We’re Building Enduring Infrastructure To Drive Tourism

We’re Building Enduring Infrastructure To Drive Tourism

…Says Sector Contributed N800bn To Lagos GDP In 2017

…Lagos Can Truly Become Hub For Tourism In Africa-  Mahama

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Monday said his administration was consciously investing huge resources to develop an enduring infrastructural architecture that would ensure that the State’s tourism potentials are fully harnessed for all round economic growth and development.

The Governor, who spoke at the Lagos Tourism Summit, held at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, with the theme- ‘Destination Lagos: Towards A Sustainable Tourism-Driven Economy’, said the plans, concepts and executions of his administration are deliberate and well thought-out to make the highly populated mega city-state culturally attractive and artistically functional.

“As a government, we are conscious of the fact that infrastructure, security, stability and partnership with all stakeholders are fundamental ingredients for tourism development. We have channeled a lot of resources into creating an enduring infrastructural architecture for the business of tourism to thrive,” he said.

He said his administration was not unmindful of the fact that for the State to match up with other leading world tourism destinations like Miami; São Paulo; Dubai, Singapore and Tokyo as well as African cities such as Cape Town, Cairo, Marrakech and Accra, the right infrastructure has to be put in place.

“In order to do this successfully, we must first build a solid infrastructural architecture that will endure. It must be safe and secure; it must provide functional and diverse venues for the arts, culture, festivals, creative industry, recreation and wildlife; and it must constantly and productively engage with its critical stakeholders.

“So when you see us reclaim 50 hectares of land at the Oworonshoki end of our lagoon; when you see us clear a whole stretch at the Badagry and Epe Marina; when we insist that our prime waterfront must not be taken over by shanties and slums; when you see us embark on some ambitious road, fly-over and modern bus terminal constructions; we are preparing the grounds for a major source of employment and prosperity.

“When you see us continue to plead for the control of wasting federal assets like the National Arts Theatre, National Museum and National Stadium and possibly declare our intention to have the Muritala Mohammed International Airport concessioned to us; we are focused on our tourism sector.

“When you see our unwavering commitment in changing the face of public transportation, committing more funds to providing jetties and expanding access to waterways, please know that we are driven only by the need to build and sustain the needed infrastructure upon which an enduring tourism landscape can stand and outlive our administration and those coming after us,” the Governor said.

Alluding to the massive opportunities available in the sector, Governor Ambode said that the activities within the tourism sector contributed about N800billion to the State’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2017.

“The tourism sector contributed about $2.2billion (N800billion) to the Lagos GDP in 2017 and with the infrastructure and resources we are deploying in this sector, we expect this figure to double or treble in the next 5 years.

“The enormous resources we have deployed in physical and social infrastructure across the State will begin to crystallize by December into mega structures that will support tourism and market our state as a smart destination,” the Governor said.

Noting that Nigeria boasts of very rich culture and heritage, Governor Ambode said it was not in doubt that the country has the largest concentration of the black race, adding that Lagos sits in a better position to tell the story of the black race.

He said the Lagos Tourism Master plan, which would emerge at the end of the summit was premised in the context of the fact that the State can become an iconic brand of the black race.

“The Tourism Master Plan is focused on Six (6) key sectors; Culture and Heritage, Film, Art and Entertainment, Business Tourism, Nature and Adventure, Medical and Wellness, Beach and Leisure,” Governor Ambode said.

Besides, he said the Tourism Summit, coming a week after a Security Summit was held at the same venue was a demonstration of the government’s commitment to find alternative platforms that can enrich and propel the State to prosperity continuously.

In his keynote address, former President of Ghana, Mr. John Dramani Mahama said that Lagos has the potentials to emerge as a foremost destination for tourism development in Africa.

While commending Governor Ambode for his efforts towards growing tourism through investment in infrastructure, he said with the billions of dollars revolving in the sector across the world and over 1.8billion tourists, the State was heading in the right direction in its bid to become Africa’s tourism hub.

