Speech Delivered On The Occasion Of The Visit Of The French Ambassador To Nigeria, Leading MEDEF, A French Businesses Conglomerate To The Lagos State House

Speech Delivered On The Occasion Of The Visit Of The French Ambassador To Nigeria, Leading MEDEF, A French Businesses Conglomerate To The Lagos State House

It gives me a great pleasure to welcome His Excellency, MR DENYS GAUER the French Ambassador to Nigeria, leading a French Business conglomerate under the umbrella of MEDEF, to Lagos State House.

 

For those who might have forgotten, let me remind you that this is the second time the French Ambassador would be leading this very important business group to Lagos State since we came into office. I had the privilege of playing host to this group in October 2015.

Since the Ambassador’s maiden visit, a lot has happened to both countries. During that period Nigeria has slipped in and out of recession; oil revenues have dwindled drastically and the imperative of diversifying the global economy has become even more compelling. In its own right, France has had to grapple with the reality that the United Kingdom, one of the founding countries of the European Union, decided to leave the group. France has also had to contend with the upsurge in the ugly phenomenon of terrorism.

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More importantly, Lagos State has witnessed momentous events since our last meeting. We have witnessed the consequences of recession on a large scale: we have had to cope with exponential rural-urban and state-to-state migration within Nigeria. It is on record that Lagos State welcomes 86 migrants from other States and outside on a daily basis, a figure that far outstrips New York’s 17 per day.

We have grappled with the reality of having to provide infrastructure on a scale that far exceeds what our resources can cope with. These infrastructure are necessary not only to make Lagos State 21st Century mega city compliant, but also to ensure that the rapid urbanization of the State does not lead to a rupture or an implosion, a reality that is not too remote to contemplate if necessary actions and preparations are not put in place.

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Ladies and gentlemen, the resolve of our government to enhance the ease of doing business in Lagos State has started paying dividends. As you are all aware, Nigeria moved 24 steps in the recently announced World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking. While this is a remarkable feat for Nigeria to achieve, it is most gladdening to remember that Lagos State alone contributed 73% to the World Bank’s ranking of Nigeria on this front.

Our government continues to inspire confidence among investors worldwide and it is a fact that Lagos has received more FDIs in the last two and half years than it received in the previous fifteen years. This modest achievement has been made possible by our resolve to improve security of lives and property in the State, by embarking on security and justice sector reforms, by lightening up Lagos streets and by easing the passage of traffic across the State. In the nearest future, Lagos State will put in place an intermodal transportation system, taking full advantage of our waterways, rail networks to mention but a few.

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As a country, we have had a great relationship with France even if this slowed down some time back. We hope that with what it has to offer, Lagos State can spearhead the revival of this relationship and the ushering in of a stimulating cooperation between Lagos and France.

Lagos is open for business and I call on the French business community not to miss out on the real and great opportunities that exist in Lagos State in such sectors as health, Agriculture, transportation, energy, tourism, to mention a few. Lagos State may be the smallest State in Nigeria by size, it is the most populous State in the country with 22 million people and still rising. With a GDP of USD 136 bn, it is Africa’s fifth largest economy, which is bigger than several African States’ economies combined.

Now that you have witnessed the progress our government has made in the last two years especially in the area of infrastructural development and creating an enabling environment for business in the State, it is my hope that you will be encouraged to invest in Lagos.

Your Excellency, members of MEDEF, once again I welcome you to Lagos House and thank you very much for your abiding interest in doing business with Lagos State.

Thank you

Akinwunmi Ambode

Governor of Lagos State

Lagos Has Enjoyed Religious Harmony So Far

Lagos Has Enjoyed Religious Harmony So Far

…Says Peaceful Co-Existence, Driving Force For Development In State

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Tuesday evening said the State has enjoyed an appreciable level of religious tolerance and harmony in the last 30 months since he assumed office, attributing it to the atmosphere of peaceful co-existence prevailing among Lagosians of different faith and ethnic leanings.

Governor Ambode, who spoke at an Inter-Faith Parley of Religious Leaders and Organisations, held at the Banquet Hall, Lagos House in Ikeja, said such atmosphere of peace, has also engendered the massive infrastructural and all round development that has taken place across the State since May 29, 2015.

