On March 9, 2019, Lagosians went to the polls to elect their governor and that turned out to be the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
His road to gaining the candidacy was fraught with its many drama as there was tension in Lagos state in the days leading to the APC primary elections in the state. For the first time in the state’s history, it appeared the brass had turned irrevocably on the sitting governor, Akinwunmi Ambode and he may be the first Governor of the state to serve for a single term. He was. Will he be the last? Only time will tell.
It will be too early for Sanwo-Olu to behave as if he is wiser and smarter than Ambode though because as the Yoruba proverb goes: Pasan tafi na iyale, onbe l’aja fun iyawo which translates to the whip used in flogging the first wife is in the wardrobe awaiting the second wife. He should be reminded that his would-be predecessor once felt untouchable in his position which is evident in the World Press Conference which he held a few days to the primaries.
It will be wrong for Sanwo-Olu to assume that his second term is already a given because history has taught us now that it is not. Let us look at five things that the Governor-elect should do to avoid suffering the fate of his would-be predecessor:
1. Avoid over promising and under delivering:
One of the most popular saying in the jet age is: the internet never forgets. Before and after winning the elections, Sanwo-Olu has been in the news for making a lot of promises. The campaign promises are understandable, but it appears even in triumph, the promises have not stopped. I, alongside many optimistic Lagosians/Lagos residents, have bought into his energy and there are more believers than doubters.
All that love can quickly turn to spite if his sixty-day goal of clearing the Apapa gridlock passes with no signs of progress. Among his other promises is employing graduate BRT drivers and paying them N100,000. The question then is, can the state afford it? For how long?
If Sanwo-Olu can deliver on most of his major goals then getting people of the state to turn out to vote him in either the primaries or the gubernatorial elections in the state come 2023 won’t be that much of a problem.
2. Avoid fall-outs with his political godfather:
Like Governor Ambode before him, Sanwo-Olu won the elections because he was the preferred candidate of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the National Leader of the ruling APC).
The influence of the Jagaban of Borgu is second to none in the entire South West region and the last thing Sanwo-Olu wants to do is step on his toes or fall out of his favour.
3. Avoiding losing support from political stakeholders:
Another pitfall the Governor-elect should avoid is having bad blood with the relevant stakeholders of the party in Lagos. Sanwo-Olu rode on a massive support from stakeholders before and after the elections.
According to Tinubu, he said he was not the one who didn’t want Ambode to run for a second term and revealed that it was actually the other stakeholders who helped form his decision.
4. Be active in party politics:
Ambode performed well but one of the major stumbling blocks that Sanwo-Olu has to transverse is getting involved in party politics.
Party politics does not necessarily mean being involved in every APC function, it is basically supporting the party at both the State and Federal level. Governor Ambode was reportedly aloof and some reports claim the only reason he was in Osun State for Oyetola’s mega rally was so he could appease Tinubu in his bid to get the party’s ticket.
It was too little, too late.
5. Avoid anti-people policies:
Two of the policies initiated by Governor Ambode that did not bode well with Lagosians irrespective of the party affiliations are the waste management tussle and the controversial increase in Land Use charge.
Before Ambode’s tenure, the state’s waste was being cleared by the Private Support Partnership (PSP). The operators of the program are grassroot leaders so taking away their source of income and replacing it with Visionscape, which was hit with a wave of Twitter complaints, was not in his best interests. Sawo-Olu should do well to avoid making such a policy.
I know he is only human and I am excited to see his impact will be on the state and I sincerely hope he can avoid the pitfalls that sunk his predecessor. What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments.