Before Lagos Retrogresses Any Further

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Recently, the government at the federal level and many states of the federation marked 100 days in office. A tradition that is largely supposed to give a clear blue print they intend to fully implement in the course of the next (almost) four years in office. While the average Nigerian can be said to be upbeat about definite strides at the federal level especially in areas such as power generation, the oil sector which has recorded a remarkable turnaround in the hitherto comatose refineries, and the fight against corruption, the same cannot be said of developments in Lagos State under the leadership of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.

Even though it is still early days yet, and it may appear to be too early judge, by now Lagosians ought to have begun to feel the impact of a new administration. A Wolof proverb says “A dish which is going to be tasty will smell good when it boils.” Usually one can forecast the shape of things to come judging by the present. To submit that the Ambode led government’s performance has been lacklustre after his first few weeks of assuming office would be no gainsaying. In the past couple of months, the governor seems to have been overwhelmed by the huge task of running a complex state like Lagos. Nowadays, Lagos feels like it is running on auto-pilot. For one who was peddled as a seasoned civil servant with cognate experience in administration and a consummate mastery of the inner workings of the State having been a part of the work force for almost three decades before taking a bow; one would expect that the governor would hit the ground running and not appear to be testing the waters like a neophyte.

Ambode was elected mainly because he rode on the performance of the immediate past governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola who was the poster boy of the APC up until recently when he was enmeshed in controversy involving financial impropriety while he was governor. So far, there has been no clear direction or landmark achievement one can attribute to the new government. Yes, the governor has projected himself as an empathetic man with a large heart judging by his response to some individual’s plight – the case of Ruth Uche, the mother of three sets of twins who was abandoned by her husband readily comes to mind, as well as the new year baby with the heart disease whom the governor assisted with the required surgery in India as soon as he assumed office. It must be said unequivocally that these gestures are laudable, but Ambode needs to do more by formulating and implementing policies that will positively impact the lives of almost 20 million Lagosians and not just one or two people.

By this time in the last administration, Fashola had constructed a pedestrian bridge, purchased a hundred BRT buses to ease transportation in the metropolis, completed the second phase of the Adetokunbo Ademola road in Victoria Island, and commenced the dredging and rechannelling of drainages to ease water transportation among other achievements, a sharp contrast to the donation of security vehicles and signing of Certificates of Occupancy that is the present administrations legacy after 100 days.

Also, in a recent study tagged CIAPS Governors Performance Index (CGPI) conducted by the Lagos based Centre for International Advanced and Professional Studies (CIAPS) to assess the performance of governors in Nigeria after 100 days based on variables such as; readiness for office, innovation in office, ability to be in tune with the mood of the nation and security and leadership by example; Governor Akinwunmi Ambode came 9th with a 50% passmark compared to his contemporaries in Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto and Rivers who were ranked first, second and third respectively. Lending credence to the observation that he has performed barely averagely since taking over the mantle of leadership. Coming 9th out of 36 can be argued as not being shabby until one remembers that Ambode runs a state that is the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria and would have been the fifth largest economy in Africa if it were a country.

Anyone who is resident in Lagos and is a regular commuter on the roads would have observed the apparent return of lawlessness around. The ubiquitous motorcycle riders are fully back on many highways where they have been banned, thugs are back and more brazen than ever before in Oshodi and a number of other suburbs in the metropolis where they damage vehicles and rob hapless motorists daily. Many roads are in a deplorable state, and the restriction of the movement of trailers and other long articulated vehicles are only being partially obeyed as if to dare the government of the day! In a nutshell, Lagos seems to be going back to the pre-Fashola days of lawlessness and impunity.

Those who doubted Ambode’s capability to govern a state like Lagos are beginning to have their fears confirmed. Indeed, many believed he didn’t just cut the picture of the kind of leader that Lagos needed, particularly because he is touted in many quarters as one loves to party and have fun thereby earning him the appellation “Yuppy Daddy.” The fact that he was practically foisted on the members of the APC by a godfather didn’t help matters also, as he was shielded from going through the proper scrutiny and competition that any intending candidate is expected to pass through. But for the general perception that he was the lesser of “two evils” when compared with his closest rival Jimi Agbaje at the polls, and a section of Lagos residents felt safer to pitch their tent with the “tried and trusted” Tinubu camp than the “little known and possibly out-for-revenge” Bode George camp, there might have been a different government at the helm of affairs in Lagos today.

This is a wake-up call for the Akinwunmi Ambode administration. The people of Lagos need to feel the presence of the government around them. As the days go by, more needs to be done in virtually all sectors of the economy. The governor must begin to fulfill his numerous campaign promises by providing adequate security, employment and basic infrastructure for the teeming population in Lagos.

Ambode always knew that Fashola’s shoes would be very difficult to fill. However, he must begin to make his own mark as soon as possible and not just replicate what is being done at the federal level without considering its suitability for Lagos State. If he needs to appoint commissioners to assist him in piloting the affairs of the state, then he should do so without further ado. The goodwill that the APC has enjoyed in Lagos for the past 16 years must not be frittered away especially now that the people are fully aware that the power to vote out a non-performing government lies solely in their hands. 2019 is not too far away! Ambode needs to prove the naysayers wrong and the time to start is now!

