Governor Ambode Unveils 46-Feet Statue of M.K.O Abiola In Lagos

Governor Ambode Unveils 46-Feet Statue of M.K.O Abiola In Lagos

…Says Monument’ll Forever Preserve Legacy, Greatness of Late Symbol of Democracy

…We’re Eternally Grateful To You, Family Tells Gov

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Tuesday unveiled a 46-feet statue of Nigeria’s symbol of democracy and adjudged winner of the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election, Bashorun Moshood Kasimawo Olawale Abiola (MKO), expressing optimism that the monument will forever crystallize what he stood for in his lifetime.

Governor Ambode, who spoke at the unveiling of the statue at the MKO Abiola Garden in Alapere, Ketu said it was in the tradition of the State Government to recognise and remember heroes and heroines who contributed to the greatness of the nation and the State in particular, adding that MKO Abiola deserves the best from the State as Lagos was his success story.

Alluding to the fact that a statue was previously sited at the location, the Governor said that his administration decided to erect bigger statues for MKO Abiola and late Rights Activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi to properly situate their immense contribution to nation building.

“There was a statue done by my predecessor, Babatunde Raji Fashola but in the divine world, some things are more glorious than what you think and so we decided at the end of 2016 that we should do bigger statues for Chief Gani Fawehinmi and MKO Abiola since almost everybody passing and entering Lagos go through this particular Ojota axis and so we started late in 2016 that we should build something bigger and so it took us about a year to do this. By the time we did the one for Gani to celebrate his posthumous birthday on April 22, we also agreed that we should unveil that of MKO Abiola today, June 12.

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“But just as if God has a way of crowning all efforts to mark the 25th Anniversary of June 12, our President, President Muhammadu Buhari has deemed it fit to give our own MKO Abiola the highest honour in the land, GCFR and that is why we believe strongly that your presence here is not just for this statue but it is also historic which we would always remember in the annals of the history and politics of this country that sooner than later, there would be one day we would mark as MKO Abiola Day.

“We are very happy to gather here today at the MKO Abiola garden to unveil this statue, a monument that will forever crystallize his legacy, serves as a reminder to the greatness that Chief Abiola represents in our socio-political landscape,” the Governor said.

He described MKO Abiola as a man who transcended race, tribe and religion, adding that the late philanthropist appealed to all Nigerians who voted massively for him during the 1993 Presidential election.

“Sadly, he lost his life trying to secure his mandate. Even though he was from another State, Lagos was his home. And we recognize his contribution to our State and our democracy,” Governor Ambode said.

Responding on behalf of the family, MKO Abiola’s son, Abdul Mumuni Abiola thanked Governor Ambode and the Lagos State Government for the honour done the Abiola family, saying the statue was indeed befitting to honour his late father.

“God is great. I heard about this statue six months ago and I was called to come and see it and when I got here, I saw a statue of three-storey building. This is indeed massive. The family of late MKO Abiola really appreciates this and we want to thank the Governor,” Abdul Mumuni said.

He also appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari for posthumous award conferred on his father and declaring June 12 as the Democracy Day, as well as the National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for standing solidly behind the struggle.

“We thank the President for doing what he did. This statue was planned before the President did what he did and so we want to thank Governor Ambode for this,” he said.

Governor Ambode, who earlier spoke at a symposium held at the Blue Roof, Lagos Television in Ikeja to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the June 12, 1993 election, paid glowing tributes to other comrades who led the struggle from the front including Gen. Alani Akinrinade, Prof. Wole Soyinka, Ambassador Walter Carrington, Justice Dolapo Akinsanya, Chief Frank Kokori, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, Mr. Wale Oshun, Alhaji Balarabe Musa and other Nigerians and Civil Society Organisations, Trade and Labour unions.

