WE’RE COMMITTED TO ENSURING SAFETY, EFFECTIVE, EFFICIENT WATER TRANSPORTATION IN LAGOS, SAYS SPEAKER OBASA

The Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa has assured Lagosians that the state government, particularly the state Assembly is committed to ensuring safety, efficient and effective water transportation in the state.

Rt. Hon. Obasa gave this assurance while speaking at a one day stakeholders’ meeting organised by the ad-hoc committee set up by the state Assembly to investigate causes of incessant boat mishaps in the state and profer solutions for such. The event took place at the Lateef Jakande Auditorium in the Assembly complex, Alausa, Ikeja.

The Lagos Assembly Speaker stated that members of the House are worried at several cases of boat mishaps in the state which had led to loses of several human lives.

Rt. Hon. Obasa stated that it was as a result of the concern the lawmakers had over such unfortunate incidents that led to the invitation of the state Commissioner for Transport, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Transport and the General Manager of the state Waterways Authority to appear before the lawmakers on 16th February, 2016 for clarification on how to check the incessant boat mishaps in the state.

“I made it known at that sitting that a stakeholders’ meeting will be convened to deliberate on how to put a stop to incessant boat mishaps in the state and that is why we are here today,” he said.

According to him, the lawmakers and the state government cannot just fold their arms and allow things to degenerate hence the decision to take the bull by the horn and tackle the menace. “We are indeed concerned with the irreparable losses incurred by the families of the various victims of the boat mishaps. Our hearts go out to them and I pray that such incident will not repeat itself in Lagos anymore.

“On our part, we remain committed to ensuring that we don’t lose precious lives to boat mishaps in the state again, hence the decision to convene this meeting which we hope will profer solutions to our efforts at putting in place safe, effective and efficient water transport in the state,” the Lagos Assembly Speaker.

He advised participants that to realise the aforementioned aim, it behoves on all to cooperate and support government’s initiatives at putting in place effective water transport in the state.

“We should not be aloof, we should be ready to make suggestions and be ready to participate in legitimate action to realise our aims and objectives. To ensure safety of lives and properties on our waterways is our collective responsibility and we must work together to achieve this,” he said.

WORLD HEALTH DAY: LAGOS ASSEMBLY PARTNERS LASUMSA ON MEDICAL OUTREACH

Lagos State House of Assembly, in conjunction with the Lagos State University Medical Students

Association (LASUMSA)has kicked off a one-day medical outreach within the assembly complex.

The health program was held simultaneously at the Lateef Jakande Hall of assembly, Alausa, Ikeja and Oba’s Palace in Ibeshe, Ikorodu, Lagos State.

Tests conducted during the medical outreach included blood pressure and blood sugar level tests.

Others included consultations on health matters, education on prevention and treatment of diabetes.

Speaking at the program,Chief of Staff to the Hon. Speaker, Mr. Wale Jafojo said the program would assist people in knowing their health status. “We use this programme to celebrate the World Health Day 2016,” he said.

He added that “the message is to maintain good health status and prevent diabetes and other related diseases”.

He advised the gathering to strive towards becoming physically active at least 30 minutes of regular, moderate intensity activity on most days.

The president of LASUMSA, Mr Israel Madu who spoke on behalf of the organisation said over 190 million people suffer from diabetes world wide. “Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in society today”, said Madu.

He stressed further that the disease “is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, blindness and kidney disease.

He said people should learn how to check their blood sugar level regularly and avoid tobacco use as smoking increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.

LAGOS ASSEMBLY DIRECTS AMBODE TO PROSECUTE PERPETRATORS OF ELECTORAL VIOLENCE

The Lagos State House of Assembly on Thursday directed Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode to prosecute perpetrators of the 2015 General Elections’ violence across the state.

This call followed a joint motion moved by the Majority Leader, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade and seconded by the Chairman, House Committee on Health, Hon. Segun Olulade.

The motion was sponsored by 16 lawmakers in the 40-member Assembly.

This House said that the Governor should direct the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Hon. Adeniji Kazeem to commence all necessary legal processes that would ensure prosecution of the masterminds of all reported cases.

Explaining, Agunbiade alleged that the security agents had failed to take any step to prosecute the culprits since the last elections.

“This House notes with dismay, the significant number of violent incidents that occurred in different parts of the state during the 2015 General Elections

“This resulted in death, damage of property and bodily injury of some citizens of the state.

“Some of the violent cases and attacks were reported to the police, but several months after the incidents, there have not been any traces of prosecution of any of the perpetrators.

