My Random Thoughts: On Lagos, and Accelerating Development Across Nigeria

My Random Thoughts: On Lagos, and Accelerating Development Across Nigeria

I am sharing my thoughts in this article, not necessarily as the governor of Lagos State but as a Nigerian; a Nigerian who wants to see progress and sustainable growth in our country.

I am lucky to be administering a State that has been put on the right track by my two predecessors, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN). I do not think I have done anything special except to bring to this my own style of leadership, my own experience and my vision.

Lagos, as it is, has not reached its peak but we can see signs of progress and positive transition to the Lagos of our dreams. What bothers me personally is that I do not see the same level of progress elsewhere in the country. I am not happy that most states in our country are not advancing like Lagos is. It will be unfair of me to think that because Lagos is functioning, then I can go to bed and assume all is well. If only one man is prospering in a village, then it is not progress. Rather, that man is in danger.

According to the statistics released by the United Nations, by 2050, Nigeria is projected to have the third largest population in the world, with two-thirds of the population today below the age of 35. What are we doing today about this? What are we planning to feed them with? How are we going to provide them with jobs, housing and infrastructure? How are we planning to make the country self-sufficient and self-reliant for the future?

One of the key instruments to the permanent prosperity of Nigeria lies in the hands of the 109 senators and 360 representatives in the National Assembly. I just want to plead that we should be open-minded and forward-thinking; we should think about the teeming millions of youth, from Kano to Ibadan, Zungeru to Warri, Jalingo to Yobe, Umuahia to Calabar, and then back to Lagos. We must give serious consideration to what we intend to bequeath to them.

In my opinion, the prosperity of this nation lies with the states. We need to get the states and regions working again and the only way we can unleash the potential of the state is for our representatives at the National Assembly to help their individual states take the next step and move to the next level. In the past, there used to be positive rivalry and competition among the regions prior to the entrance of the military into the national governance. The military split the nation into states and moved the control of all the resources to the centre for their own administrative convenience. Now that we have experienced democracy, I think it is time for us to sit back and think, for the sake of those who are older than us and for the sake of our children, and even those yet to be born.

We need to raise our voice in support of the demand for devolution of power to states and fiscal federalism, especially the review of the current revenue sharing formula. These, in my view, are fundamental and critical to creating an enabling environment that will accelerate development in all parts of the country. The ongoing process towards the review of the 1999 Constitution presents a golden opportunity for us to redress all the aberrations created by the interjection of the military that have stunted growth and inhibited the capacity of states to harness the huge potentials of our nation.

Even with the kind of resources we have in Lagos, it is very clear that there is a huge infrastructural deficit in the State. In addition, the resources are not so huge as to make Lagos globally competitive and deliver the social infrastructure we all crave. So where will the money to drive the Lagos of our dreams come from?

The economy is not doing as well as we want it to. We cannot tax the people any more than we are doing presently, but we have to become more efficient in tax collection because that is the major source of revenue with which we can protect the future, as well as improve the welfare and well-being of all Lagosians.

This takes me to the kind of reforms that we have embarked upon in the last two years. We made security a priority. Our goal has always been to deliver a clean, safe and prosperous Lagos. I want to use this platform to thank the private sector and the corporate Lagos who have been wonderful and have been silently supporting us in the provision of security equipment and infrastructure to our security agencies. Because of them we have been able to improve the performance of our security agencies but we will not take them for granted.

On Cleaner Lagos Initiative. In the last two years, we have found out that Lagos generates one of the highest waste in the world. At the last count, documented waste in Lagos was estimated at 13,000 tonnes per day. Considering undocumented statistics, we can add an additional 4,000 tonnes per day to that figure.

Now, if we want to be revolutionary, if we want to be globally competitive, if we want to deliver on the promise that I made to accomplish a clean, safe, and prosperous Lagos, we cannot use the same template that has been in use from the past. Cleaning Lagos and keeping the environment clean has nothing to do with environmental sanitation and putting your economic productivity at a standstill for three hours every month. That will not clean Lagos.

Cleaning Lagos means we should give Lagosians scientifically treated land fill sites, transfer loading stations, functional dyno-bins, functional compactors, brand new materials and also be able to employ more people. That is why I extended my hand to the private sector for a partnership that will lead to the introduction of 500 brand new compactors, employ more than 27,000 street sweepers across the various wards in Lagos and create 200,000 indirect jobs. And we are commencing this in another few weeks.

