Governor Akinwumi Ambode’s 100 days in office
Restructuring civil service towards better performance
ON assumption of office, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode met with the Body of Permanent Secretaries in Lagos State, where he informed them of his vision to reposition the civil service to be more efficient to serve the people.
This, he said, would involve the streamlining of some ministries, departments and agencies to cut cost of governance, as well as create new offices to cater for the emerging needs of the people.
He tasked the Permanent Secretaries to rise up to the challenge as they would be frontrunners in driving the wheel of progress in the state in the next four years.
The governor has since matched words with action. Three weeks after his assumption in office, he announced his decision to realign the Ministry of Rural Development, Parastatals Monitoring Office as well as Political and Legislative Powers Bureau.
He also scrapped the Office of the Special Adviser on Taxation and Revenue, Debt Management Office while he merged the office of Works and Office of Infrastructure; Office of Drainage Services and Office of Environmental Service, with optimism that it would improve the process and procedure of service delivery and create opportunities for global competitiveness.
On August 5, Ambode also appointed 19 new permanent
secretaries, an appointment he said was based on merit, competence and track record.
In the last three months, while the appointments of the commissioners and special advisers of the Governor is still being awaited, the Permanent Secretaries have adequately held forth, keeping the wheel of governance moving at a steady pace.
The wealth of experience of Governor Ambode having spent 27 years in the State Civil Service before voluntarily retired has also helped in creating a synergy between his office and the various ministries and will be prove useful in the next four years as far as governance in the state is concerned.
Government with human face: Responding to tanker fire explosions
Despite not being in the state when the first incident occurred, when the information got to him, he immediately took the next flight back to Lagos and straight to the scene of the blast. This was the case in the fire incidents at Iyana Ipaja and Idimu petrol tanker explosion. Not only did he commiserate with the residents on their losses, he promised to give them succor and help them get back to their normal lives.
Worried about the occurrence of two petrol tanker accidents and three others averted in a space of one week, Governor Ambode immediately summoned a meeting with petrol marketers, while he also set up a fact finding committee to investigate and ascertain the causes of the incidents.
Not many will forget Governor’s Ambode’s milk of kindness to Mrs. Ruth Uche, the mother of three set of twins whose husband absconded from their home in Agege, Lagos.
On reading about her plight in the newspaper, Ambode immediately directed his deputy, Mrs. Oluranti Adebule to provide welfare support for the embattle mother of six.
Today, Mrs Uche, her children and her run-away husband who is back home are living comfortably.
Before Mrs. Uche’s plight, Governor Ambode had on his second working day in office intervened to save the life of the 2015 baby of the year in the state, Miss. Oluwajomiloju Goodness Ogundimu who was diagnosed with a heart defect that required surgery.
Today, baby Ogundimu is hale and hearty after a successfully surgery in India.
Joy for retirees
It was also joy for retirees from the various parastatals and agencies of the state across board as the governor early in August approved N11billion to offset arrears owed since 2010, not only for Lagos State Government mainstream retirees but also retirees in Local Governments and Parastatal organizations.
The development, Governor Ambode said was part of efforts put in place by his administration to find a holistic solution to the issue of payment of pension entitlements to retirees under the PAY AS YOU GO pension Scheme which was discontinued in April, 2007 as well as outstanding accrued pension rights due to retirees under the Contributory Pension Scheme.
Checks and balance for revenue inflow
In an effort to efficiently improve on the processes of revenue generation and collection in the state and ensure proper accountability and transparency in all Government accrued revenues, the state will from September 1, commence operation of a single account.
Ambode said the move will help the government address the challenges previously faced with the operation of the multiple account system.
For him, the operation of a Treasury Single Account (TSA) aside providing transparency and accountability will also encourage tax payers to request for a single account before making their payments.
The adoption of the TSA by t Ambode’s administration is in line with the objective of the move by the All Progressives Congress (APC) led federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that all government revenue accrues to one consolidated account.
For Ambode, attracting investors into the state is in line with his vision to make the state an investment hub in Africa. From his inaugural speech, he had already given an insight of his mission. His decision to set up an Office of Overseas Affairs and Investment (Lagos Global), domiciled in his office clearly spelt out where his administration is headed.
When he received the Namibia President Dr. Hage Geingoband on May 30, where he sold the investments opportunities that abound in the state.
Since then, the governor has met several groups of local and foreign investors including President of Dangote Group of Companies, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, investors from Dubai, United States of America, as well as envoys from several European and Middle East countries. During such meetings, Governor Ambode promised an enabling environment for willing investors, stressing that his ambition is to improve on the ease of doing business in the state.
Law and order
Ambode is not leaving any stone unturned to ensure that the people of Lagos go about their daily activities without fear of being molested or accosted by men of the underworld.
