Gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, recently held a conversation with ThisDay Style stating why he is the best man for the job of Governor of Lagos.
In the exclusive cover interview, the former accountant general of Lagos, explained that with his service record of 27 years in the city, working through the ranks in all the different local governments of the state, he could say that he had “been a carpenter, a plumber and a foreman.” With such a wealth of experience, what he is asking Lagosians for now, in his words, “is to make me the project manager” of the bustling metropolis.
He further said that he and his dedicated team had managed Lagos in good times and bad, and spoke about having shepherded the city during a difficult time under Olusegun Obasanjo’s presidential administration. This, in his words, was a time “when Lagos was at the brink”.
While clearing the air on allegations of him not being born in Lagos, Ambode explained that he was born in Epe in 1963 and that he had his primary education at St Jude’s Primary School, Ebute Metta, attended Federal Government College, Warri, then the University of Lagos for his first and second degree respectively.
He said the rumours about his Lagos origins were all part of partisan politicking. He said, “It reminds me of the spurious ‘birther’ allegations levelled against Barack Obama some time ago, insinuating that he was not born in the United States. It is all the same politics.”
Regarding his plans for the people of Lagos if elected as Governor on Saturday, Ambode explained that apart from continuing the good works of Governor Fashola, a key focus for his administration would be jobs. In fulfilling this, he said that they would encourage enterprise development on a micro and macro level as well as provide a 25 billion naira employment fund for the five divisions in Lagos to tackle the issue of employment in the state.
Another focus of his administration will be on education because “we do not have a future that we haven’t built today especially at the primary school level.” Other areas of focus include housing, which he hopes to continue from where the Fashola administration stops and roads, which he hopes to do by empowering the local governments to build more roads for the comfort of their people considering that most of the 9,320 roads in Lagos, belong to local governments.
On the issue of transportation in the state, Ambode reiterated the fact that the current administration has made huge progress and that what his administration will be doing will be to scale up the progress. He cited the metro line as an example of the innovation that will become part of the daily lives of Lagosians as he continues, if elected, to build Lagos among other projects.
Explaining how he hopes to turn Lagos into a tourism hub, Ambode explained that “Lagos is uniquely positioned to become a tourism destination. With topography similar to Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro”. This makes for tourism opportunities that can be tapped into and as soon as the linking roads between Badagry and Ikorodu are completed, tourist sites will be developed.
On his choice of Idiat Adebule as his running mate, Ambode said that Idiat “is an astute administrator with lots of experience, especially in the education sector.” She also served as Secretary to the State Government in Governor Fashola’s second term. He further said “her background means that she will be an asset to my administration if we are elected into office a week from now.”
Ambode’s final words, where he expressed faith in Lagosians was “I am excited to see Lagos continue to conquer new territory and show Nigeria the way, and I know that Lagosians would like to see that continue.”
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