I fully appreciate the concerns of the people who have been cleaning Lagos in the past years. I do not take them for granted, neither am I going to ignore them. The new model is a win-win for all of us; I have offered them a 100 percent income from the commercial enterprise, so that our private sector participants (PSPs) can gain capacity and also get more capital to do more work. There are over 5,000 companies in Lagos – enough to go around all the PSP operators, with a minimum of 15 companies to each PSP. The government can support them to make their contract with those companies bankable.

So, while we are using the Cleaner Lagos Initiative to clean private residences and domestic refuse, our original PSP operators are compensated by dealing with companies and getting 100 percent revenues with just one percent administrative charges to Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA). In the past, LAWMA collected 40 percent in charges. This reform is a product of deep thought and serious human consideration for the environment and all stakeholders. We promise Lagosians that effective from September – within six months – they will see the difference. All they need to do to help us achieve this goal is to cooperate with the government and pay the annual public utility levy in accordance with the law. This is what will fund the project. Our bins will be cleared systematically on a daily basis. The same way the refuse on Adeola Odeku is cleared is the same way refuse in Badagry, Ayobo, Agege and other parts of Lagos will be cleared.

In the transport sector, we have decided that to integrate our rail, road and water transportation systems, it will take time; but I believe in the philosophy of Think It, Plan It and then Act It. Sometimes, people can be impatient and say we are not responsive, but the issue is that when you run a government, you cannot run a reactionary government. We are running a responsive government which is one of the tenets of good governance. We must and are expected to think through all our policies properly and to the end before planning and executing. The difference between the thinking time, planning time, the execution time and the action time demanded by the populace is what makes people cry out.

There are a lot of things coming up under the bus reforms initiative. We are introducing new bus terminals; there are already new terminals at Tafawa Balewa Square and in Ikeja. We are constructing more in Yaba, Oyingbo, Mile 2, Ojodu Berger, Ogba and Agege. All these things will be in place before our new buses come in February 2018.

We are doing a lot on water transportation also. We want to make sure that everyone is able to move from one place to another.

Like the transport sector, we are doing new things in the health sector. We do not have enough General and Specialist hospitals. From Lekki to Epe, there is no General Hospital along that axis and we need to do something about it. More Specialist Hospitals are coming up but the government cannot do it alone. My take is that the private sector needs to come on board. The private sector is at the front burner of what we are doing and we have a management team made up of experts from the private sector. We welcome ideas and projects that can bring value to the majority of Lagosians. We believe strongly that value is driven by its impact on humanity and that is what all our story is all about.

We love the criticism that Lagos is the second least livable city. It is a challenge to us and we are working on disproving the fasle basis of this ranking, but people forget that the major considerations for this classification are terrorism and crime, which I believe we do not have in Lagos. I am passionate about Lagos. But I will not compare Lagos with Melbourne. What is important is that we are making some giant strides, positively affecting the lives of our people and even receiving accolades for what we have been doing. There is still a lot more to come and in another one year, I believe that people will see that Lagos has taken proper shape. I am a good listener and I appreciate objective criticism. I read and listen even though I often do not respond.

Lagos is the most thriving cosmopolitan city right now in Sub-Saharan Africa. Our goal is to expand capital expenditure such that in another two to three years, Lagos State will become the third largest economy in Africa.

These are just some of my random thoughts…

Tinubu Gives Guidelines, Urges Party Leaders, Members To Embrace Peaceful Conduct

Tinubu Gives Guidelines, Urges Party Leaders, Members To Embrace Peaceful Conduct

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Wednesday charged members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State to work round the clock to ensure that the party wins all available elective positions in the forthcoming July 22 Local Government elections.

Governor Ambode, who addressed members of the party at a stakeholders meeting held at the APC Secretariat on Acme Road, Ogba, Lagos, which attracted thousands of faithfuls and top chieftains of the party, said it was important for the party to come out tops in the elections, adding that it would go a long way to ensure that the State continues to make steady progress.

While attributing his success in the 2015 gubernatorial elections to the dedication of party members and chieftains of the party, especially the National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Governor Ambode charged them to rally round the party yet again to ensure victory for the APC in the polls.

“Almost exactly two years after, we have cause to thank God. I am able to look back that the confidence you give me two years ago and all of you working together to make sure I defeated the PDP candidate was no small feat.

