The Lagos governor, Akinwumi Ambode is the first sitting governor of that state, and only the third in the nation to have lost his own party’s primaries in the 4th republic. Following a high stakes coup that led to his loss, the plotters are now undoing some of his executive decisions even while he is still occupying the governor’s office.
Back story: Governor Ambode has effectively become a figure head and no longer wields any power or influence over his state. His aides and cabinet members hardly defer to him, choosing to pander to the dictates of the godfather, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, instead. The legislature has taken over some of the executive functions and have made veiled threats to impeach him if he dares to resist. So far, the usurpers have been having their way.
The PSP scheme: The House of Assembly ordered the return of the Private Sector Partnership (PSP) operators to manage the state’s waste collection efforts, reversing a contract awarded to Visionscape Sanitation Solutions by Governor Ambode. Three things to note here:
- The HoA has no authority to make this decision and it is a clear usurpation of the executive powers.
- His estranged godfather, Bola Tinubu, has openly expressed his disapproval of the contract and had requested that Ambode reverses the decision, one of the various episodes that led to the breakdown of their relationship.
- Ambode had to bow to this decision that was taken against his will and which would come at a huge cost to the state.
The speaker who took the decision to restore the PSP operators had issued a veiled threat to Ambode, saying that his position is not under any threat provided that he does not make the wrong moves. The recent moves that has seen Ambode’s power stripped away from him has everything to do with election financing. Party loyalists accuse the governor of a lack of commitment to party building activities.
Things have worsened since Ambode’s humiliation at the primaries. Insiders say that the governor has reneged on an agreement to ensure financial support is available to the party’s candidate, Jide Sanwoolu, and the other candidates running for elective offices across the state. Sanwoolu is currently hustling to raise money and Ambode’s stance is seen as a major threat to the party’s chances. This has infuriated the party’s leadership and base who have given the lawmakers the go-ahead to activate the impeachment option.
Restoring PSP operators is one of the plans to ensure the party is funded as they have always been central to oiling the APC machinery in the state. PSP operators are mostly companies owned by party members who are committed to keeping the party in power.
Bottom line: Governor Ambode is now a figure head, but he still has some ammunition to fight if he wants to. However, fighting may cost him more than humiliation, it may lead to an impeachment. Whether the APC would be willing to use that card depends on how desperate the party gets, because impeaching the governor may make them lose some sympathy votes in the process.