He entered the fray as heady youth, sworn to dislodging the ”old” Lagos order.
He exited bawling reckless threats — unflattering metaphor for his generation — the hare-brained youth: too much fancy education, yet too little gumption.
Why, by his reckless campaign antics, he eerily echoed Rehoboam and his “worthless young men” (going by a version of the Bible) that goaded Solomon’s son to perdition.
Rehoboam was the son of the wisest person that ever lived. Yet he lacked the gumption to keep together his father’s kingdom, which his war-like grandfather, David, had shed blood and gore to forge.
Or else how could he have allowed the Chinedu in him to run riot with giddy Igbo youths, who wanted to “take Lagos!”, though they lacked the numbers: being no more than loud settlers, gone too comfy to call their benign Yoruba hosts arrant fools?
That’s the unflattering story of Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour or Chinedu Rhodes-Vivour or even Patrick Rhodes-Vivour, three-bodies-in-one, pulling in different directions!
But the anatomy of the politics of it all is even more intriguing, leaving the young man a mere pawn in the plotting hands of cynical elders.
Still first, the anatomy of Lagos and its elite: political, modern and traditional.
A Rhodes, Bickersteth, George or Macaulay (Lagos Saro) and a Gomez, Cardoso, Da-Rocha or Barbosa (from Popo Aguda — Lagos famous Catholic District — in the no less famous Brazilian quarters), gives his child the best education money can buy.
Thereafter, elder and scion withdraw to savour their paradise-on-earth — the family trove, with condescending glare at others, in supreme vanity.
A Tinubu does no less — richly educates his own — in the private sphere.
But on the public plain, he quits his comfort zone and dirties his hands in public work raising others, many of them from unbelievably poor homes, to access new life they never could have imagined.
Yet come election time, a Rhodes — buttered by his sole family plums as a Tinubu is battered in the public space — would, in vicious elite peer envy, begrudge a well-earned Tinubu street glory!
Such toxic beef was glaring in the Rhodes-Vivour campaign.
The father railed against folks grossing monthly “billions” from the Lagos treasury —old wives’ tales — sans any proof. The son growled at non-Lagos Yoruba, making hay in the pan-Yoruba (nay, pan-Nigeria) Lagos State government.
But if the son knew the Rhodes-Vivour history, he would have known his folks are no Bajulayes or Olumegbons or Sasores or Olusis — aboriginal Lagosians in their Isale-Eko redoubt.
They are not even the Oshodis, descendants of Chief Balogun Landuji Oshodi Tapa, in their Oshodi, Akinyemi, Ewumi and Alagbede courts, in Oshodi, Epetedo Lagos Island — Tapa-Nupe warriors pledged to the security of Eko, and their Igunnuko cult: proud mosaics of traditional Eko, long before the Saro/Brazilian berth, in immediate pre-colonial Lagos.
Were the young man rooted in history, he would have known the Saros (mainly of Olowogbowo/Ehingbeti and Lafiaji) — with the Popo Aguda (of Campos: mainly; and Lafiaji) — were latter-day Lagos settlers, most of them up-country Yoruba folks, freed from slavery and returned from Sierra Leone (Saro) and Brazil (Aguda).
Indeed, Herbert Heelas Macaulay, famed Nigerian nationalist and wizard of Kirsten Hall, was ethnic Oyo. John Otunba Payne, the first African registrar of the Supreme Court in Lagos, loved to brag he was a “Jebu” (read Ijebu) man.
“Holy” Johnson, the venerable James Johnson, perhaps the most rigorous Anglican clergyman in the entire Lagos circuit, was Ijebu too, though he openly acknowledged the Ijebu contempt for his co-Saros — particularly their penchant to flaunt their suits and socks, and carry the umbrella, which the Ijebu only conceded to their royalty.
Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther, perhaps the most famous of the Lagos Saros, was from Osogun, now in Oyo State.
So, were Rhodes-Vivour to be versed in his people’s history, he would realize railing at the up-country Yoruba was railing against his own ancestors.
He couldn’t understand such basics, despite his fine education that took him to France, the U.K. and the Ivy League Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA.
But that rank artificiality calls out the Patrick in him, which draws out the neo-Saro of 21st century Lagos: some much fine education, yet giddy ignorance of his roots!
In Michael Echeruo’s Victorian Lagos, you got echoes of mid-19th century Lagos Saro put-down as “double parasite” — on the English for fashion; on the Yoruba for culture, yet scorned and scuffed at his native Yoruba cultural benefactors!
As a boy born and bred in Lagos Island, the dismissive phrase back then was Kiriyo — artificial, uppity, pretentious and vain, with the labellers helping selves to a good scoff.
As times went on, however, all these mutual biases receded into the Lagos cultural cosmos, with one segment reinforcing the other in mutual pride of their Lagos.
Indeed, in Governor Bola Tinubu’s epochal first cabinet (1999-2003), Architect Lanre Towry-Coker (Saro) merrily mingled with Yemi Cardoso (Aguda), Yemi Osinbajo (Ikenne-Remo roots but ‘Lagos boy’ all his life) and Rauf Aregbesola, Ijesha boy but GOC of Alimoso streets, the famed “Tinubu country”, to deliver the wonderful Lagos we have today.
Which proves this point: this tie-back to history is not to slur the Saro who, with others, have been wonderful in the Lagos rainbow evolution.
It is rather to prove how a reckless and dangerous Rhodes-Vivour run almost fissured everything, in a few giddy months. Never again!
Which takes the discourse to the LP candidate’s virulent Chinedu projection: the most fatal to his governorship run, although he never realized it.
By weaponizing his Igbo part-nativity for cynical votes, joined by boisterous Igbo youths bawling Lagos was “no man’s land”, he incensed the majority Yoruba natives, united against him in radical anger.
The result was Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s electoral landslide which Sam Omatseye had dubbed voting-day bulala (whiplash): APC: 762, 134. LP: 312, 329. PDP: 62, 449.
Add the LP and PDP votes — for they are two sides of the same cynical, baleful and envious coin — they are still a bridge too far from the BOS tally. Most tragically: the young man never even realized he was a mere pawn of ruthless and plotting elders!
Just as well: the owners of the land have spoken — and spoken with thunder!
But away from the ethnic tussle: why would the Lagos Igbo, each election season, band against a host government, never malevolent or discriminatory towards them?
Perhaps democracy isn’t enough! Maybe a touch of history or even sociology is imperative to teach sane, rational and self-preservative electoral behaviour.
Still, the young man appears too stunned to get the message; his Igbo mum no less hysterical on the social media — over an election his son had no chance of winning? Delusional!
From the Rhode-Vivour camp, it has been deep moaning and bitter mourning in the morning after.
But it might yet be dawn in a long day of political oblivion for their son — except, of course, he alters his crude identity politics that fires dire cross-ethnic tension.