From Asiwaju to Itesiwaju
By Jide Johnson
When Akinwunmi Ambode took the mantle of leadership of the State of Excellence from Babatunde Raji Fashola, many had thought that it was going to be a big task for this gentleman to fit into the big shoes his predecessor left behind.
It is safe to say that after two years in the saddle,this notion has been met with great achievements that beat the imagination of critics and supporters alike.
The giant strides of the last two years have made the eight years of the previous administration a dessert to the main course of actions and tangible deliverables of public governance by the Ambode administration. Indeed, Lagos has been moving forward in line with the public pact of the administration to residents as enshrined in this slogan…itesiwaju ipinle Eko loje wa logun.
Ambode has made remarkable achievements in spite of the economic recession that is affecting the provision of infrastructure, revenue generation, public safety and security of life and property. Under his watch, Lagos has a new face. A visit to Berger, Abule-Egba, Ajah, Aboru, Alapere bye- pass and Ojota will convince you.
Ambode, fondly called “Double A”, is an accomplished accountant and public finance management expert who has proved to be a seasoned administrator. During his 27-year-stint in the Lagos State Civil Service, he held several positions and rose to become the Accountant-General.
The governor was the brain behind the increase in Lagos Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) from N14 billion to more than N200 billion per annum, at a time the Federal Government, under President Olusegun Obasanjo, withheld allocations to local governments in the state during the administration of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. Hence, it was no surprise that it is Ambode that would be called to the driver’s seat when the need to move Lagos to the next level in the face of dwindling national revenue and harsh economic realities of recession arose.
From the first day in office, Ambode left no one in doubt about his commitment to improving the fortunes of Lagos . He has been true to most of the promises he made during his campaign two years ago. The 114 Roads’ project which has seen two roads in each of the 57 local government and development council areas being constructed/rehabilitated was promptly fulfilled as the project was completed before his first 365days in office. Ambode’s philosophy that a well lit Lagos will reduce crime also saw him lighting up at least 365 streets across the state. The Lagos Light-Up Initiative has eliminated safe havens for criminals in Lagos.
In terms of deliverables of democratic governance, Ambode’s government disbursed N25 billion Employment Trust Fund to artisans while entrepreneurs and players in informal sectors will be empowered annually with N6.25 billion.
Under Ambode, Lagos State has diversified her economy in line with the Federal Government Economic Diversification Policy. Following its shortage of arable land, Lagos State Government bought hectares of land outside the state for mechanized farming.
Like the popular saying , ‘Rome was not built in a day’, there is always room for improvement.There are grey areas that still need to be addressed in Lagos. It is said that you are not a success until you have a successor. Today, we have Asiwaju Tinubu to thank for his vision in ensuring that Lagos produces first class brains .We have to thank him for giving us this ‘Itesiwaju’.You will agree with me that ‘itesiwaju eko loje wa logun’.