The Lagos State Government on Tuesday declared Thursday, March 29 as work-free day in the State. A statement issued by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan disclosed that this will enable Lagosians come out enmasse to welcome President Muhammadu Buhari who is on a historic two-day visit to Lagos State.
The statement urged residents to adhere to the security guidance earlier announced to make the visit as peaceful and orderly.
Announcing traffic diversions and alternative routes ahead of a two-day visit by President Muhammadu Buhari to the State between March 29 and 30, State’s Commissioner of Police, CP Imohimi Edgal, at a press briefing held at Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja, said adequate preparations have been made to mitigate the impact of the road diversions on residents, while access would be given to any emergency situation.
Edgal, who addressed the briefing alongside heads of security and emergency agencies in the State, said while in Lagos, the President would commission the new Ikeja Bus Terminal, attend a colloquium in honour of national leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and as well as embark on tour of the Eko Atlantic City, among others.
According to the CP, “To ensure smooth, security-free visit of the President, we would need to do some diversions. Some certain roads will be closed at certain times; some diversions will be made but I want to use this opportunity to appeal for the support and understanding of Lagosians that this temporary road closures and diversions might cause a little inconvenience.
“We want the people to bear with us to ensure that we all join hands together to make the visit of Mr. President not only hitch-free but also very memorable. The road closures and diversions will be very temporary and immediately the President leaves a certain location, that area will be opened very quickly for the general public. We have also made adequate arrangements to mitigate the impact of the closures on residents,” he said.
He listed the areas to be affected to include Bank Anthony Way in Ikeja, Agege Motor Road, a section of Eko Hotel Road in Victoria Island and Old Marina in Ikoyi axis.
Besides, Edgal said security arrangement was already in top gear and that people would see a lot of deployment of personal of both military and civil logistics adding that it is nothing to worry about.
“We have done the necessary threat assessments; we have reached out to all stakeholders in areas that we believe we should reach out to them to ensure their full cooperation. We are using this opportunity to call again on the Okada Unions and the National Union of Road Transport Workers that they must abide with the terms of agreement we reached during meetings with them regarding the visit.
“We will not want to see commercial motorcycles plying the prohibited routes of Agege Motor Road, Bank Anthony Way and anywhere on the Island. Should that order be disobeyed, we would be constrained to ensure that you are arrested with your motorcycles impounded. Whoever is also found as a passenger will also be arrested and prosecuted so do not patronize these Okadas on these prohibited routes not only for the purpose of the visit but also to ensure that Lagos State Laws on the regulation of commercial motorbikes are obeyed at all times,” Edgal said.
He added that three locations have been designated for all first emergency responders to station their equipment and officials including the Police, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), LASAMBUS, Civil Defence, Fire Brigade, among others at Ikeja, Victoria Island and Free Trade Zone at Lekki-Akodo axis.
On the Apapa gridlock which has spilled over to other parts of the State, Edgal said while the Joint Task Force set up by the State Government was already working to ensure free-flow of traffic, the government nonetheless has commenced the construction of a new Trailer Park in Ijora axis that can conveniently accommodate 2,800 trucks and tanker at a time.
“The Governor of Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, in collaboration with stakeholders, has identified a location known as the White Sand in Ijora axis and we have done an assessment of the place with my colleagues in other agencies and all shanties there have been destroyed.
“Now, the State Government has given out the contract to a firm and they are now smoothening up the place. It has the capacity to take well over 2,800 trucks and tankers at the same time. Work is ongoing there at a very fast pace and I can assure Lagosians that very soon, the place will be completed and we intend to move all trucks, tankers to that location and as soon as that is done, we would have permanently take care of this trucks and tankers,” Edgal said.
Invasion by monkeys from their natural habitat is forcing many residents of Soluyi/Sosanya community in Gbagada area of Lagos State to flee. Some of the residents told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Monday that they could no longer withstand the situation.
They called on the state government to save the community from the trouble, saying that the animals forced their ways into their rooms, destroying window and door nets, foodstuffs and other items.
Chairman of the community’s Landlord Association, Mr. Adigun Olaleye, said it had become difficult for the community to curtail the monkeys and their destructive attitude.
He said the invasion might have resulted from the nearness of the community to a swamp forest that separated the community from Ifako area.
According to him, the monkeys come into residences at any time including early morning and gain entrance into rooms even if the houses are locked. Olalaye told NAN that the community had written a letter to the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture as regards the situation but had yet to get a relief.
