all that he sowed while in office. Perhaps in recent past, no former governor of the state has been as traduced as what we have seen of Ambode, within six months of leaving office. And from all indications it is yet morning on creation day for the Epe-born politician.
He’s had a running battle with the state’s House of Assembly on his dealings while in office. He is being investigated on a number of transactions, top of which is the purchase of 820 luxurious buses at the cost of N48 billion, allegedly without approval by the state assembly.
He has been summoned on a number of occasions, but he has continued to evade appearing before the lawmakers. The lawmakers have published public advertorials in national dailies, declaring him wanted, and followed it with a threat of arrest, just like a common Area Boy.
Indeed, to get a reprieve, Ambode had to rush to the court to stop the house from summoning him for probe and even got the court to invite the Speaker of the House, Hon Mudashiru Obasa to appear in court, on the same day that Ambode was being expected in the House.
The same lawmakers had threatened to impeach Ambode shortly before he served out his term. It took the intervention of Bola Tinubu for the lawmakers to stave off the impeachment hammer. Now they appear well-squared for a duel with the former governor.
The sign of what to come after him was probably prefaced last August when the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) broke into his Ikoyi and Epe homes and ransacked the house, carting away some documents. It was clear that Ambode’s holiday with immunity was unarguably over.
It is curious that having not allowed him to have a second term, Ambode is not left alone to savour whatever he brought home from Alausa, the seat of Lagos government. Everyday, he is facing fire, literally.
But that was what he tried to do against his predecessor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, the sitting minister of Works and Housing.
I recall how Ambode, basking in the euphoria of his new office cum his chumminess with those who installed him at the time, kept releasing and sponsoring offensive articles and publications against Fashola on account of certain projects.
I recall the huge noise made about two boreholes that Fashola was said to have sunk at N139milion with N78.3million expended on the upgrade of the state’s official website.
Political analysts had said those offensive publications were aimed at tarnishing the image of Fashola so President Buhari would not appoint him minister in 2015. The rest , the say, is history.
Today, Ambode is literally running from pillar to post struggling to stay afloat. Clearly danger and ill wind has not quite ceased.
Surely, I do not have tears for what Ambode is going through, not only because he did same to his predecessor, but also because he was a very arrogant governor, who assumed that the powers and privileges of office was eternal. How wrong! He was self-conceited, trusting only in his wisdom. And that was why he was cocky and worse still, selfish.
Those who worked closely with him say he was unduly possessive of power and did not grant his appointees free hand to operate, save a few with whom he did deep deals. That was why he was accused of lacking emotional intelligence to govern Lagos. He had hired lackeys who functioned like attack dogs. I won’t be surprised if they come barking at this copy.
All said, the travails of former Governor Ambode should be a telling lesson to those in powerful office, especially those tenure-based: to know that someday, no matter how long or short, they will vacate the office or the office will vacate them, and that they must treat people nicely without being unduly Machiavellian and mischievous, because too often, what comes around, goes around.