Commending the religious leaders in attendance at the parley, predominantly from the Christian and Muslim faith, Governor Ambode said their prayers and support for his administration was pivotal to the steady progress that has become synonymous with Lagos, adding that the event was the State Government’s way of bringing them together to appreciate their commitment and contributions to the success story of Lagos.

“I just want to say a big thank you to all our spiritual fathers for all your prayers.  You really don’t understand the depth of what you are doing and the truth is this, there is no how anyone can manage Lagos if we don’t have this kind of harmony, that’s the truth. No matter how brilliant you are, how intelligent or how virtuous you are, or you want to do something, one thing is to say that you want to do something; another thing is for it to work.

“Because you are having millions of people who are having different DNAs and they all converge at the same time to say this is the way to go, and it goes that way, it has to be somebody else that is doing it. You cannot make a pronouncement on a microphone and everyone would sleep on the same side and agree, there is something behind it and that thing is that spirituality.

“This gathering is therefore not in futility, it’s to show the essence of that convergence of the spirituality that exists in a cosmopolitan State like Lagos that really makes it work. So, if someone was to ask me what is the secret of my success, it’s not the brain, it’s already endowed, it’s the combination of that spiritual teamwork,” the Governor said.

Governor Ambode also commended the religious leaders for their support and identification with State policies and programmes, especially using the pulpit in the churches and the minbar in the mosques to mobilize and sensitize Lagosians to become law abiding and discharge their civic responsibilities to the State and other citizens.

“I wanted a platform where I can bring all religious leaders together and celebrate them and I tried it last year it worked, so I decided that you know what, maybe this is another day of doing thanksgiving, let me do it again. So, it’s more or less like a celebration. So I told the Commissioner and I asked him, let’s do this every December, we would bring all our spiritual leaders together and say thank you to them. They really don’t understand, because it’s not all about bridges and flyover, peace is intrinsic, the value is more precious, it’s only in an atmosphere of peace that you can do a road. That which is immeasurable, must be celebrated before the one that is physical,” he said.

The Governor also recalled the inaugural parley held last year, saying that most of the issues raised by the leaders had been implemented and that the growing economy of the State has contributed in the peace being enjoyed.

He said one of the strategies taken by his administration was to strengthen the agencies responsible for spiritual development in keeping with its all-inclusive adding that the clear evidence was the award given to Lagos State by the National Hajj Commission as the most outstanding state in Hajj operations, while the Christian Conscience Group also awarded the State as the best in Christian pilgrimages.

Governor Ambode said that the State Government also made efforts to decentralize the celebration of Eid el Fitri parties which was held for the first time in all the local governments across the State, just as he disclosed that this year’s Christmas party will also take the same pattern.

Besides, the Governor said that the State recorded another first as it became the State to have decentralized the operations of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) with the inauguration of 798 Christian and Muslim leaders to join hands with the 20 Local Governments and 37 Local Council Development Areas in fostering religious harmony and peaceful coexistence through participatory democracy in the State.

“In the same vein, I wish to urge you all to continue to pray for the prosperity of our State and our people. We shall continue to collaborate with you in ensuring effective communication of our policies and programmes for you are our greatest partners in the development of our State.

“Let us persist in our good efforts in sustaining conditions that will increase our progress and bring greater prosperity; let us pray more for Lagos and do more to preserve and grow our gains. As we continue to win together and break new frontier together, Let us continue to live in peace and harmony for more of God’s mercies, favours and blessings,” Governor Ambode said.

Keynote Remarks Delivered At The Inter-Faith Parley, Held At The State House, Alausa, Ikeja

Keynote Remarks Delivered At The Inter-Faith Parley, Held At The State House, Alausa, Ikeja

It is with great pleasure and much happiness that I stand with you today in a continuous dialogue to fine-tune existing strategies and fashion out creative ways that will deepen the atmosphere of peaceful coexistence and harmonious relationship prevailing among Lagosians.

