Without a leader, black ants are confused. ~Ugandan proverb

Several years ago I was in a plane with a senior colleague going into South Africa. As the plane started descending, my senior colleague started to talk about how so much advanced South Africa was in contrast to Nigeria. He said as you descended into the country, the difference could be seen from the sky. The street lights lining the road were so orderly and welcoming that it gave up a sense of law, order and direction. It was such a contrast to Lagos or Nigerian cities where you were greeted by darkness on either take off or landing.

ambode is working

I took that in my heart and as went into one advanced country after the other, I took time to notice the phenomenon of street lights.

One of the things that has always baffled me till date is the blindness of Nigerian politicians and leaders. These are people that own expensive homes in Dubai and several other countries. People who have visited several countries in the world and yet can’t lift their states beyond the level they see. It is shocking that some of the most travelled of our leaders preside over the dirtiest of states, preferring to use the money to pursue one reckless venture after the other.

So I was pleasantly surprised one night as I came into Lagos from South Africa on an early Arik air flight to see the city transformed. The night view was so different that I just had to take a look. “How  did he manage it?” I asked myself. Nigeria was in the midst of its worst electricity crisis in several ages. The areas around looked dark and forlorn but the street lights were shinning. Hmmmm I thought, let’s give it some time. Several months later as my Arik flight descended again, I noticed that even more areas were lit. I was so impressed that I had to take pictures and do this write up.

Now, I must admit that at the time of elections, I voted Jimi Agbaje over Ambode. In the course of the election, I believed Ambode to have a more riveting campaign but Jimi Agbaje to have a clearer course of action. I danced to the sounds of Ambo, Ambo … But voted to the wisdom of the Agbaje manifesto. After 16 years, I felt that AD/APC could have done better with Lagos than we had seen. Since change was sweeping through the country, we might as well have change.

Well, the initial days of Ambode were filled with guffaws and snags. Terrible traffic, several issues and at one point, it looked as if the government would suffer a melt down. It just seemed that the shoes he came to fill were too huge for him.

ambode is working

But a couple of things caught my attention about Ambode that slowly made me accept his leadership. First of all, he was visible. We could see him at the forefront of things happening. The roads were bad, Ambode was there paying attention, visiting the matter and letting us know he was doing something. The traffic was bad, we saw him on social media stopping his car and accosting offenders. We saw his efforts in buying vehicles for the police, equipping traffic enforcement officers, holding briefings with traffic police and generally just doing something.

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When the kids were kidnapped from a school, Ambode was on air personally leading the crusade to get the kids back. He promised us that the kids would be back and he delivered. When there was a fracas in mile 12 market, Ambode was there. He visited the place, took proactive action and stopped the fracas before it went out of hand.

I don’t quite agree with all of the Lagos governor’s actions. For example his new law on street hawkers amongst others but, I must admit that generally, he has been a great leader.

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Did Lagos have problems? Yes, it had huge ones. Huge public debt from a previous administration, reduction in revenue and several other problems leading from the larger issues all of Nigeria was facing. But what caught my eye was the way Ambode dealt with them. Just like the federal government, Ambode was preceded by a predecessor tainted with charges of corruption. I am sure we can all remember #boreholegate, #600Mcarparkgate amongst others. Ambode took over from a Fashola government that literally went to sleep in the last 3 years of its 8-year sojourn.

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But unlike the federal government, the governor of Lagos State recognized that this was just one of the myriad of problems facing his administration. After the initial few months of seeming rifts between him and the past governor, we saw a moving on and surging forward. Not since then have we heard him complain about how he can’t move on because of the sins of the past government.

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We are aware his administration also had huge problems with bills and unresolved issues coming from the past administration but he didn’t let this deter his set course and plans. One key campaign promise of his centered around security. He promised to make Lagos safe and we have seen his efforts around that. Everything in government starts with safety. Investors feel good to invest when there is assurance of safety. That is why we see the roads lit by streetlights, why we see the vehicles, helicopters and safety apparatus bought and deployed by the government. Why we all that live in Lagos have a sense of safety.

Above all, the governor is visible. There is single communication coming from him and his camp. We have a full sense of direction and where he is going. There is no ambiguity about his government and his agenda is very clear. It is no doubt that in spite of severe revenue drain, Lagos is seen as the hope of Nigeria and the governor is receiving accolades left, right and center.

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Well done Governor Ambode. I truly wish the rest of the APC government and leadership would look at what you are doing, take a leaf from it and move this our great country forward.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Lovely write-up……Lagos is moving & Ambode is working……Fashola did so well, so Ambose should follow suit, if not………..

    • Noooooo, Fashola came into Office from “nothingness” and stole Lagos money greedily and perfectly well while Ambode was a man of means before he became Governor, hence he can not, would not and should not follow suit in stealing. A+ is a Great but silent achiever, he would soon shock the world, from Lagos- Nigeria. God bless my workers friendly Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.

  2. I also don’t like him initially, but he spring up to challenges and improved on his electioneering promises from roads, security, traffic, wealth creation & others. Well done Mr Gomina

  3. Ambode,just started and they deceive public in their first four years,when u they come back for d second term,u will see their true colour.This man is TINUBU boy,so don’t expect anything good in second term and take what Aregbesola,Ajumobi found in their state,the electorate are regretting voting for second term,so Ambode will be worse in second term.

  4. The true is that the electorate should not be allowing d doing good governor to run for second time. Or be voted out because All of them uses first time to please electorate and d second time to loot. Oshemole is a good example.

  5. It looks to me more like a politics-colored write up. To sacrifice one to lift other up. Apart from the streets lights you wrote about, and a few other nip-in-the-bud efforts of the Governor, what other remarkable achievements have been made?
    What % of Lagos area is covered by this street lights?
    Has the problem of heavy traffic around Lagos being solved? And what is the contribution of this present government to solving the problem?
    In all of these specific references and locations should be mentioned. Regards.

    • Segun when last did you visit Lagos. When next are you coming to see the good works of the silence achiever. Am sure at the end of Ambodes tenure he won’t deny ever seeing a check before let alone signing it.

  6. Ambode is on point so far in Lagos unlike Fashola who fooled Lagosians by dancing to the gallery to make us believe he was working whilst just siphoning money away to UK & US accounts and amasing buildings in Dubai. But it is not yet Uhuru. W e hope he will not end up like Fashola. So far so good for him.

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