A boss and former Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, now an OAP on Arise TV had teased his guest, “Do you understand Yoruba?”
He replied, yes I can speak Yoruba. What of Igbo, Steve had probed further. “I can try, you know I did most of my education abroad,” Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour said.
I never hate Rhodes-Vivour. In fact I fell in love with him the day he appeared on Silverbird Television for a debate with other Lagos State governorship candidates.
He was able to compose his thoughts but then I observed that he needed a lot of experience to lead a state like Lagos. For now, there is no vacancy in Alausa because the APC governorship candidate, Babajide Sanwo-Olu will beat him silly in Saturday’s guber poll.
Perhaps Sanwo-Olu can run an inclusive government by integrating Rhodes-Vivour into his cabinet in his second term as commissioner so that this Labour Party candidate can learn.
With what I have seen in Rhodes-Vivour during his row with the PDP candidate, Jide Adediran, the Labour guy will not mind to service Lagos under Sanwo-Olu of APC.
One of the factors that will not make Rhodes-Vivour to win this election is his many supporters who are rooting for ethnic agenda that “Lagos is no man’s land” and could be taken over by any tribe.
Language is a culture, which Rhodes-Vivour himself testified to in one of his numerous interviews and he will agree with me that a workable model of development is the one that is built around the culture of the people. Lagos has the roots of its culture in Yoruba of Southwest.
However its cosmopolitan nature has always made the residents to choose competence over ethnicity and religiosity.
In 2011, the state voted President Goodluck Jonathan of PDP who polled over 1.4 million against the candidate of the ruling ACN, Nuhu Ribadu who polled over 400,000 in the presidential election.
Two weeks later, Babatunde Fashola of ACN beat Ade Dosumu of the same PDP by 1.6 million to about 300,000. I foresee the same scenario on Saturday where Lagos will pick competence over ethnicity.
Rhodes-Vivour is like a cloudy sky that won’t rain because he has surrounded himself with people who roar like thunder and sound like an empty barrel with no drop of water inside it.
The likes of Ade Dosumu whom ordinarily would not want to associate with APC rose on Wednesday to support Sanwo-Olu just to keep his identity as “Omo Eko”.
First, he counts it as a slap for Rhodes-Vivour to lead an ethnic movement against Lagos in the name of politics. To him, it is an insult to describe Lagos as “No man’s land” and when the aborigines kick, they are tagged as ethnic bigots by other ethnic nationalities.
Before Rhodes-Vivour changed his words, he was once quoted as saying that Yoruba language should not be a factor in his becoming a governor, describing it as primordial sentiment.
But to the earlier settlers in Lagos, some of who claimed to have migrated from the cradle of Yoruba, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Rhodes-Vivour’s inability to fluently speak Yoruba language ridicules the culture of “Omo Kaaro Ojire” and should be stopped through sensitisation and votes on Saturday.
According to a communique issued by Apapo Oodua Koya, an intelligent group of the Yoruba race, it is an aberration for anyone to think that the Yoruba Language does not matter when it comes to selecting a governor for Lagos State, southwest Nigeria.
Rhodes-Vivour has waited too late to correct the impression that he is fronting the Igbo agenda.
This morning on Arise, he said it is unheard of that some people are describing Lagos as “no man’s land”. Either he is pretending or not, Lagosians are waiting to see what this misty sky will turn to on Saturday.
By Kunle Awosiyan
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