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Lagosians Celebrate Ex-Lagos Gov, Ambode At 58

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…Hail His Impactful Projects

Lagosians went all out to celebrate the 58th birthday of former Governor of the state, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode including his several impactful projects across the length and breadth of the State.

Ambode clocked 58 on June 14.

His former Chief Press Secretary, Habib Aruna, had set the tone when he made a post on his Facebook wall titled, ‘Ambode: A Toast To My Boss At 58, which generated instant reactions from several quarters include journalists, associates, and friends who recalled the sterling performance of the former Governor including infrastructural and critical life-changing projects.

The post included pictures of some key projects of the Ambode administration including the Jubilee Bridges in Abule Egba and Ajah, Oshodi Transport Interchange, Aboru-Abesan Link Bridge, Security Equipments to the Police worth several billions of naira, high impact rescue equipment for the Lagos Response Unit, LRU, schools’ intervention, the iconic Lagos International Airport Road, Epe regeneration, among many others.

Mustapha Adekunle Ogunsakin wrote on the post, “Congratulations on your birthday sir. We thank God for your life and the great things He accomplished through you.”

Sam Oladele Alebiosu also said, “Happy birthday to the Achiever and game-changer.”

A journalist, Adeyinka Aderibigbe wrote on the post, “He was such a wonderful man with a very huge appetite for urban renewal and the upscaling of infrastructure. On this auspicious day, I join his other admirers to wish him happy birthday. May you grow in health and impact your people more. Congratulations.”

Olafimihan Abiodun Gbeleyi said, “Happy birthday H.E. Akinwunmi Ambode, God will continue to bless and lift you. Wish you many more graceful and glorious years ahead”

Yusuf Akeem Sola said, “Happy birthday to a performer”.

Dolamu Ahmed wrote, “58 Heartily Cheers to the Governor General, Akinwunmi Ambode. Special Birthday Greeting to my Oga Boss, an Icon of APC Lagos State, the Governor General, His Excellency, Former Executive Governor of Lagos State; Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, 2015-2019.”

Robinson Okoro wrote, “Achiever and Developmental Governor among his equals. I doff my hat. Happy birthday to you.”

Oke Hakeem, “Face changer of Lagos happy birthday to him.”

Johnson Abiodun Akindeji wrote, “Mr project we can not easily forget your good works in Lagos, wishing you more grace and blessings. Happy birthday stay blessed.

Another journalist, Ogunwusi Bamidele Segun also said, “One of the things I missed about Ambode is the light-up Lagos project. Everywhere is in darkness at night in Lagos now. Especially, the black spots.”

Veteran journalist, Edward Dickson added, “Eyan iyi, May lines continue to fall in pleasant places for you as you live out another exciting year of your sojourn on earth. Happy birthday sir!”.

Yakubu Lawal wrote, “Happy Birthday to HE. His foot prints remains indelible in Lagos state.”

Rotimi Ogunleye said, “Happy birthday HE , the leader of that unique team that worked assiduously round the clock to take Lagos to a higher height. It was great working with you to serve the people.

Mukoro Abel wrote, “Happy birthday to the people Governor, God continue to grant you good health and long life.”

Ikoyo-eweto Omogho Gloria also wrote, “Happy birthday to Our one and Only Governor, the best we had in Lagos.”

Former aides of the Havard School of Business trained administrator also took time on their social media pages to celebrate the unforgettable achievements recorded within four years.

A brilliant article written by Bolaji Adasofunjo and titled “Ambode: Humanist At 58′ also captured the essence of what the Akinwunmi Ambode administration stood within 2015-2019, while alluding to the fact that Lagosians truly felt the impact of governance during the period.

