The four-year tenure of Governor Akinwunmi Amode in Lagos State will end today. Assistant Editor LEKE SALAUDEEN examines the performance of the governor.
WHEN Akinwunmi Ambode emerged as governor of Lagos State in 2015, many were sceptical. This is not because of his integrity, character or ability, but because he made a lot of promises. There was fear that he may not be able to perform because he inherited huge debts. The debt profile of Lagos was high and there was economic down turn in the country when he came on board.
But, Ambode has proved pessimists wrong with his score card. He had shown prudence in the management of state resources. Throughout his tenure, he turned Lagos to a huge construction site. He has touched almost every nook and cranny in terms of developmental projects that are visible.
His performance earned him commendation from an unexpected quarter. The leader of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George, remarked: “I have never met this young man (Ambode), but I must say that I am impressed with his performance so far, especially in the area of infrastructural developments. I don’t know everywhere in Lagos, because I hardly go round, but I must sincerely commend him for what he is doing in Epe Local Government. I am very proud of what he is doing there.
“I passed through Epe recently and I thought I was in a different state. I want to appeal to him that when he is done with Epe, he should head back to my local government, which is Lagos Island, so that when he leaves office, not only will Epe people remember him for his performance, but the entire Lagos will remember him and say, yes, there was one governor that passed through here and his name is Akinwunmi Ambode.”
The Chairman, Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Lagos State branch, Mr Alex Omotehinse, described Ambode as an achiever and administrator per excellence that Lagosians will miss. He said Ambode’s achievements were numerous for any resident to gloss over or forget soon. He said: “Without any fear or favour and with utmost sincerity, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode has demonstrated his genuine sincerity of purpose and pro-people’s policy in governance which has distinguished him as an achiever between 2015 and 2019.”
Omotehinse appreciated the outgoing governor for the good works he has been doing in the past four years. His words: “Without any fear or favour and with utmost sincerity, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode has demonstrated his genuine sincerity of purpose and people’s policy in governance which has distinguished him as an achiever.”
He highlighted some achievements of Ambode to include massive investment in security, road infrastructure, bridges, transport, education, youth empowerment and employment. The state has a fortified security, with N6.6 billion equipment for security agencies, massive road rehabilitation and reconstruction of inner roads.
Omotehinse listed Ambode’s achievements as follows: assent to Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Corps Law to increase security in the communities across the state; payment of backlog arrears to retirees; setting up of a N25 billion Employment Trust Fund; and employment of 1,300 teachers to revive primary education.
He said: “We can also notice upgrade of schools’ infrastructure, massive light up of Lagos highways and streets. All these and many others to mention but a few are what the governor has done in four years.”
The human right activist said within four years Ambode has convinced Lagosians that a greater Lagos is achievable through tremendous social infrastructure and people’s engagement in governance. He said assuming Ambode had a second term, by the time many of the on-going projects were completed, they would be world class master pieces and befitting. “We therefore implore the incoming governor to please ensure the completion of all the nearly completed projects started by Ambode,” he added.
Lawyer and public affairs analyst, Mr. Akintunde Johnson, also commended Ambode over his achievements in office in four years. He said the governor has positively projected the image of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) with sterling performance. The lawyer said the result of the performance of Ambode was evident to all, as all parts of the state have been positively touched with his transformation agenda and inclusive governance approach.
Johnson, a Lagos indigene, said it was worthy of note that the massive development being implemented by the out-going governor cut across all sectors and sections of the state. He added that Governor Ambode deserved to be commended for his great efforts at moving the state forward. His words: “We are happy that Governor Ambode has done a lot in Lagos State. Our governor did not disappoint us. He has done well within four years. He has projected the image of our party (APC) very well with his outstanding performance.
“There is no local government that has not been touched by the Ambode administration. In fact, there is no longer rural area in Lagos State as the governor has transformed everywhere. The development is not limited to infrastructure alone, but every sector, including health, education, security, among others, have been positively touched.”
Lagos residents will never forget Ambode for many achievements his administration has recorded within the last four years. He gave priority to security of lives and property. To beef up security, his administration acquired equipment worth more than N5 billion for the State Police Command and the Rapid Response Squad. The equipments include 100 four-door salon cars, three helicopters, 55 pick-up vans, 100 power bikes and two gun boats among others to enhance performance of the security personnel. This explains why Lagos has remained the most secured in the country.