“We also pay glowing tribute to the beautiful memories of patriots such as Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, Pa Michael Adekunle Ajasin, Pa Abraham Adesanya, Chief Michael Enahoro, Chief Alfred Rewane, Dr Beko Ransome Kuti, General Adeyinka Adebayo and several others including innocent ordinary Nigerians, young and old who were murdered in cold blood on the streets of Lagos and in other major cities of Nigeria. Today, we declare that their sacrifice has not been in vain,” he said.

The Governor commended Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for being the pioneer Governor to declare public holiday on June 12 throughout his tenure in office as well as Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) for his steadfastness in upholding the tradition, saying that the occasion attests to their visionary leadership.

Speaking on the theme: “Restructuring: Antidote For Efficient And Effective Polity,” guest lecturer, Dr. Dele Ashiru of the Department of Political Science, University of Lagos (UNILAG), called for the amendment of the Constitution to ensure removal of provisions which inhibit successful running of functional system, especially revenue sharing formula which he said must be by derivation, among others.

He also said considering the strategic importance of Lagos to the country, special attention must be given to the State, adding: “The Federal Government must wake up and pay Lagos adequately from the national resource so that the State can continue to play the role it had been playing in the country.”

He described Lagos as a model and mega city not only in Africa but the world, and as such all hands must be on deck to work for its sustenance.

Also, Chairman of June 12 Coalition, Comrade Linus Okoroji commended the Lagos State Government for sustained commitment to the June 12 struggle which had yielded fruits with the recent declaration of the day as Democracy Day in Nigeria and recognition of MKO Abiola as GCFR.

Lagos Extends Agric-Ishawo Road Project To Arepo

Lagos Extends Agric-Ishawo Road Project To Arepo

…To Commence Okokomaiko-Seme Border Road, Link Epe-Mojoda Project To Ijebu Ode-Ore Expressway

…Inspects Major Projects In Ikorodu Division

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Wednesday approved the extension of ongoing Agric-Ishawo dual carriageway road project to Arepo in Ogun State, saying the development became imperative in view of the determination to rev up the economic integration of South Western States.

Speaking while embarking on an extensive inspection of major ongoing projects in the Ikorodu division of the State which lasted till late in the evening, Governor Ambode said the projects would be delivered as part of efforts to make the sub-urban areas in the State economically viable and livable, thereby making life comfortable for residents and boosting the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the State.

Addressing scores of residents of Owutu and Ishawo who had trooped out to receive him, the Governor urged them to exercise patience and understanding with the projects, assuring that more dividends of democracy would be spread to the axis.

He said: “From Owutu Junction to the boundary of Lagos State in Ishawo is 7.5km and we will finish this project between March and April next year. Even before we finish this project the businesses here have started improving and the value of landed properties have gone up.

“Now, the Chairman of this Local Government has just spoken to us and we have also agreed that in order for us to improve on the economic integration of South Western States, we will extend from Lagos State boundary to Arepo in Ogun State and we will do 5.5km to join the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.”

The Governor, who embarked on the tour with top government functionaries, said as government was doing road projects to open up the axis, other areas of the State would also benefit, thereby improving commerce and reducing travel time.

“The same thing as we are doing it in Ikorodu, the Lagos-Epe road also will be joined to the Lagos State boundary in Mojoda with the Ijebu Ode axis to link the Ijebu Ode-Ore Road.

“We are going to do the same thing and make sure that the road we are doing in the Mile 2-Okokomaiko Expressway, we commence the next phase that goes from Okokomaiko to Seme Border. So in that wise, we would have connected Badagry, Ikorodu and Epe with all the neighbouring States and we will improve the economy of Lagos and make sure that all our people that are living in the sub-urban areas are able to live comfortably well in those places and the economy in those areas also improve.

“I just want to appeal to our people to exercise patience as we do this. We are doing it for you. We know that you want more than roads, we are bringing shopping mall to Ikorodu; we are bringing cinema; we are bringing arts theatre and we are also bringing recreational park,” Governor Ambode said.

