Times have changed a lot since former Governor of Lagos State, Akinwumi Ambode exited the Lagos Government House on May 28 2019.
While he may have left his career in politics behind, the 14th governor of Lagos is keeping busy.
Leaving office was a change Ambode could believe in.
Since handing over the most viable state in Nigeria to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Ambode’s foray into post-government life has included globe-trotting, studying, and the unmistakable perks of semiprivate life — like sleep and nights out with Bolanle, his wife and former first lady.
Since leaving office, Ambode had been through a thorny road. He was deprived of being a Minister by political warlords. He was rudely shaken by the EFCC in a N9.9 billion traced to a staff in his office.
The Lagos State House of Assembly also inaugurated a committee to probe the administration of the embattled former governor.
As part of its mandate, the committee has been mandated to probe the purchase of 820 buses, which had been scheduled for public transport in the state, alleging that it was without budgetary approval.
The lawmakers then summoned the former governor several times to give account of his stewardship without success.
But in a swift move to counter the summons, Ambode procured a court order asking the House to stop the probe pending the determination of a suit filed by the former governor.
Through all the changes, though, the former governor has remained calm and composed.
Those who know Ambode best say he doesn’t miss being Governor of Lagos, and is happy having returned to a somewhat normal life.
“He’s really relishing his time,” one of his aides who prefers to remain anonymous said.
“He is just very much enjoying the new chapter of his life, and he’s had a chance to spend real quality time with Mrs. Ambode and his family,” the aide said, adding that his priority has been getting his businesses up and running’.
Ambode goes back to school
The former governor is currently in Harvard University, undergoing another leadership course. He was said to have begun the course around late 2019.
The leadership course in Harvard University is said to be taken his time which kept him away from friends and public glare.
The former governor is also said to be busy writing his memoir which he plans to launch in the future.
The memoir according to sources is expected to cover the time during his public service years to the end of his tenure as Governor of Lagos in 2019.
But before starting on these tasks, he took time to rest, relax and travel.
Ambode kicked off his return to civilian life flitting from Dubai to London, leaving interested onlookers and stakeholders to wonder about him.
He has also spent significant time touring Europe, both for work and pleasure.
But Ambode couldn’t go long without returning to his roots as a community organizer. The former governor breezed into the country a day before the New Year quietly . He was in his Epe home to celebrate the New Year.
Although Ambode has been remarkably restrained, has made a few interventions such as donating relief materials to people during the COVID-19 lockdown. The relief package distributed by Ambode consisted of cash donations and food items.
The other three Ambodes, his wife and twins have also had to adjust to a new routine outside Government House.
They love their new house and they love the freedom,” Ambode’s aide said
Ambode was born on June 14, 1963 in Epe, Lagos, into the family of Festus Akinwale Ambode. After his secondary school education at Federal Government College, Warri, Delta State, he obtained a BSc and master’s degree in accounting from theUniversity of Lagos and later qualified as a Chartered Accountant.
He served for 27 years in Lagos public service before voluntarily retiring in August 2012. He founded Brandsmiths Consulting Limited to provide Public Finance and Management Consulting services to government, at all levels, its parastatals and agencies
He got elected as governor in 2015 on the platform of the APC. He served for only a single term.
What have other Lagos governors done after their term in office?
Former governors of Lagos are known for living comfortably following their political careers.
The Public Office Holder (Payment of Pension) Law No 11 official Gazette of Lagos State, 2007 states that former governors of Lagos State will enjoy fringe benefits which comprise a house in any location in Lagos State, six brand new cars every three years, 100 per cent of the basic salary of the serving governor, (N7.7m per annum) free health care for them and members of their families.
The law also says former governors will be entitled to furniture allowance, which is 300 per cent of their annual basic salary (N23.3m); house maintenance allowance, which is 10 per cent of basic salary (N778, 296); utility allowance, which is 20 per cent of the salary (N1.5m) and car maintenance allowance, which is 30 per cent of the annual basic salary (N2.3m).
Other benefits include entertainment allowance, which is 10 per cent of the basic salary (N778,296) and a personal assistant, who will earn 25 per cent of the governor’s annual basic salary (N1.9m).
The law adds that a former governor is entitled to domestic workers comprising a cook, a steward, a gardener and others whose appointments are pensionable.
A former governor will also be entitled to eight policemen and two officials of the Department of State Services for life, according to the Lagos law.
Following their terms, two of Ambode’s predecessors in office have continued to work politically.
Ambode immediate predecessor, Babatunde Raji Fashola is currently the Minister for Works and Housing.
Bola Tinubu has also continued to work politically, building a formidable political empire in Lagos, which has extended to other parts of the Southwest and the country at large .
Many people in Lagos feel Tinubu’s stranglehold of the state is becoming strangulating. He is not only the godfather of Lagos state politics, but is seen by most people to be the de facto governor, who never really allows sitting governors to govern without frequent and undue interferences.
He is being rumoured of nursing the ambition of contesting the 2023 presidential election.