“It was also observed that the jurisprudence of the criminal law is to ensure that offenders are punished to serve as deterrent to other members of the public, who might want to commit similar offence in the future,” he said.

Agunbiade added that unless the suspected masterminds of these violent acts were prosecuted in accordance with extant laws, other criminally minded people may be encouraged.

The Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa after voice votes passed the resolution.

The House also passed a bill for a law to amend the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission law 2008 and for connected purposes for the third time.

Also, a bill for a law to amend the Local Government Election Tribunal law 2001 and for connected purpose was passed.

The Speaker directed the Clerk of the House, Mr. Ganiyu Abiru to forward a copy of the Bill to Ambode for his assent.

The House then adjourned its plenary session to Monday, April 11, 2016.

LAGOS ASSEMBLY CALLS ON BUHARI TO END FUEL SCARCITY

Lawmakers in the Lagos State House of Assembly have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to find a solution to the perennial fuel scarcity in the country.

Raising the matter on the floor of the House during plenary on Tuesday 5th April, the Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade urged the House to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to direct all the necessary Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that have direct connections with the distribution of fuel to proffer solution to the scarcity immediately.

Agunbiade added that the President should identify those that are responsible for the scarcity and punish whoever is found culpable and that a special attention should be given to Lagos State so that the fuel scarcity could be abated in the state.

The Majority Leader said further that the House should call upon Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of the state to direct the necessary agencies in the state to effectively control traffic around all the filling stations in the state, and this was eventually adopted by the whole lawmakers.

In his contribution, the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa‎ said that it was not necessary to start apportioning blames or identifying scapegoats, but that the Federal Government should find a lasting solution to the problem.

“I saw people carrying kegs all over the city and I understand that some of them sleep at filling stations. This could lead to another danger because what happened in North Africa then started like this. The roads from my house were deserted as I was coming to the office, and this is a bad signal.

“Mr. President should look for a solution, we should not look at the past or blame the Petroleum Minister for what he said recently since he has apologised. We must take action now,” he said.

The Speaker subsequently directed the Clerk of the House, Mr. Ganiu Abiru to write a letter to the President to find a lasting solution to the problem and make fuel available in Lagos State, which he said is like a nation within the country.

He added that the president should address the people and ‎tell them to be calm, while using the occasion to appeal to the people of Lagos State to be calm until a solution is found to the problem.

The Deputy Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Wasiu Sanni-Eshinlokun, in his comments,‎ explained that the problem was not unexpected due to the issue of subsidy, which he said was characterised by corruption and extortion.

Eshinlokun however, stated that the effect of fuel shortages should be dealt with and that the state Commissioner for Transport, Mr. Dayo Mobereola and LASTMA should be called upon to control traffic in areas, where there are filling stations, and that the Petroleum Minister should tell Nigerians what is really happening on the issue.

LAGOS ASSEMBLY PASSES 2016 APPROPRIATION BILL INTO LAW

The 2016 Budget proposal of N662,588 Billion presented to the Lagos State House of Assembly by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of the state on Thursday 17th December, 2015 has been passed into law by the House.

In presenting the budget, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode  pledged that his administration will not only implement the budget faithfully, but also ensure that it works in the best interest of Lagosians.

The Governor who christened the 2016 budget “The Peoples Budget” said it was an improvement of 26 percent over the budgets of 2014 and 2015 respectively which stood at N489.6 Billion individually.

“The increase will enable our government to focus on the present challenges of security, traffic gridlock resolution including physical and social infrastructural development which has thrown up new challenges quite different from what we used to experience and have always known”, he said.

He said the 2016 budget which is the first full budget of the present administration will promote massive investment in Security, Transport and Traffic management, Physical and Social Infrastructural development and enhance job creation.

He said the intention of his government is to use the 2016 budget to strategically build new infrastructure, as well as maintain existing ones, adding that wealth and employment creation will also receive adequate attention in the course of the year.

Giving a breakdown of the budget figures, Governor Ambode put the Recurrent Expenditure at N278,909bn while Capital Expenditure stands at N383,678bn, explaining that the Capital to Recurrent ratio is 58:42 as against 51:49 in 2014 and 2015.

Governor Ambode also put the total revenue estimate for 2016 fiscal year at N542.873Billion saying the balance of N119.714billion will be funded through deficit financing constituting 0.41 percent of the state GDP based on 2016 budget alone and a cumulative debt to GDP ratio of about 3 percent.

