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I am wiser now, says Ambode

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Akinwunmi Ambode, governor of Lagos state, says he has been describing himself as techno-politician but having spent four years on the saddle, he is wiser.

Speaking with state house correspondents during what he referred to as a “thank you visit” to President Muhammadu Buhari for inaugurating some of projects in the state, Ambode said politicians learn everyday.

Asked to state what lesson he has learnt as a politician in Lagos and in a very unpredictable terrain as Nigeria, the governor said: “You see, every politician learns every day. The fact remains that I came in as a technocrat, so I use to call myself a techno-politician but I think I am wiser now. I am more of a politician than a technocrat.”

Since the return of democracy to Nigeria in 1999, Ambode goes into history as the first Lagos governor not to serve two terms.

Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor-elect of Lagos, beat him to the ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) last year.

APC leaders in the state, including Bola Tinubu, a former governor, supported Sanwo-Olu over Ambode.

On what he wants to be remembered for after bowing out of office in two weeks, the governor said: “Well, in another 16 days or so we will be leaving office but what is important is that I was able to have that opportunity to be elected as governor of Lagos State and to touch humanity in a way that I deem it fit.

“We did our best and most importantly the projects we did were people friendly and people central. I just think a lot more people have enjoyed the benefits and dividends of democracy than we actually met it. And that gives me joy that we were able to touch lives.

“Wherever you find yourself just make positive difference to people and Nigerians, that is the whole essence of service. I’m grateful that I had that opportunity.”

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Lagos Matters

‘You are expanding the kingdom of armed robbers’ — Bode George hits Sanwo-Olu over okada ban

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Bode George, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says the ban of okada and tricycles in some areas  of Lagos will only increase the spate of armed robbery in the state.

On February 1, the government of Babajide Sanwo-Olu restricted commercial motorcycles and tricycles in 15 local government areas and local council development areas.

The action was received with widespread criticisms among Lagosians.

Commenting on the ban during an interview with PUNCH, George, a native of the state, said the action would only “expand the kingdom of armed robbers”.

He said the ban is “inimical to anything that makes sense”, asking if any alternative employments have been put in place for those affected.

He advised Sanwo-Olu, whom he described as his younger brother, to revisit the law.

“How can they (state government) do that? Let us forget about politics, the governor is my younger brother and his uncle is my friend. I talk to him like an elder. He should sit down and revisit that law,” George said.

“It is inimical to anything that makes any sense at all.  Most workers in Lagos work in the Island, how do they get to their offices early now? Must everybody buy a car? Which alternative employment do they have for the people that they have stopped from riding a commercial motorcycle? So, how do they survive?

“They are only expanding the kingdom of armed robbers. The number of people out of job is unbelievable and you are adding to it. Get the Amotekun to be in every area and they will monitor the movement of these people (okada riders).”

Speaking on the 2023 presidency, George said ideally, the PDP should zone the ticket to the south-east.

He added that if Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), should contest the election, then he would challenge him in the race.

George described a Tinubu presidency as disruptive, vowing to denounce his citizenship if the APC leader emerged as president.

“I had said it before that ideally, from our party, once it comes back to the South, it must go to the South-East…because they have never had it, but if the name Tinubu pops up in the APC, I would go all out to contest with him,” he said.

“Let us get out there because it would be the greatest disservice for our nation to have him contest as a presidential candidate.

“It would be the most illogical and most disruptive issue to have him (Tinubu) elected as President. If this happens, I will disown Nigeria to take the citizenship of Togo or any other country.”

On the widespread insecurity across the country, George said sacking the service chiefs would not put an end to the problem.

According to him, insurgency is as a result of “mistrust between people of different faiths and tribes”.

“Nigerians are now getting involved, is it the problems of service chiefs that is responsible for all these? What we have right now is the insurgency largely as a result of mistrust between people of different faiths and tribes,” he said.