Part of the article read, “

If you dissect the whole teachings of the philosophical school called humanism, though it looks like its opposite, it is almost synonymous with that biblical exhortation which asks man not to lay treasures for himself on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. Rather, said the exhortation, man should lay his treasure in heaven where neither moths nor grasshoppers can eat it. However, while this biblical exhortation hammers on spiritual immortality as a result of sowing seeds in the house of God, humanists ask humanity to lay their treasures in the hearts of human beings, which can be seen, hinting that there lies immortality.

It will appear however from the standpoint of logic, that when a man lays imperishable treasures in the hearts of his fellow man, since man is the creation of God, he is laying his treasures in heaven. Going by this logic, if former governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode’s four-year strides as the governor of the state are a measure of humanist philosophy, then he has laid his treasures in heaven and has achieved immortality in the hearts of the people of Lagos State.

Born June 14, 1963 at the Epe General Hospital, to the family of a man called Festus Akinwale Ambode and his wife, Christianah Oluleye Ambode, the young boy, one of the ten children of his father, was to later light the lamp of development in a state ranked as one of the fastest growing economies in Africa.

Today marks Ambode’s 58 years sojourn on the surface of the earth. The elder Ambode equipped the young Akinwunmi with the paraphernalia of leadership from the outset. Sending him to acquire the golden fleece at Jude’s Primary School, Ebute Metta, Lagos State where he studied between 1969 and1974, he also proceeded to the Federal Government College, Warri, Delta State, a sojourn that took him till 1981 when he proceeded to the University of Lagos (UNILAG). From that same 1981 to 1984, he was in UNILAG where he studied Accounting and graduated at the age of 21. Not only did the precocious Akinwunmi bag a Master’s in Accounting from the same university and an Hubert Humphrey fellowship at Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, in no long time, he became a chartered accountant at 24.Diligently honing his academic and professional fecundity, he attended most of the best schools in the world among which are; Harvard Kennedy of School Of Government, Cranfield University, United kingdom, INSEAD-Singapore, Wharton Business School, Philadelphia.

After observing his compulsory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) at The Central Bank of Nigeria in Sokoto and assured that the civil service was the lush ground to groom leadership potentials due to its civil underpinning, Akinwunmi joined the Lagos civil service where he began in 1988 as Assistant Treasurer at the Badagry Local Government. Thereafter, in 1991, he was posted to the Somolu local government as the council’s auditor and in later years, he became the Council Treasurer of same Somolu Local Government, where he had held the financial forte previously. At another time, he served at the Alimoso council and in 2001, his mastery and wizardry in financial matters came to the ears of the powers-that-be and he was promptly made the acting Auditor General for Local Government of Lagos State and later confirmed by the Lagos State House of Assembly. By January 2005, he was elevated to the post of Permanent Secretary in the Lagos State Ministry of Finance. In all these merry-go-round appointments, how was Akinwunmi to know that providence was taking him through the mills, so that he could understand the pains of grassroots people, have a feel of their wants and emotions, preparatory to undertaking an assignment of consequence in the people’s lives?

Strides-wise, Ambode chose not to rest on his oars. This probably was why he was appointed the state Accountant General in 2006, to handle portfolios of all financial activities in the state, with over 1400 accountants in the state service under his administration. As if he and making strides were Siamese twins, Akinwunmi revolutionized the State Treasury Office, (STO) with his midas touch, changing the old patterns of Lagos State finances, budget, management and planning. He was the unsung hero behind the phenomenal raise in the ante of the Lagos financial performance within this period. This caught the attention of development analysts as he lifted the state’s budgetary performance to an annual average of 85%.

The most fitting acknowledgement of Ambode’s intellect and understanding of the Lagos State financial, social and developmental needs was his choice by the Lagos political class to run for the office of the Governor of Lagos in April, 2015. In that election, wherein he campaigned for and ran on the ticket of the All Progressives Congress, (APC) Ambode defeated his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) closest rival, Jimi Agbaje by 150,000 votes. Basking in the grips he had acquired on Lagos and the goodwill that it attracted to him, Ambode’s firm hold on the economic trajectory of Lagos and the thirst for Lagos to continue to consolidate on the financial gains of the previous years were some of the indices that delivered the governorship to him.

