By Abu Umar Al-Faruq
Power belongs to Allah. He gives it to whom He Pleases and withdraws it from whom He pleases. Whatever position a Muslim may take in the present disposition must be with the understanding that in the final analysis, only Allah will determine the next governor of Lagos State, just as He has determined who may be next occupant of Aso Rock.
Qur’an 3:26. Say: “O Allah. Lord of power (and Rule), Thou givest power to whom Thou pleasest, and Thou strippest off power from whom Thou pleasest: Thou enduest with honour whom Thou pleasest, and Thou bringest low whom Thou pleasest: In Thy hand is all good. Verily, over all things Thou hast power.”
Apart from the general welfare of people and the need for good governance, the only issue at stake is peculiar to Muslims and that is the issue of Hijab in Lagos State. On this issue I vehemently disagree with Gov. Fashola’s approach.
But I am not disappointed because of his antecedents in dealing with Muslims and issues concerning them.
There are two main candidates. Even if religious sentiments were resulted to, none of the two would qualify as they are both Christians.
On the issue of Hijab, no candidate has promised Muslims what we would like to hear but when I put their responses on the scale to determine which is best, as a matter of looking for the lesser evil, I prefer that of Ambode of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC).
When Ambode spoke about Hijab, he first retorted that categorical decision is not possible because it is already a court case. Pressed further, he said the only option for him was to withdraw from court and settle amicably. Indeed, less than what we wanted.
Jimi Agbaje rather said it was the problem of parents who were not teaching the children to use Hijab. Women, who were present raised their voices instantly, saying the children wore Hijab but Lagos State was forcing them to remove the Hijab.
So what will Agbaje do? He rather dodged the question. So, if Hijab alone were the issue at stake, what will be your choice? Ambode left a door open, Jimi did not even have a full grasp of the problem!
Experience is an issue when it comes to Lagos. I draw an analogy. I have a compound of my own and needed a guard. Two were presented to me with different backgrounds and experiences. One comes from the home of renowned guards reputed for performance.
The other had no previous experience of the job and in addition, his sponsors are renowned burglars and pick-pockets in the community. Which of the two should I employ! Unless, I want to be unfair to my family and myself, my choice is clear – indeed, as clear as seven-up.
That is how I draw my analogy between Akinwumi Ambode and Jimi Agbaje, the duo that I never had any personal interaction with. Ambode came from APC, which has set for itself a record of performance in successions – not just once. Some say Jimi Agbaje of Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) is a nice person, who just happened to be in the wrong party.
Others say, let us give him a trial. How are we to handle the wolves that propped him in PDP and the jackals that would further converge if he ever wins? It is better imagined.
I had a small advice for myself I once pasted on my notice board. It reads “You are not a mediocre, but you are surrounded by mediocres and you tolerate their mediocrity. Eventually they will rub-off on you and increase your own mediocrity.”
This is a practical reality of life and Jimi cannot run the state without men of his party and we all know too well their record which is beyond the focus of this piece. It was a major reason for the struggle for change in the first place.
Although of less importance, I see Lagos as very important and central to the well-being of Nigeria. A trial that may end up in a fiasco must not be tolerated. Indeed Bola Ahmed Tinubu stood alone in Lagos and withstood PDP persecutions under Obasanjo. With the strength of Lagos he conquered the South West.
Because some of his compatriots were not astute, the South West was lost to PDP once more and once more again he re-conquered the South West. From the South West he launched a final onslaught, the result of which we are celebrating now.
Who says PDP cannot perform the same feat if given Lagos and what would have been the essence of the change we all struggled for.
Finally, I wonder if Jimi Agbaje has good campaign managers. During the launching of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan campaign in Lagos, Jimi postulated that if Jonathan loses the election, Niger Deltans may shot down the economy.
He was again in UK and repeated the same position which had earned him more opposition than supporters.
To achieve his bold ideas, he earlier opined, Lagos must shift from being in opposition to work with government at the centre. Now that APC is at the centre, it seems the bold ideas would be a mirage!
It is for these reasons that I have chosen to vote Akinwunmi Ambode of APC during the coming Gubernatorial Election.
Abu Umar Al-Faruq writes from Ofin, Lagos