· “Says financing arrangement for Mile 12, Ikorodu Road ready as he reiterates resolve to maintain law, order
In line with his tradition since the inception of his administration in 2007, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Wednesday commemorated his 1,800 days in office with an account rendering interactive session with representatives of professional groups, challenging local professionals to initiate changes that would drive the State’s economy especially in the areas of Power, Agriculture, Transportation and Housing (PATH).
In his keynote address to the capacity audience of representatives of various professional associations, public servants including members of the State Executive Council, Academics, former political office holders in the State and Religious and Traditional Rulers among others at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium in Alausa, Governor Fashola, who described the professionals as the most critical stakeholders in the economy, said they are more important in driving the economy than their foreign counterparts.
The Governor, who recalled the theme of the recently concluded Lagos Economic Summit (EHINGBETI 2012) which focused on PATH, explained that his administration was convinced that the four sectors constitute the quickest route to prosperity where, according to him, the professionals should “invest, work, invent and initiate change”.
“We have awarded the construction of several units of houses, roads and schools and we will need people to build them and deliver them at the highest quality and the most efficient prices”, the Governor said adding that the professionals would be required to fabricate parts that would generate Power, till land for Agriculture, harvest, process and store farm produce.
According to the Governor, professionals would also be required to finance businesses in Transportation such as buses, trains and ferries and other ancillary areas adding, “We have everything to gain if we all sign on and work diligently to pursue this PATH of improved Power, abundant food supply through Agriculture, efficient Transportation system and affordable Housing”.
Listing the achievements of his administration in the last 100 days, Governor Fashola announced the award of the contract for the rehabilitation of a total of 177 inner city roads across the State, the construction of 17 new schools, renovation of282 classrooms in seven schools, renovation and furnishing of 44 Science laboratories, provision of 15,000 students’ furniture and 1,986 teachers’ furniture including construction of 1,980 housing units.
He said in the last 100 days, his administration has commissioned a number of projects including the Lagos State Records and Archives Bureau, the headquarters of the Office of the Public Defender, the Security and Command Centre, a number of roads at Adelabu, Ogunlana and Akerele in Surulere, the Iponri Mini Waterworks and the Maternal and Child Care Centre at Gbaja.
Also, according to the Governor, his administration has worked on 297 roads across the Local Governments while work is on-going on 103 others across the State. These, he said, are going alongside the provision of street lights, lane markings of other road infrastructure to improve traffic in the State.
He warned, however, that Government may be forced to make and enforce new laws to bring to justice official and unofficial transporters, motorcyclists and others who violate the laws by turning the roads and highways in the State into parking lots adding that the Ministry of Justice has already been directed to champion the crusade.
The Governor said whilst progress is being made with 14 out of the 15 inner roads his administration promised to rehabilitate in Agege, the 16 local roads in Badiya, the two schools in Bariga and the one in Gbagada, it has completed eight out of 11 drainage channels in Lekki, while progress is being made in those slated for repairs in Agege, Shomolu and other parts of Lagos after last year’s heavy rainfall.
Noting that keeping of promises has become the hallmark of his administration, Governor Fashola also drew attention of the public to the regeneration project on the Ijora Costain Axis and Obalende, the area that straddles Lagos and Ikoyi Islands, adding that work is in progress at the Ajao – EjIgbo Link Bridge project
He, however, appealed to the people of Ijegun, Isheri-Oshun and Isolo Jakande to be patient with the Government over the delay in the construction of a bridge and connecting roads in the area, explaining that the delay was as a result of the massive nature of the project which, according to him, will cost an estimated N10 billion. He assured the people that efforts were on to get the contractors back to site.
The Governor also appealed to the people of Ikorodu to bear with the Government over the delay in the commencement of work on the Mile 12 – Ikorodu Road saying that the financing arrangement for the road has been concluded while tenders for the award of the contract has also been done and reviewed pending the final award which will be made soon.
In the area of Health, Governor Fashola expressed pride that the State’s flagship facility- the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) successfully performed a coronary artery bypass graft to save the life of a citizen, Cynthia Onwurah who, otherwise, would have either been flown abroad or lost her life.
The Governor commended the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris “and his team of doctors for whom the sanctity of life and the injunctions in the Hippocratic Oath to which they swore, still hold true”.
The Governor said the Government has recorded resounding success in the issuance of bond certificates to retired public servants pointing out certificates worth N1.8 billion have been issued to 350 retirees during the on-going reforms while verification has been moved to the local governments to make it easier for the retirees.
