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The Economist: Ambode Too Weak, Can’t Govern Lagos

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[caption id="attachment_2300" align="alignnone" width="600"]Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode[/caption]

Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has received a damning rating on his administration by London-based weekly magazine, The Economist.

The influential magazine in its latest edition, said Ambode described “full of excuses, but few solutions, for the worsening gridlock. Traffic is always bad during the rains, he says. Nigerians are migrating to Lagos en masse in search of work in a worsening economy, his office adds. Yet the root of the problem is in policy: Mr. Ambode cut the powers of traffic controllers by banning them from impounding cars. In retaliation, officers have refused to enforce the rules.”

According to The Economist, the governor lacked the solution to the traffic congestion and robberies plaguing the state.

Indicting the governor further, the magazine said rather than Ambode building on the successes of his predecessor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, he has continued to fail at his job.

It said the gridlock was already affecting productivity and the way of life of Lagosians because workers now get to work late, explaining that armed robbers had taken advantage of the usual traffic gridlock thereby worsening the plight of Lagosians.

The magazine reported, “Lagos is a hub for investors in Africa – it is a bigger economy in its own right than most countries on the continent, so this is of serious concern. The state’s former governor, Babatunde Fashola, who left office after elections in March, was lauded for improving traffic and security.

“He curbed dangerous motorbike taxis and brought local ‘area boys’ (street children), under control. Cars were terrified into order by a state traffic agency, LASTMA, whose bribe-hungry officers flagged down offending drivers.

“Reform in a culture riddled with corruption is never easy. Mr. Ambode’s office says the measure was intended to create a more ‘civil society’. Less fastidious types think it amounts to weakness, and would prefer that he focused on public transport instead.

“The biggest concern is that the gridlock is a sign of a breakdown in relations between security forces, government agencies and the new governor. If that is the case, there could be worse to come. That is bad news not only for Lagosians, but all Nigerians too.”