I am particularly grateful to Almighty God, for His divine blessings and transcendent favours that have seen Lagos in the fore-front of development, not only in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa, but also in the global space. The Almighty Allah out of His infinite mercies and uncommon benevolence has enabled our dear State to witness unsurpassed growth, excelling far beyond expectations, and flourishing in a sustained and unparalleled progression.

I wish to express my profound gratitude to all of you for your untiring spiritual efforts and your ceaseless prayers. I also register my appreciation for your support and identification with State policies and programmes, especially using the pulpit in the churches and the minbar in the mosques for mobilizing and sensitizing majority of our people to become law abiding and discharge their civic responsibilities to the state and other citizens.

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During the last inter-faith parley, I made some commitments and I am happy to report today that we have fulfilled all our promises to enthrone a crisis-free economy. The clear evidence of this is that in the last two and a half years, Lagos has not witnessed any religious crisis.

First was to ensure that l strengthened the government agencies responsible for spiritual development in keeping with the all-inclusive policy of our government. This we have done and we thank God that the National Hajj Commission awarded Lagos State as the most outstanding state in Hajj operations just as the Christian Conscience Group has also awarded our state as the best in Christian pilgrimages. We will continue to support both the Muslim and the Christian pilgrims’ boards in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our pilgrims, both within and outside the country.

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Secondly, we have since decentralized the celebration of Eid ul Fitri parties which was held for the first time in all the local governments across the state after I had hosted Ramadan lectures throughout the month of Ramadan. The same feat was recorded during the Eid ul Kabir festival. I am pleased therefore to announce that this year’s Christmas party will be held in all local governments across the state. I urge you to mobilize our members to attend the yuletide celebration at their respective local governments.

Moreover, we have just achieved another first in the country by being the first and only state to have decentralized the operations of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council NIREC. I have since inaugurated 798 Christian and Muslim leaders to join hands with the local government officials in fostering religious harmony and peaceful coexistence throughout the 20 Local Governments and 37 Local Council Development Areas in the state. This is to enhance spirituality through participatory democracy.

As we begin to implement NIREC activities at the Local Government and Local Council Development Areas, I enjoin you all to rub minds and come up with robust, innovative and highly collaborative strategies and activities that will be able to add more values to our current efforts.

 

In the same vein, I wish to urge you all to continue to pray for the prosperity of our state and our people. We shall continue to collaborate with you in ensuring effective communication of our policies and programmes for you are our greatest partners in the development of our state. Let us continue to re-orientate our people to remain law abiding because development can only thrive in an atmosphere of peace and orderliness. Let us continue to work together in promoting peace and unity of our dear State; let us persist in our good efforts in sustaining conditions that will increase our progress and bring greater prosperity; let us pray more for Lagos and do more to preserve and grow our gains. As we continue to win together and break new frontier together, Let us continue to live in peace and harmony for more of God’s mercies, favours and blessings.

Once again, I thank you all and wish you the blessings of Allah.

 

Itesiwaju Ilu Eko Lojewa Logun.

 

Akinwunmi Ambode

Governor of Lagos State

20 Years After, FG Completes Handing Over Of Presidential Lodge, Marina To LASG

20 Years After, FG Completes Handing Over Of Presidential Lodge, Marina To LASG

The Federal Government on Tuesday completed the final handing over of the Presidential Lodge, Marina to the Lagos State Government about twenty years after the journey to actualize it commenced.

Speaking at the brief but impressive handing over ceremony, held at the Conference Room of Federal Ministry of Works, Power and Housing in Abuja, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode said the development was a testament of the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari to bring positive change to Lagos.

Governor Ambode particularly commended the President, Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo; Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola and staff of the Ministry; Permanent Secretary in the Office of Chief of Staff to the President, and other stakeholders who worked to ensure the final transfer of the asset to Lagos.

The Governor said: “We are strongly delighted to be here on this historic day; on a day that actually finalises the intention of Mr President to bring positive change to Lagos.

“We want to sincerely appreciate President Muhammadu Buhari who has graciously approved that the Presidential Lodge be released to Lagos State and for the use of Lagos State which, just has said by the Minister, we have been trying to get for the last twenty years.

