Twice he wanted to make it not about himself. Twice it inevitably became his show. Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s birthday of June 14 was billed as an onslaught on cancer. But it became the effort of a governor. He brought captains of industry and men of charity to buy mobile cancer centres for Lagos. His compassion secured at least four mobile centres. All attempts to make his role beneath the radar failed as he had to walk from table to table to shake the money out of the money bags.
Last week, it was supposed to be about information commissioner Steve Ayorinde, who presented his book of columns. But all attention went to the governor and his first year in office. Reporter-in-chief Aremo Segun Osoba, who chaired the event serenaded Ambode not only as a doer but as an exemplar of humility. He extolled the virtue of continuity in Lagos. He also praised Ambode’s work in Lekki and roads across the state. Referring to his accessibility, he recounted how he drove to the governor’s office over a complaint and the chief executive wondered why he had to come over to him. He had only to call. The man walked Aremo to his car that was parked far away, opening office door for him as they walked out the building. “I wo na a da rugbo,” he prayed. (You too will grow old.)
My former oga, Dr. Doyin Abiola said he was prepared for the job. Speaking with verve, she said she had never met him, but his works speak for him. She also commended the governor’s lack of airs, and drew applause when she said some people became unreachable once they became governors. She said there is nothing excellent in such people when they are called “Your Excellency.”
Professor Pat Utomi asked the audience to close their eyes and imagine the fourth Mainland Bridge, Eko Atlantic, Smart City Lagos, Light Up Lagos. He added that the first few days of unease shows there is time to think, plan and act.
When he stood, Ambode said the event was not about him. When Ayorinde wrapped up the event, he said it was about the governor. Enough said.