While inspecting progress of work on the 32 Metric Tonnes Rice Mill and Light Industrial Park in Imota which would accommodate those to be relocated from Sabo Industrial Park, the Governor expressed satisfaction with level of work, saying the Rice Mill was another fulfillment of promise to produce rice locally on a large scale.

“We think that we are on the right course. People would recall that we used to have a 2.5 Metric Tonnes per hour rice mill in this particular site. We have removed that to pave way for the new 32 Metric Tonnes per hour rice mill and as we can all see since the last time we were here that there has been a lot of progress being made by the contractor and also the consultant.

“We can see that this is a huge task for us to fulfill our promise that we would be producing our own Lake Rice by ourselves and I think I am impressed by the level of work I have seen and we should be able to start production in this rice mill in the first quarter of 2019.

“In addition to that, this Imota Light Industrial Park is to replace the Sabo Light Industrial Park that we are closing down. We have decided to move the Light Industrial Park into Imota here to give the economic hub that we want to give Imota the right picture and also turn part of the closed Sabo Industrial Park into our Tech hub for us to be able to integrate the new acquisition of land that we have in Sabo and turn that axis into the new Tech hub for our younger ones so that we can use that area as our own new Silicone Valley,” he said.

He said the Rice Mill and other projects going on in the axis such as the new Mile 12 Market in Imota and Igbogbo-Bola Ahmed Tinubu-Igbe Road which would be extended to Gberigbe and environs, would further contribute to positively change the economic landscape of the axis.

“We are on the right course and that also is ongoing. We think with the provision of this industrial park and this rice mill and then the Commodity Market that is coming to Imota in addition to the major road projects that are ongoing in Ikorodu like the one we just visited which is the Igbogbo-Bola Ahmed Tinubu-Igbe Road that will also link Owu Elepe all the way down to the junction of this Imota Road and also extend in another few months once we get our Asphalt Plant back on track to Gberigbe, the economic landscape of this axis will be changed positively.

“What we are trying to send as a message here is that every nook and cranny of Lagos should become economically viable and also economically livable because people should be able to stay where they are and actually earn their own living and income in a very comfortable way and that is the whole essence of this and overall we will be able to grow our GDP and allow more people to enjoy dividends of democracy and also pay their taxes, perform their civic obligations and in a complete circle, that same money gotten from the taxes would be used to continue to renew infrastructure and allow more people to live a comfortable life.

“That is what Lagos wants to do; that is what we are committed to and that is the direction we are going,” the Governor said.

Earlier, Chairman of Ikorodu West Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Princess Jumoke Jumbo commended Governor Ambode for his commitment to the development of the Ikorodu division, saying such was obvious with various projects simultaneously ongoing in the axis.

“On behalf of the people of Ikorodu West LCDA, we just want to appreciate our Governor for your good gesture and the love you have for us in Ikorodu as a whole. Our people really appreciate you most especially for this road because it is already boosting the economy of our area and just yesterday, the wife of the Governor, Mrs Bolanle Ambode came to give our children school sandals and socks.

“We thank God for you coming from Lagos every time to Ikorodu to do one projects and the other. All my people are interested in you coming back. Governor Ambode is already endorsed for second term and we pray you will come back to do more for us,” Jumbo said.

Monthly IGR In Lagos Now N34billion

Monthly IGR In Lagos Now N34billion

… Says N50bn Revenue Target By 2019 Still On Course
…Receives N327m From 13% Oil Derivation

The Lagos State Government on Monday said that it has so far achieved an average monthly Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of N34billion in 2018 compared to monthly averages of the last three years.

Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akinyemi Ashade who disclosed this at the ongoing annual Ministerial Press Briefing to mark the third anniversary of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration held at Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa, attributed the gradual improvement to the impact of the ongoing reforms and growth in the State’s economy.

He said, “Notably, we are recording gradual improvement in our average monthly IGR in 2018 compared to the levels achieved in previous years due to the impact of ongoing reforms and growth in the State’s economy. Based on our first quarter results, Lagos State has so far achieved an average monthly IGR of N34billion in 2018 compared to monthly averages of N22bn, N24bn and N30bn in 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively.”

