From My Weekly Column, ‘ The Standpoint’
When Governor Akinwunmi Ambode was elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress as Governor of Lagos State, there were many who wagered that he would not live up to the expectations the electorate had for a better and much more developed state.
To them, Ambode was just another new kid on the block, a political rookie, one whose adminstration they predicted would be shaped by pauses, such as the perfunctory rituals of being governor, “no motion! no movement”, mediocre like, and not by visible and sustainable development. How wrong!
Today, Lagosians marvel at the breath taking pace in which development has enveloped and travelled further and faster down the nooks and crannies of the state in just less than three and a half years, this is despite the emergence of the recession which whittled down the ambitions of a number of sister states, forcing them to cut down on their development agenda, this was not so in Lagos under Ambode.
These projects and services which represent such meaningful development as well as Ambode’s body language that his best is yet to come, unleashes the calls and appeals for a well deserved second term for him. Now, there is no more powerful expression of how a people evaluate the performance of a democratic office holder in government than in reelecting or in rejecting him!
So, for the cynical, that is the naysayers, the doubting Thomas’s who are obviously in the wallowing minority and offer nothing but primitive notions of contestations, I would roll out the 35 reasons why Ambode deserves a second term.
No other governor has done better in terms of harnessing the human resources of the ordinary citizen than Ambode. We see this in the prompt backlog payments of arrears meant for retirees. Such backlogs which amount to the tune of 11 billion Naira constitutes a sad narrative of how governments in this part of the world treat those who gave a good part of their lives in service to their various states or the nation. These were immediately tackled by the pragmatic welfarist in Ambode resulting in their clearance. Again, the establishment of
the N25 billion Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, a fund meant to tackle the menace of unemployment in the state has so far provided loans worth more than 5 billion Naira to more than 8,000 persons since inception, and helped create more than 11,000 jobs. Now , this is not all, for while the employment fund represents a plank of Ambode’s thinking, the launching of “Ready-Set-Work” , which serves as an entrepreneurial and employability training programme for graduates of the various tertiary institutions owned by the state. This other plank ensures that these graduates from any tertiary institution in Lagos has the requisite knowledge and skills required for suitable employment upon leaving school and has had more than 2,500 final year students trained since 2016.
Infrastructure, another major fulcrum of the Ambode administration has received a fillip with its seamless delivery all over the state. The list is endless but I will make out a few of these achievements here. First is the construction of over 300 local government roads across the state, a number of these roads serving as bottlenecks only a couple of years ago. Next comes the construction of a ten lane road connecting Oshodi- Murtala Mohammed Airport, a project set to be completed this December.
Ambode not only completed the Ojodu-Berger Flyover Intersection; 21 roads and two bridges with a combined stretch of 27.4 kilometers in Alimosho-Agbado-Oke-Odo area.
The remedial repair work on the section of the Lagos-Badagry Expressway between Eric Moore and Okokomaiko has been completed with work ongoing on the Okokomaiko to Badagry section. Asides these, the installation of a Skywalks Bridge to link Terminals 1 and 2 at Oshodi Bus Interchange, the redesign of Lekki-Epe Expressway to improve journey times and reduce gridlock by replacing roundabouts with traffic lights, the
construction of flyovers for Ajah and Abule-Egba areas, as well as a multiple lay-by to ease traffic congestion along the Third Mainland-Iyana-Oworo-Toll Gate Road are further testaments to Ambode’s infrastructure savvy.
Securing a state like Lagos is naturally any administrator’s migraine as a headache is indeed an understatement of the security challenges of a cosmopolitan Lagos.
In tackling these challenges, Ambode has not only topped his game, he has also being proactive on issues affecting the security of Lagos State.
He successfully equiped the Lagos State Police Command and the State’s Rapid Reaponse Squad with crime fighting gadgets worth more than 5 billion Naira.
Amongst such equipment include three helicopters, two gun boats , 15 armoured personnel carriers , top notch vehicle radio communicators. Asides these, officers serving in Lagos have better welfare, insurance and death benefit schemes packages when compared with other sister states including the FCT.