Saturday, September 14, 2013

Fashola Gives Account Of His 2300-Day Stay In Office

 Channels Television
September 14, 2013

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Saturday  rendered tan account of the stewardship of his administration in the last 100 days with an appeal to the citizenry for support, mutual co-existence, ethnic and religious tolerance as well as obedience to law and order. 

Saturday’s event, which is the the 23rd in the series, commemorates the 2,300th day in office of the present administration and marks a fulfillment of the Governor’s commitment since 2007 to render to the citizenry, through town hall meetings with various segments of the society, the account of the administration’s performance every hundred days. 

Addressing members of the Community Development Committees (CDCs) and Community Development Associations (CDAs),  corporate and private citizens, religious and traditional rulers as well as artisans and market women and men at the LTV Blue Roof Hall on Agidingbi Road, Governor Fashola said the continued development and transformation of the State would only be possible with the full cooperation of the citizenry in terms of maintenance of peace, law and order.     
The Governor, who enumerated the various projects executed across the State in the last 100 days, appealed to the citizenry; “Your support, peaceful co-existence, religious and ethnic tolerance, discharge of your civic responsibilities such as payment of taxes and voluntary obedience of laws and regulations, keeping the peace are all that we ask for, to make your aspirations materialize”.

Beginning with the Budget performance in the first and second quarters of the year, Governor Fashola said the impacts were already being felt in some projects in the Health Sector, Education Sector and in the area of infrastructural development as well as other sectors of the economy.

According to the Governor, such projects include the completion of the Trauma and Burns Centre in Gbagada, two more flagship Primary Health Care Centres in Eredo Epe and in Itire, the Folarin Coker Health Centre for public servants in Alausa, the street light of Carter Bridge, the progress in the Technical and Vocational Education Colleges as reported during the State’s Enterprise Day and the reports from the education sector at the Annual Governor’s Education Award.

On Health, he said while the State Government’s Health  policy remains a matter of non-negotiable commitment, the honest truth is that free healthcare does not cover every illness that afflicts the people, adding, “That answer is insurance. This is the way that I think we can unlock and optimize the idling capacity and specialties that exist in over 3,000 privately owned health facilities that ordinary people cannot access”.

Governor Fashola explained that of the two supplementary budgets presented by the Government after the second quarter, the first, with the size of N7 billion, was to enable Government finance the building of more houses under the Lagos Homes Scheme, while the second, amounting to N7.5 billion was for the early acquisition of the Lekki Concession as provided under the Concession Agreement “in a way that helps us to keep investor confidence and control any possible increase in the toll fees”.

 In the Education Sector, Governor Fashola expressed joy that more students are getting into secondary schools from the JSS 1 placement examination results which, according to him, showed an increase in the number of candidates from 49,316 in 2012 to an almost doubling of 95,255 candidates in 2013 adding that the results show a pass rate increase in the examinations from 67.01 percent in 2012 to 96percent in 2013.

“If you recall that we have since 2011 reviewed conditions of pass from what was about 30% to a minimum of 50% pass in each of English and Mathematics in addition to a total aggregate average of an overall of 50% as the minimum pass, you will appreciate the progress that our children have made and the effort that your Government has made”, the Governor said.

 Expressing optimism that his administration is heading in the right direction in terms of its new education policies the Governor added, “I am also able to report that we have received the results for 2013 WAEC Examinations which show that out of 51,604  students who sat for the examination, 21,193  secured the five credits in Mathematics and English in one sitting representing, according to him, a 41.06% pass rate over the 39% of last year.

“If you recall that we started from a 7% pass rate in 2007 you will appreciate how far we have come, to now record an over 41% pass rate”, the Governor said adding, “For now, all I can say is that, as far as our children’s education is concerned, we are heading in the right direction and I see a brighter and rewarding future, even as our work remains unfinished”.

Throwing more light on the Government directive that all schools in the State, whether public or private, should reopen on the same day (September 23), Governor Fashola said  it was aimed at achieving a unified school calendar for the State adding, “There are many positive consequences for these, ranging from security planning, transportation planning, career development to mention a few”.

On Security, the Governor, who said there has been an aggregate reduction in crime in the State, however, noted that as a daily growing State, “in a world that is getting increasingly complex and where no nation is crime free”, the State was getting its own fair share of problems associated with population increase with some of its citizens falling victims to crimilals.

“But we remain resolute to fight crime and criminals with every resource that we have”, the Governor said, expressing joy that the determination to fight crime in the State has yielded some noteworthy successes against crime and criminals”.

He listed some of the successes to include  arrest of a notorious gang of five robbers who have been terrorizing the Lagos Island and the apprehension of the kidnap gang that abducted a number of people including a Local Government Chairman adding “This was made possible by the dedication of the officers in the Lagos Command after almost a month of surveillance that eventually led to the arrest of the criminals”.

“Another notorious gang leader who had been on the Police wanted list for 14 years, and who had been launching attacks on our citizens from outside Lagos is now in custody after a well-planned operation that led to his arrest in his hiding place outside Lagos”, the Governor said adding that the Command also rescued a foreign national from kidnappers during the period.

Commending the gallantry and dedication of the members of the Command, the Governor declared, “Our officers must be proud of themselves, and so must all of us be, not only for the work that they have done, but also the value they give for the support that we give to them from your taxes and your voluntary contribution to the Lagos State Security Trust Fund, “especially MTN Nigeria who just gave 25 new patrol values to the Fund while he urged all citizens to continue to pay their taxes promptly and to support the Trust Fund with donations.