Worried about series of complaints concerning the upsurge of robbery in traffic, the governor has consistently asked the security agencies to step up their surveillance. This has led to the arrest of hundreds of hoodlums and suspected armed robbers, while some have been prosecuted and convicted. The Ikorodu Bank robbery was one incident that occurred in the early days of the present administration. Governor Ambode, disturbed by the incident charged the Police to go all out and fish out the culprits. While some of the robbers have been arrested, the police is also acting on intelligence gathering to close in on the rest of the gang.
Ambode is also worried about the spate of cultism and land grabbing. He is not leaving any stone unturned to arrest these trends.
At a dinner organised by the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF), Ambode unveiled plans to strengthen the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) as well as establish an integrated security and emergency control platform.
The event attracted members of the corporate world and respected members of the society, which saw donations to the tune of over N1billion made by corporate organisations and individuals in cash and kind to support Ambode’s drive to strengthen the security apparatus in the state.
Notwithstanding, the last three months has seen the government acquire 100 brand new power bikes, 10 armoured tanks and a helicopter to take the battle of policing Lagos to the air.
The acquisition of 100 brand new squad cars for a soon-to-be introduced Special Operation Service (SOS), expected to coordinate community policing in RRS and other outfits is also a firm statement from Governor Ambode on his desire to ensure a crime-free state.
Evolving a traffic-free Lagos
This sector is dear to his heart. If for nothing else, the need for people to move from one part of the state to another with less traffic impediment is dear to him. Little wonder he mobilised his team on the second working week on assumption of office to visit some traffic prone areas.
Tackling Apapa traffic snarl headlong
The dreaded traffic in Apapa was also a focal point for Ambode. He had received several calls and text messages from residents complaining of the perennial traffic in the area caused by the activities of petrol tankers queuing to load the products from the 57 tank farms in Apapa.
On June 25, the governor was yet again on the road; this time to Apapa to get a firsthand experience of the gridlock which has defied solutions in recent times.
Ambode and his team were not spared the traffic as his entourage had to look for alternative routes to navigate the area.
When he eventually spoke, he did not mince words. He made an appeal to the Federal Government to mobilise the contractor awarded the construction of Apapa road networks to immediately return to site.
Alluding to the fact that the network of roads in Apapa belong to the Federal Government, he lamented that the Tin Can Bridge, which has been under construction for about six years was abandoned, which has given rise to tankers parking indiscriminately on the road.
As a palliative measure towards ensuring free flow of traffic, Ambode set up a task force to ensure 24 hours surveillance of traffic flow while stressing that the Lagos Road Traffic Law will be enforced to the letter.
Though the Task Force has had its hand full contending with the menace of the petrol tanker drivers, the traffic in the area has eased up to an extent, while the intervention from the federal Government is still anticipated.
Ambode followed up his visit to Apapa with a meeting with Tanker Drivers and Stakeholders to fashion out ways to end the Apapa Traffic Gridlock once and for all.
Without doubt, this is one area in which Ambode has shown his desire to improve upon. In the last 100 days, the Governor has made several policy statements in line with his vision to improve on the road infrastructure in the state.
The first few weeks of his administration saw the governor embark on inspections to several areas of the state. Some of the areas he toured include Ipaja, Mosan-Okunola, Oshodi- Isolo, Ikotun-Ejigbo and Somolu areas.
The governor did not hesitate to make pronouncement on the plans to rehabilitate the roads which were in deplorable state.
The Ejigbo-Ikotun road, which had hitherto been a nightmare for motorists is currently under rehabilitation as the Governor during his visit on July 14 announced that work will commence on the road in seven days. True to his word, the Lagos State Public Works Corporation moved in to commence work as directed. The rehabilitation work is expected to stretch from Ikotun to Isolo road.
Brown Road in Oshodi is also the latest road to be visited by Ambode. Walking the over 1km road on foot with his entourage, he later announced that work will commence in a week’s time on the road, which serves as a link road to other roads in the area.
The governor also directed some officials of the state government to inspect the Ladipo and Mushin road with both roads expected to get a facelift soon.
War against sexual, domestic violence
The need to stem the tide of domestic violence and other gender related crimes is also dear to the heart of Ambode. At every given opportunity, the governor does not mince words to express his concern about the rampant cases of sexual and domestic violence in the state. He did not waste time to convey a meeting with the Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) with a charge on them to intensify sensitization against the dastardly act, all in a bid to give a voice to the victims and also bring perpetrators to justice.
Recently, 190 officials of the State Emergency Command And Control Centre on how to receive reports of Sexual and Gender Based Violence incidents in the State, just as the Governor approved the use of the 112 toll free line report cases of rape, defilement, domestic violence, child abuse, neglect maltreatment and other sexual assaults.
The DSVRT has since increased its awareness campaign and recently took the message to the palaces of traditional rulers.
All inclusive/participatory governance
His desire to run a transparent and all inclusive government has featured prominently in the way and manner Ambode carries his team along. At every opportunity, he gives room for members of his team to answer questions and have a say about issues as it relates to their field of specialisation.