 

 

10 Replies to “Before Lagos Retrogresses Any Further”

  1. There are lots of expectations from these new governors especially during this new era of Change. Let’s give Ambode time, he will sit up. Fashola changed Lagos state during his 1st 100days in office. In Rivers,Gov Wike has done a lot within 100days. Roads are being repaired cos he declared Operation Zero Pot holes in the state, Civil servants salaries have been cleared, Rivers State Judiciary closed by Ameachi for more than a year was opened by Wike, reconstruction of Law faculty in RUST and many more. We hope he continues the Good work and performs more.

    Ng Anwuli

    1. We really don’t have a choice right now than to be optimistic. He is a duly elected governor, I only wish he would speed up work a little bit more. Like I wrote, this is a wake up call for him. He needs to know lagosians are observing. Thanks Anwuli.

  2. I can say that Fashola is the best governor in the fourth Republic. His records were jaw breaking and any allegations of Financial mismanagement against him won’t come be feasible because his works benefited everyone in the state. If it didn’t then those allegations will be strong. Prior to the elections, I felt agbaje had something to offer and not ambode but Nigerians are so party centric, they think PDP is going to destroy Lagos so it’s safer to stick with the APC. just like Fashola who didn’t pitch tent with Tinubu, PDP have some good people who won’t dance to Bode George or Obasanjo’s tune. If you say lawlessness is back in lagos that is bad to hear because that was the hallmark of Fashola’s reign. In truth Fashola did so much that why it’s as though Lagos is in auto pilot because Fashola hit the ground running, it’s for ambode to continue. If he moves away from the good stuff Fashola has done, then trouble looms for APC in 2019. Besides just as power has switched from PDP to APC in the presidency, it’s high time the switch was done vice versa in Lagos. The longer the hold on power the more aggrieved people become because continuity and sustainability are difficult to maintain.

    1. You have a point but even though PDP have some people who won’t dance to Bode George’s tune, the fact is that they presented Jimi Agbaje who is known to be Bode George’s “boy” as their flag bearer. But that’s just by the way. It is still early days yet, but my worry is that Ambode doesn’t seem to have any fresh ideas or concrete plan to take the State to the next level. Thanks for your contribution Kunle.

  3. Well, in my own opinion. The fact that Ambode is fatter than Fashola shows he can’t keep up with Fashola’s pace.(just joking tho). If going by any rumors going on in the streets are true that there is a sort of grudge between Fashola and Ambode sometime ago then i doubt if Ambode would wanna thread the Fashola governance ropes. Tho presently he has ordered the dualization of some roads which are under serious construction. Also empowered the KAI more than the LASTMA(just to mention d very obvious achievements). I think for a state like Lagos, our pressent governor is a bit slow compared to his predecessor. He is gonna perform but we shouldn’t expect him to perform at the same pace as his predecessor.

    1. Lol! Nice shot fired Wale…thank you for sharing some of your observations of his achievements. No one is asking him to be Fashola, he should just make his own mark. I am optimistic that he will too. A little more bite in his governance is all that is needed. Thanks for commenting.

  4. To say the truth,Lagos state needs a proactive governor, not one who goes to night club and like taking pictures,I am sorry , I have to be blunt, 2 weeks ago, I spent close to 4 hours to get to work, the reason being that truck drivers decided to park on the road because Lagos state govt ordered them not to come out at a particular hour,thereby causing serious traffic jam, it was terrible,in the era of Fashola, there was nothing like this lawlessness. Now, the roads are so bad, armed robbers stealing in broad daylight ,etc…….
    Governor Ambode has to sit up and address this issues before Lagos retrogresses further.keep the good up, more power to your elbow.

    1. Lol, that’s why he’s our yuppy daddy now…On a serious note, the level of impunity on our roads these days is particularly worrisome. Let’s hope he’s just a slow starter and he’d switch gear asap. Thanks for your contribution Mayowa.

  5. At least oga Ambo will know that the grey hair that Gov Fash sporadically grew was not a matter of coincidence but clear evidence of toil, stress and pressure which governing a state like Lagos confers on a leader of such a great state. While I am also of the opinion that he (Ambode) be given a little more time to establish a clear direction and imprint his footmark, I seriously have my fears. So far he has been doing more of smiling for the camera while the state regresses. I am also somewhat amazed that he did not quite hit the ground running. This is judging by the fact that the immediate past administration of the state had laid down structures and numerous developmental projects for him to continue and easily take the glory for their subsequent commissioning and operations. While we may not be privy to some internal workings in governing the state, the performance of the Fash administration have no doubt given us so much cause to worry and wonder if the Ambo administration actually knows it’s right from left and if it is truly a honest one that has come into power with the sole focus on the people’s interest and well being.

    1. Actually, I’m optimistic that the Ambode administration will do well in the end. I am just hoping he doesn’t leave it until it’s too late. Thanks for commenting.

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