“I’ve been following the progress Lagos has made on various fronts and I join those who have celebrated Governor Akinwunmi Ambode for the contributions he has made within this short period to enhance the efforts and contributions of his predecessors.

“There are potential billions of naira in revenue that Lagos State could earn in the next several years with the successful implementation of the plan that you intend could come out of this summit.

“If you look at the nearly $7trillion that is supposed to be earned from tourism, then definitely Lagos State positioning itself as a favourite destination for tourism in order to get a share of this huge cake is a very wise decision by Governor Ambode and his team.

“Thankfully, Lagos in preparation for the launch of the State’s tourism master plan has began upgrading and expanding critical infrastructure including transportation, roads and of course the recent reclamation that is ongoing,” Mahama said.

Several paper presentations by speakers at the Summit including Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Professor Pat Utomi, Mr. Desmond Majekodunmi, Mrs Omotayo Omotosho, Mr. Philip Hughes, while commending the State Government for putting together the summit, made recommendations on what Lagos must do to harness the massive potentials in the tourism sector.

Special Message Delivered At The Opening Ceremony Of The 2018 Lagos Tourism Summit

Special Message Delivered At The Opening Ceremony Of The 2018 Lagos Tourism Summit

Just a week ago, we held the Security Summit here at this venue. This summit further demonstrates our commitment to find alternative platforms that can enrich our State and propel her prosperity continuously.

 

We are very proud of our culture and heritage. It has become very clear and evident; that there is no other concentration of the black race that is larger than Nigeria, and most especially Lagos that can tell the story of the black race.

 

The Lagos Tourism Masterplan; which is the ultimate end product of this summit is premised in the context of this analogy.

 

As a government, we are conscious of the fact that infrastructure, security, stability and partnership with all stakeholders are fundamental ingredients for tourism development.

 

We have channeled a lot of resources into creating an enduring infrastructural architecture for the business of tourism to thrive.

 

Our plans, concepts and executions are very deliberate and well thought-out to make a highly populated mega city-state culturally attractive and artistically functional.

 

We are humble enough to draw inspiration from what Cities like Miami; São Paulo; Dubai, Singapore and Tokyo are doing with Tourism and we see how AFRICAN Cities like Cape Town, Cairo, Marrakech and Accra have drawn attention to themselves as tourist havens of varying degrees.

 

Our reputation as the commercial and entertainment nerve-Centre of Africa is not in doubt. With our young and energetic population, coastal location and other natural resources, we are arguably the city best suited to promote the idea of an iconic super brand for the black race.

 

But in order to do this successfully, we must first build a solid infrastructural architecture that will endure. It must be safe and secure; it must provide functional and diverse venues for the arts, culture, festivals, creative industry, recreation and wildlife; and it must constantly and productively engage with its critical stakeholders.

 

So when you see us reclaim 50 hectares of land at the Oworonshoki end of our lagoon; when you see us clear a whole stretch at the Badagry and Epe Marina; when we insist that our prime waterfront must not be taken over by shanties and slums; when you see us embark on some ambitious road, fly-over and modern bus terminal constructions; we are preparing the grounds for a major source of employment and prosperity.

 

When you see us continue to plead for the control of wasting federal assets like the National Arts Theatre, National Museum and National Stadium and possibly declare our intention to have the Muritala Mohammed International Airport concessioned to us; we are focused on our tourism sector.

 

When you see our unwavering commitment in changing the face of public transportation, committing more funds to providing jetties and expanding access to waterways, please know that we are driven only by the need to build and sustain the needed infrastructure upon which an enduring tourism landscape can stand and outlive our administration and those coming after us.

 

Our Government recently commissioned the development of a Tourism Master Plan which will show the road map to be taken in the next couple of decades to make Tourism a major sector of the Lagos economy.

 

This masterplan is one of the legacies we are determined to bequeath to Lagosians and the coming generations

 

The Tourism Master Plan is focused on Six (6) key sectors;

  • Culture and Heritage
  • Film, Art and Entertainment
  • Business Tourism
  • Nature and Adventure
  • Medical and Wellness
  • Beach and Leisure

 

We have put Tourism at the core of our growth strategy at this point in the development of our State – Laying a solid foundation for the continued prosperity of Lagos and Lagosians.

