It is no longer news that Lagos is currently literally on a shutdown as President Muhammadu Buhari embarks on a two-day working visit to the state.
Many say Buhari’s visit has more to do with the birthday of Bola Tinubu, former Governor of Lagos State and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), than the commissioning of the Ikeja bus terminal constructed by Akinwumi Ambode, Governor of the state.
As a result of Buhari’s visit, many roads leading to the places he intends to visit have been blocked, local flights into and out of Lagos have been cancelled, leaving hundreds of Lagosians stuck in traffic along the few roads that are open to commuters. Many, seeing the seriousness of the traffic jam, opted to trek to their destinations, covering several kilometres on foot under the scorching sun.
A similar scenario played out in June and December 2012, when then President Goodluck Jonathan visited Lagos. As usual, roads were blocked and thousands stranded, and Nigerians took to twitter to vent their frustration.
Among the critics was Tolu Ogunlesi, the current Special Assistant to President Buhari on Social Media, who bashed Jonathan for apparently unleashing suffering and hardship on the ordinary people.
“Grumbling in Lagos as President Jonathan temporarily renames city ‘Car Park’,” Ogunlesi tweeted on June 1, 2012.
But on Jonathan’s second visit in December of 2012, Ogunlesi took his tirade to a more personal level, hurling abuses on Jonathan, specifically branding him a “bloody sadist” and his visit to Lagos “madness”.
“I have tried to ignore the madnesses issuing from Abuja. But GEJ’s (Goodluck Ebele Jonathan) infliction of traffic-hell on Lagos is the stuff of despotism. #Bloodysadist,” Ogunlesi tweeted on December 14, 2012.
Fast forward to 2018, a lot has changed, the table has turned and Ogunlesi is now a presidential aide. His principal is visiting Lagos, and not only have roads been closed on his behalf, the state government took a step further to declare a public holiday for him. Flights have been cancelled, leaving both air and road passengers stranded. On Twitter, the raging question is how and why Ogunlesi, the one-time social media critic, has lost his voice all of a sudden.