“I have come here not only to attend this meeting but to say a big thank you to all of you. I want to thank you for being the first set of people that believed in me and thereafter God has been so gracious, he has not allowed me to disappoint u. I want to say a big thank you to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the State APC Chairmen and Exco members for supporting that course.

“If there is any party remaining in Nigeria today, that party is manifested in all the good things coming out of Lagos State. Why are we here; we are here to count our blessings and renew the course of unity to move forward as one great party.

“I want to implore all of us, whatever it is that would have transpired, it is very clear that this coming LG elections is all in your hands; just the same way we have done in the last two years, my call to all members of our great party is that all 57 Local Governments and 37 Local Council Development Areas must be won by APC without exception,” the Governor said.

Noting that there were challenges and issues that had emanated in the run up to the local government elections, Governor Ambode, nonetheless urged members to stand by the decisions of the party leaders, which according to him would bring about the best for all.

“This is our first gathering this year, it is very significant, it is instructive and we are meeting on a very happy note. We have begun a new journey into the crusade to make Nigeria a progressive nation and it is starting from this process that we would use; our Chairmen, Councilors, SLGS and this is the new chart that we want to follow in this state.

“A whole lot of things have happened; it is left in the hands of Asiwaju to proclaim the way forward for all of us. So, whatever direction Asiwaju say we should go, we would go,” he said.

On his part, APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu commended members of the party for supporting Governor Ambode in the 2015 elections, and urged that the candidates of the party for the forthcoming Local Government Election should also be supported.

Tinubu, who described the election as the most challenging, recalled how the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former President Goodluck Jonathan moved to take over the State by all means including spending huge cash, but the APC members resolutely stood their ground and ensured the victory of the party.

While urging members to accept the decision of the party with respect to the LG election, Tinubu said as agreed earlier, the 18 chairmen who were promised automatic ticket for their efforts in the party and the State would be allowed to return, while the Sole Administrators who took over from Executive Secretaries (ES) of the LGs and LCDAs would not be allowed to contest in the election.

He also directed party leaders in all the 57 councils to give special concession to youths and women, while also urging members of the party in Surulere to give peace a chance and drop all forms of public disorder.

Responding to issues raised by party members that the ES should be disallowed from contesting, Tinubu said: “Doing such would amount to denying them their rights having left office more than a year ago. It is just like saying that Governor Ambode or Senators and other party leaders should not be allowed second term.”

Besides, Tinubu commended Governor Ambode for his sterling performance so far, saying that the Governor had not let the party down.

“Governor Ambode you have not let us down. He is doing a fantastic job, in an environment where there is economic recession is a big challenge, they say he might not be able to do it, but he is doing it and doing it perfectly.

“He has a very good team of performers, it takes a leader to lead a team to victory and a leader to think and dream. He thinks and performs and he is doing a great job, we are very proud of him,” Tinubu said.

Remarks Delivered At The Colloquium Marking The 65th Birthday Of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu

Remarks Delivered At The Colloquium Marking The 65th Birthday Of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu

I am humbled and honoured to stand today on behalf of the people of Lagos State and Lagosians in diaspora to salute and congratulate Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu on many fronts especially his 65th birthday anniversary that comes up tomorrow.

Permit me to describe a fruit, the Coconut, as an illustration of my message.  The Coconut tree is a member of the palm family.  The term coconut can refer to the whole coconut palm or the seed, or the fruit.  The term coconut is derived from the 16th century Portugese and Spanish word “coco” meaning head or skull, from the three indentations on the coconut shell that resemble facial features.

Coconuts are known for their great versatility, as evidenced by many traditional uses, ranging from food to cosmetics (Adi-Agbon).  The oil and milk derived from it are commonly used in cooking and frying, as well as in soap and cosmetics.  The husks and leaves can be used as material to make a variety of products for furnishing and decorating.  The Coconut is a good symbol of cultural significance in certain communities.

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In putting the pieces together, here it is; You have a head that is blessed with a divine task to be fruitful and useful to humanity.  He is greatly versatile, courageous and strategic in outlook.  It takes a few years of planting before the coconut tree becomes fruitful, thereafter, it bears fruits for a long time.  Sixty-five years after, he has been fruitful, creating more products and bye-products from his political dynasty than any other living “made-in-Nigeria” political product in recent history.

