Johnson: Who is afraid of Ambode?
IN saner political climes, the electorate would be out there looking for the brightest and the best of candidates; those with the requisite experience, character, clout and courage as well as the vision to right the wrongs of the past. But here, sad to say, some of us take obscene pleasure at running our heroes down. Must we stand logic on its head all on the altar of political expediency? Should we castrate our conscience on the lure of the lusty lucre?
These were the pertinent questions that came to mind, soon after reading through the tissue of lies and the unsubstantiated allegations of forcible retirement from the Lagos State civil service on the part of Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, by one Tunde Adeoye. It was published in The Guardian of Thursday, February 26, 2015. But nothing could be further than the truth. It must be stated however, that in this seedy season of campaigns of calumny, loaded lies are freely hawked in the political market place, to score undeserving points; it has become imperative to put the records straight. .
For the avoidance of any iota of doubt, Ambode who incidentally is the governorship candidate running on the platform of the wave-making All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State distinguished himself in all the sectors he served before voluntarily retiring after 27 years of meritorious service in 2012. He is a former Accountant General of Lagos State serving in that capacity between 2006 and 2012. Before then he served in several other capacities including Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Auditor General for Local Governments and across all cadres of Lagos state’s civil service before his voluntary retirement in 2012.
Perhaps, to many Nigerians who hardly declare their real age on entering service, Ambode did the unthinkable. He must also indeed be the exception to the ‘rule’ of not a few career civil servants who would tenaciously cling to juicy appointments like tick on the cowhide. Simply put, he retired to take on more challenging roles; as a Public Finance Management Expert and the Chief Executive Officer of Brandsmiths Consulting Limited – a public finance and management-consulting firm with deep knowledge of the Nigerian public sector.
For the benefit of the doubting Thomases, Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola was reluctant to let Ambode leave when he first indicated his interest to take a bow from the service in 2008 based on his wealth of experience. And the critical role he was performing all the while as the Accountant General of the Centre of Excellence. For upward of three months that the letter of notice of retirement was on his table, he was unwilling to sign it. Had Ambode committed any infraction, Fashola the thoroughbred professional lawyer he is, would have investigated such and even appointed Ambode’s successor. But he never did until some three days after his exit.
In fact, the governor was so moved by the other’s stewardship that he had this to say about Ambode, on his retirement: “I write on behalf of the people of Lagos to commend your high sense of dedication, selflessness and integrity which you brought to bear on the civil service. I wish to specifically remark that working closely with you has been of tremendous mutual benefit, particularly in the present administration.”
Furthermore, he stated: “You have displayed high sense of professionalism and have been a good team player guided by the philosophy of a true public officer, who must place himself last while rendering service to the public. We are convinced that your brilliance and zeal will make you excel in your future endeavours.” That says it all, doesn’t it?
What more does Ambode need to convince the good people of Lagos that he possesses the sterling leadership qualities to build on the great works both Asiwaju Tinubu and Fashola have laid and strengthened? Little wonder that during the historic book launch, Ambode: The Selfless Servant back in May 2014, described such glowing tribute by Fashola as his ‘gold medal’.
It would, therefore, do the publishers of National Pulse and Adeoye a world of good if they could do more of investigative rather than speculative and yellow journalism – if only to substantiate their claims. Governor Fashola would gladly respond to their questions if they want a word with him on the matter. And were such claims true, the opposition party in the state would have published breaches on the part of Ambode, (if any) for their selfish political gains and for the world to see.
For us therefore, we are confident that the APC has done the right thing. That is, by carefully identifying Ambode as the most qualified candidate in terms of wealth of experience and professional pedigree to take over the baton of governorship from Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola. Interestingly, Ambode still holds the record as the youngest Auditor General of Local Governments, the youngest Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, as well as the youngest Accountant General in Lagos State before his resignation in 2012.
On our part, we hold tenaciously to the belief in Ambode’s candidature because of the sterling values of hardwork, honesty of purpose, integrity and his people-friendly dispositions, which have rubbed off positively on all those who have had the rare and great opportunity to work with him.
His traducers have come up with various vacuous allegations against his person, none of which they have been able to prove. The million-naira question therefore, is: Who is Afraid of Ambode?
• Johnson wrote from Lagos.
No Comments yet