A picture is worth a thousand words is a hackneyed phrase. Some people hate clichés because they are boring and devoid of the excitement that uncertainties bring. But there is nothing that describes the internal power struggle within the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos better than the above cliché.
On Tuesday news broke that a three-time commissioner in Lagos and the boss of the Lagos State Property Development Corporation, LSDPC, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has obtained the governorship nomination form signifying he was willing to take over the job of incumbent, Akinwunmi Ambode, who had announced his intention to seek re-election 24 hours earlier.
Immediately after Mr Sanwo-Olu’s announcement, there was a frenzy in the media. Several analysts claimed the de facto political godfather of the state, Bola Tinubu, has decided to do away with Mr Ambode, after battling hard to enthrone him less than four years ago.
Like it is often the case, many of the reports were laced with rumours, and quotes from all-knowing anonymous sources who swore they were at the meetings where Mr Ambode’s fate was sealed. Despite the general election being five months away, some of the sources proudly announced Mr Sanwo-Olu as Mr Ambode’s successor, as a matter of fact.
Perhaps the anonymous commentators would not have spoken with much confidence, if they had not seen one of the pictures that accompanied the news of Mr Sanwo-Olu’s declaration to take over the job of his boss.
In the particular picture, Mr Sanwo-Olu is seen holding the party’s governorship nomination form and was flanked by three other men. Among the men was James Odunmbaku, popularly known as Baba Eto. Mr Odunmbaku, a septuagenarian and former deputy leader of the APC in the state, is commonly known as the right-hand man of Mr Tinubu.
Mr Odunmbaku often speaks the voice of Mr Tinubu when the latter is not talking and his appearance in the photo was interpreted by many as the godfather’s endorsement of Mr Sanwo-Olu candidacy.
Interestingly, four years ago, it was Mr Odunmbaku, who first declared support for Mr Ambode, before Mr Tinubu did so publicly, weeks later. Apparently, the same strategy is being repeated.
Mr Sanwo-Olu’s name may not ring loud among Lagosians outside politics but he has been a longtime protégé of Mr Tinubu.