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It
was just a few days after he was sworn into office on May 29. He was in
Abuja for the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting when there were
tanker fire explosions at the Idimu petrol station as well as a serious
fire incident at Iyana Ipaja. He immediately took the next flight back
to his state and headed for the scenes of the tragedies to personally
empathise and share in the pain of the people. He gave instructions to
provide immediate succour for the victims while he convened a meeting of
petrol marketers to map out strategies to avoid future tanker
explosions. This kind of decisive responsiveness has been a hallmark of
Lagos State governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode’s governance style ever since
his assumption of office 100 days ago.

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Let
us take another example. Mrs Ruth Uche, an Igbo resident of Lagos was
in a dilemma. She had just given birth to her third set of twins. Her
depressed and distressed husband had absconded obviously out of
desperation and helplessness. The governor read about her plight in the
newspapers. He did not adopt an indifferent stance. He directed his
deputy, Mrs Oluranti Adebule, to cater to the needs of the mother and
help re-settle the family. Today, Mrs Uche’s absconding husband is back.
The family has been fully re-settled and are living a normal life. It
is obvious that seemingly little things matter to governor Ambode.

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But
there is yet another example. Miss Oluwajomiloju Goodness Ogundimu is
the Lagos State 2015 baby of the year. Yet, her future was imperilled,
her life threatened by a heart defect requiring surgery. Again, governor
Ambode intervened. Baby Goodness and her parents can today look to the
future with hope and optimism. She is now hale and hearty after
undergoing successful surgery in India courtesy the Ambode
administration.
An
abandoned, penurious retiree can be as helpless and vulnerable as a
baby. The emotional wound of being cast aside and neglected after an
active life of service to the state and society can be searing and
numbing. This was the plight of thousands of retirees from the various
Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the state prior to Ambode’s
assumption of office. Today the story is different. Early in August, Mr
Ambode approved N11 billion to offset arrears owed retirees including
those from Local Governments and Parastatal organizations since 2010.
The retirees can sing new songs of joy knowing their labour has not gone
unrewarded and unappreciated.

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In
the early days of the governor Ambode administration, there was an
alarming bank robbery incident in Ikorodu during which the bandits
operated freely for hours. This was in addition to complaints of an
increase of robbery incidents in traffic as well as reports of the
creeping return of area boys and other sundry hoodlums to Oshodi and
some other parts of the state. Governor Ambode not only stepped up
pressure on the security agencies to live up to their responsibility, he
has taken proactive steps to enhance their capacity to do so. For
instance, at a dinner organized by the Lagos State Security Trust Fund
(LSSTF), the governor presented his plans to strengthen the security of
the state to members of the Organized Private Sector and requested for
their support in this regard. The result was the realization of
donations of over N1 billion to the state’s security efforts – an
indication of confidence in the integrity of the administration.

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Over
the last three months, the Ambode administration has acquired 100 new
power bikes, 10 armoured tanks and a helicopter to strengthen the
security of the state. This is in addition to the acquisition of 100 new
squad cars for a new initiative tagged Special Operation Service (SOS),
which will coordinate community policing in collaboration with the
Rapid Response Squad (RRS). Of course, there is a link between free
traffic flow and reduced crime as well as enhanced economic
productivity. Thus, the question of traffic gridlock in Lagos
particularly in the notorious Apapa axis has received the unceasing
attention of the governor in the last 100 days.

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Governor
Ambode has not only personally inspected the traffic situation in Apapa
and appealed to the Federal Government to expedite action on
rehabilitating the network of roads in the area majority of which
belongs to it. He set up a task force to ensure 24 hours surveillance of
traffic flow while also holding a meeting with Tanker Drivers and other
stakeholders to come up with strategies to free Apapa once and for all
from the menace of Traffic gridlock. Equally of concern to governor
Ambode has been the rehabilitation and modernisation of the road network
in the state. In this regard, he has conducted inspection tours of
roads in various areas including Ipaja, Mosan-Okunola, Oshodi-Isolo,
Ikotun-Ejigbo and Somolu areas. On his directives, work has commenced on
the more deplorable roads including Ejigbo-Ikotun as well as Brown road
in Oshodi. From all indications, it seems there will be a conscious
shift by the Ambode administration from the perceived elitist focus of
his predecessor to the more neglected and less privileged areas of the
state.

In
the education sector, the governor approved the recruitment of 1,300
qualified teachers for the state’s public primary schools while in the
health sector he commissioned 20 Mobile care Units Ambulances and 26
Transport Ambulances for the state’s General Hospitals and primary
healthcare centres on Monday, August 31. Beyond this, he has approved
the purchase of generators and x-ray machines for all general hospitals
in the state as well as the recruitment of more paramedic staff and
special medical coordinators to guarantee 24 hours service to the
citizenry.

During
the electoral campaigns, Mr Ambode urged the electorate to allow his
experience in governance to work for them. His sterling track record as a
seasoned civil servant who rose to the apex of the service over a
period of 27 years as well as an accomplished Chartered Accountant,
consultant and astute manager of men and resources were some of his key
selling points. His sure footedness right from his first day in office
vindicates the electorate’s decision to vote for experience and
demonstrated competence. Thus, some of the institutional innovations he
has engineered to ensure the achievement of his objectives include
re-aligning the Ministry of Rural Development, Parastatals Monitoring
Office as well as the Political and Legislative Powers Bureau.Apart
from scrapping the office of the Special Adviser on Taxation and
Revenue and Debt Management Office, he merged the Office of Works and
Office of Infrastructure in the Ministry of Works as well as the Office
of Drainage Services and Office of Environmental Services in the
Ministry of Environment. This is to enhance efficiency and cost
effectiveness. He has also set up an Office of Overseas Affairs and
Investment (Lagos Global) domiciled in his office to spearhead his
administration’s aggressive drive for foreign investment. The governor’s
appointment of 19 new Permanent Secretaries based strictly on merit,
competence and track record has also invigorated the leadership of the
service with the promise of greater dynamism and more qualitative
service delivery.

Governor
Ambode has also moved to enhance accountability and transparency in the
management of the state’s finances by abolishing the multiple account
system previously in operation and introducing from September 1 a
Treasury Single Account (TSA), which ensures that all government
revenues accrue to one consolidated account. If governor Ambode’s first
100 days in office offer glimpses of the shape of things to come in the
governance of the Centre of Excellence in the next four years, we should
expect more of responsiveness, proactive action, compassion, innovation
and focus to elevate Lagos to a higher pedestal of excellence.

Of
course, given his tremendous public service experience, the governor
knows that his ultimate success will largely be a function of his
ability to shun sycophants and cultivate alternative sources of
authentic information to aid effective governance. Given his vast
experience in Local Government administration, millions of Lagosians are
optimistic that Governor Ambode will return governance to the people by
ensuring more effective service delivery at the grassroots level of
government widely perceived as grossly underperforming.

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