It is my honour and privilege, on behalf of the government and people of Lagos State, to welcome Your Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR to Lagos.
Your Excellency, Lagosians are excited to have you in our midst, especially as it has been almost 17 years since Lagos State was accorded the honour of formally hosting a serving President after the visit of former President Olusegun Obasanjo GCFR in 2002.
Mr. President, in line with your vision and subtle but strategic policies of renewal that you have initiated on a national scale, Lagos has recorded tremendous progress since you were last here. You may have noticed some of these significant infrastructural development in our State as you flew over the State earlier today.
Mr. President, Lagos State is the land of opportunities. We have so much untapped potential and there are so many opportunities for economic, social and cultural growth in our State. With these in mind, our government has decided to strategically focus on improving the ease of doing business, entertainment, sports and tourism. Our operational model is a tripod of Security, Infrastructure and Job Creation.
However, 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.
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.
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.
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.
Mr. President, the government and people of Lagos State are very happy to host you with our traditional hospitality and warmth. We know your dream for Nigeria and we are convinced that our State occupies a special space in the actualization of this dream.
Once again, I welcome Mr. President to Lagos State, the land of opportunities and the Africa’s emerging Smart City. I invite His Excellency to join us as dinner is served.
Itesiwaju Ipinle Eko Lo Je Wa L’Ogun!!!