Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode on Thursday allayed the fears in some quarters that the electioneering activities in 2018 might slow down the tempo of infrastructural development being witnessed across the State, assuring that his administration will complete all ongoing projects and implement new ones.
Speaking at the opening session of a three-day retreat for members of the State Executive Council, Body of Permanent Secretaries and heads of government agencies and parastatals held at Jubilee Chalet, Epe, Governor Ambode said rather than allow campaign activities to relegate governance, the State Government would stay focused on plans and programmes for the people and ensure that steady progress was achieved.
The Governor said though a lot had been achieved with the active support and collaboration of the participants at the retreat since his assumption of office, a lot more still needed to be done to ensure continuous prosperity of the State and residents.
According to him, “Clearly, we have recorded some modest successes and consolidated on the status of our State as one of the foremost commercial and social hubs in sub Saharan Africa. We are gradually changing the face of Lagos through our aggressive infrastructural development, urban regeneration and sectoral reforms.
“All the development indices, both local and international, reflect the fact that we are making steady progress with very bright outlook for the foreseeable future. This progress is not the result of only one person’s efforts. It was not achieved by only Akinwunmi Ambode. It was achieved by all of us in this room with the cooperation of many others outside. And for this, I commend each and every one of you for your diligence and contribution to the progress made thus far.
“However, there is still a lot more to be done. I hear people saying that this is an election year and that governance will slow down but let me assure you that in this State, we will stay focused on our plans and programmes and ensure steady progress is achieved,” Governor Ambode said.
Alluding to the fact that the theme of the retreat – “Effective Strategic Planning For An Emerging Smart City,” was carefully selected, Governor Ambode charged participants to start thinking of the next level even as his administration was making efforts to complete all on-going projects, just as he said that the retreat was designed to take stock of past achievements and brainstorm on the challenges ahead.
He said it was certain that Lagos was emerging as smart city, but that the challenge on effectively and strategically planning to actualize the vision considering the peculiar challenges of the State, adding that to plan effectively and strategically required thinking not just outside the box but globally and acting it locally.
To this end, the Governor said participants must look beyond the borders of the State for ideas and consider all local situation and as well do things differently and ready to be called names and to encounter resistance, saying they must however remain steadfast and let posterity judge their actions and intentions, adding that someday, the resistance would become support and endorsement.
“We are all well-aware that the last Two and a Half years have been borne with a lot of sectoral reforms and majorly successful. However, reforms are not static and they require continuous review as the society we live in is also not static. Some of our reforms remain challenging because of institutional difficulties and corruption. We presently experience this in some of our on-going reforms.
“My message remains the same. Our conviction is resolute. We are totally for inclusive governance. This is a people-government and what would be of benefit to the majority of the citizenry should be our primary goal. Building effective and efficient institutions should be our goal henceforth. The institutional framework that will drive a successful MDA is what should be of concern to all of us. Institutions that are enduring should outlive me or anyone of us, likewise our reforms in the various sectors,” the Governor said.
Besides, Governor Ambode lauded the harmonious working relationship between the executive and legislative arms of government in the State, just as he assured that the State Government would give special attention to energy, environment and education sectors in the next nine months.
“If you look at the landscape of Nigeria presently, the best collaboration between executive and legislative arms of government is from the Lagos model because we are all supporting each other and that is why you see that there is remarkable progress in Lagos. That is also why we think most importantly that the energy sector, the environment sector and education sector are the key areas that we should look at in 2018 and what you will see in the next nine months, you will be proud of Lagos,” Governor Ambode assured.
On her part, Head of Service, Mrs Folashde Adesoye said the retreat was organised for all the MDAs to come together and brainstorm on how to achieve the set goals for the State in 2018, and also do more for the people.