Being the address presented by the governor of Lagos state, Akinwunmi Ambode on the occasion of the first edition of the quarterly town hall meeting held on Tuesday October 6th at Abesan Primary & Secondary School, Abesan Estate, Ipaja, Lagos.
In my inaugural speech, I promised to operate a government of inclusion where, as your elected Governor, I would have regular interactions with you to discuss the plans, programmes and progress of our administration. In fulfilment of this pledge, I stand before you today to give account of our stewardship in the first quarter of this administration and to hear your thoughts on how we can jointly improve the socio-economic well-being of our people with the ultimate goal of positioning our state on the ladder of economic prosperity.
This government has decided to change from the traditional “100 Days Address” to an interactive Quarterly Report. This Quarterly Town Hall Meeting is one of the many platforms we have designed to enable us to bring government closer to our people, to enable us come together and rub minds on salient issues bordering on the overall improvement and development of our State. Just as we did during the electioneering period, we will come to you to collectively appreciate your challenges, jointly proffer solutions to them as well as identifying areas requiring government attention in the various localities in order to guide our actions.
This Quarterly Report will be rotated around the Three Senatorial districts of the State. Today we have started with the West axis in Abesan. Next quarter will be in the Central Axis of Lagos. This way, every part of the State will have an opportunity to engage with my administration.
Strategic Vision For Lagos
Our vision is to make Lagos globally competitive in all sectors. We are on the way to building a Lagos that is safe, clean and prosperous. Lagos will become a land of opportunities offering prosperity for all as we surmount the challenges.
With this vision in mind, we have set out to implement long-term plans and programmes that will lead Lagos on the path to becoming a truly competitive City-State. The results of our programmes will not become evident in the first quarter but soon enough Lagosians will feel the effects and buy into this vision.
Highlights of First Quarter
Stabilizing the Finances of The State
I am determined to be accountable for every revenue and expenditure of the State. One of our first key tasks was to stabilize the finances of the State. We embarked on a financial re-engineering and reviewed the Revenue and Expenditure framework of the State. These efforts coupled with the realignment of Ministries, Departments and Agencies have saved the government almost N3 Billion every month. This has provided us with more funds to inject into capital projects and the initial funds to establish the Employment Trust Fund which we promised our youths.
Today, a major landmark of our administration is the reduction in the cost of governance. We want a lean government with quality service delivery.
Lagos State Government is proud to declare that it has consistently met its obligations, especially prompt payment of workers’ salaries without seeking any bailout from the Federal Government
In August, this administration approved the release of N11billion for the payment of arrears of Pensions owed to pensioners since 2010. We have, on monthly basis, consistently been presenting retirees on the Contributory Pension Scheme their Bond Certificates and have also approved the appointment of Four additional Pension Fund Administrators to further boost the processes and accord staff a wider range of options.
We are presently reviewing our loans with our bankers with a view to restructuring them in order to free up funds for further infrastructural development.
Civil Service Reforms
At the onset, we promised to offer a government of Continuity with Improvement. With my knowledge of the civil service as the engine room of any government, we chose to commence this journey by repositioning the state civil service in order to make it more efficient and cost effective, with a vision of delivering better service to the citizenry. We are building a civil service that is well structured with officials who have the right attitude, skills and are well-motivated to deliver the goals of this administration.
In the course of the reporting period, 20 new Permanent Secretaries were appointed following their track record of excellent performances. This is to create opportunity for upward movement of career civil servants and also reward diligence, dedication and hard work. I am happy to inform you that the permanent secretaries have held the fort and kept the wheel of governance at a steady pace in the absence of commissioners and special advisers. I thank them for doing so.
We promised you a safer Lagos. We have reviewed the security infrastructure in the State and have put in motion plans to address the lapses.
We are aware of pockets of violence and robberies that have occurred in different parts of the State. We are investigating these occurrences and our security agencies have swung into action to curb further incidents.
We have established an integrated Security and Emergency control platform, all of which are aimed at strengthening the security apparatus in the state.
The safety and security of every Lagosian is non-negotiable. We will leave no stone unturned in our drive to ensure a crime-free state.
Equipment and vehicles of various needs were donated to all our security agencies to boost their efforts in combating crime in the state.
As we tackle violent crime, we are also tackling domestic violence and other gender related crimes in the state. We have intensified our awareness campaign on domestic violence through the Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team. Our traditional rulers and market leaders have associated with this resolve to put the unwholesome practice in check in our state.
Recently, 190 officials of the State Emergency Command and Control Centre were trained on how to receive reports of Sexual and Gender Based Violence incidents in the State, especially with the approval to use the 112 toll free line to report cases of rape, defilement, domestic violence, child abuse, neglect maltreatment and other sexual assaults.
Let me use this opportunity to express my profound appreciation to members of the Organised Private Sector (OPS) for their support, collaboration and donations towards the State Security Trust Fund. The recent fund-raising of almost N1billion from the Organised Private Sector is a strong indication of your confidence in our administration to tackle security in the State.