It will be recalled that the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa subsequently committed the budget  into the House Committee on Budget and Economic Planning, which is chaired by Hon. Rotimi Olowo with a directive that the report should be submitted to the House on Thursday 31st December.

Presenting the report of the Budget and Economic Planning Committee to the House on Thursday 31st, December, 2015, Hon. Rotimi Olowo thanked the Speaker of the House, members of the committee, other lawmakers as well support staff of the House, who he said worked tirelessly to ensure that the process of scrutinising the budget was accelerated.

 

Also speaking, Speaker Obasa thanked all the members of the Budget and Economic Planning Committee for their efforts, while also thanking other lawmakers and the staff of the Assembly.

Meanwhile, the House has passed into law a Bill for a law to amend the Lagos State University (LASU) Law 2004. Part of the amendment of the law is the recommendation of a 5-year tenure for the Vice Chancellor and other principal officers of the school such as the Deputy Vice-Chancellors, Registrar, Bursar and the Librarian. The House also passed into law a Bill for a law to provide for the Establishment of the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund and for An Agency to Manage the Fund and for Other Connected Purposes.

The House however went on recess and adjourned sitting to 4th February, 2016.

LAGOS ASSEMBLY PARDONS FEMI PEDRO

The Lagos State House of Assembly on Thursday invalidated the impeachment of former Deputy Governor of the state, Mr.. Femi Pedro. This resolution followed the adoption of the recommendation of the eight member Ad Hoc Committee constituted on July 2, to review the circumstances that led to impeachment of Pedro. The House, which passed a vote of confidence on Pedro, said that the allegations of his impeachment were not connected to criminal charges.

The committee, headed by the Majority Leader, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, in its report said: “In line with Rule 51 (6) of the Business, Rules and Standing Orders of the Lagos State House of Assembly, the committee recommends that this House should by a substantive motion review the impeachment passed on Otunba Femi Pedro on Thursday May 10, 2007 by the 5th Assembly.

“Pardon him and pass a vote of confidence on him as a fit and proper person that can be entrusted with political and administrative responsibilities.” 36 members of the House were in support of the pardon while only one lawmaker voted against it and another abstained.

It will be recalled that Pedro was impeached towards the end the tenure of Bola Tinubu as Governor for gross misconducts on May 10, 2007. The ex-deputy governor had urged the House to revisit his impeachment in a letter sent to the 8th Assembly on a compassionate manner.

In his contribution, Hon. Rotimi Olowo, the Chairman House Committee on Budget and Economic Planning, urged the Assembly to reverse the impeachment for the ex-deputy governor to live a normal life. Hon. Olowo said that Pedro has shown a remorse and needed to be forgiven. He said, ” to err is human, to forgive is Divine. Pedro has shown much remorse and obedience, let’s pardon him to have his sanity back.

“Pedro has passed through much psychological trauma.” He said the purpose of the impeachment then was not based on fraud or criminal tendencies. Hon. Segun Olulade, the Chairman, House Committee on Health commended the adhoc committee for the recommendation for reverting the impeachment.

Hon. Olulade also commended Pedro for withdrawing court cases challenging his removal to allow the Assembly wade into the matter. According to the lawmaker, Pedro should be forgiven and be allowed to further contribute to the society.

Hon. Adefunmilayo Tejuosho (APC- Mushin I) said, “I am in agreement with the report of the committee, all the allegations against Pedro were not criminal.

“The former deputy governor has displayed a lot of maturity and honourable behaviour. His name has to be clear. He is a man of integrity and we should clear him of the allegations.”

However, the Chairman, House Committee on Information, Strategy and Security, Hon. Tunde Braimoh urged the House to direct the Executive to invalidate documents against Pedro.

Responding, the Speaker of the Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa said that the House was not absorbing Pedro of the allegation but decided to pardon him for his remorsefulness.

Hon.Obasa said  since Pedro was not convicted of any crime by any court of law, the Assembly had decided to pardon him and undo the impeachment served on him in 2007.

LAGOS ASSEMBLY, NURTW, FRSC SENSITISE MOTORISTS ON SAFE DRIVING

In a bid to prevent road accident and create more awareness on safe driving, the Lagos State House of Assembly Transport Committee, National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and the state sector of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) organised a sensitisation programme for motorists in the state on safe driving during the New Year celebration.

The sensitization programme took place on Wednesday 30th December, 2015 at the old Lagos/Ibadan Expressway toll gate with the participants, comprising members of the assembly committee, NURTW and FRSC officials, distributing fliers and campaign materials on road safety to motorists.

