Lagos Gov Akinwunmi Ambode Recommends 25-Year Jail Term For Rapists

Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State on Monday recommended minimum sentence of 25 years for rapists, saying rape should not be met with light sentencing.Ambode made the recommendation during a symbolic walk against domestic and sexual violence at Alausa.

“It is highly recommended. We need new laws which will respond adequately to the nature and occurrences of this era.“Domestic violence is a crime and should be treated as such. The Protection against Domestic Violence Law, 2007 should, therefore, be amended accordingly,” he said.

Ambode urged the Nigeria Police Force, which was usually the first point of call, to strive to be more professional and ensure proper investigation of reported cases by grooming specialist officers in that regard.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Gov Ambode Signs N1.046 Trillion Appropriation Bill Into Law

The Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode has signed over 1 trillion naira of the 2018 Appropriation Bill of the State into law.

This is with a total budget size of N1,046,121,181,680.00.

The budget comprises of about N347 billion to be funded from the Consolidated Revenue Fund, and about N699 billion from the Development Fund for both capital and recurrent expenditure for the year ending 31st December, 2018.

Governor Ambode, while presenting the 2018 Appropriation Bill to the State House of Assembly, had pledged that his administration would make every effort to complete all ongoing projects as well as initiate new ones to consolidate on the development recorded in the last two and half years.

He said the budget, christened as “Budget of Progress and Development”, would be used to consolidate on the achievements recorded in infrastructure, education, transportation/traffic management, security and health sectors, among others.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

As Buhari Takes Devil’s Position, Ambode Becomes “Anti-masses” By Shomoye Abiodun

President Buhari and his new position:

Some days ago, I took to my twitter page via @MrShomoye to share my perceived change in the societally common shibboleth, after tweeting the opinion, I thereafter realized the 140 character provided by Twitter is not enough to portray the intended message hence I am left with the option of writing this piece. After reading this, I am certain that we all will relate it to our environments and will eventually vindicate my assertion. The tweet is quoted below:

“Finally, devil has found a replacement in Nigeria. Anything now is no longer Devil, it’s now Buhari. Forgery; Buhari, Stealing; Buhari,”

Believe me you, it is a common character in this part of the world to transact blame anytime we are found guilty of any wrong doing, we hardly take responsibilities for our actions and inactions. Though, this might not be peculiar to all but certainly a larger percentage of the population does this. It is actually acceptable if the person who the blame was directed to, was actually the motor spirit that supported the occurrence of the abysmal acts, probably as society, we can pity you but mind you, not in the court of law.

There have been paradigm shifts in the occupant of the prestigious sit titled “Who to blame”. Sometimes ago, all the blames were usually directed to either someone’s stepmother(s) (In the case of polygamous family), father’s concubine(s) or the village people at large. At that time, if anyone gets caught indulging in terrible acts, the next statement to hear is “my village people finally caught me” or “Iya Sikira has caught me”.  At that time, the blame-receivers were “Village people”, “Father’s concubine(s)” and “step mother(s)”.

As years goes on, things began to change, polygamous marriage began to reduce, and village people became busier. As at that time, the key two receivers of blame seems too busy to receive those. But trust Nigerians, we must definitely create alternatives, this time Devil became the new victim. Immediately Devil became the soul receiver of blames, all bad deeds were attributed to him as the motivating factor (like he came into their souls or he was using a remote controller over them). As of this time, if a thief is caught, the next statement will be; its devil’s handwork.

Contrary to the previous situation where everyone has individual villages or step mothers receiving the blames, devil’s own was different as he was the only receiver. As expected the available space in Devil’s bungalow to receive blames got filled up, my people were left in lacuna again, the search for the new occupant of the sit began.

Unfortunately for President Buhari, he was sworn in as at the time the search game was serious. President Buhari being unaware of the search game concentrated on closing two doors (anti-corruption door and counter terrorism) in his own apartment, what a careless one from the President. The other doors that were left unclosed made him vulnerable and expectedly gave room for the blames to pour in millions. President Buhari is now the current occupant of the prestigious sit, now the devil is free to leave in peace for the time being.

What do we now have after Buhari’s emergence?

