Exclusive: In Ambode’s Lagos, beware of Chaplain’s treatment”

By Muyiwa Olayinka

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Governor Ambode is working in Lagos, don’t get me wrong. He’s the leading light of APC at the moment. Forget about the rabble rouser and the diminutive attention seeker of Governor El. Rufai of Kaduna state. He has embarked on several projects in Lagos metropolis changing the face and fortunes of the state

But Ambode has to be careful with his high handedness and his place of history.

He presents himself as a friend of the people and at the same time behaving like an emperor of the manor, that is intoxicated by the raw naked of powers.

We have been hearing different reports some confirmed and others unconfirmed, that he takes action that is inimical to democratic norms

Firstly, he whittle down the power of LASTMA (Lagos state traffic management agency) , because it was alleged the car of his wife’s associates was impounded for violating traffic rules. He was reportedly furious and drove straight to the LAWMA  headquarter, in Oshodi, and directed all vehicles to be released. He ordered an administrative panel and found out the agency were neck deep in corruption. He sacked the topmost heads of the agency and replaced them immediately.

Personally I have issues with LASTMA’S mode of operation because I have been victim of its harassments. Most Lagosians will readily disagree with the mode of operations of LASTMA. They conduct themselves as touts and arrest  indiscriminately on frivolous charges.

Though they complement the efforts of other security agencies in the state to manage the knotty and problem of traffic congestions, but in most cases, they went overboard, unnecessarily, overzealous in carrying out its statutory responsibility.

It would have been heart warming if Ambode did it on altruistic grounds.

Secondly, Lagosians know the nefarious activities of the “omo oniles” or the land grabbers in Lagos. It is an herculean task to build houses or structures in Lagos, if you are not  well connected. You will be forced to pay to faceless and amphibious gangs and it will not be documented. Definitely, they have official backings.

If you are not careful, they molest, kill, destroy or maim you and your workers while on site.

We complained but Lagos state’s authority refused to take action. It is a known fact that they are backed by powerful traditional rulers and politicians in Lagos. The government of Lagos heard no evil and saw no evil. It was when a top government official was murdered in Lekki that government took action.

Unknown gun men attacked and shot dead, the Managing Director of Lekki Free Trade Zone, Alhaji Tajudeen Disu.

Disu, who was on inspection of the area, was ambushed by his assailants before he was shot dead at close range, leaving him in his pool of blood. He was murdered in cold blood, pronto, there were reactions from state government. A big man of a government agency had been brought down by the land grabbers, head must roll.

It hurriedly promulgated an Act, Lagos State Properties Protection Law, stipulated a 21-year jail term for convicts of land grabbing. Neighbouring Ogun state responded with harsher punishments of death penalty if an individual is killed.

Many at times, resident of  Lagos  complained that this government is elitist, can we fault this argument?

Thirdly, Ambode banned VIO and FRSC permanently in Lagos.  We rejoiced!

I’m elated too, just like thousands of people like me that have personalised private commercial vehicles. You will be glad if you escape different harassments and different penalties, and survive the daily torture of these agencies.

You are always at alert on daily basis   when driving on Lagos roads. Many have resorted to  drive at nights or early in the morning in order to  move goods and services.

Vehicle Inspection Organisation (VIO) and Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) have turned drivers of commercial vehicles their meal tickets.

A small crack on windscreens or rear lights, warrants VIO charges of N20,000 per offence committed.

Many have abandoned vehicles at VIO premises.

I would have been happier if Ambode had listened to the cries of Lagosians as they groan on crippling charges for sundry minor offences

He woke up from his sleep when the government was threatened by a lawsuit.

Oluwadamilare Afolarin, has his Honda Accord with number plate, AKD 367 BG, impounded by VIS operatives attached to the Eti-Osa office, for windscreen violation.

He was reportedly fined N80,000, while the car was driven into the VIS premises at Ikota, Ibeju Lekki. He was about to pay the money, when he was called by the deputy head of the VIS, one Akeem, who informed him that the vehicle had got burnt.

Akeem was said to have appealed to Afolarin to take a compensation of N200,000, which the latter turned down.

The Lagos-based human rights lawyer, Femi Falana threatened that if the government did not buy the victim a new car, including compensating him for the maltreatment in seven days, he would sue for damages.

It became an embarrassment to the state government. The government responded with a permanent ban.

Some political watchers claimed the victim is connected to a political bigwig of the state necessitating this timely response from government

Some would  say my analysis could be in the realm of speculation, but how can we defend the action taken by the sacking of the Chaplain of the church, Venerable Femi Taiwo, Chapel of Christ the Light, Alausa, Lagos State, on the order of the state Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode.  Taiwo got the sack on Monday, May 15, without any query or official reason stated in the sack letter.

He was said to have been ordered out of his official quarters where he lived with his wife and two children within 24 hours of receiving the letter.

Despite pleadings from church leaders and other reputable elders in the church, the government was said to have insisted that the cleric must leave the church.

Some church members reportedly contributed money to buy gas cooker, and other household items for the family as they vacated the vicarage.

Taiwo had angered the Governor’s wife, Bolanle Ambode, who had visited the chapel on Sunday, May 14, when the church held an anointing service.

The church is under the Lagos State Ministry of Home Affairs, while the Office of the Lagos State First Lady supervises church.

Church members were said to have filed out to receive anointing oil during the May 14 service without any preference given to Bolanle, who waited endlessly with her entourage.

She was said to have later moved to be anointed and moments later, stormed out of the church, as some of the women leaders ran after her.

Bolanle, who was reported to be visibly angry, allegedly shunned entreaties from the women, which included the wife of the presiding chaplain.

The cleric got the sack the following day.

The directive was issued in a letter dated, May 15, 2017, and signed by the Chairman, Governing Council of CCTL, Mr. Olugbenga Solomon. The letter also ordered the Assistant Chaplain, Very Rev. Ayo Oyadotun, to take over with immediate effect.

This is the reality of our time.

A democratically elected Governor of a state sacking a man of God on flimsy and frivolous grounds, with official alacrity.

The Chaplain was sacked and was asked to leave the vicarage within 24 hours. A man with a wife and two kids to vacate a place they have been living for many years within 24  hours?

This is power show!

I call this “Chaplain’s treatment”. This is another terminology in Lagos’ political lexicon and a creative way of dealing with an enemy of government of Lagos.

This is the other aspect of Governor Ambode of Lagos that we must resist.

We are lesser mortals, but when relatives or family and friends of politicians are affected, they respond in a jiffy.

Alluding to one of Fela’s song, ‘Lady”, Bolanle Ambode is a typical African lady the legend sang about.

She wants to be served before others. She wants to be honoured, to be feared and be trembled when she shows up. Our first lady had forgotten as a Christian, we are equal in the presence of God.

It is common to have  special seats for VIPs in Nigeria. Going through Nigeria’s constitution, no role was provided for the office of the  first lady but to complement her husband.

State’s policies have been subsumed under family ties in Lagos

Governance has been reduced to bedroom discussions with family and close associates.

Civil servants, top government functionaries, HOD’s, Commissioners, domestic staff, you better watch out, don’t fall on the wrong side of big Madam Bolanle or else you will get the Chaplain’s treatment

May God  protect us from the caprices and excesses of our rulers. They are not leaders.

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