Ambode, Demystifying APC's USP

6 years ago | 29



By Ebongabasi Ekpe-Juda  |

IT might be seen as hasty making an appraisal of a governor's performance by this time, just two months after being sworn in, but we can begin to guesstimate the direction the person is going, even if you are one who thinks so. My people say that we learn the act dying from the act of sleeping. In other words, you can see how the person’s face will look like when he dies, by seeing how he looks like when he is sleeping. So you disposition in the early part of your administration, can give a clue to what you have in stock. Howbeit, when we remember that we have seen actions within this time distance in the life of a governor before, we can then make a comparative analysis between what we are currently witnessing in this dispensation and what we saw in the immediate past dispensation of a performing governor. Lagos is on the fast lane, so we expect the governor to likewise be on the fast lane, otherwise it will be calamitous for the governed. And it's very much like that is where we are.

During the last administration in Lagos, by this time we were all hailing Fashola as a good governor in terms of the palpable imprint he had in Lagos. Every acknowledged that we had a governor in the saddle. So what is the matter with Ambode? Why is his impact not felt after two months of steering the ship of the state? If any person is willing to evaluate him using Fashola as the yard stick, it would be said that he has failed even before he starts.

A few example of actions that happened by this time, could suffice in this conclusion. In Fashola's time, might be, because of how the contest went, he hit the ground running immediately, by so doing was able to silence the very load opposition he had. But even this time with the close contest in terms of votes garnered by the two main political parties, it would have been expected that the governor would have started working immediately so the opponent will have nothing to use in criticizing him. In the case of Fashola, he swung into action and cleared Oshodi of its notoriety, such that Oshodi instantly became an alternative route if you are going to Surulere instead of sleeping in the bottle neck that Ikorodu road was. People became comfortable doing business in Oshodi. That made the governor's rating to soar very hard. This he did in all the notorious spots in the state. That was how Lagos became a reference point of performance. He created the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) which initially created traffic log jam on Ikorodu road corridor. He then made LASTMA to become more effective and soon the Ikorodu road traffic normalized and everything went well. Next was the beautification project on Lagos streets with street lighting and the creation of gardens and parks. Nobody could deny that Fashola was working and consequentially Lagos was moving. All these were in the very first few months of his administration. And this happened all over Lagos, not just in a few areas. Traders were removed from the highways and parks. The streets became cleaner and consequently safer as the safety of life and property were enhanced, because the street urchins were removed. Road rehabilitation got on very well in all parts of the metropolis, that vehicular movement was enhanced.

Today, we even have companies in the construction sector that can work all season, all year round. So what is the problem that they have not been mobilized to begin construction and reconstruction work as the case may require on the roads begging for attention? When Okada riders became a nuisance Fashola did not waste time in dealing with them. In Ambode's dispensation the government has issued a twenty one day ultimatum for the Okoda riders to get off the expressway, but they are still there. Despite the fact that the twenty one days has since elapse, yet there is no enforcement. Any reason for its inability to enforce it laws? There is nothing as bad as a government giving an order and the citizen refusing to carry it out. It speaks of anarchy in the offing. Oshodi Apapa Expressway with a spur to the airport has been taken over by trailers and a government is unable to do anything. The road construction in Okota has since been abandoned after the elections that saw them working day and night. Might be it with was the Fashola's spirit that was at work.

In the same length of time that Fashola turned around Lagos, Ambode has not made any positive impact at all. Oshodi has regressed to it unenviable notorious status. Crime has again become the end thing in the place. The grind luck that made it a dreaded place to go to at any time in the day has returned full swing. Area boys hold swear and reign supreme now. I mean in Fashola's time there was activity everywhere in Lagos; it was action, action everywhere. This made PDP to become very uncomfortable and even their gubernatorial candidate went under and Jimi Agbaje could no long criticize the governor, only retorting that he hopes it will continue, not just cosmetic. As a friend said, Fashola was a "performance phenomenon" that demystified the government at the centre and in all PDP states. It was Lagos that gave CAN the mantra that became the Unique Selling Point (USP) for the party that later metamorphosis into APC as a result of the mega merger. Can Ambode realise that his inaction has the capability of denting the image of his party in the South West, as Lagos is the mirror through which the people see the party?

Today, except for the hype created by the PMB’s performance at the federal level, the party would have been subjected to serious bashing that would have consigned to the dustbin. But why is this happening in our Lagos? Shops are spring up on all streets using half container bodies as if to dare the government. The shop owners that Fashola had caused them to remove attachment to the shops have all reconstructed them, thereby obscuring view. Walkways where there exit have been converted into place to display wares, some used by vulcanizes, suya makers, fruit hawkers, “akara” fryers, women roasting plantain, and those roasting corn and the groundnut sellers; one wonders if Lagos is still pursuing the maga city status. Or is it a mega city only by the population alone? The governor has not even been able to appoint commissioners yet. Nothing is happening to give any person hope. Is there confusion or is it interplay of power? Or is Ambode simply overwhelmed by the atrociousness of work? So far, all we have seen is he removing everybody that Fashola brought into government or whoever is related to him. Why all that? Somebody said that he is trying to pay back Fashola for attempting to sack him when he was the Accountant General of the state, for mismanaging the local government funds to the benefit of his benefactor. Could somebody help explain why Ambode is not performing in this same Lagos that Fashola was able to set a record and raise the stake in governance? Is he bereft of ideas? Did he not prepare for the task of governing a state like Lagos, or is it the case of the shoe being too big for him, or is it the phenomenon of saying that a bad beginning makes a good ending?

The impression being created inadvertently seems to be that there is a gradual but steady process of undoing all the good works that Fashola did. Unfortunately, indiscipline is also being reversed and reintroduced in the process. Oshodi provides a good case in point. As a person who won an election, one would have expected him to have drawn up what he is going to do within the first hundred days in office, to create the much needed impactful change which is the mantra of the party. The governor should realise that Fashola's performance aided the success of the APC in the centre. The only good thing is that the centre has created a niche for itself so soon. Therefore, whether Lagos is performing or not, will not affect the perception of the party at the centre. It will only expose how the governor came to become the candidate of the party in the first place. The governor must realize that there is a difference between what Lagos is doing, from what PMB is doing. You cannot hide under the auspices of APC to cover your inability to perform. We can see a lot of improvement in the power sector and that cannot be attributed to Lagos state government, because the APC is ruling in Lagos. We can see very bad roads in Lagos and we cannot attribute that to PMB. Every person will need to answer his father’s name, when the time to give account bacons.

As the glo advert says, we need more, give me more. We need action in Lagos. Might be Ambode will have to go to Rivers state to learn from Wike. I suggest that. We cannot just be motionless in a place like this. There are a lot of things needing attention from the governor. So the governor must wake up from slumber as Lagos state needs to create an impact and now is the time.

Ebongabasi Ekpe-Juda is a Medical Sociologist, Security Consultant, a social commentator and the author of the books - The Bewitched Church; and - Issues in Security Awareness.

— Aug 31, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT


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