  • When caught stealing; Buhari o
  • Even when tax clearance was forged prior to becoming governor; Buhari o
  • Senate order was forged; Buhari o
  • Economy; Buhari o
  • Kidnapping; Buhari o
  • EFCC doing performing its duties: Buhari o

Those blaming Buhari for economy woes are still on track but what concerns Buhari with tax clearance forgery case? Is it Buhari that aided the forgery of senate order? For God’s sake!!

In order to leave the “who to blame” sit, president Buhari has given mandates to six-months-studied “saints” to man the doors and ensure no blames comes through them again. Saint that doesn’t sign cheque got a 3-in-one door to man but unfortunately, he has done nothing tangible to make differences, his door remains one of the best extending Buhari’s stay as the blame receiver. Most of the “saints” are even on sabbatical leaves, it’s very appalling that nothing tangible is coming from them for now. Their ineffectiveness is making President Buhari remain as the occupant of “who to blame” sit, I sincerely hope President Buhari will consider sacking some of them after this current fiscal years.

Lest I forget, what made me write this? Buhari o

Ambode: The Creator of Decree before Design

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode seems to have enacted his first law as a governor, majority has been waiting for the governor’s first law as his predecessor Fashola was known for lots of such, and one of fashola’s laws remains the ban of Okada riders on highways. Fashola’s decision back then generated lots of debates, Ambode’s own seems to have tow the same direction as he has made known to all that street hawking is an offence in Lagos state. Actually, the decision might be considered good as no one wants to be on the street hawking but the decision will metamorphosed into full grown anti-masses decision if at the end there is no provision for the disengaged masses as no one wants to be jobless.

Governor Ambode while making the decision apparently forgot some salient issues; he forgot he is governing a state where large amount of people (even with hawking business) can’t afford accommodation for themselves, he forgot he is governing a state where good number of people are currently jobless (now he is adding to the population), he ultimately forgot there is only one liberty in Lagos (liberty to earn a living)?. As is it now, governor Ambode has taken away the only liberty Lagosians enjoys with nothing to replace it. Rather than providing alternatives for them, the governor went ahead to impose jail term and penalty just to scare away the poor masses, is this the best to do after taking away their means of survival? Is governor Ambode aware of the fact that this population constitute large percentage of his board of employer? Definitely he forgot all before taking a decision that makes his employers looks like his employee.

In a sane society, before such decision will be made public, alternative provisions to assimilate the disengaged would have been put in place to assimilate them. Oh! That is for sane society anyways.

Now that governor Ambode has taken the decision as expected in an insane society, I personally don’t want him to reverse it. All I want from Ambode now is to correct his mistakes by providing a non-hawking environment which at the same time will be favorable for trading opportunity.

It will be an imposition of lifestyle, if craft is the only alternative route at the end. Every human has passion and interest, some’s own might be craft while some’s might not. Some are structured to be traders (which hawking is a means), some are not. The best for Ambode is to provide the two (Craft and Trade). We have bus stops across Lagos, creating mini stops for them won’t be a bad idea.

I just have to pity Lagosians now, as their burden is plus 10. Those who leaves their various beds as early as 4am to beat traffic gridlocks are the secondary victims of this ban. No more 50naira snacks and drink to bail you out. Your governor has prioritized banning hawkers ahead of ending traffic gridlock which is supporting its (hawking) existence.

Eku se se be re ni o


Shomoye Abiodun


[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Governor Ambode Denies Kidnap Attempt On His Mother

The Lagos State Governor on Saturday denied media reports claiming that a kidnap attempt was made on his mother, Mrs Christianah Ambode at her residence in Gbagada area of the State on Friday evening.

The governor, in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Habib Aruna, denied the media report, saying that it was not a true reflection of what transpired at the residence of his mother.

An online newspaper had claimed that heavily armed gunmen invaded the Governor’s mother’s residence and disarmed the octogenarian’s police detail in an apparent attempt to abduct her.

The newspaper had further reported that the unfortunate development took place at about 7:30pm, while a back-up team arrived at the scene at about8:10pm.

Responding, Aruna said: “Whilst it is true that a commotion occurred at the residence of the Governor’s mother on the fateful day, it was however far from the truth that it was a kidnap attempt.

“What really transpired was that a man parked his vehicle in front of the residence of the Governor’s mother and the security detail attached to the building asked him not to park there so as not to block the entrance.