Like the coconut, some bye-products/fruits will get bad along the way or after being sold in the market; in actual fact, the political product may not be the favourite of some other people.  The bottom line, however, is simple.  If Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, were a coconut; I dare say, with all simplicity, I would be among the forefront liners that will eat, drink and sleep B.A.T. 24/7.

The test of a successful leader is in the number of leaders that he has created.  Using this globally accepted parameter, Asiwaju, at 65, is without doubt, a winner in this category.

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There is no doubt the Asiwaju political dynasty is a made in Nigeria product.  The foundation laid and blueprints developed during his tenure as Governor of Lagos State which cuts across all sections of the State’s economy have actually simplified the process of governance till date.

His blueprint has continued to serve as a road map to achieving the Lagos of his and our dreams.  This same political product without doubt, traverses the Nigerian landscape and that is evident with the emergence of the APC at the centre in 2015.

Asiwaju is a made in Nigeria product. We should make more products out of him.

 

This year’s central theme is no doubt an apt topic.  Make it in Nigeria – Use what we make – Make what we Use. I am an unrepentant convert of this ideology.  We have demonstrated it.  We have professed it through our Lake Rice partnership with Kebbi State.

As a Government, we will continue to improve on our indices of the ease of doing business to ensure that more products are made in Nigeria for the development and growth of our nation.

Asiwaju, I salute you. Senator Oluremi Tinubu, I admire your dexterity and I congratulate you.

Asiwaju, on behalf of the First Lady, my entire family, all your admirers at home and across the world, we say a big thank you for your large-heartedness, benevolence and visionary leadership that you have unleashed on this nation.

You are;

A Statesman par Excellence

My leader, Our Leader.

Happy Birthday, Sir.

God bless you all.

Lagos Hosts Inaugural Meeting Of APC Secretaries To State Governments

Lagos Hosts Inaugural Meeting Of APC Secretaries To State Governments

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Thursday charged his counterparts in the All Progressives Congress (APC) fold to devise ingenious ways and means of meeting the expectations of the people they govern.

The Governor, who spoke through his Deputy, Dr. (Mrs) Oluranti Adebule, at the opening ceremony of the inaugural meeting of the Secretaries to State Governments (SSGs) of APC States held in Ikeja, Lagos, added that they are fully committed to the vision of providing accountable and responsive leadership to citizens in spite of the dire financial strains confronting the country.

The Governor said that the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) Quarterly meeting of the SSGs is one of Forum’s strategies of meeting the expectations of the people in order to boost the accountability quoting of all the APC serving Governors.

“For us on the PGF platform, this is not a moment for self-adulation, but that of self- examination and stock taking. Our desire is to promote synergy and experience sharing, as a basis for the adoption and uniform implementation of policy initiatives across all APC States.

nternational Finance Corporation (IFC) Country Manager , Nigeria, Mrs Eme Essien Lore (1st Left),Director General, Progressive Governors’ Forum, Salihu Lukman (2nd Left), Representative of Ogun State Governor and SSG, Mr Taiwo Adeoluwa (middle), Representative of Lagos State Governor and Deputy Governor, Dr (Mrs) Oluranti Adebule(2nd Right and Secretary to Lagos State Government, Mr Tunji Bello (1st right)  during the Inaugural quarterly meeting of All Progressives Congress (APC) Secretaries to State Governments with the theme: "Setting Strategic Implementation Framework for Social Development’’,  in Alausa, Ikeja Lagos on Thursday, March 16, 2017
International Finance Corporation (IFC) Country Manager , Nigeria, Mrs Eme Essien Lore (1st Left),Director General, Progressive Governors’ Forum, Salihu Lukman (2nd Left), Representative of Ogun State Governor and SSG, Mr Taiwo Adeoluwa (middle), Representative of Lagos State Governor and Deputy Governor, Dr (Mrs) Oluranti Adebule(2nd Right and Secretary to Lagos State Government, Mr Tunji Bello (1st right) during the Inaugural quarterly meeting of All Progressives Congress (APC) Secretaries to State Governments with the theme: “Setting Strategic Implementation Framework for Social Development’’, in Alausa, Ikeja Lagos on Thursday, March 16, 2017

“This makes it necessary for us to frequently expose our thoughts, strategies and actions to the honest scrutiny of our colleagues. That is the very essence of the peer review effort we are promoting by this gathering,” he stressed.

