Lagos state commissioner for information and strategy, Steve Ayorinde, has issued an impassioned rebuttal to the recent swipe taken at the governor by The Economist, for the deteriorating traffic and security condition in the state.
The Economist, known for its hard-hitting, and high-impact commentary, last week issued a scathing report describing the Lagos state governor as “less competent, full of excuses but few solutions for the worsening gridlock”.
The Lagos state government in its vehement reply said that report was one-sided, and failed to take into account the “added bite to the security and traffic management efforts” of the state by the Ambode administration.
According to the Lagos state spokesman, the report also did not “take into account the bigger picture of an emerging reform policy, designed to address the larger concerns in the management of security, traffic and the environment”.
In a sign that the Ambode camp took the commentary rather personal, its reply read:
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“Perhaps, it is high time that this vaunted magazine learnt to restrict itself to strict journalism rather than seeking to impose jaded views in a volatile political climate where, we dare say, the gluttonous lot can choke on their own bile, almost hoping that the elections leading to the emergence of the governor could be held over again.”
“Governor Ambode won a hard contest, at the polls and at the tribunal…up to the Supreme Court. He enjoys the full backing of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and majority of Lagosians who see in him a compassionate leader and competent manager of resources”.
Counting the achievements of Governor Ambode thus far, the reply states that:
“He [Ambode] has demonstrated his mettle by first getting the finances of the state back in shape, restructuring a choking debt exposure from 18% interest rate to 12.5%, thereby freeing N3bn every month for the state to put into other pressing use. He has paid out N11bn in pensions to those neglected since 2010; signed 2.500 C of Os; constituted a forward-looking cabinet that has hit the ground running; fixed more than 200 roads across the state in what he calls Operation Zero Tolerance for Pot Holes and has flagged off a remarkable initiative with Local Governments that will have 114 roads (two per each of the 20 Local Government Areas and 37 Local Council Development Areas) constructed with standard drainages, walk-ways and street lights”.
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“This Thursday November 12, he is declaring open the BRT corridor that links Mile 12 to Ikorodu, which in itself is preparatory to the launch later this month of an ambitious roll-out of 450 new set of mass transit buses and a dedicated special BRT service that will be direct from Ikorodu to Victoria Island. He is lighting up the entire metropolis in a matter of weeks and is finalizing on a major waterways expansion project. All these and more at a time that he is fortifying the security apparatus with a set of brand new patrol vehicles and power bikes as well as three helicopters to assist in surveillance.”