Former Lagos Commissioner for Information and Strategy and Media Director of the Tinubu/Shettima Campaign Council, Dele Alake has described how the APC candidate Bola Tinubu transformed Lagos and set new governance with the creation of novel ministries and deployment of technology in the fight against corruption.
Speaking in a digital conversation staged on the popular microblogging site, Twitter, by the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu Media Centre on Sunday, Alake attributed the rapid development witnessed in Lagos since the emergence of Tinubu in 1999 to the candidate’s administrative ingenuity and vision demonstrated through his unprecedented actions and policy initiatives.
According to the former Commissioner who served in Tinubu’s cabinet between 1999 and 2007, he was the first to create Budget, Rural Development, Women and Poverty ministries among others to ensure equitable growth and access to opportunities.
He claimed that Tinubu’s contributions and achievements as Governor marked a new era of governance in Nigeria, and set a template for effective leadership across the country.
He said, “Tinubu has shown an uncanny ability for management. Administrative ingenuity. His political engineering is rare in this part of the world.”
“After he was sworn into office, he rejigged the administrative structure of Lagos state. He was the first to create a ministry of Budget. Bola Ahmed Tinubu was the first to create it in the administrative history of Nigeria. If he was not knowledgeable, if he was not visionary, if he did not have the courage, he would not be able to do all of these things.”
“He reorganized the administration of Lagos State, creating many ministries. I recall the Women and Poverty Alleviation ministry, he was the first to create it before some of those services were subsumed under different ministries and all that. He was the first to create a ministry of rural development.”
“The structure was always Works and Infrastructures before, but he said no, it was important and imperative for our rural areas to be developed because they contained all the resources that are being used and utilized at the urban centres, so he created the ministry of rural development to address that.”
“That is why in Lagos state today, you can hardly go to any rural area without seeing some evidence of modernity like electricity, roads and so many indices of development.”
“He also created, for the first time, the ministry of water resources and infrastructures. If you look at Lagos, before, is a riverine area. Lagos has the tinniest land area in Nigeria but ironically it has the highest population. What does that mean? What is the result of that? Urban blight, heavy concentration of people in a small environment.”
“Of course, that will come with its own attendant issues, so he had to create a ministry of water front and infrastructure to cater for the riverine and waterfronts areas of Lagos and bring them up into the developmental stride of the entire state.”
Explaining how he combated corruption with technology and saved the state millions in diverted revenue, Alake said Tinubu’s systemic approach trumps that of his opponents, including Peter Obi of the Labour Party who according to him has demonstrated a narrow understanding of public finance management.
He said: “I am sure you are aware of his prowess. His financial wizardry. How he engineered the resources of Lagos, the revenue of Lagos from the mere 600 million he met in 1999.”
“And I read something yesterday. Is it in the cable saying attempting, allegedly picking holes in the figures being attributed to Lagos State. It was querying it as not being true, and all of that. Well, I don’t blame them, because there are so many people who are intimidated by the fact and all the track records of Tinubu, so they need to be drawing swords and all of that, lying, hoping some ignoramuses will be hoodwinked by their lies.”
“Something I am a living witness of: we met 600 million naira a month as the internally generated revenue of Lagos state. In fact, for the benefit of those who don’t know, General Marwa is still alive. He is the head of the NDLEA. He was the governor we took over from. And they can go and ask him. It was 600 million naira IGR that we met. In fact, General Marwa himself met 300million. It was General Marwa who brought in a consultant named Adekonla.”
“He was the consultant brought in to improve the revenue generation of Lagos State. And Adekonla improved the revenue generation to 600m from 300m that Marwa met. It was 600m by the time Marwa left and we came in, and then Asiwajus started his financial wizadry. How? He started blocking leakages, clogging loopholes.”
He continued, “All these issues about corruption. The other day I watched Obi, he was asked, how would he solve the issue of corruption because he has always been crying, and hoodwinking a lot of ignorant people that he is frugal, he is saintly. He is going to stop corruption.”
“And he drew a blank anyway. He said, it is like a supermarket. Because that is the only thing he knows because he is a supermarket man. You don’t allow people to steal, you don’t chase those who are stealing because your business will collapse, you put some things in place, vague, amorphous, vacuous.”
“Now, when we had a meeting with Asiwaju then, he identified that it was corruption that contributed to low revenue to be that low and the best way of stopping corruption is not by shouting at the rooftop. Yes, exaltation is good, sermonization is good, rhetoric is good, polemics is all right.”
“But actions. You need to put in mechanisms that will compel people, force people not to steal. How? That was when he started introducing technology into administration. And it was the first time in the history of Nigeria. He brought in oracle and said the payroll system in Lagos state was full of loopholes. There were so many ghost workers. He said if we were able to block the leakages we would save a lot of money.”
“So he brought in the oracle system. The civil servants who were there resisted, but Tinubu is made of uncommon courage: he said no, he enforced it, and at the end of the first month that we introduced that system, 350million was saved. We discovered so many fake names on the payroll system because everybody on the payroll were asked to come and do biometrics.”