He said that the invasion had been on for years but recently became unbearable. Olaleye appealed to the state government to urgently intervene.
Narrating her ordeal, a journalist who lives in the community, Mrs. Funmilola Gboteku, told NAN that the monkeys had forced her family to flee. “Many times, these monkeys come to the neighbourhood to destroy our property. Once they see food items inside a house, they direct all their energies at gaining entrance forcefully.
“The monkeys are in the habit of tearing the protective nets on windows to gain entrance and eat whatever they find in the house. I have had to replace the protective nets several times; I am tired of doing it. I have been locking my windows but locking of windows has disadvantages; there is no cross ventilation in the house and as a result, we suffer heat,’’ she told NAN.
Another resident, Mr. Gabriel Omopariwa, said he was tired of the destructive attitude of the monkeys and had tried to look for ways to stop them, to no avail.
When it rains, it pours. Recently, I wrote an article on the marathon of development-focused governance, which I described as a “relay race”. I used the performance of Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, the governor of Lagos state, as the reference point. I said though there were issues “here and there”, he had done well in several areas in less than three years. At the time I wrote, the waste management issue in the state was just rearing its head. As if that was not enough trouble, Ambode approved an upward review in land use charge. I have also seen documents showing incredible increases in vehicle licensing fees as well as heart-rending taxes for sinking boreholes.
Suddenly, the relatively controversy-free Ambode is engulfed by crises. Not one crisis, but a series. Protests have multiplied online and on the streets. Many are so angry they have gone to the extent of vowing to vote him out in 2019, even when they don’t yet know his opponent. What this tells me is that losing goodwill is sometimes much easier than putting butter on bread. For a governor who worked so hard to gain the respect and admiration of Lagosians to suddenly become a subject of harsh criticism, something has gone really sour. Although he might read political motives to some of the attacks against him, he also handed the bullets to his critics.
The messy waste situation in Lagos was the first to put Ambode on the cross. It is quite understandable. In any mega city, such as Lagos, there are certain failings that will attract immediate attention. One is sanitation. In the short run, you can paper over failings in housing, power, education and transportation, but you cannot cover up poor sanitation. The moment people start seeing refuse piling up like mountains, you don’t need any expert to tell them there is a problem. The eyesore is there for everyone to see and there is no amount of explanation that can suffice, especially when the state has been significantly refuse-free for years.
I have recently taken interest in the waste management logjam. Here is my summary. One, Ambode launched the Cleaner Lagos Initiative last year, unveiling an ambitious, comprehensive reform that extends to recycling, sorting and dumpsite management — beyond mere refuse collection and disposal. This, if I’m not mistaken, is meant to be an extension of the environmental policies of the administrations of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Mr. Babatunde Fashola between 1999 and 2015. I used to hear phrases like “waste to wealth” when Tinubu was in office, and I remember Fashola phased out the cart pushers, making waste collection better organised and more efficient.
Two, until now, private sector operators (called PSPs) managed both residential and commercial wastes. They majored on collecting and disposing refuse. They were reportedly getting paid two ways every month — from the customers and the state government. I won’t dwell on that today. Now, the Lagos state government has divided the franchise, granting the residential licence to Visionscape and the commercial one to the PSPs. Under the new system, as I understand it, only customers would pay the refuse collectors. Any other payment from the state government will be based on performance milestones (the banks call it targets).
Three, and not to be unexpected, the PSPs were un happy with the new arrangement. Although there was bigger value on offer — more transfer loading stations, recycling facilities, new landfill sites and waste-to-energy facilities — the PSPs were about to part with a guaranteed government payout of at least N300 million a month. There were unconfirmed reports that although 350 PSPs were officially registered and receiving payments from the state government, only 100 existed in the real sense. If true, nobody loses N300 million bonanza and keeps quiet just like that. The PSPs should be expected to take the “rational” decision of setting the house on fire.
They downed tools, went to court and the wastes began to pile up. Then the massive media carnage began, particularly on Twitter, and a new narrative took over. It became a dire situation. Visionscape was then directed by the government to clear all the mess. But as the obviously overwhelmed Visionscape was clearing the refuse, fresh piles were surfacing overnight. I can really understand the pushback, or apparent sabotage. Many of the “saboteurs” were arrested, along with their PSP trucks. I saw a few pictures of those arrested in the media, although I’m not sure the suspects are currently facing the music. That’s a different matter.
Let’s now look at Visionscape, the company in the eye of the storm. It was co-founded and promoted by Mr. Adeniyi Makanjuola, a young Nigerian entrepreneur. Makanjuola is one of those guys who run away from the media. I had never seen his face until I started doing some Google research for this article a few days ago. He is a scion of Mr. Remi Makanjuola, chairman of the Caverton Group. According to his brief profile on the website of Visionscape, the younger Makanjuola is a product of Financial Economics from the University of Essex, UK, and also has an M.Sc in Urban Planning and Development from the University College London.
At the age of 23, he launched a successful helicopter charter service under the umbrella of his father’s marine support business, the Caverton Offshore Support Group. He eventually stepped out of his father’s shadows and, in 2014, moved on to UAE to co-found Visionscape — an environmental utility company — alongside Harry Ackerman, a Briton, and Ali Ahli, an emirati, with focus on emerging markets. Ironically, Visionscape was not even the company that won the bid for Lagos waste management. Averda, Suez, Veolia and Visionscape vied for the job. Averda and Veolia, owned and managed by Lebanese entrepreneurs, were shortlisted. Visionscape lost out.
However, when the Lagos state government insisted on a naira-denominated payment agreement, the shortlisted companies backed out, and Visionscape came back into reckoning. It is relatively new but currently operates in parts of UAE and Belgium. It pulled out of Sierra Leone when the Ebola epidemic broke out. Despite the Lagos setback, it is already in talks with authorities in Ghana, Kenya, Mali and FCT, according to reports. It only recently got a foothold in the UK with the acquisition of Gelpack Excelsior. Visionscape is also constructing transfer loading stations across Lagos and building a landfill in Epe — said to be the first of its kind in West Africa.
I will now give my opinion. It appears to me that the government did not do its homework very well before reforming the waste management system. There is nothing wrong with Ambode’s Cleaner Lagos Initiative, in my opinion, but I have this impression that he did not do enough consultation before changing what he met on ground. Things are more nuanced that they appear. Lagos has become a shining example across the nation. However, if the government and the powerful politicians do not manage their affairs with tact and wisdom, they will be the losers in the end. Ambode must take another look at stakeholder management. Everybody still can be a winner.
As I always say, the political management of reform is as important as the reform itself. But while the waste management crisis can be easily resolved (as soon as the streets are free of waste and efficiency sets in, the rest becomes history), the revenue drive of the government is a different kettle of fish. The underlining assumption that Lagos is the economic nerve centre of Nigeria where real business is done and real money is made, and so the state should leverage on that to raise tax revenue. A mere N100 increase in any tax handle automatically guarantees the government billions of naira in extra revenue. Therefore, the temptation to keep milking the populace is hard to resist.
But as much as Lagos wants to continue to set the pace, there is a price to pay. There is a level of taxation that will inevitably activate resistance from the citizens. This has its own socio-political implications. There is, of course, the other side of the coin: if Lagos cannot raise tax revenue to finance its projects, it is either the projects are stalled or the state piles up more debts to execute them. It’s very tricky — and Ambode must beat a retreat to find a neat balance. He is facing a baptism of fire and how he wades through these challenges is yet another test of his leadership skills. We are watching. Keenly.
And Four Other Things…
It seems Christians are more willing to suffer for their faith in places where they are minorities. Liya (Leah) Sharibu, the only Christian among the kidnapped Dapchi schoolgirls, was held back by Boko Haram reportedly because she refused to be forcefully converted to Islam. A little girl is willing to pay the ultimate price for her faith. This is a country where Christians have reduced their faith to collecting anointing oil and anointed handkerchiefs for “miracles”. We are more fired up by prayers and testimonies over contracts, cars and mansions. Liya has thrown a challenge: there is something deeper worth living and dying for. Vanities.
There is so much scepticism about the Dapchi saga. Many critics think everything was a game: the conduct of security agencies prior to the abductions, the confident pronouncements of government officials that the girls would “soon” return because Buhari is better than Jonathan, the fact that Boko Haram never claimed responsibility or released videos as they normally do, the “triumphant” return ride given to the girls by Boko Haram, and the claim that no ransom was paid (not even “fuel money” for the long trip). Parents of the released girls wouldn’t bother about the scepticism anyway. Whatever, their daughters are back. My condolences go to the bereaved parents. Heartbreaking.
