Amongst the numerous politicians jostling to become the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State few weeks back was a trained accountant, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode.
The rest is now history as Ambode was elected by the delegates of the party as he got over 65% of the vote at the primary election, which held at Onikan Stadium in the state to vie for the governorship seat of the state under the APC in the February, 2014 elections.
Akinwunmi Ambode was born on June 14, 1963 at Epe General Hospital Lagos State. He had his primary school at St. Jude’s Primary School, Ebute Meta, Lagos, and passed the National Common Entrance in Primary 5 and gained admission into Federal Government College, Warri. As a brilliant student, he recorded the second best result in the entire West Africa in the Higher School Certificate Examinations in 1981.
He graduated with honours in Accounting from the University of Lagos at 21, and started his public service career at Lagos State Waste Disposal Board (now LAWMA) as Accountant Grade II in November 1985.
At 24, he qualified as a Chartered Accountant and completed his Masters Degree programme in Accounting from University of Lagos, specializing in Financial Management.
He was appointed acting Auditor-General for Local Government in 2000 and became the youngest ever Auditor-General for Local Government in Lagos State.
He was appointed Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance in January 2005 and in February, 2006, was given the additional responsibility of Accountant-General of Lagos State.
The astute politician was the youngest Permanent Secretary in service and only the second person to hold both positions of Permanent Secretary and Accountant-General at the same time.
Under his watch, the state treasury office revolutionized the way Lagos State finances were raised, budgeted, managed and planned, resulting in the state’s budget performing at an average of 85 percent annually.
He ensured payment of civil service staff salaries before the end of the month, payment of running cost by 1st week of each month and introduced end of the year package and special/specific welfare for staff.
He launched the e-payment platform for the monthly staff salaries.
He renovated the state treasury office, created a conducive working environment, introduced a corporate dress code and provided laptops for all directors. He introduced prompt payment of gratuity and pension arrears of the State Universal Basic Education Board and local government pensioners.
He co-organised the first ever National Tax Retreat in association with the Joint Tax Board/Federal Inland Revenue Service in 2005, and chaired the Technical Committee that produced the Lagos State Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (SEEDS) document.
In addition, he led the audit teams as the Auditor-General in the office of Auditor-General for Local Government to clear and publish the arrears of statutory audits of 1995 to 2004 within 12months.
He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and a Member of the Nigerian Institute of Management. He is the founder of La Roche Leadership Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on developing the next generation of leaders.
He is married to Bolanle Patience Ambode (nee Odukomaiya) and they are blessed with children.
When Ambode left the service, he went to Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, where he studied one or two things about governance in his preparation for the greater responsibility.
While abroad studying, his wife of 18 years gave birth to a set of twins, a boy and a girl for the first time in their marriage.
He designed the strategy to shore up the revenue of the state when former president Olusegun Obasanjo seized Lagos LG funds as Accountant General of the State.
With all these intimidating achievements, many residents of Lagos State believe that Akinwunmi Ambode has all it takes to assume duty as the Governor of Lagos State if he wins the governorship election that is slated for February 28, 2015.