During his gubernatorial campaign, the man who was fast morphing from a civil servant imbued with a tradition of subordination to higher authority, being heard but not seen, into a politician, made use of his metamorphosis. He introduced panache into the electioneering process and made the youths to catch their fun while listening to “warring politicians.” His posters were surfeited with a cliché built on his understanding of Lagos, its economy, finance and people. Many have spoken about how he changed the mantra of electioneering, diverting it from the usual cliché that had no bearing on the aspirant’s past and trajectory. Ambode believed that in his own trajectory, his daring ideas and credentials, lay his success at the polls, so he deployed them to the highest advantage.

For him and this manifested quite tremendously in his campaign posters, he documented all his credentials and cognitive experience, perhaps asking anyone who doubted them to do a double check. Apart from documenting his educational credentials, Ambode also articulated all his trail-blazing catapults to the top of his career within the span of 27 years of his civil service career in Lagos State as well as his entrepreneurial journey in the private sector. Sounding like a fairy tale, the posters painted the iconic image of a positively queer man who entered the civil service at the age of 21 and rose, by dint of his mental endowment, to the zenith of the service as Accountant General. He literally challenged his rivals to be bold enough to subject theirs to same scrutiny. In a Nigeria where politicians shroud their past from the world’s glare, Ambode was telling an unusual story and perhaps pointing at the rout to go. His posters were distinguished by the mantra, LET MY EXPERIENCE WORK FOR YOU. Some analysts have said that it was the acceptance by the electorate, which came thereafter, his audacity to tell his own story for the world to hear, which propelled his political enemies and the opposition into spinning the unfounded allegation of his dual nativity.

In four years that his administration held forte in Lagos, Ambode brought on board panache and a can-do spirit that was not alien to Lagos and which set him apart as a man to beat. He bombarded Lagos with so many monumental developmental projects, which instantly made the State of Aquatic Splendor to become a construction yard. Virtually in all the local governments of the state, constructions went on simultaneously.

Development of Lagos became his locus of operation and in this regard, he bestrode Lagos like a colossus. It was such that, within four years, his strides dwarfed all his predecessors’ combined especially when one considered the twin impact of recession and dwindling oil price to close to $20 at that time. Tireless and with an eye on history, he was quoted several times as mouthing the need to attain immortality in the hearts of Lagosians by his developmental efforts. This must have been why he operated a governance model that touched virtually all the facets of the lives of Lagosians. Till today, his strides are yet unsurpassable as they are benchmarked as indices and measurement for good governance. A few of those developmental efforts are the iconic annual 5-Zone One Lagos Fiesta, his transport lay-bys and traffic control management model, the Bus reforms and terminals, the Aboru-Abesan bridge, Ajah-Jubilee Bridge, The Abuel-Egba bridge, the Lagos Neighborhood Safety Corps model, pedestrian crossings, 576 completed world class roads, functional security architecture that he bestowed to Lagos, the infrastructural transformation of LASU, revamping of LASEMA rescue unit, the jetties and water ferries, healthcare model and Ayinke House Revamp, Airport road construction, the world class Oshodi terminal, the Epe re- development and Chalets, the DNA Forensic Laboratory, Oshodi Safety Arena, the Imota Rice Mill-The biggest in Africa , Lake Rice, the iconic transformation of Alimosho roads leading to Ota in Ogun State, the 5 Lagos theatres, the Pen Cinema bridge, his Lagos Marathon, the Ojodu-Berger transformation, the artistic monuments that he dotted around Lagos, the over 6,000 Housing units, his Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, transport buses, light- up Lagos initiative, the Onikan Arena, The J.K Randle Centre and a lot more that made him to stand out among those who have administered Lagos or those who will administer it in years to come. Till today, the people of Lagos still speak of the Akinwunmi Ambode titanic achievements and remember him with profound nostalgia.
It is doubtful whether, even though the shenanigans of the political class denied him a second term, this same set of people can succeed in obliterating his memories from the hearts of the people he labored for. He impacted the lives of the ordinary citizens of Lagos in a way that ardent humanists alone could. For instance, while constructing the Johnson, Jakande, Tinubu (JJT) Park at Alausa, the model, which he parodied and eventually got, actualized, was the re-development of that park to become a world-class leisure park. After the commissioning of the park, Ambode literally turned it into the hands of the people by opening it to all despite being few meters away from his living room in the seat of power in Alausa, Ikeja. In a rare display of humility, the governor took his children to the park to have a feel of the facility with other fun-seekers at the park. Today, he appeared to the users of the park like the man who saw tomorrow due to his remarkable foresight. Even his biggest critics in their cocoons do say ‘’Ti egan ni e, Ambode se ise l’eko” meaning, with all honesty, Ambode worked in Lagos State.

