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Akinwunmi Ambode @57: Salute To A Restless Reformer



On 14th June 2020, H.E Akinwunmi Ambode, the former Governor of Lagos State, will be 57. But as it has been his practice over the years, you are unlikely to easily locate him for celebration of this momentous day. However, his teeming and loyal supporters will certainly not forget to celebrate a man who re-defined governance in Lagos and touched the lives of so many Lagosians with his indomitable spirit, pragmatism and reform mantra.

There is nobody on this planet that will forget, the iconic Murtala Mohammed International Airport Road, The Oshodi Transport Interchange, The Ajah Jubilee bridge, the Lay-byes, the New Ojodu-Berger junction, the High Capacity transport buses, the Epe transformation, the Onikan arena, the Oshodi Safety arena, the DNA Centre, the Alimosho 21 roads, the five community cinemas/ theatres, the Imota Rice Mill, the Lagos Employment Trust Fund, the Lake Rice, the Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Corps, the Epe Jubilee Chalets, the Light-Up Lagos, the Lasema Rescue Unit, the One Lagos Fiesta, the Johnson, Jakande Tinubu Park, the Lagos City Marathon, the reformed Ayinke House, the Abule-Egba Bridge, the Ready Set Work and Code Lagos, the 114 inner/link Roads and several other reforms too numerous to mention. Even his detractors would grudgingly admit in Yoruba about his tenure- “jẹki àsọ otitọ, Ambode ṣiṣẹ” meaning “let’s say the truth, Ambode worked”.

Also unforgettable, is his proclivity for philanthropy and kindness. From his days at practically every major local Government in Lagos State to his tenure at the State Civil service, he is reputed to have touched the personal lives of so many people both in and out of Government through personal gifts, sponsoring of medical expenses, personal interventions etc. This earned him the Yoruba sobriquet “Babaojuoto” meaning the silent giver that takes care of all and sundry without expecting anything in return.

It has been argued that this often-unheralded philanthropy was shaped by his upbringing which was particularly difficult after the early passing of his father and the challenges he faced in order to complete his education. He was once heard saying that because of the delays faced with the pensions of his late father, who retired as a secondary teacher, he would ensure that the state pension system was reformed so it could be paid more regularly.

Very few can argue that his ethic for hard work was not legendary. Public servants would remember his ability to call you at any given time of the day or night to answer questions regarding governance. A man whose intellect and reputation as an “ideas man” is first class; Ambode would wake up at 3 a.m. to brainstorm on an idea and would remain awake till the wee hours of the morning fine tuning it until perfection.

A man of deep introspection and loyalty; those who know him well, attest that he is deeply spiritual and has the abiding faith that God always has a plan no matter how daunting it may seem at any given time. Apparently, there have been many instances in his illustrious career where friends and foes have “written him” off as spent, only for another path to be opened by the singular grace of God and people of good faith.

Akinwunmi Ambode remains an enigma to some and an idol for many more who continue to remember his restless zeal for reform and change for the good of Lagos State.

As the man popularly called “Ambo” celebrates another year, it is our fervent wish and prayer that his spirit is not dimmed by the vicissitudes of life, because many believe that he still has more to offer.

Bodurin Olayinka, a public affairs analyst lives in Badagry.

Photos: President Muhammadu Buhari Visits Lagos, Commissions Oshodi-International Airport Road, Oshodi Transport Interchange And Unveils Mass Transit Buses, On Wednesday

Photos: President Muhammadu Buhari Visits Lagos, Commissions Oshodi-International Airport Road, Oshodi Transport Interchange And Unveils Mass Transit Buses, On Wednesday

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Sokoto massacre: Attack Callous, Painful, Regrettable, Obaseki Fumes



tTe Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on Tuesday reacted to the attack on Goronyo Market, in Goronyo Local Government Area of Sokoto State by bandits which led to the death of about 43 villagers.

Obaseki, in a statement issued by Crusoe Osagie, the Special Adviser to the Edo State Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, commiserated with the people and government of Sokoto State, over the dastardly attack on Goronyo Market by bandits.

He also charged security agencies to intensify efforts in reining in the marauding bandits so as to prevent another re-occurrence.

The governor who described the incident as callous, painful and regrettable, prayed for the repose of the souls of the victims of the attack.

