AKINWUNMI AMBODE: STREETS AHEAD OF HIS CONTEMPORARIES
“Lagos under Ambode has continued to maintain its leading role in delivering good governance to the people.” – President Muhammadu Buhari.
“I have never met this young man, but I must say that I am impressed with his performance so far, especially in the area of infrastructural developments.” -Chief Olabode George.
ince 1999, when the greatest political strategist of our time, the Jagaban of Borgu Kingdom, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu received the mantle of leadership in the state of excellence, Lagos State has been making prodigious strides in all facets of governance, leadership and infrastructural development.
The solid and unshakable foundation that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his team laid since the inception of the 4th Republic was what Governor Babatunde Fashola built upon to transform Lagos State to greater heights. Fashola made unbelievable achievements in the areas of education, infrastructural renewal of Lagos, public health, public transportation, rural transformation and public safety and security.
Then, on the 29th of May 2015, the baton of leadership and governanace was handed to the current governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, who has broken all odds in ensuring that the the good people of Lagos State continue to enjoy the dividends of democracy; and by moving the State to the Eldorado.
In one of my articles published before the 2015 gubernatorial election, entitled, AKINWUNMI AMBODE: The Consolidator Actualizing For Lagosians. http://lactronics.com/akinwunmi-ambode-the-consolidator-actualizing-for-lagosians.html
I stated that:
“In order to consolidate these achievements, Lagosians cannot afford to squander this golden opportunity of electing a real Consolidator and Actualizer in the person of “Double A”, Akinwunmi Ambode, who is highly experienced and competent to continue from where Governor Babatunde Fashola stops on the 29th of May, 2015.”
“Born on the 14th of June, 1963, Akinwunmi Ambode is an accomplished chartered accountant, administrator and public finance management expert. During his 27-year stint in the Lagos State Civil Service, he held several sensitive financial positions and rose to become the Accountant-General. He was reputed to be the brain behind the monumental achievement of increasing the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of Lagos State from N14 billion to more than N200 billion per annum, at a time when the Federal Government unconstitutionally and illegally withheld the federal allocation of the State during the administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”
“’Double A‘ as he is fondly called is a pragmatic administrator who understands the workings of Government; and the dynamics and essentials of good governance and visionary leadership. In fact, based on his academic and career achievements, Akinwunmi Ambode is simply a square peg in a square hole. He is young, vibrant, honest, disciplined, focused, patriotic and lovable.”
While campaigning in 2015, Double A promised to implement the All Progressives Congress (APC) manifesto to the fullest, most especially in the areas of state security, job creation, infrastructure, education, healthcare, environment, women empowerment, youth sports and culture. He also stated at one of his campaign rallies that he would set up a four-year N25 billion Trust Fund to cater for unemployed people in the State under the Lagos Employment Trust Fund (LETF). The Fund would also provide a minimum of N1 billion annually for entrepreneurial ventures across the State’s five divisions namely: Badagry, Epe, Ikorodu, Lagos, and Ikeja.
Today, more than eighty percent of his campaign promises had been fulfilled, some of which are:
1. Construction of Roads and Light Up Lagos Project: This has been one of his major achievements when his administration embarked on massive construction and reconstruction of roads in the state. His “114 Roads Project”, in which each of the 57 councils got two good roads was completed before the end of May, 2016. I strongly believe that more can still be achieved in this area, but then, let me use this opportunity to bring to the attention of your excellency that the good people of Adamo in Ikorodu, who are mostly members and supporters of your administration would highly appreciate it if you could assist in constructing the major road that links Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary (BMJS), the school where three school girls were kidnapped in February, 2016 , to the Sabo/Itokin Federal road. The Road is in a total state of despair.
