Ambode reunites with Tinubu, Sanwo-Olu, Fashola
Smiles lit his face as he took his seat among President Bola Tinubu’s disciples, associates and other statesmen.
It was a day of reunion. For the first time in four years, former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode was reunited with his leader. That was after the seeming parting of ways, following the 2014 governorship primary, which he lost to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Although the reception was organised for the President by his successor, Ambode also received special attention.
It was at the Lagos State House, Marina, which hosted him as chief executive between 2015 and 2019.
Ambode made an unexpected public appearance. The former governor shook hands warmly with many dignitaries. They included his colleagues in the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), members of the National Assembly and other presidential aides.
Ambode appeared to be in high spirits. He hugged and patted other dignitaries on the back. Many were happy that the curtains have been drawn on four years of self-alienation and political seclusion.
Mr. Consolidator Ambode joined his successor, Mr. Sellable Sanwo-Olu, and his predecessor, Mr. Actualiser Babatunde Fashola, to present a special gift to Asiwaju Tinubu, their godfather, leader and benefactor.
The trio have served the state diligently. Under Tinubu’s tutelage. Fashola was Chief of Staff and Commissioner in the Cabinet Office when Sanwo-Olu was special adviser and Ambode was Accountant-General.
Sanwo-Olu also served under Fashola as commissioner and Ambode as Permanent Secretary.
Under Ambode, Sanwo-Olu was the Managing Director of Lagos State Development and Property Corporation (LSDPC).
The trio earned their positions under Tinubu by dint of hardwork and loyalty. But Ambode is significant as the bridge that connected the past with the present in Lagos State.
The implication of his aloofness is that he cut himself off from the party and the political family that made him. Today, it is evident that a number of post-2019 actors have emerged in Lagos who neither knew nor bore any allegiance to Ambode.
President Tinubu who groomed past and emerging leaders in the Centre of Excellence knows their strengths and weaknesses. Thus, in the final analysis, his judgment which either led to the approval and disapproval of their bids for further service cannot be faulted.
Like Awo, Tinubu believes that if an opportunity to serve is temporarily lost or the platform requires one of its members to jettison personal agenda so that the collective interest could be upheld, accommodation would still be found for the affected individual within the larger interest of the party.
Beaming with smiles, the president was in a reflective mood at Marina, where he once called the shots between 1999 and 2007, as Sanwo-Olu, Ambode and Fashola paid tribute to him.
He said he was happy that his three children have done him proud. He ended his speech with acknowledgment of Ambode’s presence, saying: “Thank you Akin”.
The unifying event, the dinner for the president, trailed a semblance of reconciliation and peace mission to the Ikoyi residence of Ambode by Sanwo-Olu on his 60th birthday, June 14.
The two APC chieftains were locked in sober reflection. Sanwo-Olu displayed humility and maturity by storming Ikoyi to celebrate with Ambode, who in 2019 used unprintable words freely on him before and after the governorship primary.
Ambode, who expressed gratitude to the governor, was polite. He displayed understanding, and the visitor and host agreed that politics should not be the dividing wedge.
What next after the Marina unification? Since 2019, Ambode has shunned party activities. It was a curious adjustment mechanism to the pain of second term ticket loss. Yet, he never announced that he had quit politics.
The former governor never showed up at the Governance Advisory Council (GAC) meeting, although he is a member. He also distanced himself from activities that culminated in the last general election.
Ambode was named as a member of APC contact committee after he left office. The impact of the panel was insignificant. He also seemed to have severed cord with past APC governors and other influential leaders.
Yesterday’s event, according to observers, marked Ambode’s reintegration into the ruling party, Lagos politics and public life.
Will the former governor finally put the past behind him and face the future with hope, confidence and optimism?
credit to: Nigerian Tribune