Ambode’s Achievements In His 100 Days In Office

In every organization, institution or office, there is usually a need for periodic assessment of performances as well as appraisals of staff of those organizations. Good Performance can be seen to be the accomplishment of a given task measured against preset known standards of accuracy, completeness, cost and speed. The performance of a governor in our present democratic government is measured by the improvement of the quality of life in the state during the period of his governance.

Good governance is not just about making right decisions but also about the best possible process for implementing those decisions. It is also a subset of governance, wherein public resources and problems are managed effectively, efficiently and in response to critical needs of society. In the light of this review, the Lagos state governor, His Excellency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, who believes in accountability, responsiveness, participation, transparency, the rule of law and government of equitable and inclusion has in his first 100 days in office made laudable achievements in a number of areas.

In the area of corruption in the state, Ambode has set up a special force and some strategic approaches to fight the scourge. By operating a single bank account, a lot of cost has been saved in an effort to efficiently improve on the processes of collection of revenue generated in the state for proper accountability. He has equally ensured that there is transparency in all Government accrued revenue while all the loopholes for looting and embezzlement of funds are gradually being identified and blocked.

Ambode has made moves to consolidate on the achievements of his predecessor and has already created an additional path to success by cutting down on the cost of governance through the merging of some ministries, departments and agencies as well as establishing the Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment aimed at solving the unemployment quandary in the state. This specifically addresses the promise he made during his campaign on employment trust fund, labour exchange and entrepreneurship.

Mr. Ambode in line with his promise to attract international business and ease the difficulty of transacting business in the state has set up the office of Overseas Affairs and Investment (Lagos Global). He has assured the business community and corporate Lagos that the ease of doing business in Lagos will be improved upon earnestly and with the creation of this department under the Governor’s office, investors can now fly into Lagos, start their business, find their way; live, work and enjoy in Lagos.

He has also demonstrated his commitment to the development plan of the state anchored on social development and security, infrastructural and economic development as well as sustainable environment. In this regards, his plan for the ancient town of Epe and other undeveloped areas of Lagos will soon witness this development in the course of his administration. In addition, he has awarded the contract for construction of Ikotun road which has been in very bad condition for more than a decade now and serious work is currently on-going on the road. Furthermore, following his inspection of certain traffic congested areas in Lagos like Berger bus stop, Dopemu junction, Abule-Egbe, Mile 2, Oworonshoki, Mile 12, Ipaja/ Estate Bus-Stop Road, Alimosho and Apapa bus stops, he has awarded the construction of pedestrian bridges at the designated points as well as rail way lines from Orile to Lagos Island (CMS) by Julius Berger PLC which would be completed in twelve months. Also, there is on-going reconstruction of Creek road, Harold Wilson road and other major roads including that of Borikiri area of Apapa by Julius Berger Plc which will be completed within weeks. Ambode has equally awarded the reconstruction of Brown Street and other major streets in Oshodi axis which has commenced lately. On the other hand, Ambode has asked the contractors handling Ayetoro road, Ipaja – Ayobo road, Pedro road, Ladi-Lak road Bariga to speed up the construction of those roads to reduce the suffering of the people living in those areas.

The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode recently assured Lagosians of his administration's determination to complete the Mile 2-Badagry Road Expansion project in quick time. Ambode who gave the assurance when he inspected the Mile 2-Badagry road construction works, which was being expanded to a 10-lane way, said the contractor working on the project would be mobilized to ensure its completion. Ambode has equally commenced the building of a 1000-truck capacity park in Orile-Iganmu in order to resolve the perennial traffic gridlock in the commercial area of the city adding that the daily loading of the tank trucks on the Apapa bridge by the tank farm owners has to be stopped to allow free flow of traffic on the bridge.

Also, with the creation of the Office of Civic Engagement under the Deputy Governor’s Office to strengthen and enhance his promise on government of inclusion, everyone now has a voice in his administration.

Ambode is opting for a smaller cabinet compared to that of his predecessor since he has scrapped the Ministry of Rural Development, Monitoring Office, Political and Legislative Powers Bureau, Office of the Special Adviser on Taxation and Revenue as well as Debt Management Office. He has also merged the Office of Works and Office of Infrastructure; Office of Drainage Services and Office of Environmental Service for effective execution of government services.

In the same vein, he has converted the Ministry of Home Affairs to Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture which is saddled with responsibilities beyond home affairs alone. He has equally expanded the ministry of Special Duties to accommodate Inter-governmental relations, renaming it ministry of Special Duties and Inter-governmental relations while that of the Office of Transformation has been expanded and renamed the Office of Transformation, Creativity and Innovation. In addition, the responsibilities of ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs have been expanded to include Community Affairs, renaming it Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs.

Ambode, the man whose yes is yes has fulfilled his promise of compensating the victims of the petroleum tanker explosion at Iyanan-Ipaja and Idimu area of Lagos that destroyed properties worth millions of naira were gutted when tankers laden with petroleum exploded. He donated N100,000 each to them to prove his deep concern for the welfare of the citizens. This token was given as palliative measures to cushion the losses incurred by the victims as well as to enable them return to their normal lives prior to the outcome of the investigations into the cause of explosion. As a humanitarian, he has rehabilitated Mrs Ruth Uche, the mother of three sets of twins whose husband Mr Benjamin Uche absconded from their home after the third set of twins was delivered and assisted in raising the children.

