The last general elections held across the country, just like others in the past, did not fail to bring its own surprises and intrigues to the table. There were quite a lot of intrigues that played out in some parts of the country and which subsequently influenced the eventual outcome of the results in those parts. A case in point is the O to ge movement (Enough is enough) in Kwara State which was created to sweep away the political dynasty of the Saraki family, particularly the stranglehold of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on the state. You do not need to physically be in Kwara State to know that Kwarans were fed up with the excesses of the senate president in the state. A lot of them were appalled at his lack of genuine commitment to transform the state and make life better for the people. Their argument, and rightly so, was that the state is far behind other states in the country in terms of infrastructural development and economic empowerment. Kwara State was simply not working. They reasoned that if, at this time that their own illustrious son is the number 3 citizen of the country they are still struggling to get basic amenities such as clean potable water, not to mention industrialization and infrastructural development, then there is need for a shift in power. And shift they did. Today, in Kwara State, all the newly elected state House of Assembly members are APC, the new governor-elect, Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq is APC and yes, Senator Bukola Saraki lost out at the polls and would not be returning to the Senate. Now, that is how an entire state can tell its leaders in very emphatic manner, that enough is enough.
Everyone applauded the people of Kwara State for their courage. Many saluted their determination and tenacity. They got the change they so desperately sought for, and hopefully, within the not too distant future, that change will transform into huge democratic gains for them. But how can one now explain the rationale behind the idea to bring a similar movement down to Lagos State? A state that, without a doubt has become the model state, not just in Nigeria but in the whole of Africa? It was simply unthinkable. Absolute madness.
Thousands of Lagosians must’ve been puzzled weeks back when some insignificant individuals decided to copy the ‘O to ge’ movement in Kwara and replicate it here in Lagos. And to show that they were not ashamed to be tagged copycats, they also brazenly called their own movement, ‘O to ge’ as well.And their target? Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the ruling party, APC. The elections were already just around the corner, and from the obvious look of things, the pendulum was swinging favourably in the direction of the APC guber candidate and now governor-elect, Babajide Sanwo-Olu. The very articulate gentleman was everywhere, regaling Lagosians with his intellect and brilliance. The opposition knew where the pendulum was swinging. The pressure was mounting on them and they knew they had to act fast. Hence, ‘O to ge’ was born. It was a creation, a fad, borne out of pressure and desperation. Driven by the opposition party and it’s co-travelers, they went on social media thinking thousands would buy into their strategy and then they would be able to influence voters and get them to line up behind Jimi Agbaje at the polls. But how wrong were they. While it must be said that this piece was not written with the intent to praise any political party or individual, or create any illusion that there is such thing as a perfect human being who is infallible to errors, the truth remains that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the APC in Lagos are certainly undeserving of such arrant nonsense.
To begin with, Kwara State and Lagos are certainly not, and probably will never be on the same pedestral. How could anyone think that because the ‘Enough is Enough’ movement worked in Kwara State, it would also work in Lagos State? What is the parameter for this assumption? Even a smart kid knows that Kwara State is barely working, that is why the people insisted on that shift in power, which they got. But can the same be said of Lagos State? How many times have we heard even the most unrepentant enemies of Asiwaju and APC admit openly that Lagos is working? Even Asiwaju’s biggest critics say any idiot can see that things are working pretty well in Lagos. That is why it has become the model other states are copying and taking after.
For those who do not know, or perhaps may have forgotten, permit us to refresh your memory a bit. In 1999 when the national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu became the governor of Lagos State, the internally generated revenue of the state was N600 million but today, the IGR has grown to over N30 billion under his leadership. That is unprecedented in the democratic history of Nigeria. That is why, in only a matter of years, Lagos is fast becoming the mega city that it aspires to be, boasting of the most advanced infrastructural development in the land today. How can anyone in their right senses still call that bondage? How can anyone who claims to mean well for Lagos say Lagosians are living in the bondage of Asiwaju and APC? Can this be called envy or sheer stupidity? How can a borrowed ‘O to ge’ movement from Kwara State work in a state where not only a lot is working, but is also within touching distance of becoming the Dubai of Africa? Of course, it can’t work. That is why Lagosians quietly ignored the call and threw the O to ge hashtag into the trash can where it belongs.
It must be put on record also that as of this moment, no state in the country, and perhaps even in the continent, is as financially independent as Lagos State. And nobody can contest that fact. With an internally generated revenue of over N30 billion, outside of federal allocations, how many states can boast of anything near the financial muscle of Lagos state? And yet some people claim Asiwaju is holding Lagos to ransom and that Lagosians are in bondage! One can only wonder if they’re talking about the same Lagos we know or another one from another planet!
Take a look at the real estate sector, it has recorded remarkable growth under the leadership of Asiwaju. Property owners in Lagos today are all smiling to the bank because they are getting exponential values for their property better than their counterparts in other parts of the country. The boom in the industry in the last few years has been unprecedented. And some people, all in the name of politics, still call that bondage and wishes to ‘free’ Lagos. From what?
Another reason why the O to ge movement could not have worked in Lagos is the fact that, unlike in Kwara where the Saraki family focused only on building and strengthening their dynasty, Asiwaju has concentrated on building dynamic men and women who are scattered all over the country and beyond. In fact, those who should know say that what makes Asiwaju great is his desire for raising up young men and women of integrity and intellect who share in his vision and ideologies. These are young individuals who have the capability to deliver on any assignment or responsibility given to them. Some of these men and women hold pivotal positions in government while others have gone out of Lagos to govern their states of origin successfully. Some have become ministers while one is today the vice president of the federal republic of Nigeria. And anyone will tell you that anybody that has passed through the Asiwaju school is no push over. They are solid and grounded politically, and they are spread all over the landscape. That is what is called structure. In politics, structure is not about physical edifice but human edifice. And once you have that, politically, you’re made. You become untouchable. That is why the movement couldn’t even put a tiny dent on the cover of APC or Asiwaju in Lagos. It could not even scratch the surface. That is why it was able to pull down the so-called dynasty of the Saraki family. Because they didn’t invest in people. They didn’t raise and train men and women from various communities in the state to take over positions of leadership. This is the only way a state can work and progress. This is the only way a government can transform its state and better the lives of its people. And that is why, from now till only God knows when, no such baseless movement can work in Lagos because Lagos is definitely working and will continue to work!