Governor Ambode explained that the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), by a 2007 mandate of National Economic Council developed and implemented a comprehensive State Peer Review Mechanism (SPRM) with the objective to help states improve their development performances through periodic reviews of progress in the implementation of developmental policies, plans and programmes.

In a keynote address titled: “Job Creation and Social Protection Initiatives In states”, the Country Manager of International Finance Corporation (IFC), Mrs Eme Essien Lore said for Nigeria to achieve her goals in job creation, the efforts must be private sector driven.

While acknowledging the roles already played by the government at the centre in the campaign for creation of jobs, she stated that more needed to be done in term of collaboration with the private sector.

She posited that in order to reduce poverty and increase more inclusive growth, the new jobs to be created must be more productive and must also provide higher income than they currently do.

R-L: Deputy Governor, Lagos State, Dr. Oluranti Adebule; Secretary to the State Government and Chief host, Mr. Tunji Bello and the Director General, Progressive Governors’ Forum, Mr. Salihu Mohammed Lukman, during the Inaugural quarterly meeting of All Progressive Congress (APC) Secretaries to governments of states, theme: "Setting Strategic Implementation Framework for Social Development’’,  in Alausa, Ikeja Lagos…..yesterday 16-03-2017 KOLA OLASUPO
R-L: Deputy Governor, Lagos State, Dr. Oluranti Adebule; Secretary to the State Government and Chief host, Mr. Tunji Bello and the Director General, Progressive Governors’ Forum, Mr. Salihu Mohammed Lukman, during the Inaugural quarterly meeting of All Progressive Congress (APC) Secretaries to governments of states, theme: “Setting Strategic Implementation Framework for Social Development’’, in Alausa, Ikeja Lagos…

The IFC Country Manager added that between 2010 and 2030, by the analysis of the world body, there would be a need for additional 40 million jobs in the country.

Speaking earlier, the Governor of Ogun State and Co-Chair of the PGF Governance Programme, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Taiwo Adeoluwa  said the forum provided an avenue for SSGs to compare notes on how to do it better.

While commending the organizers for a job well done, he said the meeting was about taking stock for peer review as the coming together would have a salutary effect on the nation.

In his introductory remarks, the Director General of the Progressive Governors Forum, Mr Salihu Lukman said the core objective of the Forum was to identify best practices among the states which can be replicated.

Lagos State Government Goes Tough On Child Abuse

Lagos State Government Goes Tough On Child Abuse

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Thursday announced ratification of the first ever Executive Order establishing a Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy in Nigeria, just as he said the Policy was designed as a catalyst for driving awareness and commitment of all stakeholders, including every member of the community towards the protection of children.

The State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, in a statement, disclosed that the Programme was developed to prescribe management systems in place to create and maintain a safe environment for children, adding that in clear terms, the policy also articulates procedures to be adopted when disclosures of abuse are made.

According to Kazeem, the Executive Order which was signed by the Governor on December 16, 2016 highlights the emphasis which the present administration placed on protecting the lives of all children in the State.

Giving details on the order, Kazeem said it applies to all State Government organisations, all public and private schools, child centred institutions, and orphanages located in the State, while the policy also provides the steps that must be followed in the case of a disclosure, the role of the Designated Child Protection and Safeguarding Officer, and the process of reporting and dealing with allegations of abuse against members of staff.

He said: “The Executive Order now makes it mandatory for Child Protection policy to be integrated into the induction programme of newly recruited staff into child-centred institutions. As regards employment of staff, it is now mandatory for all child-centred institutions to conduct detailed background checks.

“Ultimately, the ratification of this Executive Order, would reduce and possibly eliminate incidences of child abuse, establish a culture of early identification of trends and effective intervention to limit the occurrence of cases.”

The Attorney General added that in the next coming months, the State Government would strongly drive adoption of the policy to ensure that all child centred institutions adopt and adhere strictly to the provisions of the Order, while electronic copies would be made available on the State’s Website and other relevant social media platforms to ensure proper dissemination.

“The State Government therefore uses this medium to sound a very clear warning to all Child centred institutions both public and private, that it would no longer tolerate negligence in ensuring the safety of children under their supervision.

“Failure to adhere to the content of the policy would warrant significant repercussions varying from withdrawal of licenses to filing of criminal charges due to negligence,” Kazeem warned.