In an interview, Chairman of the House Committee on Transport, Hon. Fatai Mojeed said that the programme was an annual event by the House, adding that they decided to involve officials of the NURTW in the process this year.

“We expect sanity on our roads because of the high rate of accidents being recorded on our highways from October to December every year.

“Many people don’t abide by traffic rules and regulations of the state. The Special Marshal unit of the assembly started in the 7th Assembly and I am part of those that started it,” he said.

Hon. Mojeed said further that the sensitization programme is a continuous exercise, and advised the NURTW to assist in educating their members on road usage.

He added that he wished that members of the NURTW in the state would be different from the rest and that nobody is above the law in the state. He cited instances, where Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of the state arrested some motorists that plied BRT lane. In his contribution, the state Chairman of the NURTW, Alhaji Tajudeen Agbede stated that the purpose of the sensitization was to educate motorists on road usage, and that it was important for the people to know road signs. “We are doing our best to educate our members on traffic rules everyday and I will advise our people to reduce their speed because of their families and the passengers,” he said.

Also speaking at the event, the Lagos Sector Commander of the FRSC, Mr. Hygenius Omeje thanked the LSHA and the NURTW for being part of the programme. Omeje emphasised that everybody must work together to solve the problems of traffic in Lagos State, and advised special corps marshals to emulate such gesture.

He advised motorists to be more careful, while driving during festive periods, and warned residents of the state not to drink and drive as he said that those who indulge in such would be arrested and prosecuted. “We test motorists randomly and once you are caught, you would be off the road. Many commercial bus drivers overload their vehicles, but this would no longer be tolerated,” he said. The sector commander also used the occasion to warn motorists not to use their phones, while driving and added that children of 12 years of age and below should always sit at the back of the vehicle.

He maintained that over-speeding would not be tolerated and that there is need to obey traffic rules and laws in the state.

AMBODE PRESENTS YEAR 2016 BUDGET PROPOSAL OF N665.588BN

…Earmarks 56% To Capital Expenditure, 44% for Recurrent
… To Commence A-Meal-a-Day Programme in Public Schools Next Year
…Urges FG To Speed Up Special Status For Lagos

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Thursday presented the Year 2016 Budget proposal of N665.588billion to the House of Assembly, with a pledge that his administration will not only implement the budget faithfully, but also ensure that it works in the best interest of Lagosians.

The Governor who christened the 2016 budget “The Peoples Budget” said it is an improvement of 26 percent over the budgets of 2014 and 2015 respectively which stood at N489.6 Billion individually.

“The increase will enable our government to focus on the present challenges of security, traffic gridlock resolution including physical and social infrastructural development which has thrown up new challenges quite different from what we used to experience and have always known”, he said.

He said the 2016 budget which is the first full budget of the present administration will promote massive investment in Security, Transport and Traffic management, Physical and Social Infrastructural development and enhance job creation.

He said the intention of his government is to use the 2016 budget to strategically build new infrastructure, as well as maintain existing ones, adding that wealth and employment creation will also receive adequate attention in the course of the year.

Giving a breakdown of the budget figures, Governor Ambode put the Recurrent Expenditure at N278,909bn while Capital Expenditure stands at N383,678bn, explaining that the Capital to Recurrent ratio is 58:42 as against 51:49 in 2014 and 2015.

Governor Ambode also put the total revenue estimate for 2016 fiscal year at N542.873Billion saying the balance of N119.714billion will be funded through deficit financing constituting 0.41 percent of the state GDP based on 2016 budget alone and a cumulative debt to GDP ratio of about 3 percent.

On the size of the budget, the Governor earmarked N120,508,571,598 for General Public Services representing 18.19 percent, N28,559,021,841 to Public Order and Safety, representing 4.31 percent while Economic Affairs received a lion share of N211,043,408,183 representing 31.85 percent.

In other sectors, Environment got 8.1 percent of the budget totally N53,043,599,505, Housing and Community Amenities, got N62,713,091,867 representing 9.46 percent, Health got N64,677,679,096 representing 9.76 percent while Recreation, Culture and Religion has N4,636,917,054 which is 0.70 percent of the budget.

Education sector also received N113,379,337,664 representing 17.11 percent of the budget while Social Protection got N4,025,980,116, which is 0.61 of the budget.

