Elegbede Muhammed Oladipupo

On a working Lagos we stand

You all must be familiar with the proverbial deity that has been admonished to leave us as we are if he’s not doing anything to change our condition for the better.

This appears to be the current situation of the people of Lagos state especially those who defied all threats and intimidation to vote for the incumbent governor.

The tweet-meet between the Executive governor of Lagos state, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode and Japhet Omojuwa turns out to be the last straw my camel couldn’t accommodate. It is so in the sense that for a long time, despite my very active role during the electioneering campaign of his Excellency, I have refused to write anything about his performance because I have since before his inauguration left the country.

This is not anything about going head on with the governor, his aides or his new found tweetivist friend but a clear analysis of the reaction of the people of Lagos and incidents recorded since Mr. Ambode took office.

I am not going to get into the authenticity of this tweet-meet or otherwise. Many have concluded it is a contracted set-up and some have continued to see it as a way to get the governor’s attention especially for the tech savvy youth population.

I also don’t want to make this about Japhet, he has successfully established himself in that space and his followership is truly large enough to get anyone to engage him.

What I have come to see is that the meet seem to have further exposed the fact that very many people tend not to see our dear Governor as someone who is ready for this job. So, if the tweet-meet was staged, I can say for a fact that it most likely didn’t achieve the intended goal.

A careful comparison between the expectations of the electorates and the offerings of the governor speaks volume and I dare say the sounds aren’t the best compared to where we are coming from.

I will quickly say that irrespective of the later day criticism of Ex-Governor Fashola’s  days in office, his achievements in all ramifications are such that it’s going to take a super human being and a charismatic leader, something Mr. Ambode is not, to combine running Fashola down with the very herculean job of a governor of a state like Lagos.

Put this with the fact that this same Fashola is being offered another platform to project his style of leadership on a national scale. It becomes far more difficult especially if he is given a portfolio that would further showcase his dexterity and leadership acumen.

Governor Ambode’s first few weeks leading to months in office were for some reasons directed blindly at undoing supposedly Fashola’s deeds and all. That became a focus for him while he neglected the yearnings of the people of Lagos. It should have been laid down by Ambode’s think tank that the approach of Fashola to governance would require whoever was coming after him to hit the road running and not the poster boy attitude handed down by Ambode.

The wave of crime in my opinion suggests that only the thieves and pick pockets are the ones cashing in on the staggered start of this administration.

To suggest in any way that all was well with the Fashola administration would be attempting to paint the Lucifer a born again but in Fashola, we had charisma and attitude. Both, we lack in Mr. Ambode.

The sounds behind the scene are becoming so loud that Lagosians are confused as to where to look at for direction; the governor or the puppet masters behind the scene.

I have been in government service and was priviledged to serve in an office that was influential enough to understand how things work. I have no problem with the string pushers; they have always been there and have made a lot of things happen that we today consider as feats in democracy; however, how their influence is blended with the duty of governance is what separates a governor and a governor wannabe.

To the best of my knowledge, Fashola also had a social media presence but he had not at any time run to that space to save face when his duties as a governor were begging for attention.

What we should be discussing at this time are the steps already taken by the governor and what to expect not trying to solve problems on tweeter.

A serving member of the state government was killed in the course of discharging his duties, till date, no one has been arraigned or publicly tried for that. There is no better way to tell miscreants to take the front seat. Ladipo market has been cleared with thousands of hard working people sent back to start afresh; whether it is a reaction to the voting pattern of the Igbo people or it is a plan to properly establish a state of the art auto part market, the fact remains that the timing and post demolition steps don’t portray the action as something done in good faith.

Dabbling into the civil service to retire people with close to six years in service and promoting individuals who actually failed the permanent secretary evaluation tests to the office of permanent secretary is yet another blunder any forward thinking governor would have avoided.

Would these entire gaffes suggest why Lagos state can’t go into the local government elections now that we know that caretaker committees are invention of the state and not legal instruments of government? The same bold step taken by the Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun and his Kano State counterpart, Rabiu Kwakwaso immediately after the emergence of the APC.

I would have expected a government that prides itself as a reflection of the peoples acceptance of the good work of the her predecessor to ride on the acceptance and set a time table for local government elections but judging from the mood, political tacticians would agree it’s going to be suicidal to attempt that now.

This said, we still have enough time to remedy this ugly situation and get settled for some serious business of governance.

The governor needs to step up the game and meet the people of Lagos at the point of the electoral demands. The issue of security must not only be mouthed but seen as being taken seriously. Security meetings must become a time to time routine with all security formation keying into government’s security promises by sharing intelligence with the governor’s security committee and having same translated into policies without delay.

The governor should understand the need to let the civil service function on the merit of performance and not sheer nepotism. The workers will always outlive any government and it is a fact that they constitute the majority of voting population; they are one people you don’t want to get it wrong with.

The governor needs to present himself as a charismatic leader people can trust and follow without fear or question. He may not be born with it, it is something that can be learnt. Lagosians must see in him a leader at all times from the way he talks, reacts to questions and all.

The governor should critically examine the people he has surrounded himself with. Are they grounded enough to help him deliver the dividends promised during the campaigns and also help sustain the love and the loyalty of the people in future elections.

The governor should also understand that irrespective of political grudges, the expectation of the people needs to be met. We can’t afford to drag the people on whose mandate we are in office into the political grandstanding behind the scene. There wouldn’t have been an Ambode without putting in the right perspective the actions and performances of Fashola. Governor Ambode needs to close ranks with Fashola, exchange notes, share ideas and learn from the SAN how familiar issues were dealt with.

This is not a thing about ego, it is governance; people have expectations and how the governor is able to deal with it would determine the life span of people’s love for the ruling party in coming elections.

My assumptions are based on responses and reaction from very many observers both on the side of the governor, against the governor and people who just want a functional governor. I hope this is seen more as a call to action and not an avenue to mudsling.

Anything short of what Fashola brought to the table is not only unacceptable, it is also suicidal for the party.

On a working Lagos we stand.

Eko o gbo do b’aje!

 

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Categories: Politics

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3 Comments

  1. A well thought-out write-up. It is really going to be suicidal if Governor Ambode does not change the opinions of Lagosians about his style of governance. Eko o gbodo ba’je. Let the APC at the centre also rise up to this issue because Lagos is supposed to remain the centre as well as model for the party. I am afraid, the current situation might have a very negative effect on the chances of APC in Lagos by 2019.

  2. Good assessment. I think Ambode never prepared for the task of governance

  3. Very well thought out and on point.

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