“The man who claimed to be a military personnel was not in uniform as at the time of the unfortunate incident but he insisted on parking in front of the building on the ground that he was a military personnel.

“He then went on to invite military personnel attached to Operation MESA to beat Mrs. Ambode’s police details after he was advised not to park his vehicle outside the building.

“The unfortunate part was that the newspaper rightly reported this aspect of the development in the body of the story but still claimed in the lead paragraph that it was an apparent kidnap attempt.

“While we would like to put on record that the disturbance was not a kidnap attempt on the Governor’s mother as nothing untoward happened to her, we also like to caution against needless sensational journalism which could cause unnecessary panic.

“At the moment, officials of the State Government are taking appropriate steps to sanction the unruly military personnel who joined their colleague to disturb public peace,” Aruna stated.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

VIDEO: What Ambode Plans To Transform Oshodi To In 2017

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, Wednesday, said the long awaited regeneration of Oshodi into a world class Central Business District (CBD) will commence next week with the construction of Transport Interchange which will feature the consolidation of all 13 city and interstate parks in Oshodi into 3 multi-story bus terminals.

In a series on tweets Tuesday, Ambode said the Terminal 1, wich is the Mosafejo Market Axis, would be for Inter-state transportation, while Terminal 2 and 3 will be for Intra-city transport activities.

The three floors, which will be 30, 000 square metres for each terminal, will take care of the parking and passenger demand.


He said the terminals will have standard facilities including waiting area, loading bays,ticketing stands, drivers lounge & parking areas.

See the video of the proposed Oshodi world class Central Business District (CBD)

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Don’t Relocate Mile 12 Market, Gov. Ganduje Appeals To Ambode

Gov. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano state has said that his Lagos state colleague, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode “appears positive” after considering the implication of relocating the popular Mile 12 market in Lagos, to Imota, in the outskirts of the state capital.

This followed a formal letter of appeal by the governor of Kano state on the matter, which was followed by a meeting between the two governors on Tuesday morning, in Lagos.

Governor Ganduje who made the disclosure while addressing the traders recalled that the decision to relocate the market was informed by a fracas last March, as a result of which the market was shut down for days.

“I discussed with my colleagues the Northern governors and I initiated a letter to the governor of Lagos state to reconsider the proposed relocation of the market. The letter was copied to all the Northern governors and the Lagos state governor appeared positive after seeing the implication of relocating the market”, governor Ganduje stated.

He appealed to the Lagos state government to reconsider its decision to relocate the Mile 12 market because of the economic and social repercussions of such action on the Hausa community’s do other traders in the market and indeed the entire people of Lagos state will be negatively affected thereby harming the overall economy of the state.

He noted that the Mile 12 market has similarity with Abubakar Rimi Market in Kano because both are populated by traders from all tribes in Nigeria, the governor urged the traders to continue to interact amicably in the interest of national progress.

While expressing optimism that the Lagos state government would allow the market to remain as it is, he assured the traders that it would also look into issues of insecurity and other problems with all seriousness.

He called on the traders to remain law abiding and continue with their legitimate businesses while shunning acts capable of breaching the peace.

Governor Ganduje was accompanied by the Speaker of the State House of Assemble, Hon. Kabiru Alasan Rurum, who was once the Secretary General of Mile 12 Market Traders Association and one-time councilor in Lagos state, the state Commissioner for Information, Comrade Muhammad Garba, a Yoruba Elder in Kano, Basorun Dr. Jimpat Ayelangbe and a the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Inter Community Relations (in charge of Southwest) Alh. AbdulFattah Bimbo Yusuf.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Lekki Building Collapse and the Action Oriented Steps Taken by Ambode – Lanre Olagunju

Ambode has shown clearly that he is a no nonsense leader, as against the perception by many at the very beginning of his administration in 2015 that Lagos has elected a go-slow-leader.  It is crystal clear from all indications that he is a careful manager of resources and situations, essentially on peculiar issues that concerns the people of Lagos. He has shown this in many ways, and a recent example is his swift response to the security crisis that enveloped Lagos in the last quarter of 2015 and the recent rescue of the 3 abducted students of Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary in Ikorodu. If we had a smart thinking and concerned president like Ambode when the Chibok girls were kidnapped, the abduction saga of the Chibok girls certainly would have been much different.