Governor Ambode said that due to the falling oil prices, the budget is pegged on $38 dollar per barrel saying it was in line to maintain a conservative approach in estimating the Federal allocation for 2016.

“Fiscal Federalism and according Lagos a Special Status will benefit the State as we implore the Federal Government to look into this as soon as possible. As you are aware, the Federal Government still owes Lagos State over N50billion expended on federal roads in Lagos state. We look forward to an early refund to enable us utilize the fund on other infrastructure that require attention”, the Governor said.

Explaining some of the highlights of the Budget, Governor Ambode said the state government will commence the A-Meal- a-Day Programme in the state Public Primary Schools will from next year, adding that it will be done in collaboration with the Federal Government who will provide 60 percent of the funding, while the State Government will match it with 40 percent.

“This programme promises not only to improve the daily nutrition of our children, it will also create an economy of its own, with opportunities for job creation, income generation, poverty alleviation, and so on”.

“I am happy to inform you that in 2016 we will develop our e-Curriculum, leading to the distribution of Ibile Tablets to students in our public schools. This revolution, at the Secondary School level, will set a new standard in our educational system, and further enhance the knowledge of our children to enable them compete effectively with their peers in developed countries”, the Governor said.

On security, Governor Ambode while acknowledging that it was a major challenge that confronted the state within the first few months of his administration said the government adopted a multifaceted approach at tackling this challenge, just as he pledged to continue to support the security agencies in 2016.

On road infrastructure, the Governor said one of the assignments that his administration had embarked upon is to regularly inspect the state of the roads to ascertain their conditions and ensure that they are motorable, assuring that while ongoing projects will be given priority in the course of the year, new roads will be constructed across the length and breadth of the state.

Receiving the budget, Speaker of the House, Rt Hon. Mudashiru Obasa commended the governor for procuring security equipment to combat insecurity in the state, just as he assured that the budget proposal would be meticulously looked into by the House.

Dignitaries present at the event include former speakers of the House of Assembly including Rt Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, Jokotola Pelumi, National Assembly members, members of the State Executive Council, traditional rulers, religious leaders, among others.

In his speech after the budget presentation by the governor, Speaker Mudashiru Obasa noted that Lagos has continued to be seen both within and outside the country as the very place where good governance is the norm and that this readily explains why the state is home to all Nigerians, having attained the enviable status of a mega city.

He also referred to the confirmation of the Civil Resource Development Documentation Centre, CIRDDOC, an independent, non-governmental organisation, which recently declared Lagos State as the third most transparent state in Nigeria in the area of budget performance and transparency.

“Here in Lagos State, the three tiers of government: the Legislature, Executive and Judiciary have always been striving to put our people first in all that we do.

“Despite their distinct status, these government institutions have continued to regularly collaborate to deliver the dividend of democracy and the very best for our dear state and the people.

“It is however pertinent to note that the very cordial relationship existing between this legislative House and the executive has not stopped us from performing our constitutionally assigned roles of exercising control over the state’s purse.

“This has obviously resulted in the First Class position that our dear state has attained in our country today, which makes Lagos the symbol of good governance.

“You will all agree with me that the responsiveness and readiness of this honourable House to pass pro-people and pro-development legislations is rightly on the course in giving Mr. Governor the much needed enabling environment to perform creditably well to the admiration of our people.

“This indeed is the confirmation that ‘behind every successful man there is a woman’, which in this case can be rewritten as: ‘behind every performing Governor there is a pro-active, pro-people and pro-development House of Assembly’.

While commending the governor for procuring security equipment to combat insecurity in the state, Obasa promised that the budget proposal would be meticulously looked into by the House.

“In treating this budget, we will not forget that we are trustees for the people. A lot has indeed been done in the area of job creation and economic empowerment of Lagosians. But there is a dire need to create more opportunities for our people; more jobs will definitely lead to greater economic growth.

“We need not be reminded that easy movement of people and goods is essential and important to the economy of a state. Therefore, we must continue to forge ahead,” the Speaker said urging the governor to continue to help the people of the state resolve gridlocks on the roads.

WEALTH CREATION REACHES COMMITTEE STAGE

The Lagos State House of Assembly has committed the Bill on Wealth Creation to the House Committees on Finance and Wealth Creation, with a mandate to scrutinize the document for subsequent passage.

The motion for the second reading of the Bill was moved by the Majority Leader, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade and seconded by another member, Hon. Bisi Yusuff.

Leading the debate, Chairman, House Committee on Finance, Hon. Oluyinka Ogundimu said objectives of the Bill were embedded in Section 2, explaining that “It was meant to provide financial support for residents of the state on job creation.”

The Fund, according to him would be headed by a Chairman and Executive Secretary and managed by the Commissioner for Wealth Creation and his counterpart from Finance or their representatives.

The lawmaker also pointed out that for the 2016 budget to perform optimally, it would require proper implementation of the Bill if eventually passed into law, saying 60 percent of the budget would be financed through Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).

He further explained that to get enough IGR to finance 2016 budget, job creation would be paramount in order to have more people that would pay taxes.

Also speaking, Chairman House Committee on Wealth Creation, Hon. Sola Giwa said the essence of the Bill was to open up entrepreneurial skills of the people.

The Lagos Island Constituency II representative also hinted that large chunk of the money would be provided through collaboration with the private sector.

On his part, Hon. Rotimi Olowo said another important aspect of the Bill was that interest rate on the loans only attract 3 percent for administrative purposes.

However, the Chief Whip, Hon. Rotimi Abiru observed that “it is not expressly stated in the Bill the method of disbursement and the way to recoup the loans.”

Hon. David Setonji said membership of the Board should be spread. According to him, “we should not limit it to metropolis. I think ‘IBILE’ should be spelt out.”

Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu canvassed for insurance on the loans, saying the loans must be insured in case beneficiaries were unable to pay back.

Hon. Bayo Osinowo explained that the tenure of the chairman of the Board would have to be reviewed. He argued that since it would be a fund of N26bn over a period of four years, four year-tenure should be looked into.
It would be recalled that the State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode had forwarded the Bill on Wealth Creation to the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa with a view to stem the alarming rate of unemployment in the State.

After much deliberations, the bill was committed to Committees on Finance and Wealth Creation for careful scrutiny and they are expected to submit reports on 31st December.

REMARKS BY THE SPEAKER OF LAGOS STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY…

REMARKS BY THE SPEAKER OF LAGOS STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY, RT. HON. MUDASHIRU OBASA AFTER 2016 BUDGET PRESENTATION BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MR. AKINWUMI AMBODE, GOVERNOR, LAGOS STATE, ON THURSDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2015

Before anything at all, we give praise and adoration to the almighty Allah, the giver and taker of life, the One who reverses the irreversible; for giving us the opportunity to witness this significant budget presentation.

I am delighted to welcome you to this 8th Assembly, His Excellency Mr Akinwumi Ambode, the Governor of Lagos State and his amiable wife; His Excellency Alhaji Lateeef Kayode Jakande; Former Speakers of our House here present; distinguished members of the National Assembly; Members of the State Executive Council; the Head of Service and through him to all members of the body of Permanent Secretaries here present; Spouses of Members of Lagos State House of Assembly; Chairman and Members of LAHASCOM; our Traditional Rulers; Obas and Chiefs; our Spiritual Leaders; our highly esteemed royal fathers here present; Captains of Industry; Leaders of our pace-setting party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Elders; members of Diplomatic Communities; Community Leaders, market men and women, our energetic youths, all Lagosians and members of the 4th Estate of the Realm. I thank you all.

Ladies and Gentlemen, on behalf of my colleagues and our highly dedicated staff, it gives me a great pleasure to heartily welcome you all to this occasion of the formal presentation of the year 2016 budget to your House of Assembly, Nigeria’s leading legislative House, by His Excellency, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, the Governor of Lagos State.

As you all know, our state of Lagos, the Centre of Excellence, has continued to be seen both within and outside our country as the very place where good governance is the norm, which readily explains why our state is home to all Nigerians, having attained the enviable status of a mega city.

It is for instance on the record today that even leading members of opposition parties in our country readily attest to the fact that our dear State remains the positive response point when good governance is being discussed.

This assertion was even recently confirmed by the Civil Resource Development Documentation Centre (CIRDDOC), an independent, non-governmental and not-for-profit organisation, whose launching of the 2015 National Budget Transparency Survey declared Lagos State as the third most transparent state in Nigeria in the area of budget performance and transparency. The reason, however, is not far to seek.

Here in Lagos State, the three tiers of government: the Legislature, Executive and Judiciary have always been striving to put our people first in all that we do. This House of Assembly comprises industrious, brilliant and diligent men and women who are making a difference in their various constituencies.

Despite their distinct status, these government institutions have continued to regularly collaborate to deliver the dividend of democracy and the very best for our dear state and the people.

It is however pertinent to note that the very cordial relationship existing between this Legislative House and the Executive has not stopped us from performing our constitutionally assigned roles of exercising control over the state’s purse.

This has obviously resulted in the First Class position that our dear state has attained in our country today, which makes Lagos the symbol of good governance.

You will all agree with me that the responsiveness and readiness of this honourable House to pass pro-people and pro-development legislations is rightly on the course in giving Mr. Governor the much needed enabling environment to perform creditably well to the admiration of our people. This indeed is the confirmation that ‘‘behind every successful man there is a woman;’’ which in this case can be rewritten as: behind every performing Governor there is a pro-active, pro-people and pro-development House of Assembly.

The recent commissioning and handing over of patrol vehicles, motorcycles, Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs), gunboats and helicopters to the Nigerian Police and the Rapid Response Squad (RRS), to combat crime in the state among other things is a pointer to this affirmation.

Without much ado, the commissioning, is believed, would attract more investors to the state, since a crime free state is expected to put the minds of the investors at rest as far as safety is concerned.

Your Excellency, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, I commend you for being astute, courageous, insightful, forthright, thorough, and determined. You have really displayed, during your few months in office, that you are capable to maintain a track record of resourceful consistency, which has been obvious for the last sixteen and a half years; you are truly a unique breed and first among equals.

Mr. Governor, on behalf of other Honourable members, myself and the staff, I appreciate you for always giving us all the necessary supports as most of our resolutions are treated with immediate positive response. We appreciate the promptness with which you execute our resolutions particularly the issue of the dissolution of the Judicial Service Commission, the recent purchase of security equipment and more importantly the proposed construction of a FLYOVER at PEN CINEMA in AGEGE. The immediate embedment of these projects in the reordering of 2015 budget is a testimony of your desire to give the people necessary infrastructure which will engender socio-economic growth.

Let me therefore assure all Lagosians that the Lagos State House of Assembly shall continue to promote the best practices in the governance of our dear state. You can rest assured that all Hon. Members of this Assembly shall continue to put you – our people – first in all that we do.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have all listened with rapt attention to how the wealth of our state will be utilized for our common good in year 2016; the responsibility is now on the members of this Honourable House to do the needful; and I assure you that we will meticulously perform our constitutional duty.

However, permit me to remind this gathering that the matter of budget presentation is essential. Beyond its constitutional stipulation, it requires the backing of law to make it implementable and executable; without which it becomes an offence punishable under law.

The above claim is stipulated in Section 121 (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended in 2011, which states that, “The Governor shall cause to be prepared and laid before the House of Assembly at any time before the commencement of each financial year estimates of the revenues and expenditure of the State for the next following financial year”.

This, no doubt, is necessary to obtain Legislative consent or approval for the amount of money to be spent on specific items in the coming financial year.

The 2016 Appropriation Bill is significant in that it is the first budget proposal to be presented by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode; it is also the first I will be receiving as Speaker of this House, the foremost House of Assembly in Nigeria. For this singular reason, we are all hopeful and expectant that this coming year will witness more of democracy dividends for betterment of Lagos and Lagosians.

Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen, as the head of an institution that is closest to the grassroots; I must confess, some of our people still live in abject poverty.

In treating this budget, we will not forget that we are trustees for the people. A lot has indeed been done in the area of job creation and economic empowerment of Lagosians. But there is a dire need to create more opportunities for our people; more jobs will definitely lead to greater economic growth.

Be that as it may, we will like to call the attention of our governor to the situation of traffic jam in the state, which I believe the governor is so much aware of and has taken steps in managing since his resumption in office. Though this may not be our own doing, it is an inherited circumstance, we must continue to proffer lasting solutions to it. It is our thought that addressing the issue of traffic in this state will further simplify life for commuters and engender economic growth.

We need not be reminded that easy movement of people and goods is essential and important to the economy of a state. Therefore, we must continue to forge ahead.

Apparently, the establishment of BRT lane, LAGBUS was to boost economy of the state. BRT is a transport option, which relies on the use of dedicated ‘interference’ free segregated lanes to guarantee fast and reliable bus travel. It is a high performance public transport bus service which aims to combine bus lanes with high-quality bus stations.

The system also aims at encouraging motorists to park their vehicles at home and make use of public transport with the hope to free our roads from traffic congestion, which will reduce cost of transportation, pollution and wasted manpower on the road. Our focus, of course, is to make BRT/LAGBUS a convenient mode of transportation for the haves and have-nots as it is being witnessed most especially in the UK. It is one of the several options available for tackling the huge public transport predicaments of Lagos.
We believe that successful means of transportation not only benefits the people but also increases the state revenue, enhances employment opportunity, improves health system as well as helps standard of living.

