Olujimi Kolawole Agbaje needs little introduction in the politics of Lagos State. The man popularly called JK, a once-upon-a-time progressive is surprisingly the Lagos governorship candidate of the conservative Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He stoked the fire of curiosity recently when he declared publicly as widely reported in the newspapers that he is the ‘best man to rule Lagos because he has no godfather that can influence him negatively in office.’
Rather than address issues germane to governance and general wellbeing of Lagosians, he played to the gallery before newsmen by laboriously trying to present himself as a man of himself and also by notifying Lagosians about his witch-hunting expeditious plan if ever he gets the chance to rule the state. He declared: “When it was time to choose my running mate, I chose my running mate, nobody chose her for me. The issue of a godfather hampering service delivery is not even on the table. I don’t have a godfather. I want the people to believe me that it won’t happen.”
Agbaje may be competent to speak publicly on several issues but not on that of political godfatherism, because his aversion for it contradicted how he got the governorship ticket slot in his new found love party- the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP). Permit me to refresh readers’ memory by re-presenting the result and whole essence of party primaries that produced Agbaje as governorship candidate of PDP direct from the mouth of his major challenger, Musiliu Obanikoro: “The entire primary was a sham. I still cannot comprehend how accredited delegates of 806 will turn out to be 868. To be honest with you, with the benefit of hindsight, you can tell that the outcome was predetermined.’’
Perhaps it’s pertinent to ask: Who were those powerful PDP figures that predetermined the outcome of the kangaroo primaries that produced Agbaje as governorship candidate? They are two. Bode George and Seye Ogunleye both central figures in the PDP central administration’s plan to cause chaos in Lagos. The two leading PDP leaders are beneficiaries of godfatherism in all their political lives and will not support a candidate that would not treat them as such and therein lies the fallacy of Agbaje’s statement. Up till today, he has not denied the fraudulent discrepancy that gave him the PDP ticket, rather, he has been rationalizing the political charade.
Yet, Akin Ambode, the candidate of All Progressives Congress(APC) empirically made nonsense of the claim of godfatherism when after intense campaign across the 57 local governments in the state, he participated in the APC governorship primaries, widely acknowledged as the fairest, to emerge as progressive flag bearer in an untainted primary. Ambode scored 3,735 votes while his closest challenger, Obafemi Hamzat scored a distant 1,201 votes in the APC primaries where more importantly and unlike that of PDP, the number of approved delegates was not more than the number of votes cast. The result of the APC primaries was a consequence of political decency of the APC candidate in Ambode and the PDP’s sham primaries result that of the primitiveness of Agbaje’s godfathers that he has futilely been trying to deny in public. Agbaje should stop living a life of political denial.
Apart from the issues of primaries, the political trajectory of Agbaje since his days in his touted Afenifere cliché, down to PDP, gave him away as someone that was in search of godfathers that would make his desperate governorship ambition come true which he now, albeit erroneously, thinks he has found in Bode George and Ogunlewe. Two symbols of what a godfather should not be.
Jimi Agbaje, a pharmacist, in his desperation to become Lagos governor dumped JAYKAY Pharmaceutical and Chemical Company Limited that he founded in 1982, precisely ten years ago. He had a deceitful dalliance meant to hoodwink the undiscerning public with the progressive Action Congress (AC), his first political party. He left in 2007 to join the Democratic Peoples Alliance (DPA) in pursuit of his governorship ambition after losing the party’s governorship ticket to incumbent Babatunde Raji Fashola in the primaries. In his typical domineering way, he deliberately ran the DPA aground in the state which was one of the compelling reasons why INEC de-registered the party. Is this the man Lagosians want as governor? Absolutely not! This intentional act of his, paved the way for him to join the reactionary party that has always been after his heart-the PDP.
He got to PDP and hijacked the two main godfathers there to the chagrin of co-aspirants for the governorship ticket. What obtains in PDP now because of overtly ambitious Agbaje, is a fragile peace of the grave yard. It cannot last beyond February 28 when Agbaje, a serial loser would have once again lost the governorship contest.
In contrast to this deceitful profile of Agbaje is that of Ambode who in the short period of his emergence on the political firmament of Lagos has endeared himself to millions of people in the state. Ambode, a finance intellectual, is a success and as a career civil servant, a shining star and beacon of hope to the young folks.
As a serving civil servant and custodian of Lagos treasury, his unflinching commitment was not in doubt as he buried himself in bureaucratic obscurity in accordance with the civil service norm of being seen but not heard. He helped the state to escape the illegal former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s seizure of Lagos funds after the creation of additional local councils in the state by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s administration. He created the successful financial infrastructural template at the time.
Ambode was responsible for the global revenue and expenditure profile of the state government; he also provided admirable financial leadership and supervision to over a thousand accountants across all ministries and agencies in the state.
He was in the forefront of financial strategy formulation process for the operations and growth of Lagos State Treasury Office (STO) and for implementation and meeting of the state finance requirements. All these were attained because of his well grounded academic background both home and abroad.