It is very sad that Lagos has again recorded another incident of collapsed building; it is even more painful and critical when one considers the news update that the incident was clearly an avoidable one, if the Managing Directors of of Lekki Gardens, Richard Nyong and Taiwo Henry didn’t flout orders from concerned regulatory agencies.

I am quite impressed with the steps taken so far by the state government and the Nigerian Police. Leadership is essentially about taking charge and not giving flimsy excuses. Definitely things will go wrong sometimes, most especially in a country state like Lagos, but like Ambode has always shown, standing up to the occasion with speed and tact will always be the key thing.

The argument raised by some prominent media giants and influencers, comparing the recent Lekki Building collapse  with that of the TB Joshua building  is quite shameful. No two human are the same, and in the very sense, no two leaders will ever be. The Lagos state government has clearly said that the directors of Lekki Gardens, allegedly, in a blatant act of defiance, unsealed the collapsed property and continued building beyond the initially approved floors, ignoring all warning signals until the unfortunate incident which claimed about 34 lives.

I think it is shameful to raise any argument in support of a distasteful act like this. The least is to allow justice take its place, for crying out loud, some innocent lives were lost and many are in either physical or emotional pains at the moment. Those struggling to raise an argument in support of TB Joshua should be reminded that the TB Joshua case is actually still in court. The two directors of Lekki Gardens are being reprimanded in Panti because the police has demanded from the court that they be held back to ease investigation.

In the case of TB Joshua, the Lagos state government claimed the church didn’t get approval for the said construction before building.  In the case of Lekki Garden, there was a clear case of ignoring warning from the government directly. I think the latter case is more severe. Some analysts have even gone forth to explain that the previous administration did its best to handle the TB Joshua case with utmost caution, probably due to the fact that Fashola was cautious of religious tension that the case might raise.

However, Man of God or no Man of God, anyone who is found guilty should be made to face the law.

It is impressive to know that Governor Ambode isn’t holding anything back.  After asking the Lekki Gardens Directors to report themselves to the Commissioner of Police or face arrest; he didn’t stop at that, or simply allow the Police or Judiciary dish out justice, while the acts of negligence by the concerned state agency be swept under the carpet.  No, that’s not the governor of Lagos! He has ensured the dismissal of the General Manager of the Building Control Agency (LASBCA), Engineer Adeigbe Olushola, Ambode has also dismissed the Head of Inspection and Quality Control in the Agency, Adeoye Thomas Adeyemi, the Zonal District Officer in the Agency, Dosunmu Gbadebo, while the Zonal Head of Eti-Osa West of the Agency, Mrs. Akinde Adenike Sherifat has been compulsorily retired from the Civil Service. These top government officials have been sacked due to acts of negligence that we most times over look as a people.

It is important to know that this is how to sweep impunity out of our nation. This is essentially some of the wind of change we desperately need but we are stylishly neglecting.

Many top officials in time past only get indicted, and then they still retain their top positions. We should be reminded that despite the death of 19 young people who died due to the stampede that occurred during the recruitment exercise poorly conducted by the Nigerian Immigration service, under the watch of Abba Moro, the former Minister of Interior. The minister was never relieved of his position neither was any disciplinary measure taken against him.

If we fail as a people to objectively and gradually strengthen our institutions and get rid of lawlessness, we would continue to pay for such in ways too many. Definitely, the actions taken by Ambode will send strong warnings to other civil servants and also business owners in the construction sector and beyond.


I am @Lanre_Olagunju on Twitter. 


Editor: Opinion expressed on this page are strictly those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of and its associates

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Open Letter To Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, On The Untoward Activities Of Kai Officers By Omoniyi Olayemi

On the 17th of November 2015, at about 2pm, I and a colleague arrived Lagos from an official assignment in Ogun state and alighted from a commercial vehicle at Oshodi (Isale). We had to walk a few meters and cross over to the other side of the road to board our next respective vehicles. Realising that the next pedestrian bridge in sight was about 200 meters from where we were, and that there was a pedestrian pavement constructed alongside the road median (obviously to aid walking and crossing due to wideness of the road and its proximity to the bridge), we decided to immediately cross over and make use of the pedestrian pavement, while we watched the traffic thin out and make a second crossing to the other side.

