By Lekan Fatodu
Nigeria’s just concluded presidential election in which the former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) political was declared the winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) roundly altered several electoral permutations and startlingly shifted political paradigm.
It will certainly go down in modern political history of Nigeria that there was a time when a fringe political party, Labour Party (LP), equally led by an easily dismissed presidential standard bearer, Mr. Peter Obi, caused a storm in the country’s political firmament, particularly with Obi’s party’s gobsmacking showing at the conclusion of the Presidential and National Assembly elections in 2023.
In all this, the major political battle ground where the LP pulled almost the impossible, is Lagos State, Nigeria’s economic nerve centre, which is Tinubu’s natural political habitat, which is also a state that is under the leadership of an APC governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who is largely adjudged to be performing remarkably.
So, the LP trouncing of the APC in the presidential election at the APC’s main turf, Lagos, has since left many political pundits pondering.
But while politicians across party line are still inquiring about the seismic political outcome, the governor of Lagos state, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who is seeking re-election for a second term in office and APC members in the state have kept their gaze on the political reality on ground as the ruling party in Lagos state prepares for the gubernatorial election on Saturday, 11 March 2023.
Meanwhile, a lot of factors have been adduced as the reasons for the result of the presidential poll in Lagos State. These include the re-energised young voters many of whom are hyperactive on social media and mostly domiciled in Lagos; ethnic and religious sentiments and unabated bias against the person of Tinubu amongst other observations.
Though Sanwo-Olu has so far discharged himself creditably well with a sterling record which will earn any governor a second term ticket without breaking a sweat, he is aware that the coming gubernatorial election will present an unusual challenge for him.
Note, this is essentially because the present political climate in Lagos State demands more sweat and sleepless nights from any leader who is truly committed to the advancement of common goal, peace and prosperity in his domain.
So, Sanwo-Olu has expectedly sustained his unrelenting movement to achieve a greater Lagos, which he is determined to get renewed at the coming governorship election.
However, given the political mood when actions and dispositions are quickly covered in strange and different clothing, this honourable step by Sanwo-Olu has been deemed politically as “begging”.
But I ask, “begging for what”, and “why won’t he beg”? In order to provide fitting responses for those who are still wondering why a governor that is leading a humongous economy like Lagos, which he has successfully set on the path of sustainable development and a promising population endowed with enormous human capital beg for reason and great decisions from the citizen to continue to move the state forward.
Of course, a dutiful leader and an outstanding governor like Sanwo-Olu should never cease to beg his citizens to always act based on personal conviction, facts, record of achievements and understanding of events rather than on emotions and biases.
Personally, this special appeal or begging to the citizens is essential in an environment where both the educated and uneducated recently voted a candidate without having faintest idea of the candidate’s pedigree in the last National Assembly election in Lagos.
And those who perfected the electoral fortune of the mystery candidate started regretting immediately after the election as it was later revealed that the impulsive voters had denied their common friend, who is also on the ballot and deemed to be better suited for the position the opportunity of representing their constituency at the National Assembly.
But alas, they had made a fatal electoral blunder that cannot be corrected until another election circle in the next four years.
So, if Sanwo-Olu is begging now to prevent the good people of Lagos State from making similar regrettable error at the coming governorship and state assembly elections while saving them from sliding into actions that will beggar belief, I reckon every well-meaning Lagosian should rather join the governor in begging the electorate to make the right choice at the governorship election and state assembly elections on 11th March.
And Sanwo-Olu remains the best choice for the governorship with the wonders he has done in infrastructural development, provision of quality health system, sound education, enviable transportation project, human capacity development and many more since his almost four years as governor of the state.
So, tell me why a committed leader will not beg for reasoning from the populace to ensure that a tenderfoot did not assume the mantle of leadership in the state and revise all the great deeds done by Sanwo-Olu in the three plus years, thereby dragging the state back to sorry condition.
Also, with the troubling voter apathy noted in the last presidential election, a record low in Nigeria’s elections since the attainment of democratic rule since 1999, a pragmatic and foresighted administrator by all acceptable means possible, must plead with the voters to come out to vote and emphasise the gains of such democratic actions to the citizens.
“What I learned then — and what would become the premise of my 2008 campaign — was that you couldn’t just fight for existing votes. You had to reach out to all of these people who had lost faith and lost trust, and get them off the side-lines”, said former US President, Barack Obama during a campaign trail in US.
So, considering that Nigerian electorate have their peculiarities, it is expected that a leader with sound understanding of his people and their environment will deploy every effective means possible, including begging to shape thinking and attitude, to get the right votes. And that’s why Sanwo-Olu will always get it right and will be returned governor of Lagos state for another term.