Address Delivered At The Opening Ceremony Of The Biennial Convention Of The Nigerian Guild Of Editors (NGE) Held On April 29th 2017 At Airport Hotel, Lagos

Address Delivered At The Opening Ceremony Of The Biennial Convention Of The Nigerian Guild Of Editors (NGE) Held On April 29th 2017 At Airport Hotel, Lagos

I am delighted at your kind invitation to be the Special Guest of Honour at this edition of the Biennial Convention of the Nigerian Guild of Editors. Lagos has always been home to Nigerian editors and indeed to the media and it is good to have you around once again.

I wish to commend the Executive and the entire members of the Guild for their outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the growth and development of the media and free speech in Nigeria.

I must also appreciate in particular your choice of Lagos for the hosting of this year’s convention because it coincides with the 50th anniversary celebration of the creation of the State.

Your choice is also significant as Lagos serves as home to the Nation’s media, as well as accommodating the largest concentration of media houses in Nigeria. Every journalist of note in Nigeria has a story of Lagos to tell in his or her career and I am sure not a few among you would conveniently attribute Lagos to their success stories.

The theme for this year’s conference ‘A Nation in Recession: Whither the Nigerian Media? is very apt and in line with your traditional role as the conscience of the nation. The theme is not only topical and timely but also relevant to our collective efforts at addressing the current economic challenges.

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The current recessionary climate has taught us some hard lessons, evident by slowed economic activities and rising unemployment which together with demography issues and the perennial problem of our huge infrastructure deficit in Lagos State and across Nigeria, present a daunting challenge and also an opportunity for us to think outside the box to change Nigeria’s story from “business as usual” to “business unusual”.

One major impact of the current recessionary climate that we are seriously addressing is the high rate of unemployment. As a result of the lull in the economy and subsequent lay-offs and shut-down of businesses, the national unemployment rate rose to 13.9% in 2016 from 10.4% in 2015; while the unemployment rate in Lagos State increased from 18% in 2015 to 27% in 2016.

In order to sufficiently demonstrate our desire to confront unemployment, one of my earliest tasks as Governor was the creation of the Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment, Office of Overseas Affairs and Investments, Office of Civic Engagement as well as the realignment of Arts and Culture with the Ministry of Tourism. The objective of this measure is to creatively use these new establishments to fashion out ways of creating job opportunities for Lagos residents.

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With the conviction that when the going gets tough, the remedy to economic recession is to spend your way out of it, create platforms that will stimulate job creation and decidedly reflate the economy, we established the N25 billion Lagos State Employment Trust Fund. Beneficiaries are already in their thousands as cheques are being issued to creative entrepreneurs with a charge that they should create more jobs, thereby contributing to the growth of the Lagos economy in particular and the nation at large.

We are irrevocably committed to promoting the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sub-sector in the State. We have domesticated the Federal Government’s policy on MSMEs and have also inaugurated the State’s Council on MSMEs for proper coordination of the scheme in the State. We have also held the maiden edition of MSME fair to promote locally made products, create employment and generate wealth. All these I believe are gaining traction because you the media gatekeepers have been a partner in the concerted effort to reboot the national economy.

We are also seriously working on improving the ease of doing business by reviewing our regulations and processes covering registrations, approvals and issuance of permits/licenses, mode of payments, etc. with a view to attracting and retaining additional local and foreign investment into the State.

As we all know, the low level of crude oil prices currently at US$49.91 compared to the over US$100 price level prior to the oil and gas sector burst period, has shrunk the State’s federal transfers and put increasing pressure on the State’s limited resources.

Given this situation, we have made a conscious decision to partner with the private sector through Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) to bridge the funding gap to deliver key/strategic infrastructure projects to our people, notably, the Fourth Mainland Bridge; Oshodi Transport Interchange; Badagry Deep Sea Port; Lekki free trade zone, and Lagos Smart City projects, among others.IMG_5048

Distinguished guests, Gentlemen of the Press, we in Lagos State are determined to show leadership, demonstrate capacity and be relentless in our pursuit for excellence in spite of the challenges that appear daunting. Today, with our GDP at US$136 billion, Lagos is Africa’s fifth largest economy just because we have been prudent and resilient as well as taking on board the useful opinions and analysis that the vibrant media have ceaselessly provided.

My request and message to you today is to embrace partnership as an option for the growth and development of the country. We may serve in different arms of the society but we all share a common goal which is to make our country better.

One of the major responsibilities of the Media is to advance the cause of good governance. Whilst free media is at the heart of true democracy, our focus should be how the Media can more effectively support this agenda.

Your role in this pursuit of resilience, therefore, is to lend the needed support in bringing our noble efforts to public consciousness. With your vital partnership, we are hopeful that other governments can borrow a leaf from the Lagos Model and translate same in their respective domains to promote good governance to the greater benefit of humanity.