As we walked along the pedestrian pavement and chatted away, I noticed two unkempt men walking towards us and I immediately assumed that they were the usual touts (‘agberos’) who are a common sight within that area of the city. Unsure of their intentions as they approached us, I suddenly felt a hand grab me by the belt, and an attempt to tip me over. Instinctively, I fought back, screaming while trying to regain my balance, thinking it was a robbery in broad daylight. A brief tussle ensued between I and my attacker until we both almost got knocked down by a vehicle and then I decided to calm down and safely cross over to the other side where passers-by could come to my rescue.

Safely at the other side of the road, while being dragged by my shirt and belt, I asked my attacker why he was attacking me and he responded in Yoruba asking me if I didn’t know it was wrong to cross the ‘Express’. Only then did I notice my colleague suffering worse battering in the hands of two attackers dragging him towards a green and black KAI branded truck parked a few meters ahead. I told my attacker to let go of me and treat me with dignity as I am not a criminal, and that he should note that he ‘arrested’ us on a pedestrian pavement in the middle of the expressway. I resisted being hurled up into the truck while trying to explain, but my attacker got assistance from a collaborator who reached out from inside the truck, grabbed me by my head and they both practically threw me into the truck, alongside my colleague.

Sir, it was after I got up and peeped out through the iron bars on the truck, the same way I see convicted felons peep while being transported to and from prison in the ‘black maria’ that I noticed four men in actual KAI uniforms, chatting by the road side while about ten mean-looking touts (a lady inclusive) in plain dirty clothes were all over the road and median harassing individuals (men and women), throwing those whom they overpowered into the waiting truck.

After about thirty minutes in the truck with 10 gentlemen and two ladies, a young man in a pair of jeans and Ankara top came into the truck to inform us that we were being held for breaking Lagos state’s traffic laws and that our fine was 12,000 naira each. I immediately approached him and told him that I was pressed and need to ease myself. His rude response was that the earlier I took a corner in the truck and did my thing, the better for me. I challenged him for addressing me that manner and he said he would slap me, that I was speaking in the English language to prove to him that I was educated and that if I did not step away from him, he would slap me over and over (all this he said the Yoruba language).

One after another, those locked up in the truck approached him, and he would take them outside; they would ‘settle’ and he lets them go and then comes back into the truck after about fifteen minutes for the next person. At a point, my colleague approached him. They went outside and after ten minutes, my colleague called my phone to inform me that he had been released. He said he was told to drop anything he had, so he showed them his almost empty wallet, and then they asked him to go use the ATM. He pleaded saying that his bank account was also empty. After a lot of begging, he said the ‘collector’ told him that he likes him and that God was leading him to allow my colleague to go free.

Sir, while being held against my will for about four hours, fifteen minutes, I watched these KAI officials ( or touts) humiliate Lagos state residents going about their normal business, extorting money from them and inflicting various degrees of bodily harm on them. I watched with keen interest a particular young man who came with his boss, a swollen face and a blood shot left eye, after being previously attacked by these same officials while he was on his way to work. His boss came back with him to challenge them, requesting to speak with their superiors but they spent close to an hour begging, saying that it was a case of miscommunication between the employee and the KAI official and they were very sorry. They both left the scene after trying unsuccessfully to get justice.

Another middle aged man in a suit was practically lifted off the ground and carried across the road by three agents. While he was about to be thrown into the truck, he announced mid-air that he is a lawyer and he knows his rights. They immediately dropped him, took him aside and began to argue with him. He highlighted to them the facts that:

  1. There was no sign by either side of the road saying pedestrian crossing is prohibited.
  2. The so-called KAI officials were all over the road in mufti and not their uniforms and name tags to identify them as state government officials
  3. The so-called KAI officials are breaking the same law they claim to be enforcing and misleading innocent passers-by to attempt to crossover because of their inclusive presence on the road median and on the expressway themselves.
  4. Their mode of apprehension of so-called culprits was improper, inhumane, demeaning, illegal, uncivilised and an infringement of their fundamental human rights.

