Sunday, July 10, 2016 9:48 pm
By Bayo Adeyinka
I never gave him a chance- not with the APC primaries that was full of rancour and his lacklustre campaign. I remember I even posted a picture calling him social prefect. Such was the political bile of those heady days last year. It wasn’t that I was particularly enamoured by his predecessor, Babatunde Raji Fashola. In my opinion, BRF is a creation of the media.
He had the gift of the garb but he also had the goodwill of the media. So everything BRF was hyped. Now, he’s really facing a real acid test without the media to give him the leverage he used to have. Curiously, the man that was once touted as a presidential hopeful has been renamed as the Minister of Darkness. But this is not about Fashola.
Ambode is the surprise of the pack. He is the only one among the crop of South West APC governors that is standing up to be counted. Driving around Lagos at night now is far better than before. With his ‘light up Lagos’ project, Lagos wears a new look at night. A few days ago, I drove around the Opebi-Allen axis and it was such a beauty to behold. With lights everywhere, the state of security automatically improves. Darkness provides a cover for criminal activities. It is little things like these that makes a huge difference.
Has anyone observed what he is doing at Oworonshoki beginning of the Third Mainland Bridge? I wonder why no one ever thought of redesigning that portion so as to reduce the traffic gridlock that occurs at that portion daily. I told someone today as we passed that portion that it seemed he expanded that bridge. No, he didn’t. He just thought outside the box. Traffic will flow freely at that end now. Man-hours will be saved. It is little things like these that makes a huge difference.
A pedestrian bridge is coming up at the Berger axis. So many people have been killed while crossing the road at this point. I have come across someone who was knocked down by a car that was ahead of me. I had shouted to the highest heavens that that portion needs a pedestrian bridge. I can imagine how many lives this will save. It is little things like these that makes a huge difference.
I observed the reconstruction that took place on Akin Adesola Road in Victoria Island.
I don’t know if I’m the only one who has observed this but it seems LASTMA’s excesses has been largely curbed over the past one year. He is making concrete efforts at food security with his Kebbi rice MOU. It is so good to note so many things happening at the same time. It seems Ambode is working so hard to dispel the notion that he can’t do better than his predecessor. What he lacks in eloquence, he has obviously compensated for with his grit. And the good thing about all these is that he’s doing all these without all the media razzmatazz and ‘take-aways’ of BRF.
The only issue I have with him is the enforcement of the law against street trading and hawking which I believe is a knee-jerk reaction to the Maryland melee and destruction of BRT buses. While I wrote about that in a previous article ‘Lagos Can Never Be Lagos Without Gala and LaCasera’, I still believe that he can address the issue of hawkers with a different paradigm.
Apart from registering the hawkers and street traders with an monthly/annual token, giving them aprons/ IDs and identifying lay-byes on major roads where their activities can be carried out, I also believe government can introduce accident and health insurance among the package. This will be a very easy way of allowing the informal and unstructured sector to have access to medical services at a token.
There is no denying the fact that a lot needs to be done and the journey is long. I can only pray that God will continue to guide Ambode and grant him more wisdom for more impactful leadership.