■ Driving the Lagos dream
By Razaq Bamidele
IT all started in the third quarter of 2014 at the public presentation of a book, The Art of Selfless Service, written by an Epe, Lagos State born technocrat and former Accountant General of the State of the Aquatic Splendour, Lagos, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode.
Although, the event was meant to be for real academic and literary brainstorming, the combination of who-is-who in attendance gave room for political suspicion as they cut across all the strata of human endeavours. The Civic Centre, venue of the auspicious occasion on the Lagos Island, was filled to the brim with high ranking politicians, first class academic gurus, captains of industry, legal luminaries, entertainment icons, women of substance, diplomats, Labour leaders, students bodies as well as traditional rulers led by the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu to mention but just a few.
After the author’s brief remarks, and as the book reviewer was effortlessly dissecting it with a view to pressing home the importance of the book, the august audience could not help but take note of a quote highlighted from the book.
The quote read thus: “In other words, we must measure our worth by the amount of service we put into our families, our work place and colleagues therein, our society, our country, our world. This is our true worth, serving selflessly everyday for the good of all men, whether we get remembered or not.”
At this juncture, not a few members of the distinguished audience read meanings to that quote as they stood up involuntarily to give the reviewer, albeit, the quote, a standing ovation that was accompanied with hugging, back slapping and waving of hands across the hall.
Expectedly, after the public presentation, it was time for the usual ‘goodwill messages,’ where encomiums were showered on the man of the moment, erudite scholar and financial icon, Akinwumi Ambode.
However, the occasion took a new turn when the Oba of Lagos, HRM Akiolu beckoned for the microphone and he was obliged as the audience listened with rapt attention to the r message from the throne. The brevity of the Oba’s protocol did not leave anybody in doubt that the royal father had something up his sleeve.
Without mincing words, the Oba just announced the author being celebrated as “the next governor of Lagos State.”
His speech, which was richly spiced with Yoruba proverbs drew admiration from the expectant audience, just as some were shocked and dumb founded. “Distinguished audience, I doubt it if the reason for this event is to blow grammar and go home. To me, it is not. Please, don’t let us pretend and deceive ourselves. The mission here is to unveil our next governor in Lagos State. And Akinwumi Ambode is the next governor of Lagos State. And we have the backing of all our ancestors to present him to you as the next governor of the state. Any other person who nurses the ambition to be the next governor of Lagos after Babatunde Fashola should forget it for now.”
Having declared Akinwumi Ambode the next governor, Oba Akiolu turned to a team of traditional rulers in his entourage and asked, “have I spoken your minds well,” to which they responded in unison, “yes, you have, Your Royal Highness.”
Immediately Oba Akiolu finished his speech, he dropped the microphone, adjusted his white agbada, waved his horse whip to the audience and took his exit, other royal fathers in his entourage filed out after him.
The ‘Royal Endorsement’ caused political uproars most especially within the opposition camp, which was of the view that Oba was being partisan. And besides, those who have forgotten that the anointed aspirant knows the workings of the Lagos State government inside out as former accountant general went to town to label Ambode ‘a green horn, a non-politician who cannot perform,’ and all sort of names.
But, alas! Just a year in the saddle, not only has Ambode performed creditably, he has also left nobody in doubt that the best is still to come.
The immediate past Lagos State commissioner of housing, Mr. Bosun Jeje took a critical look at Ambode’s achievement in just one year and declared, “this governor has shamed his critics!”
Jeje, in an interview said: “Governor Akinwumi Ambode has shamed cynics who doubted his ability to perform. Right now, all the doubting Thomases are convinced that he is more than equal to the task. Just one year in office, either in terms of infrastructure development, security of the citizenry or general governance, Ambode has proved to be the right choice of the people of Lagos State and Nigerians at large. And by the way, nobody is left in doubt that he will not disappoint us and we are very happy about that he means business.