After much argument back and forth, they let him go and then moved the truck from where we had been (close to the foot of the pedestrian bridge), to the top of the bridge (Oshodi Oke, also called ‘Step’). From my vantage point in the truck, at the top of the bridge, I could see a dilapidated, rundown building below with the markings “The Lagos State Ministry of Environment…KAI Divisional Office” was also written below it. As soon as we arrived there, they all alighted in a frenzy, like soldiers arriving back home in victory, alive, and with their spoils of war. They grabbed every can of alcohol in sight, lit up every stick of tobacco they laid their hands on, frolicked with a few women who had been patiently waiting for their return in a ‘danfo’ bus parked in front of the office. It seemed like a carnival of some sort, rewards from a successful but hectic day of extortion of members of the public.

Finally, at about 6:15 pm, I was let out, asked to ‘help’ myself out of my situation, stressing the fact that I was supposed to be transferred to Alausa, in addition to my fine of N12, 000, and that they were only trying to assist me by asking me for a token and then, they would release me. I insisted that I had no money. ATM Card? I said I didn’t own one. The young man in jeans and Ankara top finally announced proudly (as if in an act of his gracious benevolence and magnanimity), “I am in no mood to take anyone to Alausa today” and so they should let me and the last person remaining in the truck to go.

I did not leave without overhearing that the official to whom that particular team of KAI operatives report to, is an Alhaji Ajikawo, who had just stepped out of the office minutes before our truck arrived back to base.

Sir, this unfortunate experience has therefore prompted me to respectfully ask you a few questions:

  1. Is there any existing law enacted by Lagos state specifically prohibiting the crossing of highways and empowering the KAI officials to arrest and punish respective erring citizens? (The Lagos state road traffic law, 2012, which I downloaded and studied from did not have any such provisions.)
  2. If there is, sir, what punishments are prescribed for offenders?
  3. How many meters away from a pedestrian bridge is it unlawful to cross a highway from?
  4. Is it only unlawful to cross the highway at particular times of the day or only when KAI officials and their vehicles are stationed at the foot of the bridge?(because at other times, they ignore those crossing the road and arrest road side traders, or ignore both, arresting neither)
  5. Is it lawful/proper for KAI officials to carry out their official duties in plain clothes or ‘half uniform’ i.e. white inner shirt on their uniform’s trousers and sandals?
  6. In a bid to getting their job done effectively by adopting unconventional means, owing to the peculiarity of Lagos, Lagosians and their ‘characteristic obstinacy’, is it proper/lawful to engage street urchins to help ‘arrest’ members of the public?
  7. Better still, is it justifiable to employ such street urchins into the service of KAI/ the Lagos state government, to maintain law and discipline within the state?
  8. Is the use of force permitted in carrying out arrests of pedestrian bridge use offenders?
  9. Is it permissible for Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) officials to engage in smoking, drinking and the use of other narcotics in public and within their official premises, even though they did not do so with their full uniforms on?
  10. If in any way I have been unfairly treated and my dignity (first as a human being and second as a law abiding Lagos state resident) eroded, do I get recompense? (Speaking for several Lagosians who suffer the same ordeal on a daily basis)

Sir, you are the Governor of my Lagos, the greatest city in Africa. I demand justice. I demand an end to the unruly behaviour of KAI officers in my city. I demand that they stop to show your government in the worst possible light. I demand better treatment even if I broke the law.

Your Excellency, it happened to me that day. It could be your child or relative tomorrow.

Thank you, Sir, for your patience in going through my long heartfelt letter.

“Itesiwaju Ilu Eko! O je mi logun! Eko o ni baje o!”

Omoniyi is a research analyst for a leading business consulting firm in Lagos

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Ferguson And Fashola, Van Gaal And Ambode By Gbolahan Yusuf

“Football and politics do not mix”. Nonsense. The reality is that in this arc of the Earth, they are inter-related to some extent. Both seamlessly combine laughter and entertainment some times, with red faces and high temperaments at other times, both control cult-like followership, and both, money-spinnners . Yes both can shut down twitter when they like too. In Africa’s most populous country today, it won’t be far from the truth, concluding that asides the entertainment industry, hardly does any sector command as much followership as the football and political scenes. It is this abstract marriage that has birthed the body of this piece.

Similarities between football and politics it would seem, also reflects on key players in both sectors. Lagos State is one of the thirty-six states in Nigeria, even though it seems as though it is all the states combined at times. This is attributable in no small measure to its commerciability and the consequent financial edge it commands among its peers. The state witnessed rapid development under the leadership of former governor, and now Minister of Power, Works, and Housing for the Federal Republic, Babatunde Raji Fashola(SAN), or as fondly called, BRF. BRF oversaw the tremendous growth and development of infrastructure in the coastal state and his performance attracted rave reviews from within and outside the state, a goodwill he enjoys till this day. Lagos is currently in transition from those glory days to heights yet unknown, under the leadership of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.

