Nigeria News

NIGERIA: Ethical Issues in Lagos Governor Elections

 So much  has  been said  about  the emergence  and  leadership qualities  of Akin Ambode the  APC  governorship  candidate  and Jimi  Agbaje  the  PDP  flagbearer in the governorship elections  in Lagos  State. The  clear  thing is that both  emerged  on the scene as dark  horses in the run off  to  the  primaries  that  brought them to  public  attention. One  horse  is however  darker  than  the other in this race and  the ethical  issues  arising from  their emergence as candidates and  how  that will  affect  their  electoral lot and victory is our  concern  here. Undoubtedly, in  terms  of experience  in  politics  and politicking Jimi  Agbaje has an  edge  over Ambode  because  he contested  the governorship  elections  before in  2007  when  he  fell  out with the then  APC  machinery  of selection  that saw the anointment of the present  governor  of  Lagos state  as the preferred  choice  of the  godfather  of  the APC. Ambode on  the other  hand  has  always  been  a civil servant  and  has  never  contested  for  political  office  to date.

That situation has again  successfully  repeated  itself  in  the emergence  of  Ambode  and  the  frustration  of the many  capable but  impotent  other  candidates  that dared  and defied  their generous but  ever vigilant and unsleeping godfather who  secured the APC    governorhip  candidacy  for  Ambode. Now, what  are  the moral  implications  of such  imposition  of a green  horn  in politics on  the governorship  of a  mega  city  like  Lagos?  They are monumental and raise serious moral  issues  on  eligibility, fairness,  merit,  transparency  and  democracy.

This is  because in any political  system  called  a democracy these  values  must be acknowledged as part if not the main working tools  of governance and  leadership. It  does  not matter  really  that  the losers  in the APC primaries  have  been  placated with  the usual  crumbs  from  the master’s  table  and  have  been  told  to play  ball  or face the wrath  of the godfather  and his  huge  but  deadly and unforgiving apparatus. What  we are  concerned  with  here is the quality of leadership  that  emerges  from  such lop  sided  and hand-picking arrangement  in a democratic  dispensation like the APC –  run  Lagos  State  Government. We say  that  it  is an arrangement  that  makes  change  impossible  in  Lagos  state  and puts  the coffers  of  the state  in the very  deep  pocket  of the godfather of  the APC, Bola  Ahmed  Tinubu. It is a very immoral, opaque  way  of electing a governor supposedly by  mass participation  of the  members  of the APC  but  manipulated deftly  and  with  impunity by  a single hand  which  has  done so in  the last 16 years.
It also  does  not  matter  that the outgoing  Lagos  State  Governor who  has  now  been  drafted into  campaigning for the hadpicked Ambode  had  no choice  than  to  hold  the microphone hard and firm at Ambode campaign  rallies and shout  himself  hoarse  if  he wanted  to leave office safely  and retire  peacefully. What again is  important  is  that this sort  of selection  stifles transparency, promotes nepotism, creates political  dynasties  and makes  accountability  and  honesty  the hall  marks of progressive democracy  and society  impossible  in Lagos State,  which  has  the largest  electorate  in  Nigeria  in  these  coming elections.
Certainly  that  leaves  the  Lagos  electorate  no  choice than  to call  the bluff  of  the APC  and  its  crude power -seeking and grabbing electoral  machinery  that has successfully  made a mockery of democracy in the state in  the last 16  years. We  say  it is immoral  and undemocratic  for a party  to  be  allowing  one  man  to choose who will  govern  the  state at  any  time and in all  places in an  enlightened  and  cosmopolitan  city like Lagos  where leadership  talents  exist  in their  thousands  if  not millions.

This fraudulent mask of deceit  in  political  leadership  must be torn  and rent asunder at this  coming elections. This is the only  way  Lagosians  should show  that  they  are not  spineless and castrated people  who  are  unthinking and  malleable all the time  in the way  they  participate  in selecting those  who are  to govern  them. Their liberation time is here  and now and they should just  troop  out  on the governorship  election date  and vote for Jimi  Agbaje  the PDP  candidate  and  nail  the  coffin to 16 years  of misrule  and  stop  the Ambode undemocratic  selection before it can ever start  to  lead  and govern  the  state.

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