As multi-faceted as his strides were, perhaps because of his civil service background, Ambode was content with the belief that blowing one’s trumpet was immodesty of the highest order. He preferred his strides to go ahead of him into the hearts of the people. As if he knew that in the hearts of the combines, forces who were displeased with his sagacity and “excessive” embrace of the common man on the streets, would not allow his government to endure, Ambode slaved every hour in his 48 months period of being in government as if the last day would be his last in office. He made stupendous inroads into the hearts of the people, so much that the lingo in Lagos is that, after the Late Action Governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, no one had attempted to best his performance in Lagos.

As Ambode marks his 58 years on earth today, his fare in Lagos as governor should be a torchbearer to those who queue on the side of the people. They can surely be denigrated, despised and muzzled out of their vision and mission for the people but in the long run, they remain iconic in the eyes of history and in the hearts of the people they served. Happy Birthday to the peoples’ Governor!

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It’s Impossible For FG To Borrow N1.1trn To Meet ASUU’s Demand, Says Umahi

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Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State says the Nigerian government cannot borrow N1.1 trillion to meet the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) who have been on strike for over five months.

The Chairman of the South-East Governors’ Forum said this on Wednesday when he received a delegation from the Nigeria Police Trust Fund led by Dr. Ben Akabueze, in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi capital.

“There is no way Nigeria will go and borrow N1.1tn to meet ASUU’s demand, it’s quite unreasonable. Are their demands genuine? Yes. But we can start little by little,” the governor said.

“There must be a commitment on the side of both parties that look, ‘ASUU is not asking for this to take to their houses’ so to say. It’s asking for it for our children, to better the infrastructure, to better the lecturers and the students. Yes, but we can start with a fraction of that and then have a programme that will run on the platform of sincerity to address all the lots.”

He also called on varsities lecturers to show some level of understanding so the strike can end.

“So, it is important for ASUU to show some understanding and for those who are negotiating on the side of government to also show some understanding,” he added.

“Let’s meet ourselves halfway and then open the schools to save the fate of our children.”

The governor, who equally faulted the poor maintenance culture in the country, added that there is a need to work on it.

“But let me also say that most of the time, our people have a low appetite for maintenance of public works,” Umahi said.

“No matter how much you deploy to these universities unless the users and the industry regulators begin to treat public infrastructure as their own in the various universities, it will continue to go bad.

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2023: You Need Wike For Your Rescue Mission, Mimiko Tells PDP

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…Says Rivers Gov Has Been The Party’s Solid Rock

Olusegun Mimiko says the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) needs Rivers State governor Nyesom Wike for its rescue mission in the next general elections.

The former Ondo State governor spoke on Wednesday at the flag-off ceremony for the construction of the Azikiwe -Iloabuchi Road in Mile 2 Diobu, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

“Your Excellency, our Party, the PDP, a Party for which you have laboured so much, seems saddled with the historical duty of forging this unity, a unity premised on truth, equity, and justice, a unity upon which rescuing Nigeria from the far from satisfactory performance of the past seven years will be built,” he said during the event.