Manchester United. If you have never heard this name, look carefully around you again, you are probably not on planet Earth. Just as Lagos, among other states in Nigeria, Manchester United stands out for its sky-high value among its rivals in England, such is the strength of the brand worldwide that it could be described as the epitome of the fusion between football and business. Manchester United attained these heights during the age-long reign of Sir Alex Ferguson as boss at the club, when the club dominated England, and at times, Europe. With the retirement of Sir Alex though, the club was left in a dilemma as to how to cope with life without the knighted Scot. After the first experiment with successor, David Moyes, blew up in their faces, Manchester United still find themselves in transition to heights yet unknown, under the leadership of Dutch manager, Louis Van Gaal (LVG).

The similarities do not end there. What has inspired this writing is the reception that has been accorded the transitionists (Ambode and LVG). Since the ushering in of the Ambode government this year, the governor has in six months, managed to dry up a large percentage of his goodwill reserves. A day will not set in Lagos now without Ambode being called out for several issues ranging from traffic problems to insecurity and sometimes even from poor dressing to bad breath. Some criticisms have been completely devoid of fairness seeing as some of these problems have existed since time immemorial, before Ambode was governor, and even worsening due to increasing rates of increase in the human pressure on the metropolis. So one is puzzled, why is Ambode being vilified by many? Is it really because Lagos has degenerated to such a low level from Eldorado status in just six months? Or is there a tinge of sentiment among Lagosians who were enraged that reports that seemingly sought to damage the image of their darling former governor, BRF, were emanating from the Ambode administration? This idea arises because only a few Lagosians will say “Ambode should face his work…” without adding “…and leave Fashola alone”. Was there a witch-hunt of the former governor? Difficult to tell, but the number of “Fashola men” retained by Ambode in his cabinet suggests not. Sentiment however almost always clouds judgement and if you are going to challenge Fashola in Lagos, then you must be able to double his achievements just to get a reprieve from the people. Or how else does one explain how Ambode is being viewed by some despite the renewed high presence of security around the city recently, and the easing of traffic situations only aggravated by intensive road constructions currently ongoing around the state, among various reforms also in the works.

I was getting engrossed in Lagos, permit me to go back to Manchester. Well, you do not need to look far for criticisms of the current United manager, a search on Google for Paul Scholes should capture it well. The United legend has not been in the news for much more business than criticizing the team. “Slow, boring, lethargic” are the words that have been resonated by thousands of supporters around the world when they lose and even when they win games, “they didn’t win it the United way”. Again, one wonders, the United way or the Ferguson way? Is the passion for Sir Alex so deeply ingrained that even while winning games, the Dutch manager must have his team playing like the darling Scot legend used to have his team play? That some conveniently try to disparage his work by claiming recent success is more attributable to transfer spending than managerial tinkering while daring to bring him to the level of David Moyes who had painstakingly managed to take the club from the sky to the underworld in less than a year, is a huge disservice to the man. He was appointed with a target, he met it, and how can that be difficult to credit?

In both Lagos and Manchester, what is observable is a bond so tight to the past that present day realities are dispensed with in the formulation of sentiment-clouded judgements. What is being missed however is that supportive and corrective, rather than dismissive judgements are the needfuls at this point. Ambode was elected for a four-year tenure as LVG was granted a three-year contract and both will admit that they are still on their way, and not there yet.

It is however not an unpleasant situation. In truth, Lagos and Manchester United are lucky to be in such a hole seeing as however unfair it may seem on the persons in charge, what it does is keep them on their feet. One will only claim to have eaten when the food surpasses the appetite and seeing as the appetite in these cases may be limitless, heavy feeding will have to continue almost infinitely. In the end, with such an increase in service to the people, the result is foreseeable; Manchester remains united and Lagos embraces “Itesiwaju”. If the price to pay is to always deny both Akinwunmi Ambode and Louis Van Gaal due credit, maybe it’s not such a bad deal. Call it sacrificing one for all.