To show that he is not tribalistic, Ambode has appointed Engineer Peter Nkedishuka Okonji, an Igbo man, as the new General Manager of the State Electricity Board in place of Mrs. Damilola Ogunbiyi, who was appointed the general manager by the immediate past governor. This has shown that as a patriotic Nigerian, he is willing to work with any person irrespective of tribal or religious affiliations

As one of his noble achievements within his few days of assumption of office, Ambode has declaredthe second Lekki-Epe Expressway toll-free stating that his major concern was ensuring the completion of the road and not in the toll fees levied upon the road users.

As a governor who listens to the cry of the masses, Ambode has placed sanctions on LASTMA, VIO, KAI and other uniformed operatives in Lagos state for any unlawful arrest, harassment, detention and impounding of vehicles of unsuspecting citizens for their selfish gains as complained by the majority of Lagosians. This is in fulfillment of one of his campaign promises to sanitize the above agencies.

To exploit Tourism potentials in Lagos state, Ambode has launched the tree-planting campaign as well as the Deep Sea Port project in Badagry covering about 1000 hectares of land area which is believed to become the biggest in the African continent when completed. This is to harness the tourism potentials and side attractions notable within the axis which in turn will provide new settlements, boost the economy and improve the standard of living of the general citizens of Lagos state.

In his commitment towards addressing the issue of quality of education in the state, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has approved the recruitment of no fewer than 1300 teachers into all public primary schools across the State as part of efforts aimed at strengthening the quality of the Universal Basic Education Programme in Lagos State and to achieve a balanced workforce of teachers in public primary schools in the State. Also, he has approved the payment of the annual bursary awards for students in higher institution of learning across the country stressing that his administration is determined to ensure that no child who seeks education is left behind. The funds have been released for the fifth and sixth payments of bursary to 2010/2011 bursary beneficiaries in universities across the country and the second payment for 2013/2014 beneficiaries studying in Polytechnics and Colleges of Education is also ready. Also,Governor Ambode has approved N188.5 million for the paymentof 2014 / 2015 local scholarship and subsequent payments to students studying in various tertiary institutions across the country. About 886 students would benefit from the awards, which the governor had approved as part of efforts of the state government to reduce the financial burden of its citizenry. “Four hundred (400) new beneficiaries will receive N88, 900,000 while 486 subsequent beneficiaries will be paid N99, 565,850. In addition, Gov Ambode has resolved the crises rocking the 31-year-old, State University, LASU, Ojo, which resulted in the dismissal of the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof. John Obafunwa out of his office in March this year by the union. This he did after inviting warring parties to the round table for peaceful resolution of the disputes in order that the students will now return back to study.

For effective sports development in lagos State, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has appointed Mr. Ayo Agbesanwa as the director general, Lagos state sports commission. The governor reiterated his commitment to revive sports in Lagos and trusted the wealth of experience that Agbesanwa had in the sector which will be key in making the vision a reality.

Ambode as part of efforts to enhance retirees’ welfare has approved the payment of N2.2billion to 658 retirees in the state who had retired from the mainstream of the Civil Service, Local Government, SUBEB and other parastatals. This Retirement Benefit Bond presentation, being the 18th consecutive one since the inception of the Contributory Pension Scheme, signifies the strong commitment of the State Government to the implementation and continued sustainability of the Contributory Pension scheme.

His Excellency has equally embarked on local government reforms with the aim of making the 57 local governments and local council development areas more responsive to the needs of the people and give governance back to the people in line with his objective to run an all-inclusive government. He has also created a platform to recognize excellence in self-development efforts of the communities and reward same though provision of grants, assistance and other support through the Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas.

Ambode has put in place strategies that would engender sustainable food production especially in fishery by creating enabling environment, facilitate capacity building and create ground for easy access to credit facility for fish farmers. This will certainly reduce the cost of production and enhance profitability since more than 22 per cent of the entire land mass of Lagos is covered by water and about 180 km is a coastline.

In the Civil Service, the governor has approved the appointment of 19 new Permanent Secretaries in the State Public Service to restructure the civil service for efficient performance and service delivery as well as prompt payment of remunerations.

In the health sector, Ambode has commissioned 20 Mobile Intensive Care Units (MICU) and 26 Transport Ambulances which were stationed at the 26 General hospitals in Lagos in his fulfillment of his administration’s commitment to bring quality healthcare service closer to the people. He has also approved the recruitment of more paramedic staff and special medical coordinators to ensure 24 hours service to the citizens. Alongside this, he has upgraded the General Hospitals within the state and constructed a Medical Park while also ensuring the availability of Quality Drugs, new mobile X-Ray machines and more hospitals.

Ambode as a man of vision has made significant progress in the expansion of the existing waterway transportation system to ease road traffic since Lagos is blessed with abundant water resources by encouraging private participation in water transportation. The traffic in Lagos is said to be worst in the world and every day, Lagosians are locked up in traffic snarl while wasting productive hours on the roads but this move made by the visionary government to ameliorate this traffic saga in Lagos State is a remarkable one.

In the area of security, Ambode has handed over 10 brand new Hilux Vehicles and 15 motorbikes to the police and charged them to utilize the vehicles judiciously to enhance security of lives and properties in the state.

In conclusion, if these achievements can be recorded within his 100 days in office, then, there is no doubt that with the eventual emergence of his commissioners and directors of other agencies, Ambode is sure to bring all his campaign promises to reality and make a name in the history of Lagos state. It is therefore right to say that better is not enough, rather, the best is yet to come in Ambode’s administration.

God bless Ambode
God bless Lagos State
Nonso Inekwere
Festac Town, Lagos

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Articles by Nonso Inekwere