‘Lagos Youths Prefer Ambode’


Temitope Adewale, Special Assistant to Governor Fashola and founder/president of Young Achievers Campaign Organisation of Nigeria (YACOON), spoke to DANIEL ANAZIA on why Lagos youths support Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, the All Progressive Congress (APC) governorship candidate in next month’s election. 

From some posters seen around Lagos, your organisation, YACOON appears to be supporting Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, the all Progressive Congress (APC) candidate in next month governorship elections. Is YACOON now partisan?

 Yes, we are a not-for-profit, autonomous, non-political, non-sectarian, non-religious, social investment organisation working in the field of national development, gender equality, ethnic and religious tolerance, poverty reduction and political education and awareness, with a view to building a conscious and participating citizenry. 

  But from our survey, we discovered that Lagos youths prefer the All Progressive Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, a quintessential public servant.

  The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, is no doubt a gentleman and appeals to most youths in Lagos State.

  We cannot forget how he wowed Lagosians and the teaming youths with a Nollywood style campaigns in 2007 and has been in the minds of Lagosians since then, particularly the upwardly mobile youths, as a man of the future. 

  But his greatest undoing was his refusal to take the humble pie and become a commissioner under the Fashola administration in 2007, a move that would have seen him as Fashola’s possible successor.

  In my opinion, Agbaje shunned what would have been a lifetime opportunity to learn from service, which a much more politically experienced Hilary Clinton took in 2009 by serving under her former rival, President Barack Obama of the United States (US).   

  Agbaje lost the lifetime opportunity of understanding how the public sector works, beyond the current textbook knowledge he has.

   Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola and APC vice presidential candidate, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, cut their teeth in governance as a commissioners in Lagos under Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. 

  The same goes for Ambode, who understands leadership, not only because he has learnt to serve, but also as a professional in the Lagos public service.   

  More importantly, he is running on a platform that Lagos youths trust the APC.     

    Ambode’s combination of these qualities is reminiscent of the 2007 Lagos governorship election, when a relatively unknown Fashola was the standard bearer of the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). And eight years down the line, Fashola is regarded by both friends and foes as the best performing governor in Nigeria, having understood governance under Tinubu. 

  This is what Agbaje desperately needs, but lacks and does not understand.

Do you think Ambode, who is alleged to be a product of godfatherism, would surpass Fashola’s achievements?

  There is nothing wrong with politicians having more experienced politicians as mentors. At least, in Lagos, Fashola and Tinubu have proven that a godfather-godson relationship can be positive.   

  Agbaje’s biggest problem, which is the major concern of Lagos youths, is not his obvious lack of experience in public administration, but the kind of godfathers that he has chosen or chose him and the platform that most Nigerians are now wary of. 

   Chief Olabode George and Senator Seye Ogunlewe are his godfathers. 

   Lagos youths are watching with keen interest and it is obvious that J.K. (Agbaje) is no more O.K. 

  Tinubu may be hated for fighting to protect Lagos State from Obasanjo’s invasion in 2003 and 2007, being a godfather to Fashola or whatever you may want to believe, but the description of George and Ogunlewe’s desperation is far from Tinubu’s person. 

  The PDP desperate godfathers are looking for an inexperienced person in political matters that they can manipulate and they found the handsome-looking Agbaje as their fall guy. 

  Tinubu is a man you can only hate to love, and he remains the only leader in Nigeria that has been able to successfully develop other leaders that can outperform him without being jealous in a country, where leaders look for incompetent people they can manipulate to place them in position of leadership.

  Some Lagos youths were swayed in 2011 by the ‘I had no shoes’ campaign strategy of President Goodluck Jonathan and they decided to overlook his party and voted for him. 

  But less than four years down the line, those youths can clearly see that the party is visionless and capable of blinding a man with a vision. 

  Lagos youths are now more experienced than they were in 2011 and they can see that some selfish godfathers are trying to use the genuine admiration of Agbaje’s person to carry out their vow of capturing Lagos. 

  Agbaje needs Lagos youths to reject him at the polls to save him from the quagmire he has found himself in. 

  Ambode is another Fashola, a better Fashola, having spent years learning under Tinubu and Fashola. 

  We trusted Tinubu and his party in 2007 and did not regret it, and I know for sure that Lagos youths will not gamble with their future. 

  I challenge Lagos youths to deliver a minimum of three million votes to Ambode in next month’s election, as both the man and the platform he is running on has the requisite experience, manifesto and strategy to take Lagos to the next level.

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