“I must follow the people. Am I not their leader?” —Benjamin Disraeli Few political pundits gave him any slim chance to emerge as the gubernatorial flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the keenly contested race for the governorship of the Centre of Excellence.
And fewer still reposed confidence in him to articulate any virile vision to pilot the affairs of Lagos state, should he eventually achieve that political feat. But that was then, back in 2015 and this is now, midway in 2017.
Interestingly, some two years down the line, not a few of his die-hard critics have literally ‘eaten their words’.
What with Lagos emerging as the 5th largest economy in Africa and one of the top 100 most resilient in the world?
For millions of the good people of Lagos, it is a new swan song on their lips as they doff their hats for none other than the amiable, visionary, creative and resourceful, goal-getting Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
As the deluge of encomiums, plaudits and hearty felicitations from across the social spectrum greet his second year in office, it is worthy to highlight the leadership qualities that have stood him out in good stead.
The first of course, is adequately preparation for the onerous tasks of political leadership.
That is, mentally, professionally and physically . It is never a tea party or a walk in the green, airy park. No!
As Jack Welch succinctly puts it:“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”
On growing himself, having graduated from the University of Lagos at the age of 21, Ambode did not rest on his oars.
He became a Chartered Accountant at the age of 24 with a Masters degree in Accounting. He founded Brandsmiths Consulting Limited.
He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and a Member of the Nigerian Institute of Management. He also founded La Roche Leadership Foundation.
Naturally therefore, these qualities have bolstered his leadership vision. In the words of John Maxwell:”A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way”. Good for him, part of the 27 years in the civil service he served either as an auditor or treasurer in 13 out of the 20 Local Government Councils.
For instance, he worked as an Assistant Treasurer Badagry LGA and also as an auditor in Shomolu LGA.
That was before rising to the enviable post of Accountant General in 2005 and subsequently as the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance. With such wealth of requisite administrative experience garnered over 27 years, Ambode has been able to identify the most worrisome economic challenges bedeviling the people.
He has amply demonstrated that he has a full grasp of the nuances of the financial transactions that could mitigate their pains.
Indeed, it is that capacity that made him to begin with the focus on security of the state.
Within a few months of coming into office, Gov. Ambode acquired 10 armoured tanks, three helicopters for aerial surveillance and policing.
In addition were two gun boats, 15 armoured personnel carriers, and dozens of Isuzu trucks.
These have largely contributed to the safety of lives and property of Lagosians. Also, his philosophy that a well lit Lagos could drastically reduce crime saw him light up at least 365 streets across the state.
Before clocking one year in office in May 2016 the government embarked on massive road construction and reconstruction.
These made possible the ‘114 Roads’ project where each of the 57 local councils in the state got two good roads.
These have since been surpassed. What with commuters enjoying modern bypasses at places such as Oworonshoki, as well as Alapere, Ojodu-Berger and Ile-Epo.
Recently, reinforced concrete fly-over bridges were commissioned at Abule-Egba and Ajah. The transformation in places such as Epe, Ikorodu and Badagry have upped the ante in people-oriented leadership.
For a better society