When we campaigned for Akinwunmi Ambode, we campaigned for continuity. We believed Ambode will come along and take over from where Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola left off. We voted Ambode because we did not want Lagos – the prized jewel of the Southwest to go to the PDP. We voted Ambode because we did not trust Jimi Agbaje. Did we make a mistake? It is probably too early to tell but the signs are not encouraging.
During the campaign, when Ambode could not muster half the coherence of Jimi, we sold him as a doer not as a talker. We sold him as the man, who will get Lagos moving. It is true that Fashola had his own candidate before the primaries but immediately Ambode won, Fashola campaigned vigorously for him. At some point, critics were wondering if Ambode could address a crowd because Fashola was doing the talking while Ambode’s job was to raise the broom, smile and wave to the crowd. It was a hard fought campaign and the vote tally showed it. Ambode could have lost that election.
Since Ambode became governor, Lagos stopped working. Instead of doing his work, he seem fixated on vendetta. He is sacking this, retiring that. We have not seen anything concrete being done other than bureaucratic nonsense and file pushing. I have no problem with removing dead woods but is that the first thing to be done? Even the President who has mega-thieves as Permanent secretaries is exercising caution. While Lagos, the beacon dims, Governor Nasir El-Rufai has taken the shine and he is transforming Kaduna socioeconomic landscape without exacting a pound of flesh from the old PDP structure. Now he has introduced free tuition, free food and free uniform for students in Kaduna. Kaduna state governor can only imagine Lagos state Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in his dreams, yet he is working while Ambode is lounging.
My sources tell me, Ambode will carry out mass retirement of Directors in the civil service in the next 72 hours. What for? Is that what we elected him to do? It feels like we do not have a governor in Lagos State. Ambode is looking like an angry governor. Why can’t he settle down and see things for himself? Why is he listening to his campaign contributors alone. Are these 0.01%, the Lagosians who voted him? Why is he trying to be a polarizing figure? I am very concerned about this man. If he wants to prune the service, he can do so after a while, then offer people incentive for early retirement.
Gov. Ambode, if you see gaps in the books left behind by Fashola forward his case and all relevant information to the appropriate quarters. Fashola is not a saint, neither are you. We know the drill. Please, stop loafing. Don’t get absorbed trying to show Fashola that you are in charge. Show yourself! Show us what you can do. Fashola is gone from the stage, you are the one there. Four years will soon be up and Nigeria is changing. In four years we, the voters can redeem ourselves if we find out that we confused someone who could obey instructions with someone who could lead. Then, you will be held to account. The era of patronage is over. Lagos needs a leader.
Governor Ambode, Lagos is not working, face your work o!
…Bamidele Ademola-Olateju is a member of the Premium Times editorial board