Ambode’s Excellent Stewardship In Lagos By Joe Igbokwe

When he was barely a few weeks in office, the world renowned Economist wrote a scathing criticism against his competence to run the demanding task of governing Lagos. The magazine concluded that Governor Akinwumi Ambode cannot fit into the big shoes left behind by his predecessor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, the present Minister of Works, Housing and Power. We were not persuaded by the tendentious arguments that led to this hasty conclusion and we said so. We maintained that The Economist wrote in a haste that was not known with the magazine. We stated that Governor Ambode will be a big hit, as his two predecessors, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Fashola. We knew that Lagos has always excelled in selecting and voting for the best and that it is given that with such tradition, coupled with a very deep bureaucratic  experience, that Governor Ambode will eventually be a huge success and that The Economist will certainly eat its words.

It didn’t take long for our prediction to come true as Governor Ambode started firing on all cylinders. The Economist premised its doomsday prophecy on the traffic snarl that happened with Governor Ambode’s lenient approach to enforcement of traffic rules, its doubt that Governor Ambode will catch up with the infrastructural enhancement his predecessor imbued on Lagos and the deteriorating security situation in Lagos at the early days of the Ambode regime.

It didn’t take long for naysayers to start devouring their words as Governor Ambode struck a remarkable impression in virtually all sectors of governance in Lagos in record time. He first decided to quickly arrest the security deterioration in Lagos by launching a very ambitious security outfit that aimed at tracking, arresting and dealing with incidences of crime in any part of the Mega City. He was as swift as he was thorough as he mobilised several billions of Naira to fund what should be the most ambitious security outfit in the country. He purchased drones, helicopters, hundreds of cars, patrol vans, motorcycles, all kitted with state of the art security gadgets to arrest the worsening security situation in Lagos. With a bang, he reversed the temporary glitch and criminals found the sprawling Mega City, a no=go area for their nefariouso businesses. Not only that, Governor Ambode’s Security outfit ensured that no criminals walks away with any crime in Lagos and with that, Lagos, a state of over 21 million citizens, has become perhaps the safest state in Nigeria today.

Few days back Governor Ambode raised the bar once again by staking a whopping sum of N10 million on the head of any security personnel that goes down in active service. Lagosians consider this as the biggest boast and encouragement any state government has accorded to security officers who stake their lives for us to live in Nigeria. This gesture is at once one of the boldest moves Governor Ambode has made in recent times to add momentum to lagos state security deal. It could not be better.

On roads, Governor Ambode moved in with such speed that has not been known in the country before now. He not only improved on the ambitious road construction projects of his predecessor, he embarked on massive construction of new roads in all nooks and crannies of Lagos as he vowed to open up all parts of Lagos. He was to start the construction of two roads for each local council that targeted all 57 local councils in the state and the first tranche of these roads have been delivered, complete with such appautenances as street lighting, walways, drainages. The construction of the second tranche is on going now. These are apart from  kilometers of urban roads, bridges  and linkages which have either been completed, about to be completed or newly started. Today, no part of Lagos can claim to be cut off from other parts as a result of bad roads. What is outstanding in this massive road construction is the speed and clinical efficiency with which these projects are being delivered. Ambode has set a frenetic pace in infrastructural development that will certainly be difficult to contest with.

What of the massive street lighting project that has seen almost all  the major roads in the state brightly lit up in Governor Ambode’s resolve to lighten up the state, drive criminality away and extend the frontiers of security in Lagos? Lagosians have watched with awe as the entire Mega City have become one big ball of beautifully lit state, with the beauty it comes with and with the restoration of nightlife in the burstling state.  What is amazing about the project is that it is not restricted to any part of the state but covers the entire length and breadth of the state.

Governor Ambode has not only improved the traffic situation in the state but has made the traffic enforcement agencies more humane, more compassionate and less forceful in enforcing traffic laws. The traffic agencies have been equipped with state of the art vehicles, with modern gadgets to ensure stricter enforcement of traffic rules and these have impacted positively in the growth of the state and the ease of doing business in the state.

The Ambode regime has bullt on a rich commitment to environmental sanity that has transformed Lagos from a sprawling urban slum to perhaps, Nigeria’s most beautiful state today. The present regime continues to invest in building a stately environment by developing more open spaces, building parks and lawns in every part of Lagos. Equally, the government has restored enviromental sanity by ensuring wastes are appropriately discharged, street trading are outlawed, pedestrian bridges are built in strategic locations across the state and citizens are discouraged, through strict enforcement, from illegally crossing roads.

The Ambode regime continues to expand the state healthcare delivery through the continued expansion of the state health facilities and equipping them to meet the growing demands of a fast growing Mega City. Equally, the state educational sectors has continued to receive prime attention of the Governor

Governor Ambode has accelerated the development of Lagos to a functional smart city, a Mega City that works effectively even in the face of the current economic recession stemming from long years of mismanagement  and corruption. Yet Lagos is an oasis of growth where governance has been brough to enhance the infrastructral investment such that Lagos has today become Africa’s fifth largest economy, with huge networth investments that serve as buffer to the country’s slowing growth.  The ambitious lightrail project started by Governor Fashola is being pursued with speed and added verve, even transborder border roads are getting the attention of the state government through massive rehabilitation and expansion.

Even in the period of recession Governor Ambode has demonstrated through synergy and clinical financial engineering  that Lagos can still make the difference. Governor Ambode’s Lagos has raked N287 billion IGR as at December 16 2016 against N268.2 billion it generated in 2015. He attributes this achievement to synergy between the state government and the governed, insisting that Lagos is working because Lagosians understand the need play their own part as partners.

All said, Governor Ambode’s has been a glorious era in a very short span and with his spectacular achievements, Governor Ambode has ingrained added confidence in governance in Lagosians and of course Nigerians. He has solidified trust and belief in the capacity of governance in Lagos and he continues to expand the frontiers of governance beyond the ordinary. The governor has not only justified the huge support Lagosians gave him to govern them but he has silenced his critics, disorganized the opposition and made every Lagosian proud with his achievements thus far. But then, Governor Ambode’s regime is still less than two years in its first four years, in his eight assured years as Governor of Lagos. That he has made these and more remarkable strides in quite short a time is a tribute to not only him but all those that supported and voted for him. That he will do more, to the glory of Lagos and Nigeria is a certainly that will go a long way in strengthening democracy, not only in Lagos but also Nigeria.