“The service chief is just one man and a tree does not make a forest. It does not mean that if you change one man all is well.

“The issue is a collective responsibility. Their loyalty to the country must outshine everything they think of.”

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Lagos Matters

Lagos Introduces New Number Plate for Vehicles

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In order to further prioritise safe motoring measures for crime detection on Lagos roads, the Lagos State government has introduced the newly designed Articulated and Allied Vehicle Number Plate (AVNP).

At the unveiling on Thursday, Commissioner for Transportation, Mr Frederic Oladeinde, said the initiative was from the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation, through the Motor Vehicle Administration Agency (MVAA).

The Commissioner, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mr Sewedo Oluseyi Whenu, explained that one of the major benefits of the initiative was the creation of a robust database for all articulated and heavy-duty vehicles, especially those that ply state roads.

“As you are all aware, it is quite difficult to manage or deal with any problem effectively if you can’t measure it or have verifiable data.

“The essence of the database is, therefore, to provide and share valuable information and data on an articulated vehicle with the law enforcement agencies, the Nigeria Police and the Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS) for safety and security as well as crime investigation and detection purposes,” he stated.

Mr Oladeinde disclosed that all new vehicles coming into the state through the ports will be required to obtain the Temporary Vehicle Tag (TVT) to be issued by MVAA as a means of identification for yet-to-be-fully registered, newly-acquired vehicles pending full registration.

He maintained that the new AVNP scheme has been designed and simplified to engender user-friendly and seamless procedures for the issuance of the plates, assuring that the pricing regime for the plates is affordable.

Also speaking at the event, General Manager of Lagos State Drivers’ Institute (LASDRI), Mrs Afusat Tiamiyu, appealed to drivers to ensure that they upgrade their driving skills by enrolling at the institute for training, stressing the Agency has skilled personnel who impart knowledge required for safe and precision driving.

Her counterpart at the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Mr Olatunde Oduyoye, in his remarks, stated that complying with traffic regulations ensures sanity on the roads, pointing out that if there is a free flow of traffic, there will be reduced lawless activities on the roads.

Earlier, while delivering her welcome address, the General Manager of MVAA, Mrs Lape Kilanko, reiterated the present administration’s resolve to form an all-inclusive government.

She gave the assurance that MVAA will continually review its policies to provide services that are customer-oriented and tailored towards the ease of doing business.

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We’ll improve on service delivery to Lagosians, says commissioner

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Ajibola Ponnle, commissioner for establishments, training and pensions in Lagos, says her ministry will inspire paradigm shift towards improving service delivery to Lagosians.

Ponnle said this at the launch of Simple, High-Impact Interactive, Focused and Transformational (SHIFT), an initiative of her ministry.

She said it represents a new culture in the state’s civil service, focusing on quality performance, knowledge sharing and excellent service delivery.

Ponnle highlighted the importance of harnessing the potential of the state’s workforce through new thinking and approaches to accelerate the attainment of the vision for a greater Lagos.

She said: “This is the first of its kind in the service. The objectives of the S.H.i.F.T programme, fashioned after TED talks, is to share knowledge, in particular innovation and creative ideas that will move the State public service into a 21st century workforce. It seeks to connect knowledgeable resource persons within and outside the State public service to the generality of the public servants.

“It will bring together diverse staff across all MDAs and empower everyone to share their knowledge for the benefit of the rest of the State public service.

“The platform will facilitate employee communication and engagement. It will keep public servants abreast of modern trends in identified subject areas and serve also as a means of interaction and breaking silos.”

In his remarks, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the governor, said performance would be the criterion for reward and elevation in the state’s civil service.

“From today on, I assure you that our public service will be performance based. For anyone to be appointed as a permanent secretary, such person will have to sit for an examination and pass through an interview process. If we use the permanent secretary as a testimony, everyone will know that it is performance based, and not based on connection. It was something we started years ago and I think we have to go back to it,” he said.

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