Again, Governor Ambode’s philosophy that a well lit Lagos will reduce crime also led to the lighting up of at least 365 streets across the State. His philosophy was manisfested when a Lagos resident, Mrs. Adebambo’s was robbed of her laptop in Oshodi recently. According to her, “Immediately my laptop bag was snatched from me, Lagos Task Force Officers chased these criminals, got them arrested and recovered my laptop for me.” She commended the operatives of the Agency for their prompt intervention. Chairman of the Lagos State Task Force, Superintendent of Police, SP, Olayinka Egbeyemi praised Governor Akinwunmi Ambode for his developmental projects across the state particularly the ‘Lagos light-up Initiatives’ which had eliminated safe haven of criminals around Oshodi axis.
2. LETF: Another fulfilled promise is the disbursement of N25 billion Employment Trust Fund (LETF) which began in December, 2016. The initiative, aimed at artisans and entrepreneurs throughout the State will require the disbursement of N6.25 billion annually over the next four years.
3. Improved Internally Generated Revenue: As at December 2016, the State Government had generated N287 billion in IGR, a whooping N19 billion more than what was generated the year before. Although, the restructuring of the State’s revenue generating Agency played a major role in achieving this feat, Governor Ambode also gave credit to tax-paying citizens in the State when he said: “The tax payers are the ones giving us the little energy that we have and even though when they say that Nigeria is in recession, somehow Lagos has been able to do it and it is because people are paying their taxes”
4. Security: The safety and security of lives and properties is totally uncompromisable to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode. Iimmediately he assumed office, he acquired 10 armoured tanks, three helicopters for aerial surveillance and policing, two gun boats, 15 armoured personnel carriers and a dozens of Isuzu trucks to complement what ex-governors Tinubu and Fashola had donated to the Lagos State Police command. This has greatly empowered and emboldened the operatives in policing and securing the State.
5. Reduction of Traffic Congestion: Despite the fact Governor Ambode has been doing is utmost best to reduce traffic congestion in Lagos State, there are still traces of congestion in some parts. These i strongly believe can be tackled, considering the cosmopolitan nature of Lagos State by improving water transportation; and introducing a Cycling or Bicycle Revolution. The cycling Revolution will be successful if the State Government can designate dedicated lanes for cyclists on major roads. Encouraging people to cycle as practised in developed cities like London, Paris, Dublin, New York City, Berlin etc will drastically reduce traffic congestion. Again, there are many other benefits that can be derived from it, namely:
Creation of new jobs
Reduction of Air Pollution
Health benefits such as keeping fit and healthy
Increased Revenue Generation
Reduction of transportation costs for Lagos residents; and so on.
6. Massive Investment in Agriculture: Lagos State is one of the few States in Nigeria diversifying their economies in line with the Federal Government Economic Diversification Policy: Despite its shortage of arable land, The Lagos State Government has newly bought more hectares of land outside the state for mechanized farming. The State Government also signed a partnership Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Kebbi State in March 2016 which eventually led to the sales of LAKE Rice before December, 2016. Lake Rice, contained in attractively branded blue and yellow sacks is essentially cultivated in Kebbi, milled and bagged in Imota, Lagos, for comsumption in both States and others. According to Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu “The successful partnership between Lagos and Kebbi states is commendable. They have responded to the growing demand for rice and have bridged local supply rather than engage in further importation. It is the beginning of the Nigeria’s renaissance.”
Although, there are still some grey areas that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode needs to address before his tenure comes to an end in the next two years, but from the above-listed achievements, he can succinctly be described as the “Governor Extra-ordinaire” or “The Nomero Uno Governor” who is undoubtedly streets ahead of his contemporaries.
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, as you mark and celebrate the second anniversary of your administration on the 29th of May 2017, i wish you a very joyous, peaceful and blessed anniversary. More grease... And, may the Almighty God continue to guide you. Amen.
God Bless Lagos State!
God Bless Nigeria!! And Long Live The Federal Republic Of Nigeria!!!
Shola Babs-Aro-Lambo presently works at The Embassy of Nigeria, Dublin. He is also a management and IT consultant; and a former president of NESALASU, 1989.