Farewell Address By His Excellency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, At The End Of His Administration As Governor Of Lagos State

Farewell Address By His Excellency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, At The End Of His Administration As Governor Of Lagos State

My fellow Lagosians.

With a heart full of gratitude, I address you today for the last time as your governor. It has been an honour and a privilege of a lifetime to serve you for the last four years.

It has been a remarkable journey which has had a lasting impact on my life and I want to thank all Lagosians for the experience of these last four years.

As in the beginning when we visited every single corner of this state, listening to you and asking for your votes, I have felt the power of your support, your collective energy and the endless goodwill that has propelled us to achieve many things.

For this administration, policies, programmes and projects aimed at lifting more of our people out of poverty and making every part of the State safe, accessible and economically viable were always the priority; the driving force behind all our decisions and plans.

A few of our policies might have been unpopular but these were decisions taken with the best interest of our State in mind. With the benefit of hindsight, maybe we could have done some things differently but our intention was always clear, for the good of Lagos.

Even in those tough times, your constructive feedback and patience helped us surmount the challenges and enabled us grow stronger.

As a little boy growing up in Lagos, all I wanted was to be an accountant. This State gave me that and so much more. Our State is a land of opportunities, a home for everyone and a place where dreams come true. It is our duty and responsibility to ensure that we remain a centre of opportunities and growth for everyone; a place where people can achieve their dreams and aspirations.

From being just a commercial centre, our State has now become a prime destination for tourism, sports, entertainment and culture. And the future is even brighter with more exciting prospects and possibilities. In the near future, with God on our side, Lagos will take its rightful place in the comity of major city-States of the world.

Fellow Lagosians, it has been a remarkable journey. One in which we have pushed boundaries and moved our State to another level. A journey in which we have transformed many aspects of our State and set the ball rolling in other sectors. But there is still a lot more to be done. 

But it is a job not for only the government; it is a responsibility for us all. In Lagos everyone counts and we all have a part to play.

By tomorrow, there will be a change of guard in our State. I will be stepping down and a new Governor will be sworn in. We will have a new Governor and a new administration with the same objective; achieving a better Lagos.

Those who have had the privilege of serving our dear State in different capacities especially as Governors owe their successes to your prayers, understanding and support. The same courtesy and cooperation that you gave to my predecessors from the first elected Governor of the State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande to our national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) to my humble self, I urge you to extend same to the next administration of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and ensure that he succeeds. It is in our best interest to do so.

I am immensely grateful to the three arms of Government, the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary for their immense support throughout the tenure of our administration.

I also reserve special thanks for the leadership, elders and members of our great party, the All Progressives Congress, the Local Government Councils and community leaders, all our Security agencies, civil society groups and our religious leaders.

I also owe a debt of gratitude to the President, Muhammadu Buhari, and the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osibanjo (SAN) for their support in the last four years.

To my wife, Bolanle and the children, who have had to endure many days and nights without me; I thank you for your love and steadfastness. You will continue to be my pillar of strength. 

To all Lagosians; for your love, compassion, cooperation and support, I am eternally grateful. My love always.

God bless you.

God bless Lagos State, and

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria

Itesiwaju ipinle eko lo je wa logun!      

His Excellency 

Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode

Governor of Lagos State

27 MAY, 2019.

I’m Fulfilled With Projects Executed

I’m Fulfilled With Projects Executed

…Commissions Ultra-Modern 400-Capacity Theatre In Epe

…Thanks Residents, Seeks Support For Sanwo-Olu

Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode on Friday evening commissioned the ultra-modern Lagos Theatre in Epe, expressing fulfillment with the projects executed by his administration within the ancient town and the adjoining communities.

Ambode, who is exiting office on May 29, said it was particularly fulfilling that he was able to implement a number of projects which changed the outlook of the town and made life further comfortable for the people, as well as improve the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of the State.

“This is more or less a fulfilling day for me; if there is anything for me to say, it is the fact that I am fulfilled that a day like this can come in Epe. I mean, four days to go, in four years, we have turned things around. God has given us that grace that we can come back here and actually spend my last weekend here with my people.

“We are very delighted that among the Art Theatres that we have established, we have the opportunity to come and commission the one in Epe. The first one – the Lagos Theatre in Oregun was commissioned by Mr President and then followed by the one in Igando. That of Badagry will be commissioned on Monday making four out of the six that we had actually planned. Two to go and believing strongly that the vision to actually bring out the best of the talents of our younger ones is part of this structure that you are seeing here,” Ambode said.

He said the initiative to construct the theatres across the State was borne out of the vision to create a framework to bring out the creativity and innovative skills of talented youths, as well as serving as a platform to scale up communal bonding among the people.

On other initiative in the tourism sector, Ambode said: “We are also renovating Glover Memorial Hall; it’s been fully paid for and in another few months, they should be able to commission it also so that we can have top class tourist attractions in all these locations. People can decide to come and watch a play in Epe and then drive back to Lagos.

“In totality, beyond the fact that we are trying to bring out the talents from the younger ones, the ultimate goal is to increase the GDP of Lagos because in the services provided here and all the other things that would be done in other locations, you have more people that would be earning income; you would have more people that would be paying taxes; you have more people that you can generate income from which you can now use back to improve on the lot of Lagosians.”

While thanking people of Epe Division for standing by him and the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ambode urged them to also support the incoming government of Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu to further develop the State.

“I want to use this opportunity to thank all the people in Epe here including Eredo, Ibeju Lekki and then in Agbowa. You stood by me and in area where we decided that we should go in the same direction to uplift the party so that we can bring in the next, you all cooperated with us and I want to say a very big thank you.

“Whatever kind of support that you have given in the course of my own four years, in the course of election and also in the spirit of upholding the tenet of the party, all that must be extended to Mr Sanwo-Olu to also make sure that things that we have achieved in the last four years are not disrupted and that is the whole essence of humanity.

“The whole essence is have I improved on the way I met Lagos four years ago? It’s left for the people to judge and we know also that whoever is coming next must also use mine as a benchmark to improve on the lot of the people of Lagos. The whole idea is to continue to improve and ensure that people don’t suffer and then people enjoy the dividends of democracy,” Ambode said.

He also urged the people to take ownership of project with the view to properly maintain and sustain it.

Speaking earlier, veteran Nollywood actress, Joke Silva commended Ambode for the theatres, expressing optimism that the next administration would build on the gains recorded in the sector in the last four years.

“I remember when I heard about the building of the theatres, I was just so so excited that finally we have someone who understood the need for culture in the life of the people; someone who understood that when people meet you one of the first things that they come in contact with about you is your culture.

“There are lots of people in my industry who believes that because the theatres are in the communities there would be a challenge to make them thrive and I think that is totally wrong because theatre grows in communities when the people take ownership. I believe from theatres like this, we are going to have some amazing writers; we are going to have the new Wole Soyinkas of this world and so on who would have the opportunity to fine-tune their works because they have a space such as this,” she said.

Also, Chairman of Epe Local Government, Hon Adedoyin Adesanya said the people of Epe were grateful to Ambode for the projects executed in the division, saying that the theatre would go a long way in boosting tourism and entertainment, as well as create jobs for the people.

Facilities at the theatre include standard furnishing, gallery, artiste changing room, rehearsal hall, restaurant, restrooms, power generating sets and well-laid out car park, among others.

African Football Legends Honour Ambode In Lagos

African Football Legends Honour Ambode In Lagos

…As Testimonial Match For Gov Ends In Thrilling 4-4

…Eto’o To Ambode: I Hold You in High Esteem

The Agege Stadium in Lagos was buzzing with excitement on Saturday as top African and Nigerian football legends honoured the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode with a testimonial match as he gets set to exit office.

Virtually all the biggest African and Nigerian stars to have played the round leather game turned up for the thrilling match which was watched by a full capacity crowd at the stadium.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, flanked by Ex-Nigerian Footballer, Peter Rufai (right); representative of Liberian President (George Weah), Minister Zeoga Wilson (left) and other former African football stars during the Testimonial Football Match in honour of the Governor at the Agege Stadium, Lagos, on Saturday, May 18, 2019.

Among the players on the Nigerian legend team coached by Olympic gold medal winning coach, Bonfere Joe, include Jay Jay Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu, Samson Siasia, Daniel Amokachi, Augustine Eguavoen, Mutiu Adepoju,  Emmanuel Amunike, Taribo West, Uche Okechukwu, Garba Lawal,  Peter Rufai and Ike Shorunmu.

