By Olasunkanmi Akoni
The 2015 April general elections have come and gone, but they left in their wake many campaign promises for which Nigerians are already demanding results. Like every elected office-holder sworn in on May 29, 2015, today, September 5 marks the 100 days in office for Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State.
Ambode, in his inaugural speech, had promised that his administration would practice inclusive governance different from what the state had witnessed in the last 16 years.
In his first meeting with Permanent Secretaries, Heads of Parastatals and Agencies, the Governor had disclosed his administration’s plan for civil service reform. He also announced the establishment of Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment as well as Offices of Civic Engagement and Overseas Affairs and Investment (LAGOS GLOBAL).
On June 2 and 6, Ambode was faced with two serious tanker explosions in Iyana-Ipaja and Idimu Local Council Development Areas. On June 7, the government set up a committee to look into various accidents involving fuel tankers with a view to curbing the menace. Later, he scrapped the Finance and Administration Department in the State Civil Service and renamed it the Administration and Human Resource Department.
On June 18, Ambode visited some of the major traffic points in the metropolis, stating that his administration will provide solutions to traffic snarls in the state, just as he approved the construction of a pedestrian bridge at Ojodu Berger Bus Stop.
After several months of traffic gridlock, respite came to motorists on the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway on June 28. Tankers and other heavy duty vehicles disappeared from the ever-busy road on the governor’s instruction. He also set up a special taskforce to monitor traffic flow in the axis.
Local government reform
On June 29, he constituted a 19-man committee, comprising seasoned public administrators to work out modalities for the reform of local government administration with the aim of meeting the aspirations of residents especially at the grassroots. On July 3, he directed his deputy, Dr. Mrs. Oluranti Adebule to effect the immediate rehabilitation and provision of welfare assistance to Mrs. Ruth Uche, the mother of three set of twins whose husband absconded from their home in Agege, Lagos.
Her husband, Mr. Benjamin Uche, was alleged to have absconded from home as a result of birth of another set of twins from his wife, making it the third in a row. Governor Ambode’s directive followed newspaper publications which narrated the ordeal of the woman.
On July 7, Ambode presented cheques worth N30 million to the 243 enumerated residents and traders whose property and goods were destroyed in the Iyana-Ipaja and Egbe-Idimu tanker explosions in Alimosho Local Government Areas of the state.
It was also disclosed that N9 million was returned into the government coffer from the N100 million released by the state government for the 2,000 victims of the fire disaster that gutted the Balogun Market in March 2015. July 8, he ordered the State Task Force on Environmental Sanitation and other Special Offenses to rid the state of miscreants and enforce the law restricting street trading and begging in the state, particularly in Oshodi and environs.
The government also approved a new academic calendar for Lagos State University which was applauded by the students and the institution’s authorities.
Deep sea port construction
On July 16, Ambode said construction work on the planned $1.5 billion Badagry Deep Seaport would possibly commence in September 2015. This came barely six days after the consortium for the project expected to be the largest deep sea port in Africa emerged.
August 9, Ambode disclosed that the total contributions by both government and corporate organizations to Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF) have reached a total of N12 billion.
Over N1 billion was however realised from cash donations from various corporate organisations and individuals, while others made commitments to provide security patrol vehicles and gadgets as well as technical know-how.
August 16, he announced the operation of a Treasury Single Account (TSA) for all government transactions in the state with effect from September 1, 2015.
August 19, Ambode revoked the concession granted by the Lagos State Development and Property Corporation (LSDPC) to Afriland Properties for the re-development of the Falomo Shopping Centre, Ikoyi. According to him, only N50 million was paid by the concessionaire, Afriland Properties, for a 50-year lease of the property belonging to the government.
On August 27, as part of efforts to ensure prompt payment of terminal entitlement, he presented bond certificates worth N2.2 billion as payment of retirement benefit to 658 retirees.
August 28, Ambode commissioned the newly reconstructed multi-purpose Onikan Youth Centre, Lagos Island Local Government, saying his administration would further introduce strategies to take the teeming unemployed youths off the streets of Lagos.
On August 31, as part of measures to enhance prompt response to emergency situations, Ambode commissioned 20 ambulances and 14 Mobile Intensive Care Units (MICU) into the existing fleet of the Lagos State Ambulance Service (LASAMBUS) for public use.
Similarly, the Governor also handed over to police authorities in the state, 10 Hilux vehicles and 12 patrol motorcycles to boost effective and efficient policing. On September 2, Lagos State announced the approval by the Governor to recruit 1,300 teachers into all public primary schools across the state in a bid to strengthen the quality of the Universal Basic Education Programme in the state.
On September 2, Ambode approved the release of undisclosed amount of money for indigenous cochlear implant surgery for 10 residents. The operation is being captured under a special programme dedicated to restoring the hearing ability of those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Not surprisingly, the Governor recently noted that in less than 100 days, his administration has been able to create an atmosphere for investors to look toward the direction of the state and for existing businesses to thrive.