Let me begin by thanking Almighty God for sparing our lives to witness yet another opening of the New Legal year. I congratulate the Lagos State Judiciary under the leadership of My lord, Hon. Justice Opeyemi Oke, Chief Judge of Lagos State for the success, hardwork, dedication, and co-operation in the past few years.
One can safely assume from the radiant looks of My Lords and Your Honours that you have all had restful holidays and are well energised for the year ahead.
As you begin another Judicial Year, I assure you of our continued support and partnership. Our Administration recognises the separate but interwoven roles of the three arms of government and part of our own commitment to a lawful and orderly society is to respect the limits of those constitutionally defined roles. This we have always done.
One of the cardinal policies of our government has been the enthronement of law and order. Today, I stand a happy man knowing we delivered on those promises.
The increased workload and number of cases in our courts necessitated the appointment of more Judges and Magistrates as well as the construction of more court houses and renovation of existing courts to befit our judiciary. This had to be complemented by the improved welfare of our Judges and Magistrates.
The introduction of the Lagos State DNA & Forensic Centre further enhanced the quality of justice delivery in the State and we have also developed policies and legislations that will aid speedy dispensation of justice.
As our State remains the cynosure of excellence and the economic hub of Africa, our judiciary must continue to be in the forefront of judicial reforms to meet the expectation of the modern day justice sector. My Lords, we bear the responsibility of 24 million people who look up to you and I to protect them with the law. Our justice system must remain sound, fair and effective.
The plague of delay in justice delivery is still of major concern. All stakeholders in the sector must ensure that the issue of delay is tackled vigorously by creating innovative models for achieving speedy and efficient justice delivery system which can be replicated more broadly across the country.
The expectations of the citizenry is huge and requires all stakeholders to work continuously to enhance confidence in the legal system, promote the rule of law, guarantee protection of lives and properties.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, let me use this opportunity to acknowledge and thank the Clergy, our Fathers in the Lord and our Royal Fathers, for their prayers and guidance. I once again thank the judiciary for their partnership, co-operation and support, through which tremendous progress has been made in the State.
My lord the Chief Judge, my lords the honorable judges of the High Court of Lagos State and other judges here present, the Magistracy, members of the inner and outer bar, ladies and gentlemen, I congratulate you all on the successful commencement of the new legal year and I wish you fruitful celebrations.
Fellow Lagosians, the last few days have witnessed intense political activities that have gripped the attention of the nation and created palpable tension in the polity. I strongly believe that the time has now come for the State to move forward in order that the gains of the last three and half years are not lost.
DearLagosians, APC is a great party and the interests of our beloved State must always supercede that of any person or group. It is in this regard that I wholeheartedly congratulate the winner of the Lagos State APC Primaries, Mr. BabajideSanwo-Olu and urge allLagosiansto immediately support our party’s gubernatorial candidate in the 2019 elections and work for the success of our dear party.
As Governor, I will do everything possible to ensure a smooth transition in the remaining period of this administration and ultimately to the new Governor, come May 2019.
I thereforeappeal to all our party members that we remain one family andunite behind the candidate of the party, so that we can continue to move this state forward.
The progress of Lagos state is non-negotiable. It is a project that I have passionately worked for in the last three and half years as your Governor and one to which I will forever be devoted.
I wish to use this opportunity to thank our national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and the leadership of our great party at state and national levels, all party faithfuls and all Lagosians.
I thank all Lagosians for their faith and trust in me. I urge you not to relent in your support for our party as we prepare for the General Elections.
President, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Alhaji Razak Jaiyeola and his counterpart in the Institute of Directors (IoD) of Nigeria, Alhaji Rufai Mohammed on Tuesday lauded Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode for his sterling performance since assumption of office in 2015, saying his achievements across all sectors and sections speak volume and were visible to all.
Jaiyeola and Mohammed, who spoke separately when they led members of the Governing Council of their respective Institutes on a courtesy visit to the Governor at Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja, said it was gratifying that the current administration had exemplified good governance in all facets of the State.
The ICAN boss specifically congratulated Governor Ambode for picking the nomination form to re-contest the Governorship election in 2019, saying the institute was proud of his outstanding performance in office, and would support him again to continue the good works in the State.
“We appreciate the good works of the Governor; you are doing excellently well. You are not only a touch bearer of our institute, but also a beaming light of our profession. We appreciate your good works and I note that they have been very very outstanding and so on behalf of the Governing Council, I want to appreciate the Governor.
“I want also to congratulate you on picking the nomination form to contest for the Governor of Lagos State. I want to assure you that as we have always done because you are a performer and it is glaring to even a blind person of feeling the impact of your administration. we would support you as we have always done,” Jaiyeola said.
On his part, Mohammed said it was instructive that new projects were always springing up in various parts of the State, saying the Governor had aptly exemplified that good governance was possible.
“Your Excellency, the Institute of Directors of Nigeria commends your administration for the great achievements you have made so far in the State in many facets and most especially in the areas of good governance and the development of human capital and infrastructure. Under your able leadership, Lagos State has been able to distinguish itself in this country in the areas of security of lives and property of the citizens, improved ease of doing business, attraction of direct investment, self-sustenance and good ethical conduct in the implementation of government works and services.
“We would like to especially observe that the sterling achievements of your administration have been made possible by your strict adherence to the principles of good corporate governance in the affairs of the State. The IoD Nigeria Governing Council therefore salutes you and your able team for the courage and commitment in building an enduring culture of good corporate governance and ethics in your administration and in the management of the affairs of Lagos State,” Mohammed said.
Responding, Governor Ambode said since assuming office, accuracy and integrity were the watchwords for his administration which, according to him, had facilitated the transformation in all parts of the State.
Addressing the requests by the institutes for collaboration with the State Government in key areas, the Governor said an international convention centre and a professional layout zone were already in the works, with the view to hosting international conferences and ensure seamless operation of professional bodies.
“More importantly, we want to once and for all have a professional layout in Lagos State and then have all other professions having their complex side by side in the State so that we can go on a particular layout and have maybe lawyers, engineers, COREN, ICAN and so on.
“Like you would have seen across the State, there is a huge level of infrastructure that is coming up and we believe strongly that part of what we should really do is to promote tourism and economic activities and in that regard, there is a planned convention centre that is in the making that we are putting up with others and in another few period, the layout will come out and it will also encourage economic activities and tourism, among others,” he said.
On entrepreneurship development raised by IOD Nigeria, Governor Ambode said though a lot had been done in scaling up small scale businesses especially with N25billion Employment Fund, among others, he was nonetheless opened for further partnership to secure the future of youths in the State.
“65 per cent of Nigeria’s population is below 35 and technically in Lagos and so we have a youthful population in Lagos. So, somebody somewhere must be able to sit down and ask questions about what would happen to the young ones in the next five to ten years and we know that we have to plan for them and that is why I welcome the collaboration,” Governor Ambode said.