The lasting lessons to learn from Gov. Ambode’s ingenious approach to governance are profound. The first is that he understands the entire gamut of what security and safety of the people he leads entails.
Ayo Oyoze Baje
“True safety and security is more than just a camera on a building.
It is about securing your networks, preventing disasters, responding to threats, and communicating across channels, sectors and boundaries. And it’s about planning and collaborating. Network security and physical security are converging. Are you ready?”
- Kenneth Trump ( Security expert)
The newspaper headlines were catchy and captivating enough: ‘Abducted school girls rescued’. ‘Pastor held for school girls’ abduction’. ‘Jubilation over school girls’ release’. Excitement ran high. Adrenaline pumped through the blood vessels. Heartbeats heightened. Eyes dilated. For the avid readers – and there were millions all over Nigeria and beyond – the palpable sense of wonder was how this feat was achieved, within so short a time. And where else but Lagos, the Centre of Excellence!
That excerpt is taken from a piece written by yours truly on 8th March, 2016 and aptly titled: ‘Ambode and the prompt release of abducted school girls’. Yet, it is but one of the several commendable efforts on the part of the resourceful governor of Lagos State to ensure the safety of lives and property. It falls squarely in tandem with Section 14, Sub-section 2(b) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, which is one of the primary purposes of government.
The other is the process of facilitating and fostering the welfare of its citizenry. Any government, anywhere in the world that fails to be the protective and providing father-figure and guarantee both does not qualify as one. No amount of propaganda or nauseating excuses can change that. None. Period!
All over the world, the place of leadership in security of any country cannot be overemphasized. In other words, there seems to be a correlation between leadership and national security.
So, when Ambode recently exclaimed that: “Our greatest achievement is security of life and property’ and that “Lagos is the safest city in Africa” he was saying it as it is. He knows his onions. He spoke with the passion of a patriot, as the guest speaker at this year’s Executive Intelligence Management Course with participants drawn from the Institute for Security Studies in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
The significant step for us all is to glean from his success story on how he scored the bull’s eye. This is more so at a time some of his counterparts are either politicizing the insecurity challenge, or throwing in the towel as their states’ chief security officer; as armed bandits, or so called killer herdsmen run rampage over their armless citizens. No one has told us who has been arming them. But Ambode is different, the inspiring exception to the rule of political cluelessness.
Back in 2015, soon after assumption of office, he hit the ground running. Lagos state’s security machinery was bolstered by the huge donation of top-of-the range security gadgets. These included three helicopters, 100 4-door saloon cars,55 Ford Ranger pick-up vans,10 Toyota Land Cruiser pick-up vehicles,15 BMW power bikes. Others were 100 other power bikes,60 Isuzu trucks, two gunboats,15 armoured personnel carriers, revolving light sirens and public address systems. There was the donation of related functional facilities such as vehicular radio communication gadgets and bulletproof vests.
Said he on that auspicious occasion: “Our position is clear and unambiguous: Lagos State has the capacity and the will to go after every form of crime and criminality in order to safeguard lives and property in the state”. Ever since, he has walked the talk.
What with the setting up of the Lagos Neighborhood Security Corp (LNSC). What about the wise establishment of the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF) by a Law of the Lagos State House of Assembly in September 2007 as a direct response to the security challenges in the State?
He reiterated that his government has invested a whopping N20 billion on the frontal combat against the mindless monster of insecurity over the past three years. We believe him. It became imperative after the state governor received and reviewed the report of a high powered Security Committee which it established under the chairmanship of the former Inspector General of Police. The aim was to look into ways and means of combating the growing menace of violent crimes in the state and the seeming inability of the police and other security agencies to confront this challenge in spite of their best endeavors.
READ ALSO: Community policing, strong intelligence way to solve Nigeria’s security challenges – Ambode
The report was crystal clear that the problem was essentially related to logistics, mobility, communications and kitting, especially when considering the peculiar security challenges in the state. It was the finding of the security committee that a minimum of N3.7bn was required to provide standard security cover for Lagos State including the waterways. This deficit was due to the several years of underfunding of the police especially during the military regime by the Federal Government. But Lagos was going to be different!
The donation of the aforementioned state-of-the-art gadgets at the inception of this administration has led to the vibrant information gathering mechanism here in Lagos. With it, it was easy for the then Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase to detail the Special Intelligence Response Team (SIRT) to smoke out the heartless abductors of the school girls from Adamma forest, across the river in Ikorodu where they were held in captivity.
The lasting lessons to learn from Gov. Ambode’s ingenious approach to governance are profound. The first is that he understands the entire gamut of what security and safety of the people he leads entails. He has the right security eggheads in place.
He has carried the people along. He understands the imperative of credible information gathering system. He knows that security is expensive and is ready to face the challenge head on, putting proactive measures in place, making the needed financial sacrifices, with rapid response initiatives.
Name them: The Neighbourhood Watch, the Light Up Lagos, the frequent Town Hall Meetings and the requisite infrastructure of good access roads and modern bridges to ease traffic gridlock, the relocation of trucks and tankers are all involved. Add these to the social security in place, which ensures that civil servants’ monthly salaries and pensions are paid as at when due,(unlike many of his fellow governors), that youth empowerment programmes are right in place and the clear picture of the people’s governor comes into view.
READ ALSO: Ambode and his light up Lagos project
So, sometimes I ask myself; does this man really need to campaign for second term? No! Doing well has been his best revenge, or call it a master stroke!