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I wish to reiterate that we are always conscious of the fact that we have a duty to guarantee every Lagosian maximum benefit of the dividends of democracy. That is the only way we can justify the confidence the good people of the State reposed in us. This requires innovativeness, selflessness, diligence and prudent management of available human and material resources which we have deployed in order to improve the well-being of our people.

Yet, we are aware that so much still needs to be done. We are not resting on our oars as we will continue to initiate and execute programmes that will make Lagos the investment haven of Africa and the tourism destination of the Continent.

Finally, I would like to commend the Nigerian Guild of Editors for its consistency in stimulating awareness and addressing issues that are relevant to the growth and development of your profession and to the development of our dear nation. I urge you to keep it up. And I wish you a rewarding convention and hitch-free elections.

It is now my pleasure to declare the Biennal Convention of the Nigerian Guild of Editors officially open.

Thank you and God bless you.

Itesiwaju Ipinle Eko, lo je wa logun.

Lagos State Government Moves To Transform Onikan, Marina Axis To World Class Tourism Hub

Lagos State Government Moves To Transform Onikan, Marina Axis To World Class Tourism Hub

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Monday unveiled plans by his administration to transform some landmark areas in the Marina and Onikan axis of the State into a world class one-stop recreation and tourism centre.

The Governor, who spoke at the Eko Hotels and Suites at the presentation of Museum Possibilities as well as the unveiling of the design for a new world class Museum, also disclosed that the State Government will soon commence the construction of a brand new contemporary Museum in the State as an integral part of its overall strategy to become self-sufficient and secure the future prosperity of the State.

He lamented that despite the fact that Nigeria is blessed with very rich culture and heritage, the culture and traditions upon which the social institutions and interactions are built have been neglected, saying youths do not have a strong appreciation of the nation’s history over the years.

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He said his administration decided to lead the process that would deliver a new world class Museum that would showcase the priceless treasures of Nigeria, adding that the project will be funded by the State Government and other well-meaning donors, interested organisations and individuals.

“Every society must cherish its historical antecedents because they serve as source of inspiration for succeeding generations to discover, appreciate and take pride in their identity. It has become very imperative that we take a step back and revisit our history. It has become important that we renew efforts to preserve and protect our history and historical artefacts.

“This project will serve generations of Nigerians now and in the future. Our plan is to harness the potentials in our rich cultural heritage to drive tourism in Lagos State,” Governor Ambode said.

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He said aside the plans for the new museum, the State Government had already taken the project to revive the Museum in Onikan, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture especially the Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

Explaining the plans to transform the Onikan and Marina axis to a world class tourism and entertainment hub, Governor Ambode said that the Presidential Lodge, Marina which was recently handed over to the State by President Muhammadu Buhari, would be redeveloped into the Lagos Heritage Centre for Leadership.

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“In addition, the Lagos House also in Marina will be transformed into the Lagos Historical Centre. The JK Randle Arcade will be remodeled into a world class recreation/tourism centre. The New Museum will complement and be an important part of the structures being planned for this axis. We intend to regenerate this axis and the museum into an iconic structure that will invoke deep sense of pride in all Nigerians.

“This is the new possibility that is being presented to all stakeholders in the tourism sector and all Nigerians. On our part, our commitment is unshaken and we are eager to make this dream a reality within the shortest possible time. Given the mega city status of our State, we believe this is the right way to go in order to optimally harness the State’s tourism potentials for wealth creation and sustainable growth,” the Governor said.

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Governor Ambode, while also thanking President Buhari for the fatherly role he has played on behalf of the nation in the partnership, expressed confidence that through the effort, the Government would realise the huge possibilities that flow from the preservation and showcasing the nation’s cultural heritage to the world.

Also speaking, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed commended the State Government’s effort to create an enabling environment for tourism and the creative industry to thrive especially in the areas of security, light infrastructure and transportation.

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He said the Federal Government has also set up a Presidential Special Committee of E-Business to improve the ease of doing business in Nigeria, especially in the area of visa issuance, so as to encourage investors, tourists and visitors coming into the country.

Among those who graced the occasion include the Oba of Lagos, HRM Rilwan Akiolu I, Obi f of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe, Senator Ben Murray Bruce, Mr. Guy Bruce, veteran art aficionado, Mr. Bruce Onobrakpeya, art collector extraordinaire, Omoba Yemisi Shyllon, stakeholders in the creative industry, members of the diplomatic corp among others.

