OPINION: Adetola Adepetu, a Lagos-based communications expert and motivational speaker, writes on the ill-treatment of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode by chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos state, warning that their actions will have dire consequences for the party
Lagos, in many ways, plays a leading role in how the world views Nigeria. As one of Africa’s most cosmopolitan city-states, the flavor of Lagos is seen by many as the flavor of Nigeria. With the undemocratic approach the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is taking in deciding its flag-bearer for the Lagos governorship elections in 2019, surely the world must think that the difference between Nigeria now and Nigeria pre-1999 is the presence of contraptions called elections.
Having been pushed to the wall in a bid to humiliate him out of the race, the governor of Lagos state, Akinwunmi Ambode has revealed plans by the party hierarchy in the state to disenfranchise party members in the state to create an easy sail for Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who has been endorsed by the high and mighty in the state APC. Apparently, the party leadership has decided to use the party register from 2014 to conduct the primary elections, a situation that will disenfranchise the millions of party members who joined the ranks from 2015 to 2018.
What do politicians in Nigeria take the electorate for? The APC sold to Nigerians, a party that would deviate drastically from the norm of internal party autocracy. Looking at what is happening in Lagos, a state in which it is believed the idea of APC was hatched; Nigerians were obviously sold a lie, at least by the section of the APC that leads the party in Lagos state.
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The public conversations about the Ambode press conference have been around his personal attacks on his co-contestant, Jide Sanwo-Olu. Politics is a contact sport and sometimes shots are taken at personalities. This is as true in Nigeria as it is anywhere else in the world. What some Nigerians are failing to see in all that ensued at the press conference is that a party that was wholly sold to unsuspecting Nigerians as a stable party with internal democracy is totally the opposite of the dummy that was sold.
Governor Ambode has been put through a lot of humiliation in his bid to actualize his right to be Lagos state governor. He is a citizen of Nigeria, a member of the party and by all constitutional provisions, has every right to contest for re-election in Lagos. We worry. We worry that a party that sold a promise and attempted to build a brand around giving all members an opportunity to achieve their political aspirations, is now preventing a governor who is perhaps its biggest poster boy for progressive development from achieving his political aspiration. We worry that we have been sold a lie and the APC, at least in Lagos, never had the intention of giving everyone an opportunity.
In all of the noise, where are the democrats who sold the APC as a credible alternative to the PDP? We bought the lie the last time. We can assure the APC in Lagos that will not happen again.
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