On May 29, 2015, Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, became the 14th Governor of the State. Three years after, he has invested tremendous time, energy and resources toward rapid socio-economic development of the state.
From the outset, Ambode’s goal was to give Lagosians a functional and safer city, where people can find success and satisfaction. His slogan: “Itesi-waju Ipinle Eko, ‘Lojewalogun” which means: “The progress of Lagos is our priority”, is about development and modernization. Thus far, he has been able to achieve this through visionary leadership, untiring commitment to excellence, technocratic competence, commitment to results and, above all, accountability.
Across the State, massive infrastructure projects are quite visible. Recently, 21 roads and 3 bridges connecting Lagos with Ogun State were commissioned while Aboru Link Bridge was equally commissioned two years ago. In the Badagry axis, Imeke-Ajido Link Bridge and numerous other roads were constructed. Similarly, the Ajah and Abule-Egba Bridges, Ojodu-Berger Pedestrian Bridge with adjoining roads were completed and commissioned.
Also, a world class Bus Terminal at Ikeja was recently opened for use with a pledge that more of such are to be delivered in due course. Earlier in 2016, 114 inner roads across the state were rehabilitated while a total of 181
community roads are currently being rehabilitated. Work is also ongoing on the Pen Cinema Flyover while the re- development of the Lagos Airport Road into a 10-lane international standard highway is on course. Equally, work is progressing on the Oshodi Transport Interchange which when completed is bound to change the face of public transportation in the state. Just a few days back, approval was also given for the construction of Fagba flyover.
The strength of every nation is measured by the buoyancy of her economy. China is, today, a major world power due to the viability of her economy. In a democracy, a strong and thriving economy is vital because extreme poverty could be a serious threat to nation building. This explains Ambode’s unwavering dedication to strengthening the State’s economy. Presently, in Nigeria, Lagos has effectively proved that it is possible to build an economy that is not solely reliant on oil.
A large chunk of the state’s infrastructure renewal projects is being financed from Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). Presently, due to the impact of ongoing reforms and growth in the state’s economy, the state is experiencing improvement in its average monthly IGR. In the first quarter of 2018, the state has achieved an average monthly IGR of N34billion, compared to monthly averages of N22bn, N24bn and N30bn in 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively.
One vital tendency that has become a recurring symbol of the Ambode administration is the Governor’s penchant for fulfilling promises. Sometimes ago, while on project inspection tour to the popular Ladipo Motor Spare Parts Market, Oshodi, as soon as the Governor was sighted by the traders, chants of Ekwueme! Ekwueme! Ekwueme! filled the air. In Igbo language, Ekwueme means promise keeper. So, the ecstatic traders were merely expressing their appreciation to the Governor for keeping to his promise of improving infrastructure around the market.
In the area of youth empowerment, Ambode promised to create a favourable atmosphere for the empowerment of the youth. Presently, his administration has put in place the N25b Lagos State Employment Trust Fund which youths with creative ideas and talents could now access to make possible their dreams. The governor is equally making good his promise of ensuring prompt payment of public servants’ wages on the 23rd of every month.
Retired public servants are equally benefitting from Ambode’s promise of improving workers’ welfare. In 2015, in order to reduce the economic and emotional burdens of the state pensioners, a sum of N11bn was released to offset pension liabilities owed retirees in 2010. Also, between May 2017 and March 2018, N9.3 billion was paid as pension to 2,466 retirees in the state. Last year alone, government paid over N9 billion as terminal entitlements of retirees. Without a doubt, this intervention has gone a long way in ameliorating the sufferings of retirees in the state.
A New York Times bestselling author, Richard Paul Evans, once said: “Broken vows are like broken mirrors. They leave those who held to them bleeding and staring at fractured images of themselves.”
Cheerfully, the Ambode administration has demonstrated that promises are sacred and, as such, they must be kept.
Thus far, Governor Ambode has been able to manage the Lagos economy through prudent and stringent management of available resources. This has qualified him as an authentic leader that can be trusted by the people.
According to German writer and statesman, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, ‘not the maker of plans and promises, but rather the one who offers faithful service in small matters is the person who is most likely to achieve what is good and lasting’.
In Ken Follett’s novel, ‘The Pillars of the Earth’, the writer explores the development of medieval architecture as captured in the building of a cathedral in the town of Kingsbridge, England. Like the medieval architects in the novel, in the last three years, Ambode has been going about the reconstruction of Lagos like a skilled builder. The result is that his administration has erected several pillars upon which the future of Lagos could now firmly rest.
As the governor focuses on the last lap of his four years mandate, Lagosians are certainly in for more dose of his distinctive ‘Ekwueme’ trend in the State.
Ogunbiyi is of the Lagos State Ministry of Information & Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos