Only Leaders With Integrity Can Drive Nigeria’s Economic Growth

Only Leaders With Integrity Can Drive Nigeria’s Economic Growth

…Lagos Gov’s Passion, Doggedness Commendable, Says Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Wednesday said if Nigeria must develop and have sizable improvement in the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), people of good conscience and high integrity must be at the drivers’ seat in all spheres of the economy.

Speaking at Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja when he received national leadership of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International (Nigeria) on a courtesy visit, Governor Ambode said the country stands to benefit a lot when good business practice is combined with excellent religious conscience, saying such would obviously result in growth and development.

According to him, “The economy of Lagos cannot be that productive to improve the GDP if there are no people with good conscience and this is what this fellowship stands for. It is not enough for you to have resources, it is not enough for you to have people that can improve productivity but again there are people who have to be drivers to arrive at the GDP or the kind of nation that we want.”

The Governor said since his assumption of office in the last three and half years, concerted efforts had been made to ensure religious harmony and also create greater enabling environment for businesses to thrive, saying it was gratifying that the State had experienced peaceful co-existence among religious group.

“One thing that I can assure of is our continuous support. Like you must have noticed in the last three years, we have ensured that there is proper religious harmony in this State and there has never been any single incident of religious crisis.

“Obviously, we recognize the fact that Lagos is a cosmopolitan State but irrespective of that, we have allowed a whole lot of freedom of space because that is the thing that actually drives productivity.

“All we do as a government is just to ensure that we create an enabling environment for people to practice religion without interference and at the same time greater enabling environment for them to do their businesses. So, when we combine good businesses and good religious conscience, obviously the nation will grow and then the nation will develop,” Governor Ambode said.

While describing members of the fellowship as distinguished personalities in various fields, the Governor equally commended them for holding their annual convention in Lagos, saying it was instructive that such was taking place at a time that the nation needs a lot of prayers.

Earlier, National President of the fellowship, Mr. Ifeanyi Odedo, who led the delegation, said the team was at Lagos House to officially inform the Governor of the ongoing 87th National Convention of the Fellowship, and also to explore partnership in key areas to grow the country’s GDP such as housing, agro industry, and information communication technology, among others.

Odedo also commended the Governor for his giant strides in the last three and half years, saying it was commendable that he had given priority to people-oriented policies and programs.

“We appreciate the kind of grace that God has bestowed upon you. In the past number of years that you have served this State as Executive Governor, we have seen your doggedness, we have seen your passion, we have seen your integrity, we have seen the spirit of professionalism and excellence with people-oriented programs that are very impactful.

“Suffice it to say that you have left a great legacy in the sand of history. I want to put on record that what God has deposited in you with which you have served this State in the past three and half years or thereabout, that thing will still find expression in no distant time. All things work together for good and because you are carrying the spirit of the Lord, the Lord is setting before you an open door and no man can shut it,” Odedo said.

Governor Ambode Gives N10million Seed Fund To Best Three Ready Set Work Graduates

Governor Ambode Gives N10million Seed Fund To Best Three Ready Set Work Graduates

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Tuesday awarded N10million seed fund to the best three graduating students of the Ready.Set.Work (RSW) Initiative, saying that he was fulfilled that his administration was nurturing graduates that would contribute immensely to the development of the State and Nigeria in general.

20 year- old graduate of the Lagos State University (LASU), Miss Afolayan Vivian who emerged winner of the Pitch Competition got N5million, while Popoola Joshua and Miss Adeniyi Miriam finished in second and third position to take home N3million and N2million respectively, courtesy of the Governor.

The Ready.Set.Work initiative, a brain child of the present administration is an employability and entrepreneurship program aimed at preparing final year students in Lagos State for immediate entry into the work force as employees and employers of labour.

Speaking at the well attended 2018 Ready.Set.Work graduation ceremony held at the Landmark Event Centre, Governor Ambode who was visibly elated, said the enthusiasm of thousands of the graduants as well as testimonies of scores of facilitators and sponsors was a confirmation that his administration has placed a high premium on the future of Lagos and Nigeria in general.

“When I was graduating, I was just 21, but I had no direction. So after almost about 30 something years and I see youths so energetic and excited, I am happy to say that yes, I think I have made a difference. This is not about bridges, flyovers and hospitals, but I feel so excited that yes, I got this right and the future of this country is blessed.  The energy inside this hall tells me there is a different world here from what is happening out there,” he said.

He expressed optimism that the 5,000 graduates of the initiative have been well equipped for the world of work and rearing to make a difference.

Cross section of graduating students of Ready Set Work 3.0 during their graduation ceremony at Landmark Event Centre, Victoria Island, on Tuesday, October 30, 2018.
Cross section of graduating students of Ready Set Work 3.0 during their graduation ceremony at Landmark Event Centre, Victoria Island, on Tuesday, October 30, 2018.

“By investing in people, we will secure the future prosperity of Lagos State and Nigeria. With programmes like Ready-Set-Work, Code Lagos and the Employment Trust Fund we are providing platforms that will nurture a society of problem solvers, change-makers, and value adding citizens helping to improve our economy. These innovative programmes must therefore, not be allowed to die,” the Governor said.

He said it was gratifying that the initiative which commenced three years ago with about 500 students, 52 volunteer facilitators, friends and partners has now reached over 37,000 students, over 700 volunteer facilitators and several sponsors who have keyed into the program.

According to the Governor, the initiative has now emerged as a major platform for the government to prepare graduates from tertiary institutions for the life ahead by equipping them with requisite skills and mindset to give value to the labour market.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (middle); winner of the Pitch competition of Ready Set Work 3.0, Miss Vivian Afolayan (middle) and Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Mr. Obafela Bank-Olemoh (right) during the graduation ceremony of Ready Set Work 3.0 at Landmark Event Centre, Victoria Island, on Tuesday, October 30, 2018.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (middle); winner of the Pitch competition of Ready Set Work 3.0, Miss Vivian Afolayan (middle) and Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Mr. Obafela Bank-Olemoh (right) during the graduation ceremony of Ready Set Work 3.0 at Landmark Event Centre, Victoria Island, on Tuesday, October 30, 2018.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to inform you that over the past three years, we have stayed true to this vision and scaled up our impact. I invite you to take a look across the auditorium today to see how that small spark in 2016 has become a roaring fire.

“From 500 Ready-Set-Work Scholars in 2016, we are celebrating today the impact of this program on the lives of over 37,000 students who have participated in the Ready-Set-Work program over the last three years, either through the RSW On-Campus Training or through the RSW Online Academy.

“We have taken it a step further by supporting top performing students by providing paid internship opportunities, as well as seed funding and incubation for viable business ideas. To date, over 1,200 RSW Scholars have benefited from internship placements, and another 2,000 Scholars from the 2018 graduating class will also be placed in internships,” Governor Ambode said.

He disclosed that the first place winners of the 2016 Ready-Set-Work Business Pitch Competition, who got seed funding and incubation support were already making impact in the society with the production of up to 10,000 liters of biogas daily within a community in Ikorodu, with zero carbon emission, while other graduates were adding value in top companies and countless small businesses across the State.

The Governor seized the occasion to thank the network of about 1,000 employers, who, over the years, have contributed to preparing RSW Scholars for the world of work, by providing internship opportunities in their organizations, noting that some have taken on the cost of paying their interns, with the State Government supporting small and medium size businesses by paying the stipends for their interns over a period of 3 – 6 months.

“In marking another successful edition of Ready-Set-Work, we cannot overemphasize the important role of our Volunteer Facilitators, the largest volunteer faculty in Nigeria. These selfless individuals gave up their Saturdays, traveled from far distances, committed to multiple hours of preparation, and made other sacrifices for 13 weeks to invest in our students.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (middle); winner of the Pitch competition of Ready Set Work 3.0, Miss Vivian Afolayan (middle) and Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Mr. Obafela Bank-Olemoh (right) during the graduation ceremony of Ready Set Work 3.0 at Landmark Event Centre, Victoria Island, on Tuesday, October 30, 2018.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (middle); winner of the Pitch competition of Ready Set Work 3.0, Miss Vivian Afolayan (middle) and Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Mr. Obafela Bank-Olemoh (right) during the graduation ceremony of Ready Set Work 3.0 at Landmark Event Centre, Victoria Island, on Tuesday, October 30, 2018.

“I thank our corporate partners and sponsors again for their commitment, financial contributions, and technical support. We trust that we can count on you to continue investing in the future of Lagos State.