A healthy Lagos is a wealthy Lagos. My administration has provided 20 Mobile Intensive Care Unit ambulances, at a cost of N145.240m deployed in all our Ambulance Points in the State; bringing this to a total of 36 Mobile Intensive Care Unit ambulances. We have also provided additional 26 Transport Ambulances at the cost of N257.4m deployed across all our General Hospitals. We have created Ambulance Points across the States for easy access to our people. The ambulance service can be reached by calling the Toll-Free Line 112.
Our administration in the last three months has installed 22 Power Generating sets ranging from 350 – 500 KVA as additional back-up sets across all our General Hospitals at the cost of N270m to ensure 24-hour power supply. In addition, 26 Mobile X-Ray machines costing N519.656m are being installed at all our general hospitals across the State.
Similarly, we have granted approval for the recruitment of more paramedic staff and special medical coordinators to ensure 24 hours service in our health facilities.
The abandoned Ayinke House Project which is more or less our baby factory for pregnant women has been re-awarded and the contractor is on site to finish and deliver this project within the next 3-6months.
Expressions of Interest for a Lagos Medical Park have been received. We will enter the phase of the project soon and at the end of this, Lagos State will become a key destination for Medical Tourism.
All these have been painstakingly done to create better access to health services for all Lagosians.
We have taken stock of our education sector and I must admit that there is work to be done. I am not afraid of confronting the challenges.
- The Governing Councils of our tertiary institutions were inaugurated with prominent selfless Lagosians offering their hands of fellowship to rescue these institutions. We are on course.
- The recruitment of 1,300 Primary School teachers is ongoing to fill the gap in key subject areas that we have identified.
- The government is concerned about the disparity in quality between Public and Private schools. We have decided to pay attention to all children, irrespective of where they go to school. The gap in quality must be bridged.
- Desks, chairs and other needs have been approved for procurement immediately.
- The security of schools is also receiving attention.
Transportation is one of the biggest challenges facing Lagosians. In recent weeks, the menace of trucks on our roads have caused us untold hardships and loss of man hours and revenue. This administration will stop at nothing to find a lasting solution to this challenge and ensure our people can move from one part of the state to another with less traffic impediment.
The Apapa traffic gridlock is the most worrying. Today, this traffic is affecting other parts of the state and slowing down businesses. We have met with various stakeholders to find solutions to this problem. We have also appealed to the Federal Government to mobilize the contractor awarded the construction of Apapa Trailer Park and Road networks to immediately return to site.
We are looking at long term solutions to traffic challenges that our people face daily. We have identified some of the causes of the traffic among which are poor design of junctions, bad location of bus stops, movement of heavy vehicles, bad roads and bad driving behavior. We have started implementing solutions already. In the meantime, we appeal to the tanker drivers and other road users that the Lagos State Traffic Law is still in force and would be applied on any offender.
This administration is determined to ensure that all roads in Lagos State are in good condition and motorable. In the last three months, I have taken a tour of some major roads to ascertain for myself their state and this has helped to have a fair assessment of our roads. The Ejigbo–Ikotun Road, Okota-Cele Road, Metalbox Road and Acme Road in Ikeja are currently being rehabilitated, while work has started on Brown Street, Oshodi, Ladipo Street as well as Mushin Road.
We must all remember that the Appropriation Law for 2015 – the approved budget – does not include most of the roads we met in bad condition and this is a major limiting factor in execution.
Since the inception of this administration, we have undertaken the rehabilitation and maintenance of 181 roads across the State, touching every Local Government including Federal Roads as we believe that these roads are being used by Lagosians first. A few of these roads are:
As I speak, work has commenced on the Ago Palace Way-Okota Road. The State, in conjunction with your Local Governments and Local Council Development Area, are coming to your neighborhood soon.
Till date, we have committed N1.386b to road construction and rehabilitation. We will pump more funds into road infrastructure in this present quarter.
Outlook for Next Quarter
What we have done in the first quarter is to lay down the institutional framework for the smooth running of the government for the next Three and Half years. What we have done can be described as the laying the foundation on which the service and programmes of this government will be built.
You cannot run a 4year marathon at top speed from the onset. Like any other well-bred CEO, I have put in place all the ingredients needed to run a successful race.
We will continue to woo investors to Lagos. We are assisting businesses and creating a conducive environment for these investors to start business and employ our people.
Ladies and Gentlemen, our administration is committed to serve and render good governance. However, we need your support and cooperation to enable us deliver on our lofty programmes. I want to assure you that our programmes are well thought out and carefully designed to make life easier and better for all our citizens. While we do our best, I implore you to fulfill your side of the social contract by performing your civic responsibilities always. Please pay your taxes willingly. If you do your bit, we can achieve all our set goals. The task ahead is enormous, but we must all resolve to do our best for this state. It is a collective prosperity that I seek for all Lagosians.
God bless Lagos State
God bless Nigeria
Itesiwaju Ipinle Eko
O je mi logun, O jewa logun.