As the primary election of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the diverse positions across the country gathers momentum, pressures are being mounted on the Lagos State governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode to step down for Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu. Indeed, Ambode has done well for the state that could earn him another term, as the proverb says, ‘One good term deserves another’.
This is the man Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former governor of Lagos State described as “an uncommon civil servant” who works for the state diligently and to the best of his knowledge and in whom he discovered an embodiment of the sterling attributes of a great accountant.
Ambode’s mission and vision to excel in whatever situation he finds himself, combined with an inner strength to conquer the hurdles that fate may place along his path, marks him out as a unique Nigerian. Ordinarily, he would have capitulated and turned himself into an area boy when his father died at the age of 18 years. But he didn’t because he wants to become something in the future. So, he chose to focus his energy fully on his academics which paid off handsomely today.
That brings us to his choice of where to ply his trade, many in his shoes would have opted for a private practice for quick monetary gains. Instead, Ambode chose the civil service job with its bureaucratic bottleneck and slow-grinding rise to self actualization. Why did he do so? The answer, as exhibited by the landmark achievements he recorded at the various places of work, is to leave an enduring mark on the sands of his accounting profession. Only a man with the passion for selfless service would do that. And truth be told, there are few of them, not only here in Lagos but the entire Nigerian nation.
Rising from the humble position of a junior accountant, he moved rapidly up the ladder of success to becoming the youngest ever Auditor General for Local Governments in Lagos State in 2001. Subsequently, he was made the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance in January 2005 before bring combined with the additional responsibility as the Accountant General in February, 2006. As one determined to make his mark, the genius in him restructured the financial transactions that resulted in the state budget’s performance of over 80 percent increased.
But of a remarkable achievement was how he assisted to keep the state running during the embattled period when the Olusegun Obasanjo-led administration unilaterally stopped allocation to local governments in the state. A more critical look at his book: Public Sector Financing may shed more light on the strategies used to keep the state afloat in those dark days.
There are some notable achievements which Lagos State political gladiators need to put into consideration for him to run for second term. Among them is the backlog payment of N11billion as arrears to retirees of Lagos State government, construction of Safety Arena in Oshodi, in order to bring all the departments and agencies responsible for safety and emergency management under one roof, completion of more than 300 local government road projects since 2015, repositioning of Lagos State Emergency Agency, LASEMA, and the agency now operates via four centres, namely Command and Control Centre, Alausa, Ikeja; LASEMA Response Unit (LRU) Cappa Oshodi; LASEMA Response Unit, Lekki (by Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge) and LASEMA Response Unit, Onipanu. Construction of LRU with modern equipment (trucks, power bikes, heavy-duty vehicles and fire trucks, mobile intensive care Ambulances and light rescue equipment, and 14 new BMW power bikes for on-spot reconnaissance assessments of emergency incidents.
One thing is certain; Ambode certainly has the leadership qualities to build on the great works both Tinubu and Fashola had achieved so far. As an overcomer of daunting obstacles, many are watching how Ambode would surmount the hurdles ahead.
Epe, Lagos State