Earlier, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Mr. Obafela Bank-Olemoh said the graduants had gone through 13-weeks of intensive engagement and were mentally prepared to deploy their skills and emotional intelligence to the corporate world, saying that the future of Lagos was in excellent hands.

On his part, Vice Chancellor of LASU, Professor Lanre Fagbohun said the Ready.Set.Work program has bridged the gap between the quality of graduates being churned out from tertiary institutions and the requirement by employers of labour, urging the beneficiaries to utilise the opportunity and make a telling impact in the society.

Governor Ambode Charges New Perm Secs To Prioritize Efficient Service Delivery

Governor Ambode Charges New Perm Secs To Prioritize Efficient Service Delivery

…Says Machinery Of Governance Must Roll Faster


Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Monday swore-in five new Permanent Secretaries into the State Civil Service, with a charge on them to place high premium on efficient service delivery and work to make the machinery of governance to roll faster in the overall interest of the people.


Speaking after the oath of office was administered on the appointees at Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja, Governor Ambode said the Permanent Secretaries must bring their wealth of experience and knowledge to bear in their respective Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), and go all-out to meet the high expectations of not only government but the teeming population of the State.


“With this appointment, you have all effectively become the Accounting Officer of your MDAs. You have been entrusted with a bigger and more sensitive responsibility which will put to test your leadership and managerial skills.


“Let me remind you of the very high expectations that will be placed on you, not only from the government but more importantly, from the over 22 million Lagosians who desire efficient and service delivery. Your ability to meet these expectations will depend on the amount of creativity and innovation you can bring to bear in the discharge of your responsibilities.


“Nobody expects you to reinvent the wheel. What is expected of you is to bring to bear your knowledge and experience so that the machinery of governance can roll faster and deliver more quality results to the teeming population of our State,” the Governor counseled the appointees.


While congratulating the new Permanent Secretaries, the Governor said it was on record that the elevation was strictly based on merit as evidenced by their outstanding performance, commitment and dedication to duty over the years, saying they must work to justify their appointments.


The appointees are Dr. Olabisi Taiwo (Ministry of Health), Mr. Olusegun Ajibade (Public Service Office), Mrs. Abiayo Akinsiku (Primary Healthcare Board), Dr. Yusuf Jimoh (Ministry of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Relations), and Mr. Ganiyu Rufai (Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives).


Responding on behalf of the new Permanent Secretaries, Taiwo expressed gratitude to God and Governor Ambode for the opportunity to serve the State at the highest level in the civil service, just as she assured that they would not betray the confidence reposed in them but rather uphold the principles of public service.


2019: We’ll Campaign Vigorously For Buhari, Sanwo-Olu

2019: We’ll Campaign Vigorously For Buhari, Sanwo-Olu

…Reaffirms Commitment To APC’s Victory In Polls

 Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Tuesday said he would lead a strong campaign to ensure victory for President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) Governorship candidate in the State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu in the 2019 general elections.

Governor Ambode, who spoke to journalists at the Presidential Wing of the Muritala Mohammed International Airport shortly after he accompanied President Buhari to perform the official commissioning of the new Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Border Posts at Seme-Krake joint border post in Badagry, said it was important for the APC to retain its leadership positions both in the federal and the State level.

“I have just accompanied Mr. President to the Nigerian-Benin Border Post. So what we have commissioned today is a joint Border Patrol post between Nigeria and the Republic of Benin and it is called Semo-Krake Border Post.

“But again, just to also use this opportunity to let Lagosians know that we are heavily committed to the re-election of Mr. President and you can see that his continuous visit to Lagos reiterates the fact that he is actually a lover of Lagos State and I am committed to ensuring his re-election.

“We are going to campaign heavily for him. I am also committed to ensuring that the APC wins the governorship election come 2019.  We support the candidacy of Babajide Sanwo-Olu and we would make sure that APC retains Lagos State and the centre,” Governor Ambode said.

Earlier, Governor Ambode had received President Buhari at the airport before the duo proceeded to Seme where the President joined his Republic of Benin counterpart, Patrice Talon to inaugurate the Border Post.

With the inauguration, the Seme-Krake joint border, one of the busiest boundary lines not only in West Africa but the whole continent, daily recording huge movement of persons, goods and services, is expected to enhance the free movement of persons and goods in the region and foster integration between the people of Nigeria and Benin.

