Nigeria's Twitter users love to troll, rant, gossip and bant like their lives depend on their tweets—because most times, it actually does.
Scroll through your Twitter feed these days and you are likely to come across a tweet or two with the name of Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode scrawled in bold lettering in them.
“How many potholes will I memorize, Ambode?” asked Twitter user @QueenPrinceJ.
Yet another Twitter user identified as @GabEsu commented: “Ambode, nice one. I just entered pothole—while trekking.”
Writer @tundeleye summed up life in present day Lagos this way: “Hi @AkinwunmiAmbode I know they have done you strong thing, but please dear, still do like you are governing small. Traffic on Lekki-Epe is unbearable now. At least, do something. Or force something to be done. Or let something do itself on that road.”
The consensus in Lagos these days is that Ambode has gone to sleep since he lost the Lagos APC primary election to Jide Sanwo-Olu—a most humiliating defeat that ended his bid for a second term in office.
Lagosians now amble around with the image of an Ambode who is so unconcerned about how Lagos is run, he’s chosen to put his feet up on a sofa while sipping on a Martini until the May 29 handover date. In Lagos, you get the sinking feeling that governance has now ground to a halt.
Taking a stroll in the neighbourhood the other day, residents were chattering loudly about how the traffic lights at the National Stadium and on Obafemi Awolowo way near Alausa, no longer work. One middle aged lady was wondering why the refuse heaps have not been cleared from the street corner in two weeks.
“Ambode, someone cannot play with you again?” one lady chirped, her wig falling off as she threw her head backwards in uncontrolled laughter.
Looking out the window from the office bus on the drive home every day, what immediately hits one is the worsening bedlam in Lagos, the rising heaps of refuse or garbage, the disappearance of traffic wardens during rush hour, the worsening traffic and flaring tempers, the crater sized potholes, the articulated trucks parked right in the middle of your regular commute, the worsening state of inner city roads, flooded streets, the lawlessness and a stench so strong you risk contracting an ailment just from allowing some air in.
Lagos was falling apart before Ambode’s primary election defeat. It’s become even more of an eyesore everywhere you turn these days. It’s almost as though the governor of Nigeria’s commercial capital has left residents of this energy filled city to their fates until the handover date. It's almost as though he's simply waiting to pack his bags and be gone.
But it shouldn’t be this way. Ambode is still governor of Lagos and he’s got to show that he still has a handle on things until he officially hands over. The last thing Lagos needs right now is an absentee governor. This city is far too important to be left rudderless and leaderless.