President Buhari must hear this! Any moment from now, the federal government will pay $16.9 million to two lawyers for their “services” in the imminent return of $321 million Abacha loot to Nigeria. What services? The loot was recovered from Luxemburg in 2014 through the services of a Swiss lawyer, Enrico Monfrini. He was fully paid for the job. The money was then domiciled with the Swiss attorney-general pending when Nigeria would sign an undertaking of “good behaviour” before its return to the country’s coffers. In 2016, the Nigerian attorney-general suddenly engaged new lawyers to do absolutely nothing — for a cool fee of N6 billion only. Nigeria!!!
When the inspector-general of police announced the “immediate” withdrawal of police officers attached to VIPs (and their girlfriends, presumably), I laughed as if my favourite comedian, Okey Bakassi, was at full throttle. I must have heard the “immediate withdrawal” pronouncements at least a dozen times in the last 19 years. It is usually reversed. This time around, it took the IGP less than 24 hours to reverse the order (“for now,” he said — and that is what they usually say). In truth, Nigeria belongs to the elite. They own us. In case you don’t know, having a police orderly in Nigeria is not just a security measure; it is more of a status symbol. Twisted.
You know elections are close when politicians begin to confess their love for Nigeria. Suddenly strange bedfellows are walking side-by-side, arms locked, lovey-dovey. Arch rivals and sworn enemies are dining and planning and plotting and plotting and planning. Politicians who have contributed immensely to the underdevelopment of Nigeria begin to tell us exactly what we want to hear: that the country is drifting and they have arrived to rescue us. They become our new messiahs, the patriots who love Nigeria like Jesus loves his church. I bear witness that Nigerian politicians are very good at winning power. Pity, they don’t know how to use it for Nigeria’s progress.
I don’t really care what the politicians do or say. They are politicians and must politick. A footballer must play football. You cannot begrudge a fish for swimming or a dog for barking. The headache, for me, is our gullibility. It is so easy to sway Nigerians. We are too cheap. Our memories are so tiny and so short. Yesterday means nothing to us. You will see politicians that ruined us — politicians that we cursed and stoned just moments ago — come back to seduce us and, pronto, we are back in bed with them. We hail them as the new heroes, the saviours of our democracy. Don’t they just love our gullibility! We fall too easily for their gimmicks. It happens all the time. It works all the time.
In the first part of this “new mindset” series, I wrote on “The President Nigeria Badly Needs” (January 7, 2018). I officially announced my resignation from the committee of those celebrating false dawns and getting excited over new rhetoric and new rhyme anytime a new election is approaching. I have seen it all. I am done. As I said in my resignation letter, I am no longer excited by the permutations we do every four years. My personal resolve, after experiencing so many heartbreaks, is that I will, in my little corner, continue to constructively engage with whoever holds power — and insist they use it for Nigeria’s progress.
A senior colleague asked me: “Simon, I hope you are not saying you won’t vote again?” No, sir; that is not my point. But, then, I think we even overrate the voter. People can vote for the best of candidates who will turn out to be disasters in office. We seem to assume that if we vote on the basis of merit, howsoever defined, then our problem is about to be solved. I used to say that nonsense. But I have since realised that it is one thing to vote for candidates according to your conscience or best judgment, but it is another thing for the candidates to do the right thing in office. It is beyond us. You can choose to vote them out, vote in new ones and still get similar results.
I’ve been deceived too many times. People campaign passionately about change or transformation or whatever and hoodwink us to buy into their rhetoric. They win big mandates and begin to misrule once they get the job. Let’s stop fooling around: the voter has no way of knowing who is going to perform or fail in office. I have seen underrated candidates do well when elected — and highly rated ones fumble. I have seen illiterates, semi-literates, professors, medical doctors, engineers, journalists, accountants, Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, minority, Muslims and Christians hold public office, and I can hardly say the conduct of one is much better than that of the other.
So what? Shall we then fold our arms and do nothing? Shall we say we will no longer vote because we have been deceived and jilted by even the best? God forbid. But I am trying to make a point: if we have been doing something the same way for decades and the results are pretty much the same, shall we continue in it and expect progress to abound? Every four years, we get excited when we hear promises. In the end, we still import fuel, power remains on and off, the rich are still sending their children to private schools or abroad, the roads are still without form and void, kidnappers are still having a ball, insecurity lingers and cholera persists. Something is wrong. We need a rethink.
This is where the “Spirit of Lagos” comes to mind. Some years ago, the campaign was launched to promote some core values among Lagosians in the direction of attitudinal change, to engineer what was called a “new thinking in Lagos”. The campaign sought to promote four cardinal values: social justice, civic responsibility, citizenship and neighbourliness. There were conversations on radio and social media around these values. There was a series of “good citizenship” campaign, community engagement, “catch them young” contests, “do the right thing” re-orientation and the students’ challenge that encouraged conception of competitive projects and ideas.
The last I heard about this laudable project was the Citizens’ Day award that was held in May 2015 to celebrate citizens who had positively impacted on their communities. We were told it would continue, but I doubt it did. Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, who has performed quite impressively in office, has to revisit this campaign. It is a wonderful idea that must not die. I understand it was the original idea of the TBWA Consortium, executed in partnership with the state government under Governor Babatunde Fashola. The whole idea is “change your thinking”. As a man thinks in his heart, so he is. If you cannot change the way you think, you cannot change the way you act.
Although it was targeted at the general citizenry, in truth our leaders emerge from among the citizens. A leader with a backward mindset is a danger to the society. We must “recruit” everyone. In my first article, I argued that the leaders Nigeria needs are those who have a good mental picture of what the society should look like. It is called visioning, which I described as the “starting point”. No matter how good citizens are, no matter how sincere voters are, no matter the good intentions of leaders, we are headed in no direction if there is no vision of society. It is vision that drives action and passion. Leading without a vision is like driving without a destination.
Taking it further today, I will argue that Nigerians must also develop a new mindset if Nigeria is ever going to progress. The “Spirit of Lagos” focused on the shared history of Lagosians: what makes it home to everybody in spite of our differences. It harped on civic responsibility and good neighbourliness: how to look out for one another, solve problems together and think as an intimate community. It aimed to promote “new thinking”. It was NOT political. I am, therefore, suggesting a “Spirit of Nigeria” movement that will promote a new thinking in Nigeria. It will NOT be political. It will NOT be about ethnic and religious affiliations. It will be purely about a shared vision of Nigeria.
Some movements are springing up ahead of the 2019 elections. Things like this do not last because, from experience, they are motivated by the fleeting quest for political power and appointments. They sell their rhetoric to us, we buy it, renew our hope and vote for them. The moment they get what they want, they disappear into the system and normal service resumes. So Nigeria remains the same. I have seen it all. It is the same old mindset at work. To get a different outcome, we must start thinking differently. The idea of the “Spirit of Nigeria” is to construct a new Nigeria, but we cannot build a new Nigeria with old mindsets shaped by hate, prejudice, greed and ambition.
It is catastrophic that many leaders and citizens see themselves first and foremost as defenders of their faith and champions of their ethnic identities. These old mindsets have to give way to the “Spirit of Nigeria”. Nigeria is so sharply divided today along ethnic and religious lines largely because we have leaders who cannot see beyond their nose, leaders who cannot be bothered about the consequences of their action and inaction — and citizens who are not any different. The saddest thing is that even the young generation has been conscripted into the destructive frame of mind filled with bile and bitterness on the basis of religion and ethnicity.
We badly need a new crop of Nigerians — leaders and citizens — who will begin to consciously make Nigeria their primary constituency. It is a mindset issue. We need leaders and citizens with a mindset that treats nationhood problems, such as the farmers/herders clashes, as challenges that have to be confronted and resolved constructively. Those working very hard behind the scenes to set Nigeria on fire — by playing up one part against the other, by stoking hate through the circulation of fake news on social media to poison our minds against one another — have to be resisted with the “Spirit of Nigeria” henceforth. “New Nigerians” must stop getting excited by these raw primordial emotions.
By the way, I am not proposing a new association (before somebody registers “Spirit of Nigeria Movement” and starts giving “best governor” awards in exchange for a mess of pottage). I am just challenging our mindsets as individuals who want to see Nigeria prosper. We need to “change our thinking”. That is what should ultimately shape the political choices of citizens and the performance of leaders. We need to stop getting carried away by the seasonal “messiah” politicking. Change will not come in one day, but if we don’t change our thinking, we will never change Nigeria. I’m convinced there is a “Spirit of Nigeria” in us waiting to be tapped.
AND FOUR OTHER THINGS…
BLAST FROM THE PAST
I must confess I was shocked that an article I wrote three years ago, “Obasanjo as Nigeria’s Moral Compass” (January 18, 2015), has resurfaced and gone viral following the former president’s blistering “special press statement”. I was more shocked that those who loved the article then now hate it, and those who hated it then now love it. The Buhari camp told me in 2015 I should forget the messenger and focus on the message; Jonathan’s supporters are now telling me in 2018 to forget the messenger and focus on the message. But truth is constant, no matter whose ox is gored. I am amused watching proceedings from my balcony, cuddling my pack of popcorn. Action!