Lagos Targets 150, 000 Participants For 2019 Marathon

Lagos Targets 150, 000 Participants For 2019 Marathon

…Increases Prize Money For Local, Physically-Challenged Athletes 

…To Set Up Marathon Village, Eyes IAAF Silver Label

No fewer than 150,000 athletes both locally and internationally are expected to participate in the 4th edition of Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode said on Monday.

Addressing a press conference at Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja to officially announce commencement of preparations for the marathon which is billed to hold on February 2, 2019, Governor Ambode said the target of the State Government, was to use the forthcoming edition to take the tournament from the bronze label of International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) to silver, in partnership with the sponsors.

According to him, “The whole idea is to turn the competition from bronze to silver level. In the last three editions, we had between 100,000 and 120,000 participants. This time around, we want to make sure that come February 2019, we would have not less than 150,000 participants.

“The reason why we want to take it to that level is to create a new record and create a new platform to allow the 2019 edition to herald what is going to happen in the next six years. We believe strongly that in another six years when we are marking the 10th anniversary, we should actually become a top class marathon, and that is our vision for this competition.

“We believe that it is achievable. This is not necessarily about me; it is not even about the sponsors but about making Lagos to be on that top brand across the world and that is how cities are elevated to become global brand,” Governor Ambode said.

He said arrangement had equally been firmed up to encourage more local participation, as well as more physically-challenged athletes, a development he said necessitated the increase in prize monies for the two categories.

“We think obviously that we should pay more attention to our physically-challenged athletes this time around and also to embrace more of local participation. This time around, we would push more money to the local races and we would push more money to also our physically-challenged athletes to encourage more people to come in, while the main prize remain the same,” he said.

Speaking further at the media briefing which was attended by Nigeria’s sports icons including Mary Onyali, Samson Siasia, Waheed Akanni, Seye Ogunlewe, among others, the Governor said the idea of the marathon was part of his administration’s initiatives to use sports, entertainment and hospitality to grow the economy and positively engage the bourgeoning youth population in the State.

“Looking at some of Nigeria’s sport legends here, it just summarizes everything that we have tried to do in the last three and half years. The idea is that it is possible to create a new set of jobs and services using sports, using hospitality, using entertainment to create a new level of creativity and innovation and then drive the Nigerian economy into different direction that creates positive energy, and when you come to this kind of gathering and you are able to now see the private sector, sports people, it means that there is still hope in this country,” Governor Ambode said.

Besides, the Governor commended all the sponsors, media and all those who have contributed to the success of the marathon in the last three years, saying the development was a dream come true.

Earlier in his welcome address, Chairman of Lagos State Sports Commission, Dr. Kweku Tandor said the Lagos City Marathon, was the third of its kind after Brighton and Bournemouth Marathon in the United Kindgom to earn the prestigious IAAF Bronze Label only after its second edition, which held on February 10, 2018.

He said the Governor had already given approval for the setting up of a Lagos Marathon Village at the Teslim Balogun Stadium that would not only sustain the culture of the marathon but also serve as a rallying point in the quest by the present administration to stage mini-marathons in the five divisions of the State.

“It is going to serve as the headquarters for marathon races in Lagos. What we have in mind is to have sectoral marathons, Lagos Women Run is coming up next month, we have SWAN Marathon coming up in December and we also envisage that we are going to be having Epe Marathon, Ikorodu Marathon and so on.

“So we need a coordinating office under the direction of the Lagos State Sports Commission and that is the vision that led to the construction of that facility within Teslim Balogun to serve as the Lagos Marathon Village. Construction work will commence anytime from now,” Tandoh said.

He said the Governor had also approved the constitution of a Marathon Council that would be responsible for the supervision of the 2019 Marathon and going forward.

On his part, Managing Director of Access Bank, Mr. Herbert Wigwe said the commitment of the State Government under the leadership of Governor Ambode has ensured that the Lagos Marathon had become an annual event on the international athletics map.

He assured that Access Bank, the major sponsors of the Lagos Marathon would continue to give its full support to the event, adding that the 2019 edition will take the event a notch higher so as to receive an IAAF Silver Label for the marathon.

In his brief remarks, President of the Athletics federation of Nigeria (AFN), Engr. Ibrahim Gusau commended Governor Ambode for setting the pace for others to follow for others to follow in sports development, saying that the 2018 edition of the Lagos Marathon was highly rated amongst top competitions on the international calendar.