The Commissioner expressed optimism that the IGR would continue to rise even further as the State continues to implement the various reforms, driven by wider technology adoption and innovation, adding that the target to grow the State’s IGR to N50bn by next year was well on course.

“The target we set for ourselves is N50billion but we all know the kind of push backs we have experienced including people going to court and all that. Our commitment is not for now, its for the future of Lagos. We know it’s a marathon, we would win some and we would lose some, but we are very committed towards ensuring that we meet the target, but if we don’t meet it this year, definitely there would be another year, but we believe we would succeed in that target we set for ourselves,” Ashade said.

On Federal Transfers, he said since Lagos joined the league of oil producing State, the Government had received a total of N327million revenue, comprising N197million and N130million received in 2017 and first quarter of 2018 respectively.

“Furthermore, we are in ongoing discussions with the Federal Government towards obtaining a refund for expenditure totalling N51billion that was incurred by the State Government on behalf of the Federal Government for infrastructure projects developments in the State. We are optimistic of successful discussions that will result in the approval and payment of the amount owed to the State Government by the Federal Government,” he said.

Giving an update on the State’s Debt Profile, Ashade said the Government’s debt stock, comprising 48 per cent local debt and 52 per cent foreign debt currently stood at N874.38billion at the end of 2017 while the debt service charge to total revenue ratio which stood at 17.61 per cent was still within the World Bank threshold of 30 per cent.

The Commissioner said the State Government has continued to maintain a positive credit rating, however, adding that a downgrade of Nigeria’s sovereign rating would lead to a corresponding action on Lagos’ international drawing rights.

“As Nigeria continues to improve on its credit rating, we would be able to achieve better rating as we currently have because no amount of revenue generation, no amount of employment growth of Lagos State can make us surpass to surpass the sovereign rating,” he said.

He, however, said that the State Government has taken some strategic steps to help Nigeria improve on its ratings including adhering to fiscal discipline, improved revenue generation, reforms in infrastructure development, transport and embedded power.

Giving an update on the revised Land Use Charge (LUC), Ashade said the State Government has continued to engage critical stakeholders in line with its tradition of inclusive governance, adding that a wide range of response have been received.

He said the extensive discussions led to several concessions on Land Use charge for property owners across board, adding that a revised bill to further amend the LUC Law to incorporate the additional concessions was presently before the House of Assembly and would be passed soon.

Besides, the Commissioner said the Government through the LUC Assessment Appeal Tribunal, received a total of 1,503 complaints, out of which 1,113 were successfully resolved administratively and through mediation, adding that an additional 263 property owners/agents had their grievances resolved in the last two weeks and more still ongoing.

Ashade also urged residents to continue to support the government by fulfilling their civic duty of paying their taxes and remitting all taxes collected on behalf of the Government as and when due, assuring that the present administration was committed to maintaining financial accountability and transparency for the overall development and prosperity of the State.

Investments In Lekki Will Make Lagos Next Business Destination In Africa

Investments In Lekki Will Make Lagos Next Business Destination In Africa

…Inspects Dangote Industrial Jetty, Other Projects In Ibeju-Lekki, Epe, Ojota

…Ongoing Projects In Lekki Free Trade Zone Largest Worldwide, Says Dangote

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Sunday inspected the ongoing projects in the Lekki Free Trade Zone, saying the massive investments being jointly made in the axis by government and the private sector was targeted at making Lagos emerge as the next destination for business in Africa.

Governor Ambode, who inspected the progress of work alongside cabinet members, billionaire businessmen, Aliko Dangote and Femi Otedola, among other businessmen, said the investments and the infrastructural renewal in the Lekki-Epe axis simultaneously ongoing were geared towards preparing the State for industrial revolution taking place in Nigeria and by extension the West African region.

