LAGOS: High Expectations As Ambode Steps In
EVEN before the 2015 general election, it was obvious that anybody coming after Babatunde Fahola will be stepping into very big shoes. Oh yes, it’s going to be an odious task, especially getting people, who are used to Eko Oni Baje to believe in you. No doubt, infrastructural development in the state is still work in progress, considering its Mega City status, but Lagosians will surely not be in a haste to forget the massive turnarounds the state has witnessed over the last eight years.
From cleansing of areas such as Oshodi, Agege, Obalende and other hitherto notorious spots, which are now spectacle of beauty in environment, the Fashola led administration demonstrated its resolve to make the environment conducive. The beautification programme of his administration has greatly transformed Lagos landscape, turning filthy and appalling loops, roundabouts and other unused spaces into beautiful relaxation spots.
When it comes to infrastructure, Fashola performed well. Development of schools, hospitals, courts, police stations, BRT, roads, Ikoyi-Lekki link bridge, independent power plants, light rail project, free trade zone, Eko Atlantic City project… there’s always something new happening in the city. Now, you understand why choosing his replacement was a big deal. Beyond those that made public pronouncements, shopping for Fashola’s replacement was almost a national assignment.
With the handover done, all eyes are on governor Akinwunmi Ambode to continue with the Lagos project. Though the state seems to have developed a working template, starting from Bola Tinubu’s administration, there’s something distinct about Fashola’s era; more work, less politicking. Today, Lagosians are wondering if this stylish Ambode will be able to sustain the trend.
Surely, Ambode is no stranger to governance in Lagos State, having worked in the system for years. In fact, rumour has it that the brilliant accountant was actually taken off the scene few years ago, to be schooled on how to manage a dynamic state like Lagos. Now, the time has come for the Epe man to show how much he has learnt.
In his eight years as governor, Fashola never used sirens on his convoy. With Ambode in charge, are we going to see a change from that decent tradition? How ready is the new Government to ensure that ongoing projects in the state are completed in good time? Will politicians return as commissioners in Lagos? What happens to our gardens, will the tree-planting project continue? Any plan to build on and sustain the ongoing efforts to improve power situation in the city? These are some of the concerns.
Can we still keep the Area Boys and okada men under control? What of security? Most importantly, will this governor be his own man, especially with the obvious influences of the Jagaban of (Borgu) Bourdillon, who fought tooth and nail to get him into power? Well, no matter the religious, tribal and political differences, an average Lagosian, including the one in rural area, wants good governance.
However, with the APC now in control of power at the centre, Ambode will surely not experience that bitter rivalry that hampered development in the Mega City since 1999. Since that headache is gone with 2015 election, much is expected from Ambde; there will be no room for excuses.
“I hope to continue in the great strides of our indelible compatriots, such as Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Mobolaji Johnson, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), whose courageous, visionary and remarkable leadership lay a solid foundation for Lagos State and continue to inspire us all to make even better,” Ambode pledged.
With a vision to make Lagos a clean, secure, more prosperous state with a robust economy built on service, equity and Justice, Lagosians are anxiously waiting for the new governor to put his words into action; he really needs to fold his sleeves real-time and get down to business.