According to him, “We are deeply saddened by the terror attack in Goronyo Market, Sokoto State, which has thrown the entire country into mourning. Our hearts are with Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and the people of the state, as they go through this difficult phase.

“We join all meaning Nigerians in calling on the security agencies to intensify efforts in reining in the marauding bandits so as to prevent this painful loss of our citizens to banditry and terrorism.

“On behalf of the government and good people of Edo State, I commiserate with the people of Sokoto State and the Governor over this painful incident.”

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2023 Presidency: Akpabio Decries Distraction From Channels TV, Others



Ex-Governor of Akwa Ibom State now Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio has urged Channels Television against distracting him from the task of helping President Muhammadu Buhari achieve his set goals for the Niger Delta people.

The minister, who knocked the broadcaster for listing him among those seeking to succeed Buhari in 2023, faulted the use of his photograph on the Television station’s political programme for the same purpose.

Recall that in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Jackson Udom, the Minister kicked that the nation’s media were not respecting his request not to be associated with ambition for the 2023 presidency.

The former Senate Minority Whip categorically requested: “that he be allowed to focus on the national assignment of assisting President Mohammadu Buhari to achieve his set goals for the people of Niger Delta Region.”

The statement read in part, “On Sunday, 17th October 2021, Channels Television’s political discussion and interview programme – Politics Today, anchored by Mr Seun Okinbaloye, listed the name of the Hon. Minister and went ahead to use his photograph as one of those purportedly eyeing the presidential seat in 2023.

“As a politician and a serving Minister of the Federal Republic, who understands the distractions such unsolicited action(s) could cause in the polity, the Hon Minister, has, therefore, for the umpteenth time, called on groups, individuals and media houses, either Newspapers, Television, Radio or Online discussion platforms, to forthwith, stop associating his name and picture whenever 2023 Presidential discussions are being held.”

Udom asserted that the Minister has neither consulted any individual or groups nor declared interest in contesting for the rumoured post in the upcoming election.

According to him, “What is topmost in the heart of the Hon. Minister is how to assist President Mohammadu Buhari to leave a lasting legacy in the Niger Delta Region and to reposition the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to deliver on its mandate.”

The statement, therefore, warned other media houses and 2023 presidential election campaigners against the use of Akpabio’s “name and photographs as one of the purported presidential aspirants in 2023, in any of their discussion platforms.”

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NASS Must Listen To INEC On Electoral Bill, Says Jega



Attahiru Jega, former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), says the national assembly must consider the recommendations of the agency to avoid ambiguity in the electoral act.

His statement comes weeks after Festus Okoye, national commissioner of INEC, said there is a provision in clause 63 that contradicts the provision for electronic transmission of result in clause 52 of the electoral act.

He had appealed to the harmonisation committees and the national assembly to amend the ambiguous clauses so as not to be used by politicians with selfish agendas to exploit legal loopholes for their own electoral advantages.

Speaking on the issue on Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television programme, on Tuesday, Jega said there is a need to harmonise the provisions of the act so as to avoid ambiguity and contradictions in electoral operations.

He asked the harmonisation committees in the bicameral assembly to give “serious consideration” to the recommendations of INEC.

The former INEC chief said any provision of the law that contradicts the use of electronic transmission of results for the 2023 elections must be amended.

“If the national assembly can generally continue to be receptive to genuine concern of citizens in the manner in which they do their legislation, this country would be better for it,” he said.

“There is a need to harmonise provision of the electoral act so that one provision does not contradict another and so that at the end of it those that want to cause mischief will not exploit the ambiguity and contradictory provisions in the law.

“It behooves the two committees of the house and senate that are sitting to harmonise the provisions of the bill to also give serious consideration to suggestions made by INEC.

“It is a value addition that can continue to improve the operations and conduct of elections in our country.

“There is no doubt that we have to go in the direction of electronic transmission of results and where there is any provision that can affect or negate or constrain that effort to transmit results electronically, those provisions need to be carefully looked at and then necessary amendments also exerted.

“The national assembly needs to pay attention to the very important issue that has been raised.

“The harmonisation committee of the national assembly should do the needful in addressing these provisions of the electoral bill that are being raised by INEC.

“In creating a legal framework for the operations of election, it is important that the national assembly listens to the recommendation of INEC.”

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