 

The tourism sector contributed about $2.2billion (N800billion) to the Lagos GDP in 2017 and with the infrastructure and resources we are deploying in this sector, we expect this figure to double or treble in the next 5 years

The enormous resources we have deployed in physical and social infrastructure across the State will begin to crystallize by December into mega structures that will support tourism and market our state as a smart destination.

 

In conclusion, the time and input from today’s Summit can never be adequate. The outcome is just a bye-product of another legacy we seek to build. We seek the cooperation of every interested persons and groups; to build “Brand Lagos” that we will all be proud of.

 

I want to thank all our panelists and other invited guests, most especially His Excellency, the former President of the Republic of Ghana, Mr. John Dramani Mahama.

 

We remain committed to listening and learning more from all the experts in the tourism sector as I believe strongly that Lagos is on a journey to greatness and I want to stand up to be counted as being part of that history.

 

Thank you for listening.

 

Contractors: Airport Road, Pen Cinema Flyover Ready By December

Contractors: Airport Road, Pen Cinema Flyover Ready By December

 …To Deliver Ayinke House, Bariga-Ilaje Link Roads, Jetty In July, Oshodi Interchange By September

…Ambode Inspects Oworonshoki Lagoon Reclamation, Sabo Model College, Others

The contractors handling major ongoing projects across the Lagos State on Thursday assured that the 10-lane Airport Road and Pen Cinema Flyover would be completed by December 2018 as special end of the year gifts to residents and visitors.

The contractors, who spoke separately during an extensive inspection tour of major ongoing projects by the State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode which lasted for several hours, also said the network of roads in Ilaje and Bariga as well as a new jetty through which Ikorodu, Apapa, Lagos Island, Badagry, Ajah and Epe could be linked via the waterways would be ready in July, while the Oshodi Transport Interchange would be delivered by September.

Speaking at the U-turn flyover point along Airport Road after being briefed by Messrs Hi-Tech Construction Company, the Governor appealed to residents to bear with government for the inconvenience being experienced as a result of the construction work, saying that the project was designed to change the face of Lagos for good and improve on the economy.

 Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode; Managing Director, Planet Project, Mr. Abiodun Otunola; Commissioner for Works & Infrastructure, Engr. Ade Akinsanya and his counterpart for Information & Strategy, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan during the Governor’s inspection of the ongoing construction of the Oshodi Transport Interchange, on Thursday, April 12, 2018.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode; Managing Director, Planet Project, Mr. Abiodun Otunola; Commissioner for Works & Infrastructure, Engr. Ade Akinsanya and his counterpart for Information & Strategy, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan during the Governor’s inspection of the ongoing construction of the Oshodi Transport Interchange, on Thursday, April 12, 2018.

He said: “We have just seen the progress of work on the Airport Road. I want to appeal to all Lagosians to bear with us. As much as possible, we have tried to reduce the impact of traffic on residents and other road users believing that it is in the overall interest of all that we should have a standard road that leads to our international airport.

“I have been assured by the contractor that this project will be part of our Christmas gift; it will be ready before Christmas and we should be able to use it in conjunction with the Oshodi Bus Terminal and then make a major facelift of what we are having in this whole axis.”

While urging those whose structures gave way for the project to bear with government, Governor Ambode said the State Government would soon commence payment of compensation to them once the necessary paper works are concluded, adding that the project, upon completion, would be a pride to Lagosians in particular and Nigerians in general.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (middle); Commissioner for Works & Infrastructure, Engr. Ade Akinsanya (right); his counterpart for Transportation, Mr. Ladi Lawason (left) during the Governor’s inspection of the ongoing construction of the Oshodi-International Airport Road, on Thursday, April 12, 20
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (middle); Commissioner for Works & Infrastructure, Engr. Ade Akinsanya (right); his counterpart for Transportation, Mr. Ladi Lawason (left) during the Governor’s inspection of the ongoing construction of the Oshodi-International Airport Road, on Thursday, April 12, 20

Speaking during the inspection of Oworonshoki Lagoon reclamation which is designed to transform the blighted area to major tourism, transportation and entertainment hubs, Governor Ambode clarified that contrary to some reports in the media, the project was not a housing scheme but part of the overall programme for Lagos to emerge as the entertainment hub for Africa.

