Cascade of change raises hope for Lagosians
It was a rain of tributes and commendation for the Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, yesterday, at the presentation of Cascade of Change, A Decade Of Liberal Thoughts, a book authored by the Commissioner for Information, Lagos State, Steve Ayorinde.
The event, which was supposed to celebrate the write-ups of Ayorinde in the last decade, ended up pontificating on the values that have marked out the governor in his first year in office.
Held at the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs, the event attracted eminent guests including politicians, government officials, captains of industry, diplomats and the media. Among those present were the Special Adviser to the President on Media, Femi Adesina, who represented his boss, Ambode, the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, represented by Otunba Femi Pedro; Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi, represented by Commissioner for Information, Toye Arulogun; Aremo Olusegun Osoba and others.
Many of the speakers and guests who took turns to comment on one or two write-ups in the book, spotlighted the ones written on Ambode, thereafter, linking it to his performance a year after getting into office.
Osoba, who was the chairman of the event, said that the governor’s footprints could be seen everywhere in the state. He gave a personal testimony of the free flow of traffic around Falomo Roundabout, which before now, was a perennial headache for motorists.
While saying his comments were not to eulogise the governor, Osoba charged Ambode to do more, as the good of Lagos rubs on Ogun State. He noted that one of the things that have given Lagos a cutting edge over others was the issue of continuity by successive governors. Osoba provided an insight into the continuity, by highlighting how those who have served in the state migrated from being Permanent Secretary to special advisers or commissioner or transiting from being special advisers to commissioners and later secretary to the state government.
He, however, added: “Assessments will come, because it is a marathon race and not the 100-metre dash.” One of the discussants of the book, Dr. Doyinsola Abiola, said, she was impressed with what she read about Ambode. The Editor-in-Chief of the now rested Concord Newspapers said she was convinced Ambode was prepared for the job.
She added: “One year after, the persuasion the write up provided has been justified. Lagos is showing us what it is to govern.” If Nigeria is going to make a headway as a nation, then Lagos must be reckoned with, because it is always steps ahead.”
Another discussant, Prof. Pat Okedinachi Utomi, stated that within the first 40 days of Ambode, many had written off the man, saying, “he was a wrong choice, but they never knew the governor believed in the philosophy of thinking, planning before acting.”
He said in the first 40 days that many felt the governor was not working, “he was actually thinking and planning and it is reflected in what he has been able to achieve in the last one year in office.”
The reviewer, Prof. Emevwo Biakolo, commended the author for putting the write-ups together into a book. In analysing the book, he said that it was segmented into four parts whose unity he sees more in the style of writing by the author, which he is about, but not the thought flow in its four divisions.
President Muhammadu Buhari, according to Adesina, ‘‘appreciates intellect and good mind. That’s one thing that cannot be denied Steve Ayorinde.”
He buttressed his position with the response of the immediate past Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, when the President invited him for a farewell dinner. He said that Buhari disclosed that he decided to retain Arase when he assumed office, because of his quality of mind, writing and capacity, which to Adesina showed that the President appreciates issues around the intellect.
Ambode, in his address, thanked the author and commended him for his efforts in the build-up to his election where, he said, Ayorinde deployed his professional skill.
The governor stated that every journalist has a role to play in the development of the state. The Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akinolu, equally urged the media to further help the governor to succeed, noting that two strong editorials brought down the Gowon administration.
Ayorinde thanked all who came to celebrate with him, noting that the book presentation was part of the openness of the Ambode administration and the continuity that Lagos has come to be associated with in governance. He added that Lagos will not be what it is without the support of the media.