On Security, the Governor commended the new Commissioner of Police, Mr. Umar Manko, for successes recorded so far in arresting cable thieves in the State, pointing out that one person has already been arrested and sentenced to six months imprisonment while six others are facing trial for vandalizing and stealing cables around Eko Bridge and Ijora.
Appealing to residents to help in safeguarding public utilities in the State, Governor Fashola declare, “If we all benefit from the street lights and they are, as you know paid for with taxpayers’ hard-earned money, we must pay greater attention to them”, adding, “Please make it a point to be on the look-out, take pictures on your telephones and forward them to us, and report any suspicious activity immediately you notice it”.
The Governor announced that Government employed 647 sanitation managers in the last 100 days to keep the public schools clean adding that in the area of service delivery Government has concluded the pilot phase of the Lagos State Residents’ Registration exercise pending the review of the data to correct errors preparatory to the full role out for all residents.
Other areas of success, the Governor said, include, finalizing plans for the issuance of a new Certificate of Occupancy, the full accessibility of the State’s Geographical Information System (GIS) online and conclusion of Service Charters for each Ministry, Department and Agency in the State, among others.
In the Education Sector, Governor Fashola said various projects in the State’s University (LASU) are making progress while Government has enunciated far-reaching policies in the primary and junior and senior secondary schools in other to improve the quality of education in the State.
Such policies, the Governor said, include those “aimed at ensuring that parents participate more actively in the education of their children”, adding, “It will therefore now be a part of the assessment of each pupil and student, and a condition for progress to the next class, to require that a parent or guardian must have a 50 percent minimum attendance rate at PTA meetings, while it will also now be required for each child, from primary to secondary school, to score an average minimum of 50 percent in all subjects as well as a score of not less than 50 percent in both Mathematics and English in order to pass to the next class”.
“These are the minimum standards expected from them in external exams such as WASC and NECO. Therefore we are convinced that apart from building new schools and classrooms, we must raise the standards of performance and teaching to adequately prepare our students for these examinations. We believe that a faithful implementation of these policies will gradually increase the performance of all our students in their terminal exams”, the Governor said.
He said Government has strengthened its technical and vocational schools in order to give less brilliant students equal opportunity for a rounded education that fits their ability adding that the schools have been fully accredited and “provided an alternative but not an inferior education”.
Thanking the people of Lagos for their support for his administration, Governor Fashola urged the people to submit themselves to the Law of the State warning that Government would no longer tolerate the breach of any law or regulation of the State either by citizens or visitors.
“Our hospitality is world-renowned and those who benefit from it must not take it for granted or abuse it. We will enforce our laws diligently, fairly and with respect, but we will not respect anybody who does not respect our laws”, the Governor said.
He urged residents to continue to live together in peace regardless of their differences and divergence of tribe, tongue, ethnicity or religion adding, “I urge you all, diverse as you may be, to continue to live together peacefully, with even greater understanding and respect for one another. You all are the colours; with your different hues and textures, that make up the beautiful canvas that is Lagos”.
Earlier, in his welcome address, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Lateef Ibirogba, said the focus on professional organisations in the 1,800 Days Meeting was informed by the dynamism of the present administration which, according to him, “is reflecting in all spheres of human endeavour”.
According to the Commissioner, those invited include leaders of professional bodies, artisan groups, tradesmen, craftsmen “and other recognized bodies who through their economic activities are making impacts in the overall development of the State’, adding that they were specifically invited “as stakeholders in our economy to come and listen to the giant strides that have been accomplished by our government especially in the creation of enabling environment for their businesses and professions to thrive”.
Also present at the occasion were, Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mr. Ben Akabueze, his Works and Infrastructure counterpart, Dr. Wale Ahmed among other members of the State Executive Council, first civilian Governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande and his wife, former Deputy Governor, Prince Sarah Adebisi Sosan, Traditional Rulers including Oba of Lagos, HRM Oba Rilwan Babatunde Akiolu 1, Akran of Badagry, Chief Molade Okoya-Thomas, Professor Bayo Williams, Professor Ben Nwabueze, Professor Isie Sagie , former Commisioner of Police, Alhaji Musiliu Smith, Mrs. Pricilla Kuye, former Deputy Governors, Prince Abiodun Ogunleye and Alhaja Sinatu Ojikutu, among many other eminent dignitaries and top government officials.
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