Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State last week held a town hall meeting in Apapa, the 11th in the series, to rub minds with the people.
He shared his plans for the area and took time to listen to the people so that he could understand the peculiarity of their challenges and find prompt, pragmatic and effective solutions to the nagging difficulties they have been facing, including the notorious tanker/truck nightmare on Apapa roads.
To motivate the people to freely ventilate their views without thinking that the engagement would probably be an exercise in futility, Governor Ambode cited how a similar town hall meeting in Alimosho area of the state birthed the 21 roads and 2 bridges the state commissioned recently.
The well-liked Governor told his audience that his administration wanted to do only one bridge (Ikola) and 5 roads in the Alimosho area but after a similar interaction with the people, the number of constructed roads and bridges increased.
He said though the increment was not originally captured in the budget, the state government decided to do the roads when it saw the instant impact they would have on the lives of the people.
“That was how they got the dividend of democracy”, he recalled, to the delight of his audience. He said his administration will do all it takes to address the traffic gridlock in Apapa area.
He directed state officials to immediately take over the ABAT Truck Terminal at Orile-Iganmu and increase the facility’s capacity from 300 tankers to 3,000.
He also announced that the state would restore Apapa’s lost glory by rehabilitating dilapidated roads in the axis.
Increasingly, Ambode has shown that a leader must have the genuine interest of his/her people at heart. Ambode is never overwhelmed by stumbling blocks. He is perennially devising solutions to the daunting challenges facing Lagos.
Even if a project is not in the budget and the people for whom the budget is meant unanimously agree that such project is of utmost importance to them, Ambode believes the state can work with the legislature to fix the issue without waiting for the annual budget cycle.
At the same town hall meeting, Governor Ambode announced plans by the state government to open up the road from Orile, Mile 2 to the Trade Fair Complex in the next 6 months.
What else can one say about this thought leader? The Thought Leadership Lab captured the Ambode phenomenon so succinctly when it said, “Thought leadership is not about being known. It is about being known for making a difference. Indeed, Ambode is making a HUGE difference.