There was a time in Nigeria when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would call politicians to order for jumping the gun in electioneering. Not any longer. For instance, supporters of President Buhari have embarked on an open campaign very much ahead of time. Alhaji Adebayo Shittu, minister of communication who wants to be governor of Oyo state, has even opened a “Buhari” office in Ibadan and was about to start sharing “Buhari 2019” fez caps at the cabinet meeting on Wednesday when he was stopped. This opportunistic political behaviour was popularised under Gen. Sani Abacha, I think, and it has now become a national culture. Sycophancy.
FARMER VS HERDSMAN
Amid the heat in the country caused by the herders/farmers crisis, and the stoking of ethno-religious tension by those playing snooker with the delicate state of the Nigerian union, it is gratifying that some Nigerians still find the time and space to offer us wit and wisdom to calm the tempers. When Ms Ayo Obe said Cain was a farmer and Abel was a herdsman to illustrate the age-old conflict between the world’s oldest professions, I had a good laugh as well as a great insight into this eternal rivalry. But someone completely killed it when he wrote: “Obasanjo is a farmer, Buhari is a herdsman, so the battle line has been drawn.” Smart!
Tragedy visited the house of football and Lagos state government on Thursday when Mr. Deji Tinubu, special adviser to the governor, died during a recreational five-a-aside match. He reportedly screamed, grabbed his chest and collapsed. When I was growing up in the village, I would have called it “apepa” (killed by “remote control”) out of ignorance but today, with the benefit of education, I would say it was apparently a heart attack. One major cause, doctors say, is a blood clot that suddenly blocks an artery. Doctors often recommend an aspirin a day for those above 40 or those managing high blood pressure. DT’s sudden death is so, so painful. What a loss. Devastating.
The late Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor on Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Mr Deji Tinubu, who died on Thursday will be buried on Tuesday.
According to the funeral Programme made available to us, the late ace sports broadcaster’s valedictory programme would be as follows
Service of Songs at RCCG, City of David, Victoria Island, Lagos – Monday , 29th January 2018 at 5.00pm
Lying-in-State – RCCG, City of David , Victoria Island, Lagos – Tuesday, 30th January 2018 at 9.30am.
Funeral Service – RCCG,City of David, Victoria Island, Lagos – Tuesday, 30th January 2018 at 10.00am
Interment follows immediately after at Vaults & Gardens, Ikoyi, Lagos
The late sports broadcaster and administrator had slumped while playing a five-a-side football match during a retreat organised for members of the Lagos State executive. All attempts to revive him proved abortive and he was pronounced dead on arrival at the Epe General Hospital.
Ambode Harps on Capacity Building to Boost Teaching, Learning
The Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode has expressed confidence about the rapid infrastructure growth and strategies of the state, saying that this could only be sustained by corresponding capacity building to enhance teaching and learning.
Ambode, who made this known recently at the inauguration of the Girls’ Junior Model College, Agunfoye, Ikorodu, said the new school was to further drive the ‘Change Lagos’ initiative of his administration.
Represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Oluranti Adebule, he said the administration has invested in the future of the children of the state through strategic reforms and planning in the education sector to ensure that their potential to compete favourably with their peers globally is assured.
“Upon the take-over of the school from the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), the state government invested substantially in the provision of infrastructure and facilities towards meeting the set standard.”
He expressed delight that the intervention of government in the education sector has been yielding positive results as evidenced in improved students’ performance in examinations, national/international competitions, as well as improved morals, etiquette and confidence in public speaking.
Speaking to journalists, Adebule said the move is about commitment and ensuring that education is accessible particularly to the girl-child.
“We understand that as a government, we have new developments coming up in the environment to make education available to children. The girl-child has a special place in the heart of the governor because we know that giving them a conducive environment will make them to do better.
“We know that a conducive environment for learning with the best of teachers around them, they will do excellently well. We have that conviction and that is why we have inaugurated this school which was established in September 2017. It is about excellence and learning,” the deputy governor stressed.
The inauguration of the college brings the number of existing model colleges in the state to 16 and the second model college for girls.
The Chairman, State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Mr. Ganiyu Sopeyin said the state is poised for greater things, adding that inaugurating a number of projects which are now at completion stages would be paramount.
“On our part as a board, we shall not relent or shy away from our responsibilities to execute policies geared towards the improvement of basic education which has in recent times, been transformed by the present administration.”
Source : ThisDay