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NIGERIA: Ambode Hinges Plans for Lagos on Four Pillars

 The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, has promised to hinge his plans for the continuation of rapid economic development in Lagos State on four pillars.

According to Ambode, the blueprint of his economic agenda will be anchored on economic development, infrastructural development; social development and security as well as sustainable development and environment.

In a statement signed by his Director of Media and Communications, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, Ambode’s four-pronged approached to sustainable economic development was unveiled to a rich array of captains of industry, entrepreneurs and corporate players at an event tagged: ‘An Evening with Akinwunmi Ambode,’ which held on Friday evening at the Oriental Hotel in Lagos.

The statement quoted Ambode as saying that under his economic development pillar, “we will create jobs, provide skill-based trainings, pursue investment relentlessly, embark on innovations and new technologies, broaden the economy, and pursue the Project THESE.” Project THESE is Ambode’s innovative approach to harnessing the potential in tourism, hospitality, entertainment/arts and sports to achieve excellence in job creation and social development.

Under his infrastructural development pillar, Ambode, a Fulbright Scholar with specialty in public finance management, said: “We will seek to provide reliable power and energy, integrated transportation system, including tapping into the potentials inherent in our waterways.”

He added that his social development and security pillar would ensure the provision of good and quality education as well as to improve on provision of technical and vocational skills to shore up the labour gaps in the market. “We shall deliver a first-class health system, as well as secure the lives and property of all Lagosians,” he stated.

On his sustainability and environment pillar, Ambode said he plans to combat erosion and flooding and undertake effective and efficient solid waste management across the state.

At the occasion which had several bank managers, retired chief justices, serving commissioners in Lagos State as well as a number of former governorship aspirants under the APC in Lagos State, Ambode reiterated his reasons for seeking to be the next governor of Lagos State, adding that if Lagos is the business centre of Nigeria, the guests at the event, without any doubt, are the major players in its economy.

Ambode said it was important for the corporate sector and the public to understand his career trajectory in order to appreciate the reason why he is more than qualified and better prepared to succeed Governor Babatunde Fashola come May 29 this year.

“I started my career at the Lagos State Waste Disposal Board, an important agency of government. I also worked as treasurer in several local governments where I developed a deep understanding of how government works at the grassroots level. I also acquired a deeper understanding of how local government finance operates and its impact on our citizens. Thereafter, I became the Auditor General of Local Governments where I had an overview of how the 57 local governments/LCDA operate. This was, in essence, a larger stage for me to operate and develop my knowledge of how the entire local government system functions.

“From this position, I moved to become the Accountant General/Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance where I had an even larger stage to operate, interact and learn from two of the best governors that Lagos State has ever produced.

Ambode likened Lagos State to a company with the citizens as the shareholders. In essence, he said he had served meritoriously in the company called Lagos State, building his skills and experiences with a view to ultimately becoming its Chief Executive Officer.

He added that his experience was not limited to the public sector, having worked as an entrepreneur and Managing Director of Brandsmiths Consulting, a firm that specializes in Public Finance Management since 2012. “My firm has a Memorandum of Understanding with reputable international agencies to assist public sector entities in enhancing accountancy standards in Nigeria.”

I have also been an employer of labour, and I understand what it takes to run a business in the private sector. I, therefore, want to be the governor because I believe that with my public sector experience and private sector exposure, there is still more that I can do for my State and our people, and that is why I want to serve.”

Ambode who got his first degree in Accounting at 21, and became a Chartered Accountant at 24, with a masters degree in financial management, as well as being an alumnus of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and Wharton Business School said his quiet achievements over the past 30 years were all designed to prepare him for greater leadership roles and responsibilities.

“If Lagos is a project, I dare say that I have served as a plumber, a builder, a carpenter and a foreman. What I seek your support for now is to put me in charge as the project manager.

I seek a clean, secure and a more prosperous Lagos, driven by a robust economy and grounded on equity, fairness and justice,” adding that  in the collective determination to make Lagos rank not just as one of the fastest growing economies in Africa, but to make the state become one of the most livable and business-friendly cities in the world, “Lagos cannot afford to baby-sit a governor without cognate experience at this point in its development, but should elect a governor who will hit the ground running by continuing with the good works of the incumbent governor.”

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