Lagos is usually and always the poster state, whether for good or bad. The state was the epicenter of the Coronavirus pandemic and #EndSARS protests which left in its wake monumental losses.
Governor Sanwo-Olu is preaching a change in mindset and orientation to rebuild Lagos. This was the centre of discussion at the 16th Executive/Legislative Parley which held at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island. The parley, organised by the Office of Civic Engagement, was themed ‘A Consensus Agenda for Rebuilding Lagos’.
Stakeholders agreed that a change in mindset and orientation was needed if Lagos would return to its glory, especially after the destructions of the #EndSARS protest.
Sanwo-Olu lamented that the Coronavirus outbreak nearly crippled the world, which was followed by the #EndSARS protest which grounded Lagos.
He said: “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.
“As if that was not bad enough, the #EndSARS protest reared its head, culminating in a grounding of social and economic activities, as well as unimaginable destruction of public infrastructure and private properties. We thank God we were able to bring the situation under control with the help of God and a resilient citizenry.
“We have no alternative than to 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. We will share ideas on how best to rebuild and reposition Lagos, especially against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the EndSARS destruction.
“However, beyond the immediacy of these disruptive events of 2020, it is important for us all to think and plan for the long-term future of Lagos. We were at the 18th Lagos Economic Summit, tagged ‘Ehingbeti 2021’, to chart a path towards accelerating the sustainable growth of Lagos State over the next decade. In addition to making this long-term planning, we must also ensure that we follow through in terms of implementation.
“We have begun the process of rebuilding Lagos with the composition of a Rebuilding Committee, which has since swung into action. The executive and legislature must work together to ensure that the Rebuilding of Lagos is done urgently and efficiently.
“Our THEMES governing agenda is the playbook for this administration, guiding all that we do, including the budgets that I have presented before the House of Assembly since I assumed office. Our goal is to make movement around Lagos stress-free. More ferries have been commissioned to boost water transportation, and more buses added to the intermodal transportation system. Efforts are on to complete on-going road projects while new ones are being constructed across the length and breadth of the state.
“Our health facilities are being overhauled. We have commissioned a new health centre at Ajeromi Ifelodun Local Government Area; Mother and Child Care Centres have also been commissioned at Eti-Osa and Badagry Local Government Areas. In the same vein, affordable housing schemes at Iponri, Lekki and Badagry have just been commissioned. Schools are being rehabilitated, and we are constantly improving teachers’ welfare. Job opportunities and entrepreneurship are being enhanced through various initiatives of our administration.
“We have successfully added value to Lagosians through these 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.”
House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila said: “This parley is an opportunity for us to deliberate on how to move the state forward, give an honest appraisal of our loss, and what should be done to recover and prevent a recurrence.
“The experience and explosion of violence that caused the destruction of public and private facilities, and unfortunate loss of lives, has gone but we remain. Surviving challenges and marching towards progress and prosperity is the story of Lagos State. It has always been. “Amidst the global pandemic, protests and other challenges, Lagos remains the centre of innovation, the preferred destination for investments.
“I must hail Governor Sanwo-Olu who picked up the pieces and is gradually taking back the city from the ruins of those dark moments. The governor is carrying everybody along, and the state is not alone in this rebuilding process; you have the unwavering support of members of the National Assembly from this state. Lagos is in trust in our hands, and we must show that we are worthy of the responsibility, honour, and that we deserve that trust.
“Nation-building is a joint task, as is the pursuit of excellence. It is a unique characteristic of Lagos that any Nigerian can move to Lagos and become a lagosian simply by contributing to its peaceful conservatory. The union of culture and beliefs, peace and prosperity is a source of immeasurable strength. It separates us from the pack and gives us the ability to cry through tribulations which seems to limit us. We must do everything to defend the state from those who seek to turn our difference against us, and cause our strength of unity and tolerance to become our weakness. I am confident every one of us will work together for a greater Lagos.
“Rebuilding and remodeling is a continuous process. It has to do more with physical infrastructure but, to me, it has gone beyond the physical rebuilding, we need to remodel our values and so many other things about ourselves. We need to expand our mind because the main place to rebuild is in our minds. Our social, educational, health and moral values, and the way we do and see things, have to be rebuilt and remodeled and that way we can get Lagos to the next level.
“It’s easy to rebuild physically, but if you don’t rebuild your mind and the people that would work in that building, then things might not work well. The primary responsibility lies in the elected representatives, but it also extends to everyone who lives and makes a living in Lagos.”
House of Assembly Speaker Mudasiru Obasa reiterated the need for people to be reoriented on managing and utilising public facilities and infrastructures so they can serve their purpose.
The lawmaker representing Ikeja Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Abiodun Faleke, who harped on character change, urged Lagosians to appreciate government’s effort in infrastructure ‘seeing that these things re for everybody and not for individual ownership. Lagosians should take ownership of these infrastructure provided by government and use them properly’, he said
The Zonal Women Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Kemi Nelson, also harped on the need to change the mindset before any rebuilding can happen. She said: “Every activity starts from the mind. It is however a pity that our youths have expectations and trust issues. If you cannot trust your government, nothing it does will make meaning to you. Lagos is doing very well in making its citizens trust the government. If you want to be the change, make a difference, join any party of your choice and effect the change. It’s not about staying in the streets and shouting no we don’t agree, join a party and be the change you want to see.”
The lawmaker who represents Alimosho I in the House of Assembly, Adebisi Yusuf, said: “We need a rebranding of our attitude. When we renew our minds and attitude, we can then rebuild the country. If our minds are clean and devoid of ill thoughts, we will go places. Change your attitude and change Lagos State.”