Nevertheless, Mr. Governor, a lot still needs to be done in making sure all these projections are achieved. In line with this, we of the Lagos State House of Assembly are ready all the time to support and cooperate with you in the interest of our state to ensure infrastructural and economic development.

Good people of Lagos State, you will recall that some weeks ago, town hall meetings were organised by the House in all the forty constituencies in the state for all its lawmakers not only to update their constituents on their various achievements since June when the eighth assembly commenced, but also to feel their pulse, seek their suggestions and know their opinions on how they are being governed. The town hall meetings indeed gave us an opportunity to listen to the challenges of our constituents and make same available to the executive arm of government as areas of focus for the 2016 budget. This was one of our promises during electioneering and you can rest assured that all other promises will be addressed to the letter, while the issue raised during this exercise will be promptly addressed in the new fiscal year. The report of the town hall meeting will be presented to His Excellency before the closure of this ceremony.

However, I will like to congratulate our pace-setting party, APC, on the success recorded in the last general election. Indeed, it was a battle deservedly won on all fronts. The landslide victories recorded nationwide have proved to all and sundry that our great party has come to stay. Meanwhile, our manifestoes still remain the same, and the focus is still targeted at making life better for all. As such, we assure the good people of Lagos State that this current government will work assiduously in conjunction with the party by executing its manifestoes in ensuring that dividends of democracy are evenly and judiciously distributed.

Notwithstanding, dear colleagues, the recent victories achieved should not be taken for granted. As the saying goes: “to whom much is given, much is expected”. Our people expect much from us in this “change” era in return for the trust they already reposed in us. As such, I charge you to keep the vision aflame; we have set a standard, and it must be sustained. The wellbeing of Lagosians should always be our priority while the long-term prosperity of this state must remain our focus.

Besides, we should not forget that public office is a privilege. As lawmakers, our duties are well spelt out; it is our responsibility to represent those who do not have voices of their own and recognize the interests of others; we must always consider the consequences of our actions and also ensure that our work is geared towards bringing about positive CHANGE.

Let me particularly thank our party leadership starting from our Governor Emeritus, Asiwaju of Nigeria, His Excellency, ASIWAJU BOLA AHMED TINUBU, a discerning, financially ingenious, reliable and able leader who kept our state going even when the Federal Government deliberately and illegally starved our treasury then. His brilliance also has eventually made it possible for us to have a Federal Government that shares the same progressive mind with us in this side of the country.

In this same vein, I also congratulate members of the G16, all party leaders and most especially our party chairman, Chief Henry Oladele Ajomale whose penchant for winning hard-fought battles such as battle of “capture”, battle of “do-or-die”, and the last one which was battle of dollars orchestrated by various PDP administrations at the federal level, now gives him a new name of “Mr. Victor”.

However, in appreciating past deeds, posterity will not forgive me if I fail to mention the first Civilian Governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, the man who set the pace for all the governors that have emerged since he first governed Lagos. Indisputably, his foundation then has been what others have been building on, which gives us today an enviable Lagos as well as the light that glorifies Nigeria.

As I conclude, I implore us to give every support needed for this administration both at the state and federal levels. Our party preached “change” during electioneering. Nevertheless, to bring about this change, we have our roles to play.

In the words of President Barack Obama, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” Let’s make our diversity the strength of our federation.

As for me, I will never sit on the fence when the battle is to ensure that good governance works in the genuine interest of the people.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I will not relent in my agitation for quality education; because in this lies all the ingredients of developmental strides known to man.

Let me therefore at this juncture assure Mr. Governor and all our people that my colleagues and I shall promptly and diligently commence work on the year 2016 budget just presented to this Honourable House and will ensure that Lagos State occupies the enviable position that has always been reserved for us. We will work diligently for the early passage of the budget so that developmental work can start in earnest in the state.

Simply put, our intention is to make this budget a special New Year gift to the people of this great state.

I wish you all merry Christmas and happy new Year in advance.

Long live Nigeria. Long live our dear state of Lagos. Long live the Lagos State House of Assembly. Itesiwaju ilu Eko, lo je wa logun.

I thank you all for listening. It is time now to make a formal presentation of the report of the town hall meeting to His Excellency.

Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa
Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly
December 17, 2015