By Abdussalam Amoo
Akinwunmi Ambode needs no introduction in the Nigerian polity today. He is one person whose leadership in the last two years as Executive Governor of Lagos State can best be described as unparalleled in the current democratic dispensation.
The massive development being implemented by the governor cut across all sectors and sections of the state is unprecedented. More than his contemporaries, he had brought governance closer to the masses in Nigeria’s commercial and industrial capital.
Shortly after being inaugurated as governor, Ambode charged Lagosians to embrace new thinking and be determined to succeed at all times while pledging to encourage and nurture the dream of success in every hard-working Lagosian.
Lagos as a mega-city has upped its game in terms of emergency response and security under the responsive leadership of Ambode. This is in recognition of safety preceding all affairs. The impact of the state of the art facilities at the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) Response Unit as well as the equipping of officers of the Nigerian Police Force by the government have been felt by many Lagosians as prompt response in terms of emergency have been actually prompt in the sense of it in recent times. The state’s new security outfit, Neighbourhood Security Corps is an addition to boosting the safety of the populace.
The LASEMA Response Unit boasts of an initial acquisition of 51 equipment including three Forklifts, one Crane, 13 trucks, 10 Paramedic Motorbikes, two Fire Trucks, Ambulances, among others. The State Police Command and the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) have equally got delivery of numerous patrol vehicles, helicopters among other equipment courtesy the Ambode government to send strong signals to potential criminals in the state that they cannot get away with any crime.
His slogan prior to election was Ite#siwaju Eko lo je#wa logun (from Yoruba: ‘the progress of Lagos is our priority’). True these words, Ambode has led Lagos to progress upon progress. His projects have gone clearly beyond the boundaries of partisanship as even former adversaries during the electioneering would acknowledge. Even in localities where the electorate massively voted against him, Ambode has proven to the people that they are part of the Lagos project.
To the credit of the government have been the construction of roads in the inner corridors of all 57 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in the state. In its first phase, the project ensured that at least two roads in each LGA and LCDA were given a befitting look worthy of the modern Lagos. No one would quickly forget the Light Up Lagos Project which has sought to make Lagos well lit and safe at nights.
In recognition of the vitality of the youth to nation building, the Lagos State government has committed enormous resources to education and skill acquisition. The Lagos State University and other tertiary institutions owned by the state government have had recent facility upgrade thereby restoring confidence in public school education. The upgrading of public library facilities to the 21st century taste by equipping them with furniture, internet facilities, computers and solar-powered inverters are bold steps towards keeping the youth informed. The recent launch of the Lagos Digital Library would boost the quest for knowledge, teaching and learning.
The establishment of the Lagos State Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment has further revivified the hopes of eradicating unemployment in the state by attracting foreign direct investments. Through the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund instituted by Ambode, many Lagosians have been empowered to run their businesses and employ others. This complements efforts through the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation towards empowering women and children.
Agriculture has been a cardinal high point of the Ambode-led government. With collaborations with other state governments across the country, the state government has boost food production and reduced hunger. The introduction of the LAKE Rice was a product of visionary leadership which enabled Lagosians to get fed at subsidised rates while also boosting the economy of Lagos and its partner in the project, Kebbi State. The government also owns and maintains hectares of in Ogun, Osun and a few other states.
Ambode ensured the revamp of the state’s revenue generation agency, the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) to boost Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). It is on record that the IGR of Lagos is more than those of 33 of Nigeria’s 36 states combined. With the recent discovery of oil in Lagos, it is certain that the state would witness greater development through additional income therein.
Through regular townhall meetings, the Ambode government has continued to connect with the people to keep abreast of their needs. The state also has dedicated channels for people to lodge their complaints where necessary.
It is by no accident that Ambode who was a former Accountant-General of Lagos State has been able to achieve these and many more within two years in office. Under his watch as AG for six years, the State Treasury Office (STO) revolutionized the way Lagos State finances were raised, budgeted, managed and planned.
He had been in the civil service for about 27 years and clearly understands his mission when he decided to contest as governor. He founded Brandsmiths Consulting Limited to provide Public Finance and Management Consulting services to government at all levels, its parastatals and agencies prior to joining politics.
A first-class graduate in Accounting from the University of Lagos, Ambode had qualified as a Chartered Accountant in his early twenties. He was awarded the US Fulbright Scholarship for the Hubert Humphries Fellowship Programme in Boston Massachusetts. He also attended the Wharton Business School, for Advanced Management Programme.
Other institutions he attended for courses and programmes include Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield, England, the Institute of Management Development, Lausanne, Switzerland, INSEAD Singapore and Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Boston, U.S.A
Attitude, knowledge and experience have worked in the favour this astute politician. It is no understatement that success is opportunity that meets preparation. Ambode has excelled on the basis of being prepared for the task ahead. As he adds another year to his age today, we can only wish him greater successes in governance and service delivery.