Arguably, if it were left for the electorate to decide, Akinwumni Ambode, would be on his way back – for a second term – as the Governor of Lagos state.
However, the decision for his re-election or otherwise, solely became the prerogative of the supreme powers in Lagos.
Today, the man, who has been rated consistently as the Best-Performing Governor in Nigeria, is in the twilight of his stint as the Governor of Nigeria’s commercial capital.
Even more interesting is how the power brokers in Lagos state ensured that his enviable reputation as a performer magically disappeared overnight. With the way things appears currently, Ambode would exit his rein in Lagos with the reputation as an under-performer and perhaps – a villain.
Now, how the power brokers in Lagos state were able to sell that smoke-screen narrative to the electorate overnight remains a thing of mystery.
Granted, Ambode failed in some areas. Nevertheless, we cannot deny the fact that for every one area he failed in, he excelled in far more areas.
Perhaps, Ambode’s political naivety and over-zealousness should be blamed for his current travails. The man unwittingly scripted his own downfall.
Indeed, he ought to have known better than to be on a collision course with power brokers in the state. Mind you – by power broker, I refer not only to his political godfather.
Ambode is not afraid to take some hard-line decisions – regardless of whose ox is gored. He has demonstrated this trait severally in his spell as governor of Lagos state. Ordinarily, this is the trait of a determined and focused leader. However, often, especially in our clime, this sort of posture often leads ones to their downfall.
For instance, upon assumption of the office of governor, one of his first policies was cautioning LASTMA officials to be civil in their activities. It is also on record that Ambode sent the Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC) and VIO officials packing from Lagos state roads, etc.
However, all these are not of the same gravity as fighting establishments that installed you as governor of Lagos state.
Autojosh presents 5 Key Transport Policies That Perhaps Affected Ambode’s Re-Election Bid
- Plan to Ban Danfo Buses (introduction of 5000 BRT buses)
Ambode’s announcement to ban “Danfo” buses and 5,000 air-conditioned vehicles is, perhaps – one of his greatest undoings.
According to him, his administration had set aside N30 billion for an integrated public transportation system, which kick-started in 2017.
“We decided that the best thing is to allow the yellow buses go and so the bus reform initiative itself is a three-year plan of 2017 to 2019 in which it intends to bring in new buses of 5,000 units in the three-year plan,” he said.
Note, the NURTW, RTEAN are the supervising union of the Danfo buses. These unions are stupendous money-making schemes in the state, and perhaps two of the deadliest thuggery syndicates in the state.
They are also very effective component of grassroots mobilization for politicians.
Banning Danfos is clearly a huge threat to their multi-billion Naira syndicates.
- Reforming Motor Parks
Taking over existing Motor Parks from the control of NURTW/RTEAN was a rather daring policy by Ambode administration.
This action was part of the reform in the transport sector.
This policiy is [art of the Ambode administration effort to reconstruct some existing Motor parks in Lagos state for use as BRT bus terminals.
Some notable and very lucrative Motor parks that were taken over by the state include the Agege-Iju Motorpark, Ojota Main Garage, Berger Motorpark, Ikeja New Garage, etc.
According to the Chairman of the Ojota branch of NURTW, Alhaji Mudashiru Egbedire, This forceful ejection from the parks paralyzed their business.
In the petition dated March 13 to the Lagos State House Of Assembly, and signed by the union Secretary, Dr Matthew Oloko, the union urged the speaker to ensure its members were not thrown into the unemployment market.
- The Ban of NURTW-Controlled LAGBUS from BRT Operations
In 2016, the Ambode-led government of Lagos state abruptly banned the operation of the NURTW-LAGBUS-supervised from operating on the BRT Corridor.
The reason giving for the ban was constant breaches of the franchise agreement the operator signed in 2007.
Over 36 BRT franchisees, together with the original NURTW-owned BRT buses were affected.
The ban prevented them from plying the very lucrative BRT corridors to load or drop passengers. They could only use the road like other private vehicles.
On November 7, 2016, the sudden banned sparked off a protest by the LAGBUS bus operators.
The ground for their protest was that they still had a running contract with the Lagos state government/LAMAT
4. The Ban of LAWMA-PSP Operation
This is, perhaps, the the worst policies – aside the law on the Land Use Charge – that has emerged from the Ambode administration.
This policy would put the Lagos State Government and Private Sector Participation, (PSP) operators, waste collection managers, etc., at loggerheads.
According to Ambode, this policy, which is packaged as the Clean Lagos Initiative, CLI, aimed at reviewing the mode of waste collection in the state, by bringing foreign investors with the right expertise and funds to manage waste collection in the state.
But the PSP operators alleged that the government embarked on a solo operation without adequate consultation.
The PSP operators Lamented that the government didn’t consult them, just as he described the policy as a strategy aimed at phasing out the PSP operators.
This face-off was further height
The hasty disengagement of the PSP component and the deployment of this new policy would lead to the refuse-filled streets of Lagos state.
The 27, 000 sweepers employed to clean the streets while the machine will take over the highways in the state did little to salvage the situation.
Helplessly, the PSP operators were later recalled, but with certain unfavorable conditions.
The PSP contractors are believed to be power brokers at the grassroots level.