Others include Finidi George, Victor Ikpeba, Obafemi Martins, Tijani Babangida, Julius Aghahowa and Sam Sodje, while Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shuaibu and Ayo Makun, popularly known as AY, featured in the game.

The African legend team, coached by former U-17 Golden Eaglets coach, Fanny Amun had the likes of El Hadji Diouf, Diomansy Kamara, Titi Kamara, Christian Karembeu, Stephen Appiah, Didier Zokora, Lomana Lua Lua, Khalilou Fadiga and Seydou Keita.

Watched by an unprecedented crowd that thronged the Agege Stadium, Kanu Nwankwo opened the scoring in the first half before Titi Kamara drew the African legends level within a space of two minutes. A fowl in the penalty box by Taribo West on El Hadji Diouf was converted by Titi Kamara which put the African stars 3-1 at half time.

In the second half, Garba Lawal fired in a free kick from the edge of the 18-yard to half the deficit for the Nigerian Legends. But a cheeky penalty from El Hadji Diouf put the African legends 4-2 up.

Cross view of the football lovers and spectators during the Testimonial Football Match in honour of the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode at the Agege Stadium, Lagos, on Saturday, May 18, 2019.

With the game heading for its final minutes, Obafemi Martins charged through the defence of the African Legends and scored a rebound with a header, while a stoppage time goal by comedian, AY ensured both team shared the spoils, with the game finishing in a thrilling 4-4 draw.

Before the game, Governor Ambode was given a guard of honour by both teams as he walked through with fireworks display, before he was given the honour of performing  the official kick off for the match.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (2nd right), being inducted in the Hall of Fame of the Nigeria Supporters Club by the Club’s President, Dr. Rafiu Ladipo (middle) while wife of the Governor, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode (right) and other members of the Club, watch with admiration during the Testimonial Football Match in honour of the Governor at the Agege Stadium, Lagos, on Saturday, May 18, 2019.

Earlier, there was a novelty match between an U-15 side from Lagos and their counterpart from Kebbi State, with the visitors running away with 5-0 victory.

Governor Ambode was also inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Nigeria Supporters Club (NSC) for his unwavering support towards sports development and especially football in Nigeria.

President of the NSC, Dr. Rafiu Ladipo while presenting the award to the Governor said the Governor would forever be remembered for his giant strides in sports development especially in the State.

The event was also spiced up by music performances by top Nigerian artistes, including Two Baba, Small Doctor, among others.

Speaking to journalists after the match, Victor Ikpeba said Governor Ambode deserved to be commended and appreciated for what he had done for Lagos, saying that he would be greatly missed.

“It’s a long time that we witnessed the fans come out in numbers for this kind of game and it just shows that the fans still appreciate their former greats in African football. It’s great for Lagos State today; we are all excited. It’s not about the result, but just coming together to have this fantastic game. Credit to Ambode; we are going to miss him. We wish him all the best in life in the future,” he said.

Also in a letter addressed to the Governor, four times African Footballer of the Year, Samuel Eto’o expressed his regret of his inability to participate in the match, however saying that he was glad to have been invited as he holds the Governor in high esteem.

“I hold you in high esteem, the love and support I get from Nigerian football lovers and fans in Nigeria at large. It would have been a pleasure attending this celebration. I love you Governor Ambode, I believe the event will be a success and I give you my warmest regards,” he said.

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode Receives Diouf, Kanu Nwankwo, Finidi George, Zokora, Other Soccer Legends

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode Receives Diouf, Kanu Nwankwo, Finidi George, Zokora, Other Soccer Legends

…Says Sports Remain Veritable Tool To Grow Economy Of African Nations

…Gov Has Made Lagos A Safe Place- French Sports Journalist

Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode on Friday received top African football legends at the Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja, urging countries in the continent to look inward and explore the possibility of using sports to grow their economies, saying sports remain a veritable tool to foster growth and development.