He said 30 hectares land space have so far been reclaimed out of the 50 planned for the scheme, while upon completion, the project would end the perennial flooding in the area, and would also accommodate boutique hotel, event centres, cinema, clubs, bars, bus terminal, parking space with capacity for about 1000 vehicles, among others.

The Governor, who also inspected the ongoing network of roads linking Bariga to Ilaje and a new jetty, commended the contractor handling the project, Messrs Avatar Global Resources Limited for the level of work done so far and the assurance that the projects would be delivered by July.

He said in a bid to cater for the growth in economic activities that the projects would facilitate to the area, a comprehensive health centre would be commenced immediately in Ashogbon, while the additional 14 roads already approved to be constructed in Bariga Local Council Development Area (LCDA) would also be delivered on schedule.

At the inspection of ongoing new Model College in Sabo area of Yaba which is billed to be delivered in December alongside that of Angus Model College in Shomolu, the Governor said the intention of his administration is to scale up infrastructure in public schools across the State, starting with commencement of massive rehabilitation of public schools.

“What we are seeing here is our new concept of what a model college should look like and that is why in this complex we have about 36 classrooms, nine laboratories and because of the land space here, we don’t really have a recreational facility around but the ones we are building in Ojo and Shomolu, they have all the necessary recreation facilities that should actually go with a modern secondary school.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (2nd right), being welcomed by father of Vice-President's wife, Elder Olutayo Soyode (2nd left); Divisional Police Officer, Sabo Police Station, SP, Mary Ubangha (right) and others during the Governor’s inspection of the ongoing construction of Lagos State Model College, Sabo, Yaba, on Thursday, April 12, 2018.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (2nd right), being welcomed by father of Vice-President’s wife, Elder Olutayo Soyode (2nd left); Divisional Police Officer, Sabo Police Station, SP, Mary Ubangha (right) and others during the Governor’s inspection of the ongoing construction of Lagos State Model College, Sabo, Yaba, on Thursday, April 12, 2018.

“The idea is that we want to increase the number of model colleges that we have; we also want to create a new template of how public secondary school should look like moving forward. This is our own template; this is the way we want to begin with it; we are doing three now; we will move forward next year to expand model colleges in the State.

While inspecting the Maternity Centre in Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja popularly known as Ayinke House and the Pen Cinema Flyover, Governor Ambode lauded the contractors and medical personnel for a job well done so far.

“When you add the total length of the Pen Cinema Bridge together, it is equivalent of Ajah and Abule Egba Bridges. In terms of the width, it is wider. We are impressed with the progress of work here; I am actually impressed with what has been done in the abatement area and the piling that is being done.

“We believe this flyover will change forever the economic landscape of the Agege axis because it comes with its economic value and expanding our infrastructure to this axis by complementing what we have in Abule Egba is the right way to go. I just want to encourage the contractors to deliver on schedule by December,” he said.

He said the Ayinke House, which is designed to be the major baby factory for the State, would be delivered in June and commissioned for public use by July, while other facilities ongoing in the health sector would be delivered to safeguard the health of residents.

The Ayinke House is a 162-bed space facility and expandable to 250, with other features such as 22 neo-natal intensive care units, 16 intensive care units for adults, five fully equipped theatres, laboratory, common ward, maternal and child care centre, among others.

Lagos Truly Deserves A Special Status

Lagos Truly Deserves A Special Status

…Urges FG To Cede National Stadium, Surulere, Arts Theatre To State Govt

…President Visits Eko Atlantic City, Says Project’ll Boost Nigeria’s Economy

 

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Thursday evening urged President Muhammadu Buhari to seriously consider the possibility of granting Lagos a Special Status to enable it sustain its position as the driver of the nation’s economic growth.