Pictures: Governor Akinwunmi Ambode At the National Economic Council Meeting At State House, Abuja

Pictures: Governor Akinwunmi Ambode At the National Economic Council Meeting At State House, Abuja

 Lagos State Governor & representative of South West Zone on National Road Safety Advisory Council (NARSAC), Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode; his Gombe and Delta States counterpart, Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo; Governor Ifeanyi Okowa; FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello and Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi during the inauguration of NARSAC at the Council Chamber, State House, Abuja, on Thursday, February 16, 2017.
Lagos State Governor & representative of South West Zone on National Road Safety Advisory Council (NARSAC), Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode; his Gombe and Delta States counterpart, Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo; Governor Ifeanyi Okowa; FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello and Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi during the inauguration of NARSAC at the Council Chamber, State House, Abuja, on Thursday, February 16, 2017.
Lagos State Governor & representative of South West Zone on National Road Safety Advisory Council (NARSAC), Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (middle), with his Gombe and Delta States counterpart, Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo (2nd right), Governor Ifeanyi Okowa (right); Corp Marshal/Chief Executive, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Mr. Boboye Oyeyemi (2nd left) and Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun (left) during the inauguration of NARSAC at the Council Chamber, State House, Abuja, on Thursday, February 16, 2017.
Lagos State Governor & representative of South West Zone on National Road Safety Advisory Council (NARSAC), Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (middle), with his Gombe and Delta States counterpart, Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo (2nd right), Governor Ifeanyi Okowa (right); Corp Marshal/Chief Executive, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Mr. Boboye Oyeyemi (2nd left) and Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun (left) during the inauguration of NARSAC at the Council Chamber, State House, Abuja, on Thursday, February 16, 2017.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (2nd right); his Ekiti State counterpart, Governor Peter Ayo Fayose (right); Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi (left) during the National Economic Council meeting at the Council Chamber, State House, Abuja, on Thursday, February 16, 2017
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (2nd right); his Ekiti State counterpart, Governor Peter Ayo Fayose (right); Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi (left) during the National Economic Council meeting at the Council Chamber, State House, Abuja, on Thursday, February 16, 2017
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (2nd right), with Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi (right); Ondo State Governor-elect, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (2nd left) and Jigawa State Governor, Alhaji Badaru Abubakar (left) during the National Economic Council meeting at the Council Chamber, State House, Abuja, on Thursday, February 16, 2017.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (2nd right), with Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi (right); Ondo State Governor-elect, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (2nd left) and Jigawa State Governor, Alhaji Badaru Abubakar (left) during the National Economic Council meeting at the Council Chamber, State House, Abuja, on Thursday, February 16, 2017.
 Lagos State Governor & representative of South West Zone on National Road Safety Advisory Council (NARSAC), Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (2nd left), exchanging pleasantries with the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (2nd right) while Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed (left); Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun (behind) and Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi (right), watch with admiration during the inauguration of NARSAC at the Council Chamber, State House, Abuja, on Thursday, February 16, 2017.
Lagos State Governor & representative of South West Zone on National Road Safety Advisory Council (NARSAC), Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (2nd left), exchanging pleasantries with the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (2nd right) while Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed (left); Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun (behind) and Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi (right), watch with admiration during the inauguration of NARSAC at the Council Chamber, State House, Abuja, on Thursday, February 16, 2017.
Remarks Delivered At The Signing Into Law Bills On Kidnapping, Sports Trust Fund And Sports Commission On Wednesday 1st February 2017 At Lagos House, Ikeja

Remarks Delivered At The Signing Into Law Bills On Kidnapping, Sports Trust Fund And Sports Commission On Wednesday 1st February 2017 At Lagos House, Ikeja

I have just signed into law three very important bills:

  • The Prohibition of the Act of Kidnapping
  • The Sports Trust Fund Law, and the
  • The Sport Commission Law

These laws have been enacted to address key issues bordering on security and effectively harnessing the potentials in the sports sector.

In recent times, kidnapping has become a major threat to the safety of citizens and therefore required decisive action by the government. This law imposes a penalty of life imprisonment for kidnapping for ransom. The law stipulates that where a victim dies in the course of a kidnap, the suspect is liable on conviction to death.

Security is of utmost importance to our administration and we are confident that this law will serve as a deterrent to anybody who may desire to engage in this wicked act within the boundaries of Lagos state. Our justice system will be required to execute this Law to the letter and make sure that any criminal caught faces the full wrath of the law.

While we use this law to address the challenge of kidnapping and punish the criminals, we are also putting in place appropriate measures, particularly in our schools and other vulnerable targets, to prevent security breaches.

The Sports Commission Law will give legal backing to the formulation and implementation of sports policies in the State while the Sports Trust Fund will enable government to raise money for the development of sporting facilities and activities. This Fund will provide a platform where the State government can enter into partnership with the private sector to finance Sports infrastructure, tournaments and programmes which will in turn create employment and generate revenue for the State.

As provided for in the law, a Board of Trustees comprising all stakeholders in the sports community will be inaugurated soon to manage the Sports Trust Fund.

By these laws, we have restated our commitment to Sports and making Lagos the hub of Sports in Nigeria.

The passing of these laws have been made possible by the commitment and dedication of the Lagos State House of Assembly. I appreciate the work done by the State House of Assembly and promise that we will ensure its full implementation.

I thank the leadership and members of the House, especially the Speaker, Right. Honourable Mudashiru Obasa, for keeping faith with our collective aspiration to build a State that is clean, safe and prosperous and demonstrating this in all your actions.

Thank you all.

Itesiwaju Ipinle Eko, lo je wa l’ogun.