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AMBODE, DESTINY, ROUGH ROAD AND A MAGICAL FIGURE

Tayo Ogunbiyi

According to Edward Morgan Forster, English novelist and short story writer, “failure and success seem to have been allotted to men by their stars. But they retain the power of wriggling, of fighting with their star or against it, and in the whole universe the only really interesting movement is this wriggle”.

The concept of destiny or fate in Africa is a rather controversial one. In Africa, destiny, often used interchangeably with fate, connotes what happens or will happen to man in life that cannot be changed, irrespective of any human effort. An integral part of this conviction is the belief that not all men have the privilege of a great destiny. Some are destined for ordinary lives, while others are blessed with the fortune of a glorious life.

Hence, fate is regarded as the inexorable force that drives every creature towards their eventual end. Each individual has a predetermined fate. It is laid out for them at the time of their creation. Fate is, for the most part, inevitable. You may be able to change some of the details, but unless there is divine intervention, no creature can escape the eventual force of fate upon their life. Destiny can be changed, because everyone has Free Will. Free Will is the power to make your own decisions, no matter what destiny has in store for you. Every choice that is made can steer destiny. Destiny is difficult to avoid, though, because it often seems that those decisions yet to be made are part of that destiny. How amazing!

Though many would readily rubbish the very basis of the fate and destiny hypothesis, but believe it or not, certain events that happen in life tend to call attention to the reality of fate or destiny as key determinants of the course or direction of man’s life.

The emergence of Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode as the Governor of Lagos State is a clear demonstration of the place of fate or destiny in determining the course of event in the life of a man and, indeed, the society. The man himself clearly attests to the place of destiny in his emergence as Governor, when he affirmed at his inauguration that: “Today, I have just performed the sacred duty of oath-taking as the Governor of Lagos State. It has pleased GOD through the good people of Lagos State, that my destiny as a little boy, born from a humble background, on the 14th day of JUNE to become the 14th Governor of our great State, Lagos is being realized”. Talk about a man of destiny and a magical number!

Ironically, every man of destiny faces great hurdles before the eventual manifestation of their purpose. In 1964, foremost social activist and educationist, Tai Solarin (1922-1994), wrote a controversial article titled: “May Your Road Be Rough”. At the beginning of the contentious piece, Solarin wrote: “I am not cursing you; I am wishing you what I wish myself every year. I therefore repeat, may you have a hard time this year, may there be plenty of troubles for you this year! If you are not so sure what you should say back, why not just say, ‘Same to you’? I ask for no more”. Though many people misinterpreted the piece as a curse, but the main intent of Solarin is to bring to fore the intricate relationship between the bumpy roads of life and success. The main message in the piece is that success is not achieved on a platter of gold. It comes through continuous struggles and battles on the turbulent waters of life.

Today, the Ambode administration is being celebrated as a performing government which has improved infrastructure across the State. The truth, however, is that, in its early days, the administration had traversed through rough roads before it eventually landed along smooth paths. Upon inauguration, the Administration expectedly, faced some initial hiccups that are universally associated with political transition.

‘After the storm comes the calm’ is a popular adage that explains the joy and sweetness that accompany a hard fought victory. After the early worries that heralded the administration came the sweet sound of success. With the deftness and doggedness of a pilot sailing all the way through a tumultuous cloud, Governor Ambode simply gave his all to the worthy course of steering a new path for the prosperity and greatness of Lagos. Today, the consensus of opinion is that the governor has not only matched the pace of his illustrious predecessors, he has also raised the bar in many respects.

The silent and steady progresses achieved under the governor’s new agenda for a more prosperous and secure Lagos have not gone unnoticed by Lagosians who in turn have been commending his administration for keeping the flag flying at the ‘Centre of Excellence’.

Under his watch, the state has taken giant leaps across numerous sectors. Today, Lagos has become one massive construction site with countless on-going infrastructure development projects. At the moment, in Lagos, new blocks of classrooms are springing up in public schools. Same for new roads and bridges just as existing ones existing roads are being re-habilitated at various places across the state.

Likewise, the Light up Lagos Project has improved security for drivers, commuters, riders and pedestrians, thus ensuring they don’t suffer from decreased visibility at nights.

In a bid to enhance service delivery of the BRT scheme, the Ambode administration equally launched over 400 air-conditioned buses on the ever busy Ikorodu road from Ikorodu roundabout to CMS. It is now the in-thing for residents of this area to board these buses which now make their journey more predictable. The proposed Oshodi Transport Interchange and the audacious plan for a 4th Mainland Bridge are projects that would clearly change the face of public transportation in the state.

As Governor Ambode focuses on the second year of his four years mandate one could only wish him and his entire team more successes in the years ahead.

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