Governor Ambode, who spoke at a State Dinner in honour of President Buhari at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, as part of activities to commemorate his two-day official visit to the State, expressed concerns that 26 years after the Federal Capital was relocated from Lagos to Abuja, the State has been left to strive for development without much Federal support.

The Governor said that despite the strategic position the State plays in the nation’s economy, there was still much untapped potentials and opportunities for economic, social and cultural growth in the State, which he said his administration was doing its best to explore by strategically focusing on improving the ease of doing business, entertainment, sports and tourism.

He, however, said that for these potentials to be realised, the State requires Federal Support, adding that several attempts by some eminent personalities to push for a Special Status for Lagos as well as a bill seeking to accord the State same was turned down by the Senate.

“Mr. President, it has become glaring that Lagos State cannot achieve this alone. Mr. President, 26 years after the Federal Capital was relocated from Lagos to Abuja, the State has been left without much Federal support.

“Your Excellency, despite all these, Lagos State needs more and Lagosians deserve more. Eminent Nigerians have called on the Federal Government to grant our State a Special Status. I recall that a bill seeking to accord it a Special Status has been rejected three times in the Senate. Lagos deserves a Special Status if we want the State to continue to serve as the major driver of the nation’s economy,” Governor Ambode said.

Thanking President Buhari for magnanimously yielding the State’s request to reconstruct the Oshodi International Airport Road into a 10-lane world-class road and transform the Presidential Lodge Marina into a monument and cultural legacy, Governor Ambode also seized the occasion to request the President to cede the ownership and management of the National Stadium, Surulere and the National Arts Theatre, Iganmu to the State Government to enable it revive them for the benefit of all.

“Mr. President your word has been your bond as far as your promises to Lagos State are concerned. You approved the reconstruction of the Oshodi to Murtala Muhammed International Airport Road into a 10-lane world-class road that will be ready by the end of this year. You gladly released for our kind use, your Presidential Lodge in Marina because you believe in our vision to transform the lodge into a monument and cultural legacy as part of the Onikan-Marina cultural and architectural regeneration.

“In addition, as part of our drive to use entertainment and sports to drive tourism and economic growth, we again ask of Your Excellency to consider ceding the ownership and management of the National Stadium Surulere and the National Arts Theatre Iganmu to Lagos State. These two edifices have been left to decay and our government is in the best position to revive these assets and make them viable again for the benefit of all Nigerians.

“This is not too much to ask but we are reassured that our President is a listening father who understands the yearnings of Lagosians. We are confident that he would listen and respond positively to the demands of about one-eighth of the nation’s population resident in Lagos,” Governor Ambode said.

Speaking on Friday after conducting President Buhari round the Eko Atlantic City (EAC) which is a multi-billion dollar project expected to accommodate over 150,000 people who would reside there and another 250,000 who would work and commute within the city on a daily basis, Governor Ambode said the project was a practical example of how the private sector could partner with government to boost the economy.

He recalled that the project, which was conceived and initiated during the tenure of former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, was a brilliant engineering display which had saved the whole of Victoria Island from ocean surge and other threats.

“This project has actually saved the whole of Victoria Island and is standing on over 750 square kilometres bigger than Victoria Island itself when it is eventually completed. This is just an example of what the private sector can really do to the Nigerian economy and that is why we have made it possible that Mr President should take a practical tour of how we can really move the Nigerian economy when we partner with the private sector,” Governor Ambode said.

Responding, President Buhari commended the initiators of the EAC, saying he was extremely impressed with the potentials of the project, which according to him, would create jobs and boost Nigeria’s economy.

“I have just gone round to see the Eko Atlantic City. I’m impressed with the potentiality of this project and the amount of jobs and positive effect which this project is capable of having on the economy.

“I’m really grateful for those who agreed to invest so much in our country to get a secured area for operations capable of handling big businesses and investments throughout Africa,” the President said.