He said it was gratifying that remarkable progress had been made since the last time a major inspection tour of the projects was carried out, saying the investment activities at the zone would positively impact on the economy of the State.

He said: “We have just inspected the ongoing jetty project being done by Alhaji Aliko Dangote. You are all well aware that we flagged off the construction of Lekki Deep Sea Port some few weeks ago but more importantly this jetty is being done by the Dangote Group to more or less facilitate the movement of their heavy duty machinery to the petrochemical plant and other projects they are doing in this Lekki Free Trade Zone.”

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode; President, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote; CEO, Enyo Retail & Supply Limited, Mr. Abayomi Awobokun; Executive Director, Dangote Group, Mr. Davkumar Edwin; Chairman, Forte Oil PLC, Mr. Femi Otedola and others during the Governor’s inspection of the ongoing Sea Port Project at the Lekki Free Trade Zone, Ibeju-Lekki, on Sunday, May 20, 2018.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode; President, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote; CEO, Enyo Retail & Supply Limited, Mr. Abayomi Awobokun; Executive Director, Dangote Group, Mr. Davkumar Edwin; Chairman, Forte Oil PLC, Mr. Femi Otedola and others during the Governor’s inspection of the ongoing Sea Port Project at the Lekki Free Trade Zone, Ibeju-Lekki, on Sunday, May 20, 2018.

While reiterating the commitment of the State Government to continue to encourage and support investors to continue to do what is right for the economy, Governor Ambode said no efforts would be spared in providing the conducive atmosphere for investments to thrive in the State.

“What we are doing more importantly, as a government, is to continue to encourage the Dangote Group to do what is right for this country and for us to join hands together and collaborate to really show that Lagos is the next destination for the industrial revolution that is taking place in Nigeria and we are very happy to be doing this with him because we know that with the kind of infrastructure that we are providing around Lagos and the kind of infrastructure he is also providing, this place should be the next destination for anybody that is interested in investing in Nigeria.

“That is what this Lekki Free Trade Zone area is all about; that is why a whole lot of what we are doing in the Epe and Lekki axis in pieces more or less when they come to fruition will really show that Lagos is the next destination for investment in Africa,” he said.

Earlier, Dangote said the combined projects under construction at the Lekki Free Trade Zone was the largest anywhere in the world, and that it was important for the right message about the axis to be communicated to the people to appreciate its impact on the economy.

He said: “What is happening here is the largest project anywhere in the world today and this visit is just to show the Governor the industrial jetty that we have built including the water breaker which is 900meters which is almost like about a mile.

PIX 0060
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (middle), President, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote (2nd right); Executive Director, Dangote Group, Mr. Davkumar Edwin (right); Chairman, Forte Oil PLC, Mr. Femi Otedola (2nd left) and CEO, Enyo Retail & Supply Limited, Mr. Abayomi Awobokun (left) during the Governor’s inspection of the ongoing Sea Port Project at the Lekki Free Trade Zone, Ibeju-Lekki, on Sunday, May 20, 2018.

“This is to show what we have done in terms of bringing in our cargo to build the refinery. We have done quite a lot in terms of water protection and also it is environmentally friendly and this is what we have shown the Governor.

“This is just showing that this place is going to really open for business and we are looking for a lot of infrastructure to be built and this place will be the next destination for any investment in Nigeria.”

Also speaking, Lagos State Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Mrs Olayinka Oladunjoye, said the jetty when operational next month would facilitate the shipment of equipment to rev up the projects within the Lekki Free Trade Zone.

“This is a jetty that is being done by Dangote and by the end of this month, it will be ready for use. Some of the vessel and equipment that cannot come through the land will be coming in through the jetty and that is why this jetty has been built.

“I can assure the people that once the jetty becomes functional, most of the items needed for the fertilizer plant, petrochemicals, refinery and others will be put in place and this is very contingent to what is happening here. As a government, whatever they need in terms of support in all ramifications will be done,” Oladunjoye said.