“It is a mission that must be accomplished. A mission for which you are specially positioned and favoured to play a major role. A mission that must be subscribed to by all lovers of our country.”

He explained that when some forces tried to destroy the PDP, Wike was a bulwark that resisted such attempts.

“Beyond the self-evident physical transformation, you (Wike) have stood as a bulwark against those sworn to emasculate the main opposition party, all in their bid to force a one-party State down the throats of Nigerians,” Mimiko added.

“You were at one point virtually a one-man countervailing force, defending and protecting our dear PDP. You have also, through bold legal challenges, deepened the national consciousness on the defects in the running of our defective federal system.”

Mimiko’s comment came amid speculations that the Rivers Governor may dump the PDP following a fallout with the party after its presidential primary.

Wike lost to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar in the exercise, a development that has since caused a rift between him and Adama-born politician.

The PDP is making reconciliatory moves but Wike’s recent invitation of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos (a state governed by the leading All Progressives Congress, APC) to commission a project has generated further speculations that he may leave the PDP.

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Real Madrid Beat Frankfurt 2-0, Clinch UEFA Super Cup

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Goals from David Alaba and Karim Benzema gave Real Madrid a 2-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt and a fifth UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday.

While Frankfurt were dangerous, particularly in the first half, Madrid’s experience and individual quality saw them through, as it did so often in their victorious 2021-22 Champions League campaign.

Frankfurt had the best of the early stages, with Madrid keeper Thibaut Courtois forced into a stunning anticipation save when one-on-one with Daichi Kamada in the 14th minute.

Madrid almost got their first, when Benzema released Vinicius to curl past Kevin Trapp in the penalty box, only for Tuta to clear the ball off the line.

With Madrid dominating possession, Frankfurt mounted several counter-attacks until Madrid launched a counter of their own in the 37th minute.

A diving Trapp got his fingertips to a goal-bound shot by Vinicius, pushing the ball out for a corner.

From the ensuing play, Benzema linked with Casemiro just next to the right post.

The Brazilian sucked in several Frankfurt defenders and a diving Trapp, before heading back to an unmarked Alaba who scored from close range.

After the goal, Madrid stepped it up a gear and should have gone 2-0 up, with Benzema uncharacteristically dragging the ball wide with the goal begging in the 41st minute.

Vinicius, Benzema Connect
Madrid’s quality became more obvious in the second half, with Trapp saving a deflected Vinicius shot in the 54th minute and Casemiro hitting the crossbar with 61 minutes gone.

Borussia Dortmund loanee Ansgar Knauff had a chance saved just minutes later before Vinicius and Benzema combined to put Madrid 2-0 up.

Vinicius skated down the left before slicing the ball back seemingly unsighted for the Frenchman to hammer home from the edge of the box.

Frankfurt fought hard in the closing stages but Madrid were able to dominate the game to win their fifth Super Cup from eight attempts.

The clash, in Helsinki’s Olympic Stadium, was the first time these two sides had met in a European decider since 1960 when Madrid dismantled Frankfurt 7-3 through four goals to Ferenc Puskas and three to Alfredo di Stefano in the European Cup final.

The match also highlighted the growing gap between the Champions League and Europa League competitions, with Madrid being the ninth Champions League team to win the competition in the past 10 years.

Only city rivals Atletico Madrid have won the Super Cup when qualifying via a Europa League win in the past decade, having done so by beating Real in the 2018 edition.

In the 10 years before, Champions League and Europa League participants won five Super Cups each.

Frankfurt joined Hamburg (1977 and 1983), Dortmund (1997), and Bremen (1992) as losing Super Cup finalists from Germany, with only Bayern Munich (2013 and 2020) having won the showpiece event.

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