“We are pleased that on a day like this, it is my predecessor and present Minister of Works who is now doing the final handing over of which he had also been part of that process to get this asset back to Lagos but in God’s own doing, the Minister is in the position today to do the final documentation and we are very grateful for that.”

While alluding to the fact that the development was a sign of greater collaboration between Federal Government and Lagos State, Governor Ambode expressed optimism that it would be the beginning of process to get such assets back to the State Government.

Besides, the Governor said his administration would put the edifice to good use and transform it into a national monument to boost tourism and grow the economy of Lagos and Nigeria.

“This is a sign of greater things and greater collaboration between the Federal Government and Lagos State. We believe strongly that this singular gesture is part of what will improve the economy of Lagos because our intention is to turn that particular asset into a national monument where we can christen it a National Heritage Centre for Leadership and we will use it also as a tourist centre to bring Nigerians and foreigners to come to Nigeria and as well use that as a means of improving on the economy of Lagos State and Nigeria.

“On a final note, I want to show my sincere appreciation to the Minister and hope that this particular event will bring more good stories as we continue to see how much we can strive to get some of these assets back to Lagos State,” Governor Ambode said.

Earlier, Fashola congratulated Governor Ambode and the people of Lagos State for the N1.04trillion budget estimate presented to the State House of Assembly on Monday by the Governor, and expressed hope that it would improve quality service delivery to the people of the State.

He said the signing of the document which formally vest ownership of the Presidential Lodge, Marina in the State Government was in fulfillment of the promise made by President Buhari, saying it was gratifying that the long journey spanning about two decades had finally come to an end.

He said: “This is a long journey that has come to an end; a journey that has taken almost two decades when the Lagos State Government asked that the property be vested in Lagos but for reasons that remained difficult to understand it did not happen but the President of change who is a promise keeper has made it happen.”

Aside Governor Ambode, other Lagos State officials at the ceremony included the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Tunji Bello; Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Steve Ayorinde and Commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure Development, Engr Adebowale Akinsanya.

Address Delivered At The Formal Handing-Over Of The Presidential Lodge, Marina To Lagos State Government

Address Delivered At The Formal Handing-Over Of The Presidential Lodge, Marina To Lagos State Government

 

In November, 2016, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the release of the Presidential State House, Marina to the Lagos State Government. This is in furtherance of my request to Mr. President for its release, in our bid to transform the Marina-Onikan axis of the State into a world-class arts and tourism hub.

 

You will recall that the last administration complained seriously about the state of the lodge that seemed to have been abandoned as a result of lack of budgetary allocation for its regular maintenance activities.

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I wish to recall the Presidential State House, Marina was built in 1896 by the British colonial administration and has undergone a number of transformations. The version most recognised was built for Lord Lugard as Governor-General in 1914. The edifice housed most of the colonial leaders and after our independence, Dr. NnamdiAzikwe and Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa.

 

In August this year, we signed an MOU with the Federal Government officially ceding the ownership of the lodge to Lagos State Government in fulfilment of Mr. President’s approval and desire to entrust the historic edifice to the State. Today’s landmark event is theconcluding part of the process for the formal hand-over of the lodge.

 

My administration would put this pre-independence building to the best and most judicious use, while ensuring its transformation again, but without compromising its structural integrity, while preserving the architectural finesse and beauty. The lodge will be transformed along with the old Lagos House, Marina to the Lagos Heritage Centre, as it is one of the landmarks of the City of Lagos.

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I want to assure Mr. President that the edifice will become a tourist destination which Nigerians would be proud of, as part of our tourism development agenda for this part of the State.

 

I wish to note that the entire process for the hand-over has been seamless, and it is a great testimony for the new dawn of governance in Nigeria.

 

On behalf of the government and people of Lagos State, I wish to express our heartfelt gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for this kind action. We also appreciate the Vice President, Professor YemiOsinbajo for his support towards the realisation of this feat and to the Honourable Minister for Works, Power and Housing; we thank you most sincerely for your support through the entire process.

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To all the members of the Joint Committee both from the State House, Abuja and Lagos State, and to everyone who contributed in one way or the other to the success of the process of the hand-over exercise, we thank you for making today’s event a historical one.

Thank you and God bless.