Some of the African soccer legends who paid the courtesy visit to the Governor include Kanu Nwankwo, Finidi George, Victor Ikpeba, El Hadji Diouf, Diomansy Kamara, Didier Zokora, Khalilou Fadiga Austin Eguavoen, Mutiu Adepoju, Waidi Akanni, Uche Okechuku and Seydou Keita.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (2nd right); presenting souvenirs to former Senegalese striker, El-Hadji Diouf (2nd left) during a courtesy visit by Ex-African footballers to the Governor ahead of a Testimonial Match in His honour at the Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, on Friday, May 17, 2019. With them are Chairman, Lagos State Sports Commission, Dr. Kweku Tandoh (left) and the Director-General of the Commission, Mr. Babatunde Bank-Anthony.

Governor Ambode, while receiving some of the soccer legends that would be participating in a testimonial match on Saturday put together in his honour as he prepares to exit office, said the sense of brotherhood in sports must be played up for the benefits of the continent in terms of scaling up the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of African countries.   

Recalling an initiative of his administration known as Project T.H.E.S.E which stands for Tourism, Hospitality, Entertainment and Arts and Sports for Excellence, Governor Ambode said right from inception, machineries were set rolling to use sports to grow economy and tourism in Lagos.

According to him, “We have always used sports to build bridges and there is this sense of brotherhood anytime that you switch on your television and there is an African playing on any line-up be it Liverpool, be it Tottenham, that feeling is always there and that brotherhood is something that we can use to grow the economies of Africa nations.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (middle), with Former African football stars, El-Hadji Diouf (right); Khalilou Fadiga (2nd right); Diomansy Kamara (left) during a courtesy visit by Ex-African Footballers to the Governor ahead of a Testimonial Match in His honour at the Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, on Friday, May 17, 2019.

“I had this dream when I came in as Governor that I could use sports, tourism, entertainment and arts with some sense of hospitality to promote excellence. So, I had something called Project T.H.E.S.E and my dream was to catalyze everything around sports and use it to build tourism and also grow the GDP of Lagos.

“So, that was the dream and why we promoted as many sporting activities as possible so that we could create a platform for tourism which made many people to travel here and just like you have come now, you will lodge in our hotels and the hotels at the end of the day would pay taxes and then we use it to do the infrastructure that we are doing.”

He said though four years may not be enough to do everything but that he was grateful to God for the opportunity to serve the people, just as he expressed optimism that the next administration would take it up, improve on it and ensure that the dream and vision for sports development never dies.

“I am very honoured that you are all here in Lagos to celebrate with me as I finish my tenure in Lagos State. This match is not only for me but for the good of humanity. We are not promoting it because we want to make money out of it but we are actually showcasing the fact that there is still something to be done about sports development in Africa and then particularly in Nigeria.

“We have lost a lot of resources and economic growth because people can’t match sports with the economy and that is the mis-match that we are having here. I mean, the question is why do I have to travel to Madrid to go and watch La Liga meanwhile I will pay Airline, pay for hotel and grow the economy of Spain?

“That is what Africa has to find out and then maybe as I leave office, it might just be my next venture to do something around sports and use my intellect to find a way to match sports with our economy and all of you here are all Ambassadors in your own rights and that is the only way we can continue to pull resources together because we must understand that the future of Nigeria is actually in the service industry – in sports, in creative arts, in things that are innovative whereby people can use their talents to earn income and I pray that one day we would have sporting companies that would be on the Stock Exchange,” Governor Ambode said.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (6th left); Chairman, Lagos State Sports Commission, Dr. Kweku Tandoh (5th left); Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) member, Aisha Falode (6th right), with some Former African Footballers, during a courtesy visit by the football stars to the Governor ahead of a Testimonial Match in His honour at the Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, on Friday, May 17, 2019.

Speaking on behalf of the footballers, Diouf thanked Governor Ambode for the opportunity for him and others to be personally here in Nigeria to see the fans, vowing to run the show with exciting display during the match on Saturday.

Also speaking, Aliou Goloko, a French sports journalist, said Governor Ambode deserved to be commended and appreciated for making Lagos a safe place, adding that the soccer legends were also drawing inspiration from the purposeful leadership of the Governor. 

“It’s very important for everybody to know that all these African legends came to Lagos because of the Governor. The Governor made it possible because when Waidi Akanni came to us and said we have to go to Lagos, there was no fear to come to Lagos. You (Governor Ambode) have made Lagos a safe place; a place of humanity and a place of solidarity,” Goloko said.