Ambode: We Must Be Methodical to Pull Lagos out of Nigeria

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• Laments cultural, political impediments to growth
Gboyega Akinsanmi
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, Monday canvassed the need to methodically pull Lagos out of Nigeria like Dubai was an economy on its own, though an emirate in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

However, the governor lamented cultural and political impediments to the state’s economic growth, which he said, had been pulling the state and its teeming population down on the path of progress.
He proposed the need to make Dubai out of Lagos in a statement his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Habib Aruna, issued yesterday after a conference the state organised to mark its 50th anniversary.

Ambode said in the statement that it was pertinent for everybody in the country to unite and agree to put issues relating to development on the front burner and relegate political and cultural considerations.
Specifically, the governor cited the example of Dubai, one of the emirates in the UAE, which he said, was transformed into what it “is today even though it is within a country.”
He lamented that diverse cultural and political issue inhibiting growth should be duly addressed if Nigeria is to occupy its pride of place among the comity of nations.

The governor, therefore, canvassed concerted effort, which he said, should be made “to frontally and comprehensively review cultural and political issues slowing down development so as to fast-track development.
“For too long, Nigeria has allowed cultural and political differences to inhibit growth. But such differences must stop for development to be fast-tracked in the overall best interest of Nigeria and Nigerians.

 “I like Lagos to be a Dubai, one of the eight emirates in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Dubai is not a country and what was allowed to happen in Dubai would be difficult in Lagos.
“So, to pull Lagos out of Nigeria like Dubai in UAE, we have got to be methodical. As much we want to run, those cultural impediments, those political impediments are pulling us down.

“But do we have the support of these citizens? So, these are the things we do not necessarily speak about. We obviously have those impediments that are limiting us from becoming what we want to be. It is for us to tell ourselves that in the next 50 years, let us break the ice.
“There must be a concerted effort from everybody – professionals, private sector, public sector to resolve that we want to make Lagos a Dubai. We do not care whatever happens.

“We must have that political support and trust of the people irrespective of our political leanings. The bottom line is that this is more about our children. We want to do what is right.
“I have so much passion for Lagos. I believe strongly if anything good is going to come out of Nigeria, it is going to start from Lagos. That is why we must get it right and do the right thing.”

For the state to grow from mega city to smart city, therefore, the governor said all sectors and individuals must play their part and resolve to be on top of their game in their respective areas.

He said: “For me, the measurement of our development into a smart city should be all encompassing ranging from the quality of service that we render as a government and the service we render from individual to individual and from business to government or from individual to business.

“The totality of that is what we call smart. It is not enough for me to say government will provide the smart city, there should be smart business between for instance the tailor and the designer. It is something that is so microscopic but in totality, it is about being smart.
“So, if a foreigner comes in and moves to a restaurant and gets quality service, he knows that there is something happening in that city, he does not have to come to Alausa to see it.”

He explained the significance of smart government, smart business and smart city, which he said, had been the focus of discussion in different fora during the state’s 50th anniversary, noting that it “is a convergence of all the three that can help the state to be smart indeed.”