He constructed flyover bridges in Ajah and Abule-Egba areas and multiple lay-by to ease traffic congestion along Third Mainland –Iyana-Oworo – Toll Gate Road. He established Special Task Force codenamed “Operation Returned Sanity on Lagos Road” to clear Apapa-Oshodi Expressway of trucks, tankers and trailers.
Governor Ambode launched the Bus Reform Initiative to bequeath a world class transportation system to the state which involves construction of new bus terminals, introduction of 5,000 new buses and construction of 100 modern bus shelters across the state. He acquired 434 new buses for Ikorodu Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) corridor and commenced work on Oshodi-Abule Egba BRT corridor along the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway.
The Ambode administration commenced construction of 10-lane Oshodi/Murtala International Airport Road that was commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari recently. He completed palliative repair work on sections of the Lagos/Badagry Expressway between Eric Moore and Okokomaiko, while work is ongoing on Okokomaiko to Badagry section. He had completed more than 300 local government road projects since 2015. He built the safety arena in Oshodi, to bring all the departments and agencies responsible for safety and emergency management under one roof.
He repositioned Lagos State Emergency Agency (LASEMA). The agency now operates through four centres, namely Command and Control Centre, Alausa, Ikeja; LASEMA Response Units (LRU) Cappa, Oshodi, Lekki and Onipanu units. The LRUs were equipped with trucks, power-bikes, heavy-duty vehicles fire fighting trucks, mobile intensive care ambulances and light rescue equipment.
Ambode established N25 billion Lagos State Employment Trust Fund that has provided loans worth N5 billion to more than 8,000 persons since inception, and helped create more than 11,000 jobs. He launched Ready-Set-Work, an entrepreneurial and employability training programme aimed at ensuring that every student who graduates from any tertiary in Lagos has knowledge, skills, and attitude required to gain employment upon graduation. More than 2,500 final year students have been trained.
His administration upgraded 14 flagship Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs); provided 20 mobile care unit ambulances and 26 transport ambulances across the state. He also approved the establishment of three new Maternal/Child Care Centres to expand the scope and reach of public health.
He established three new Fire Stations at Bolade-Oshodi, Ejigbo and Abesan and upgraded facilities at the existing fire stations in Alausa, Ikeja, Isolo, Agege, Ilupeju, Badagry-Suru and Ikotun. He rehabilitated 225 old fire hydrants in Lagos metropolis, and installed 50 new ones connected to the mini/micro water works across the state. He also employed 250 new personnel into the Lagos Fire Service and purchased new fire- fighting equipment such as complete sets of Master Breathing Apparatus, Tripod Stand Rescue Equipment, Dragon Max Floodlights, Duraline Hoses and Power Stream PPU Blower.
His government developed the Strategic Plan for Accelerated Agricultural Growth (SPAAG), and set aside 50,000 acres of land for agriculture in the state. The land will be allocated to farmers and investors for production of tomato, rice and fish. Governor Ambode collaborated with Kebbi State government to produce LAKE Rice. He also organised the first Lagos-Kano Economic Summit.
The governor signed into law the Lagos State Electric Power Sector Reform Bill, to guarantee 24 hour power supply. The Ambode administration is retirees-friendly. On assumption of office in 2015, he cleared N11 billion backlog of pension owed the retirees of Lagos State Government.
On the secret behind his success in office, Governor Ambode said: “No matter how much strategy that you have read in school or how much work you have done in the public service, it is not possible for you to put up a plan, strategise and try to implement and it works. If it is working back to back and consistently, there has to be some other source that is making it work because you are just one out of several others and why it works for Lagos is the more reason why one has to be very sober and humble to actually know that there is something that is making that to happen and that has to be God.”
Ambode said notwithstanding the complexity of managing the massive population of a state, it was evident that Lagos had been hugely prosperous, just as he thanked all those who have helped in managing the state rightly in the last four years. I just want to say a big thank you to everyone that has actually been a co-traveller in this journey that we have had in the last four years. It has not been easy but somehow to the glory of God, it is evident that there is huge prosperity in Lagos.
He said: “In all these, the complexity of managing 24 million people, there has to be something else driving it and in all situations, we give glory to God. In all situations, we are grateful that He has given us the opportunity to become a source of joy to the rest of Nigeria because Lagos is the last hope for the country. So for me, the last four years have been very eventful and very fruitful.”