Many Lagosians often think they know the Lagos Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode inside out. Whenever you ask them what sort of a person is he, you get varied answers. People see his different sides. Some see him as tough. Others see him as a soft man going by the gentle way he delivers his lines when he talks and reads his speeches.
But we can tell you that Gov. Ambode is a mixture of the 2. He can be soft when the occasion demands it. And he can be tough or hard as some will put it. But we can reveal to you that the No 1 citizen of Lagos State is a no-nonsense person with a zero tolerance level for mediocrity. He is a deep thinker, a hardworker and a very calculating leader who understands the nuances of government.
He is a figures man. He likes you to be precise, to be meticulous and to be deep seated in your analysis. If he sees all these traits in you, he can engage you for the next 3 hours talking about ideas, creative ideas. He is always solutions driven. He likes to play with ideas. That is why most of those who are close to him are men of great depth. 24/7 he is always with a pen and notepad to take down notes when ideas come. He likes to engage his aides in brainstorming sessions. All his aides know that once you bring a problem to H.E. you must also be armed with a solution, because the next question that will pop up from him is: Whats the way out? He is a good listener. He expects you to lead the discession.
But the same man plays hard. He creates time for recreation and sports. He walks. He likes to be trim. And he likes to let down his hair by listening to good music. He does not have too many new friends. He has managed to keep all his old friends. They don’t disturb him. They don’t call him for frivolous things. They wait till weekends to see him or when he calls them to come around for a few hours in his Epe country home. It is when he goes to his Epe country home that he really unwinds. So, he has been able to manage his 2 sides. He listens to his wife a lot. She is his prayer warrior he told City People.
During the course of his recent interview with City People we asked him to tell us the kind of person that he is. And how he unwinds?
He burst out laughing. “Let me shock you. I unwind. But the people that know me will tell you, that I am a hardworker and I am a hard player. One thing I want to send out in this interview is this: Your Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, had a life before May 29, 2015. He had a lifestyle. So, if I want to keep my sanity, I have to live my life.
Yes, I know it has become difficult to continue that my lifestyle, now that I am a Governor, but I don’t pretend to be what I am not. I know it is difficult to say a lot in public discourse or do a lot in the public space, as a Governor, people expect you to comport yourself in a particular manner. They should bear with me. I am a real person. I am not a fake Lagosian. I don’t know how to pretend.
I am sorry about that. I am real, I am a real Lagosian. So, they should not be shocked if they see me mingling with people, or dancing somewhere, or they see me playing football somewhere, or watching football with the boys. Thats me. That is Akin Ambode for you. That is who I am. When I leave after 4 years or after 8 years, I want to go back to my normal life. I don’t want to live a fake life.
So, when they see me eating outside at a Restaurant or at a food place they should not be surprised. They should not be shocked if they see me in a nightclub dancing. That is Akin Ambode for you. I am real. I am not a robot. What is important for me is to do my work, to deliver on my promises. I don’t play with my job. I work hard and I play hard. I don’t compromise on that, at all. People can attest to it that I don’t joke with my work. I have been in the Civil Service for years. What I need to do, I do. That is leadership. That is the whole essence of true leadership. True leadership is about being genuine and not been fake. And that is what I do here at Lagos House.