Gbolahan Yusuf
tweets @G1gbolahan

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Governor Ambode Will Use Lagos Loans Judiciously – Senator Ashafa

Senator Gbenga Ashafa, representing Lagos East Senatorial Constituency, has assured all Lagosians that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode will make judicious use of the $200m the World Bank loan.

The senator said this on Tuesday, November 9th 2015, a day after the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Foreign and Local Debts visited Lagos on an inspection tour of projects. In 2010, the World Bank approved a Development Policy Operation (DPO) loan of US$600 million to the Lagos State Government. The loan was to be granted over three tranches with US$200 million given each in each phase. The committee had visited to see what the $400 million received in the first two tranches had been spent on before making its recommendation to the senate on the remaining $200 million.

Speaking on the visit, Senator Ashafa said every member of the committee agreed that the Lagos state government had utilised the loans excellently for the projects they were meant for and said he was certain that the Ambode administration would carry on the good tradition.

“The past administration of Babatunde Fashola invested the money wisely and prudently and paid very good attention to detail. When we got to the various sites, work was on schedule and the contractors seemed happy and confident,” Senator Ashahfa said.

“I am certain that with Governor Ambode, who showed he was a brilliant, creative and prudent accountant when he was the Accountant General of the state, more of the same will happen. Lagos state has always had governors who put the interest of the people first; leaders that extract the maximum value from every kobo kept in their trust.

“All my colleagues in the committee agree that the $400 million have been well spent and I can’t see any reason why the remaining $200 million will not be approved by the Senate.”

The committee visited the 1.36km Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge, the Gbagada General Hospital, the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, and the Light Rail Project along the Mile 2- Orile corridor amongst others.

Other members of the Committee who were on the visit include Chairman of the Committee, Senator Kabiru Gaya, Solomon Olamilekan, Senator Buka Abba Ibrahim, Senator Emmanuel Paulker, Senator Duro Faseyi and Senator Ibrahim Abdulla.


[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Akinwumi Ambode A Performer Not A Noise Maker By Gbolahan Bakare

Lagos today remains the most important state in Nigeria and can only be led by the most courageous and innovative leaders. Its cosmopolitan nature and complexities make it a tough place for anyone to control, hence politics in the Big City is fierce and unforgiving. Only the bold can survive it.

When Akinwunmi Ambode took over control of the state as Governor from his brilliant predecessor, Babatunde Fashola, on May 29th 2015, he knew exactly what he would need to do to keep the 21 million Lagosians safe and prosperous. He knew he was slipping into very huge shoes. Being a former Auditor General of the state, he knew where to look to block leakages and save valuable funds. By financial re-engineering and reviewing the revenue framework of the state, he has been able to save the 3 billion naira monthly. This means there will be more funds to inject into capital projects and to finance the 25 billion naira employment Trust Fund he promised during his campaign. His good managerial skill has helped manage Lagos state workers without seeking for the Federal Government bailout. Within a short time in office, he also approved the release of 11 billion naira for the payment of arrears of pensions owed since 2010.

Understanding a busy state like Lagos needs a good security to enables its citizens walk freely without fear of being attacked, he established an integrated security and emergency control platform, which is aimed  at strengthening the security apparatus in the state, Equipment and vehicles of various needs donated to all he security agencies to enable a good discharge and delivery of their job. The general hospitals are not left out as the governor has worked tremendously in the health sector. Governor Ambode provided 26 Transport Ambulances distributed deployed across the hospitals. He added 20 new mobile intensive care ambulances to the 16 his predecessor provided making a total of 36 mobile intensive unit ambulances in the state.

Many roads are under construction or repairs, as the governor has instructed the heads of all local government and local council development areas to fix 2 roads in their various local governments to make the state motorable. Governor Ambode has taken a tour of some major roads to ascertain their state and device a better way to put them to order without affecting the Lagosians. Such roads include Ejigbo- Ikotun Road, Okota-Cele Road, MetalBox Road and Acme Road Ikeja re currently being rehabilitated, Brown street, Oshodi, Ladipo street as well as Mushin road are not left out. He has committed N1.386Billion to road construction and rehabilitation.

All these and many more the Governor has done in less only his first quarter in office. Akinwumi Ambode is a performer not a noise maker. There is no doubt he will deliver the dividends of democracy to the people. He has started well and will definitely end well.


[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]