Another area where progress was recorded during the last 100 days, Governor Fashola said, is in the Transportation sector where, according to him, “the commitment of Government in improving efficiency in public transportation is yielding results”. Such results include the recent formal handing over of the 7 kilometer Ibeshe Road, the over 200 inner city roads currently under construction across the State, the on-going resuscitation of five ferries retrieved from the Lagos Lagoon.  

The Governor, who said repairs on three of the ferries would be completed this year so that they could join the 59 already operational ferries on the States waters, put the monthly passenger ridership on at 1,788,370 passengers per month from 495,010 passengers per month in 2010 expressing joy that work is moving towards conclusion of the Osborne and Mile Two Jetties preparatory to making them fully functional in a short while.

On the implementation of the States Road Traffic Law, the Governor said it has resulted in the reduction from 646 reported accidents in August 2012 to 118  reported accidents in July 2013 and the reduction in motorcycle related deaths from an average of 12   in August 2012 to an average of 1 over the same period, adding, “This justifies the commitment with which we intervened”.

Governor Fashola warned commercial motorcyclists who still ride on the restricted roads “either with the wrong motorcycle or without helmets or without registration plate or with more than one passenger” to retrace their steps adding, “Nobody will be allowed to act outside the law made by our House of Assembly. Our commitment to enforcement remains very high”.

He also warned operators of tricycles that they must comply to the same provisions of the Traffic Law relating to safety and the routes they can operate; mainly the inner streets and not on highways adding that except for the fact that the tricycles have cabins, they are not different from the commercial motorcycle.

“However, we understand that our public transport policies are still developing and it is not our intention to inflict any hardship on our people who rely on them. This is why I gave clear directives last year that we will not seek to enforce the Traffic Law as it relates to them if they keep off the major highways”, he said.

The Governor promised that other safety policies under the Traffic Law would soon be unveiled “to make motoring in our State a happy experience and raise standards to global competitiveness”.

He recalled that during period the State hosted the Lagos State International Table Tennis Championship with 350 participants from 13   countries. According to him, ‘Our sporting centres, hotels and transporters were kept busy”, adding, “It is the first of a ten Sport Championships now known as the Lagos Sports Classics”.

Pointing out that the hosting was a fulfillment of his commitment to Lagosians at the closing of the 2012 National Sports Festival that the State’s athletes would be kept busy while keeping all the upgraded sports facilities in good and efficient use, the Governor said soon the State would be hosting the athletics events of the Sports Classics and the remaining other eight sporting events, adding, “So to our sportsmen and women, get ready for a busy sporting calendar. And to our Ministry of Sports, coaches and all supporting agencies, I say keep up the good work”.

Governor Fashola also reported with joy the verdict of the National Census Tribunal on the petitions by his administration, on behalf of 14 local governments in the State against the Census figure allocated to the State by the National Population Commission after the last 2006 Census exercise in the country saying as a result of the petitions, the Tribunal has ordered a recount in 14 out of 20 communities in the State.

The Governor advised, “No nation that wants to prosper and solve human challenges should ever be tardy or play politics with data collection projects such as population census. You cannot manage what you cannot measure”.

He also announced the Supreme Court verdict on the State Government’s case against the Federal Government  relating to the latter’s incursion in the area of tourism saying the the Supreme Court was emphatic in affirming the position of the State Government that it is only a State Government and its House of Assembly that have powers to regulate tourism, with the exception of tourist traffic which deals with issuance of visas, length of stay and immigration into Nigeria.

He declared, “Apart from the revenue erosion, the incursions made it difficult to grow that sector and create jobs, because the operators were caught between two governments; and understandably were often unsure of who their appropriate regulator should be, between the State and the Federal Government” , adding that the victory   “is victory for federalism and for all the 35 other States including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, who can now take their tourism destiny in their own hands”.

Still on the courts, Governor Fashola said the State Government was ready to go to the Supreme Court to challenge the verdict of the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal which acquitted Major Al Mustapha on charges of conspiracy and murder of late Qudirat Abiola.   

Governor Fashola declared, “Because our Constitution permits a further appeal to the Supreme Court, and because we place the highest premium on every human life and because the families of the victims deserve every right to agitate the matter to the final court, just as the accused would have been entitled, your Government has appealed on behalf of the people to the Supreme Court”. 

 Other areas which the Governor reported include the registration of the All Progressives Congress (APC),which he said became a reality in spite of the criticisms of the opposition, commencement of Saturday service in Government departments such as Lands, Physical Planning, Motor Vehicle Administration and the Vehicle Inspection service from 10am to 2pm and the payment of compensations to those who lost property as a result of the Dana air crash and erection of a cenotaph at the site of the crash among others.

 Noting that  the periodic briefings have helped to deepen the democratic experience in the State, Governor Fashola  said its uniqueness, in the sense that no other no other government in the country has committed to a regular 100 day, town hall style meeting, the State Government has never failed to hold it and has never changed the date.

“It has been beneficial to you and to us because it keeps us on our toes to deliver and it reinforces how seriously we hold your mandate and value your support”, he said adding that apart from the fact that the administration has remained true to it as a commitment it freely made, the unsustainable attempt by competitors “to sloppily copy it, in a very poor imitation about which they have now gone quiet, speaks volumes about the commitment of your Government”. The credit, he said, “certainly belongs to all our public servants and officers who work tirelessly to deliver the progress that I am always delighted to report”.
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