Besides, the Governor also inspected the new Ojota Inter-state Bus Terminal under construction, ongoing road projects linking Lagos to Ogun State from Epe axis, among others in the Ibeju-Lekki zone.

ETF: Lagos Disburses N5.22billion To 6,462 Beneficiaries

ETF: Lagos Disburses N5.22billion To 6,462 Beneficiaries

…To Train 10,000 Skilled Persons Through Employability Support Scheme

The Lagos State Government on Thursday said a total of 6,462 residents with proven business ideas have so far benefitted about N5.22billion from the Employment Trust Fund (ETF) designed to grow the economy and create jobs through provision of credit facilities with minimal interest.

Speaking at the annual Ministerial Press Briefing to mark the third anniversary of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration held at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa, Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Mrs Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf said the amount so far disbursed constituted a huge part of the total N5.98billion approved for 8,229 beneficiaries since it began disbursement in 2017.

The ETF is an initiative of the present administration in the State through which N25billion is earmarked to be disbursed over a period of four years to provide entrepreneurs, artisans, traders and others with capital to boost their businesses thereby reducing unemployment and increasing wealth among the people.

While reeling out loan disbursement activities of the fund, Akinbile-Yussuf said: “In fulfillment of the Lagos State Government’s mandate, the Fund has now disbursed N5.22billion to 6,462 beneficiaries, out of the approved loans totaling N5.98billion for 8,229 beneficiaries received.

She said in the period under review, the board of ETF approved loans totaling N627,053,826.15 for 643 beneficiaries under the batch four of the scheme, while in batches five, six, seven and eight, N924,696,671.00, N979,704,570.31, N443,859,457.60 and N1,013,485,058.69 were respectively disbursed to 5, 813 beneficiaries.

“For batch one of 2018, the Board approved loans totaling N492,798,560.90 for 1,753 beneficiaries (44 Small and Medium Enterprise (SME), 1,306 Medium Enterprise (ME) and 403 MES). The successful applicants have been contacted to meet the conditions that precede the disbursement of their loans,” she said.

Akinbile-Yussuf said as part of efforts designed to encourage startups in innovation and technology, the State Government launched innovation-driven enterprise program tagged “Lagos Innovates” where access to high quality infrastructure, learning and networks were provided, adding that the projection was to cement the place of Lagos as the leading destination for startups in Africa.

She said the government, through the Lagos State Employability Support Project, has also firmed up plans to produce 10,000 skilled persons within three years to cater for demand in key sectors such as manufacturing, healthcare, construction, entertainment, garment making and tourism and hospitality.

“In addition, the project will place at least 6,000 trained persons in jobs and upgrade the equipment and improve the curriculum at two of Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board (LASTVEB’s) Colleges,” she said.

On other achievements of the Ministry in the last one year, the Commissioner said government developed virtual market which is an online portal created to connect artisans and tradesmen with customers in need of goods and services in a secure environment, revealing that the Ministry had commenced partnership with different stakeholders to actualize the initiative.

She said under the tradesmen and artisans capacity building scheme, a total of 1,000 were retrained in 2017 to enhance their efficiency, competitiveness and productivity, while 40 members of Lagos State House Painter Association were trained and engaged by Kansai Plascon Nigeria, as well as 50 others were trained in partnership with Ruff n Tumble under the sustainable development programme.

Besides, she said in recognition of the opportunities in emergence of new technologies especially in addressing the needs of the society to attain sustainable growth and development, the government came up with the concept of developing an ICT hub in Yaba, saying the project would be delivered in partnership with other critical stakeholders.

Also, the Commissioner said the government would soon launch health SMEs to facilitate quality improvement in both public and private sector health facilities through provision of financial support with the support of private sector organizations with the aim of creating wealth and employment.

The State Government, the Commissioner said, also introduced graduate internship programme through the Ministry where a total of 1800 candidates were screened in 2017 out of which 910 were deployed to various private organizations with the view to creating a network contact between the off-takers and the interns.