Ambode's Land Use Charge Drama: 4 Lessons Learnt
Lagosians cry could be heard across the world and beyond the land of the mortals as state authorities implemented the amended Land Use Charge law.
All eyes and all fingers were pointed at the head of Governor Akinwumi Ambode.
The Governor must have had a few sleepless nights over the last two weeks holding meetings into wee hours to contain the public outburst.
The state's Commissioner for Information has also shared the hot seat explaining to those who choose to listen and those concerned that the decision was made in good faith.
Bounce News highlights some lessons learnt since the declaration, the protests that followed and the compromise that played out in 17 days.
1. Lawmakers Are Also Very, Very Important
Each time you drive past the Lagos State House of Assembly in Alausa what comes to mind?
The role of the state lawmakers appears to have been disguised by the so called "executive" powers of the Governor but that cloak has been taken off Lagosians eyes.
The state's Commissioner for Information, Kehinde Bamigbetan on Saturday explained to a group of journalists that due process was followed in the enactment of the law.
In this our Lagos, town-hall meetings held, there were fair and legitimate readings, opinions were sampled and modifications made until the document was sent to the governor for accent.
Let's be fair to the executive, we had all the time in 6 months or more to react but we chose not to pay attention.
The beauty of democracy and free speech is like the thin line between life and death. One moment you think you know and the next you are swimming in the isolated pool of ignorance.
By the way apart from Desmond Olusola Elliot, do you know the lawmaker representing your constituency of residence?
2. When Nigerians Unite, We Are Unstoppable
The cries where heard loudly in Alausa and the Governor could see for the first time that he was walking alone.
Governor Akinwumi Ambode has enjoyed tremendous goodwill and complements from Lagosians.
He has been the Starboy of the APC at the state level and his bold steps have always received applause from the people.
But this time around, he knew he had perhaps bitten more than he could chew and swallow.
The impact would hit the people hard - the signs were everywhere - house rent, shop rent and lease were already wearing their race shoes to take-off.
Food prices were at risk and the wounds suffered from the 2016 recession are still fresh. So, why add more pain to the people?
The rejection was loud and clear - the lawyers had taken to the streets demanding a complete suspension of the process.
The Labour Unions were sparring for war and the Lagos hustlers and dreams refused to let events overtake the issue.
When we speak with one voice including on social media - our leaders listen.
3. Lagos Is Truly A Mega City
I usually hear the phrases - Mega City and Smart City. From Fashola's Lagos to Ambode's Metropolis - we are learning the difference between people projects and government projects.
Ambode is a Man of the People. His projects seek to touch the lives of the Haves Not and his policies favour those that may never have.
When you do the math and see just how much a plot of land in Lagos is worth from Badagry to Mushin to Oyingbo to Isolo To Epe to Ikoyi - you would agree with me that we are walking on a Land Made of Gold.
The value of land in Lagos has been tested once again and this time around we were about to pay the price for living in a Mega city.
Life in Lagos will never be the same again and the potential for greatness can no longer be hidden.
That your family house that you have abandoned for years gave you some shock and headache when the Land Use Charge bill came abi?
Wake up and put it to good use. Lagos means SERIOUS BUSINESS.
4. Ambode Will Seek A 2nd Term In 2019
The intrigues and place of politics in policy making and governance cannot be clearly separated.
The joy of democracy is the constant reminder that politicians' popularity and successes are measure regularly.
In our case, all eyes are on 2019.
"...In line with this administration’s tradition of inclusive governance and civic engagement, and as a Government that is committed to the welfare of its citizens and understands the importance of continuously engaging the populace..."
The above quote was included in a statement that preceeded the announced reduction.
When will government learn to be totally humble? Why are you speaking oyinbo? Just say 'We Are Sorry'.
I am sure Mr. Bamigbetan would be quick to wash away political calculations that may have been allegedly done in making the compromise to cut off 50%, 25% and 15% respectively.
Nonetheless, the polity is rife with talk of Ambode being brave enough to push through with this decision a few months to electoral campaigns.
Perhaps the governor was too brave. Perhaps he needed to be reminded that Lagos is mainly made up of more hustlers and dreamers than ready-made business entrepreneurs.
Perhaps he forgot that unlike other years, the 2019 election will be very different.
Social media will play a major role as more young people troop to INEC's office to claim their Voters Cards.
Perhaps he also forgot that one bad deed can erode years of goodwill stored in the hearts of the people.
My small advice is simple - Dear Governor, continue with your people projects and people oriented policies - do not begin to run a cabal driven agenda. Trust and listen to the people, they love truly you.