By Moses Adeniyi
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has said it is paramount for all political stakeholders in the State Government to be on the same page to actualise the pressing demands to rebuild Lagos.
The Governor who made the point of call on Friday at the opening of a three-day Executive/Legislative parley, averred that rather than trading blame and distinguishing one another, both “the Executive and Legislature must work together to ensure that the Rebuilding of Lagos is done urgently and efficiently.”
According to him, the need to brainstorm on how best to rebuild and reposition Lagos, especially against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the ENDSARS destruction, is what has actually informed the choice of the theme of this year’s edition of the parley tagged: “A Consensus Agenda for Rebuilding Lagos.’’
“The vast majority of our people want Government to work for them. They don’t make any distinctions between the Executive and the Legislature, as far as they are concerned we are all public officials elected to deliver on the mandate of efficient governance.
“There is no room for making excuses to them, or blaming another arm of government for the inability to deliver. It is up to us to ensure that, even though we are separate and independent arms of government, we are always on the same page and constantly resolving whatever issues and differences we have,” he said.
Stating that the COVID-19 pandemic has dealt huge blow on the resolutions of the last parley reached to move the State forward, he mentioned that the ugly development adversely affected the socio-economic life of citizens and slowed down efforts at infrastructural development and poverty alleviation.
Governor Sanwo-Olu stressed that beyond the immediacy of the disruptive events of 2020, it is important for all the stakeholders to think and plan for the long-term future of Lagos.
According to him, a worsening of situation surfaced with the degeneration of the #ENDSARS protest which culminated “in a grounding of social and economic activities, as well as unimaginable destruction of both public infrastructure and private properties.”
“As the epicentre of the pandemic in Nigeria, Lagos was not left out of the lockdowns. This as you all know has adversely affected the socio-economic life of our people and slowed down our efforts at infrastructural development and poverty alleviation.
“We thank God that we were able to bring the situation under control with the help of God and a resilient citizenry. We have no alternative than rebuild Lagos, with a sense of urgency. To do this, all stakeholders in the development and growth of Lagos State must come together to share experiences and proffer solutions,” he said.
He mentioned that in addition to making the long-term planning and envisioning part and parcel of public administration in Nigeria, efforts must be coordinated to ensure that all stakeholders follow through in terms of implementation of the resolutions.
Giving update on the Justice Doris Okuwobi (Rtd) led Panel of Inquiry constituted to try cases of Police brutality, Governor Sanwo-Olu disclosed that among other implementation of the Panel’s resolutions, three individuals deemed by the Panel to have suffered from police abuse and brutality had been awarded N10million each as compensation.
“We expect that in addition to the compensations, the full weight of the law will be brought to bear on the indicted personnel,” he said.
“Equally, we have begun the process of rebuilding Lagos with the composition of a Rebuilding Committee, which has since swung into action,” he added.
Stating that the goals of the State Government with regards to traffic management and transportation, is to make movement around Lagos stress-free, he reiterated that more ferries have been commissioned to boost water transportation, and more buses added to the intermodal transportation system of the state.
He stressed that efforts are in top gear to complete on-going road projects while new ones are being constructed across the length and breadth of the State.
Mentioning that other pillars of the Administration’s policy thrust, the THEMES, are equally receiving attention, he said: “Our health facilities are being overhauled. We have commissioned a new Health Centre at Ajeromi Ifelodun Local Government Area, and Mother & Child Care centres have also been commissioned at Eti-Osa and Badagry Local Governments respectively.
“In the same vein affordable housing schemes at Iponri, Lekki and Badagry have just been commissioned. Likewise, Schools are being rehabilitated, and we are constantly improving teachers’ welfare. Job opportunities and entrepreneurship are being enhanced through various initiatives of our administration.
“Youth development is also a critical priority for us, considering the demographics of the State. We are determined to meaningfully engage our youths, hence, the reason why Youth Centres are being developed across the state.
“Very recently we inaugurated the Abesan Community Youth Centre, which embodies our commitment to a legacy of youth development and acceleration of social development programmes.
“We have successfully added value to Lagosians through the above-mentioned programmes and we are working steadily towards achieving a Greater Lagos that will be a pride of all. As a government, we need to scale up our activities and work as a team so that we can continue to discharge our responsibilities with the ultimate goal of meeting the yearnings and aspirations of our people.”
The Governor who applauded the coordinated support of all stakeholders so far, urged them to share experiences and proffer suggestions that will lead to providing “a more robust environment for all Lagosians and investors to grow and develop under a conducive and secure environment.”
The Executive/Legislative parley which assembles all relevant public office stakeholders of the State, accommodates members of the State Executive Council, the State’s representatives at the National Assembly, members of the State House of Assembly and members of the Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC).
In her remarks, the Special Adviser to Governor Sanwo-Olu, Office of Civic Engagement, Princess Aderemi Adebowale, mentioned that the parley is aimed at ensuring consensus of all stakeholders on issues that are germane to the development of the State.
According to her, the parley will among others, be delving deeply into issues bordering on youth leadership role, grassroots development, and role of the social media in nation building, towards the attainment of sustainable socio-economic growth of the State.