Ambode: Our Policies Lifted More People from Poverty

Akinwunmi Ambode

· Hands over formally to Sanwo-Olu

· Bids Lagos residents farewell

By Gboyega Akinsanmi

In an emotion-laden farewell state broadcast Tuesday, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, explained the driving force behind the decision, policies and programmes of his administration, saying they were executed to lift more people out of poverty.

Shortly after he addressed the state, the outgoing governor equally presented his handover note to the incoming governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, privately alongside his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, at the State House, Alausa.

But in his farewell broadcast that marked the end of his administration, Ambode noted that all the decisions, plans, programmes and policies of his administration in the last four years were taken “with the best interest of Lagos in mind and for common good of all residents of the state”.

Contrary to a view that he deviated from the development blueprint of the state, Ambode said the driving force, with respect to programmes executed, lifted more people out of poverty and make every part of the state economically viable and liveable.

He explained that the policies, programmes and projects indeed lifted “more of our people out of poverty and made every part of the state safe, accessible and economically viable were always the priority; the driving force behind all our decisions and plans”.

He, however, observed that a few of the policies might have been unpopular, but they were taken “with the best interest of our state in mind. With the benefit of hindsight, maybe we could have done some things differently but our intention was always clear, for the good of Lagos”.

He, thus, commended the people for the constructive feedback to some of the policies of his administration, which according to him, helped to surmount challenges, saying it had been a remarkable journey to serve the state.

He said: “As in the beginning when we visited every single corner of this state listening to you and asking for your votes, I have felt the power of your support, your collective energy and the endless goodwill that has propelled us to achieve many things.”

He described Lagos as a place where dreams come true and a home for everyone, saying it was the duty of all residents to continue to ensure that the state remained the true centre of opportunities and growth for all.

“From being just a commercial centre, our state has now become a prime destination for tourism, sports, entertainment and culture. And the future is even brighter with more exciting prospects and possibilities. In the near future, with God on our side, Lagos will take its rightful place in the comity of major city-states of the world.

“Fellow Lagosians, it has been a remarkable journey. One in which we have pushed boundaries and moved our state to another level. It is a journey in which we have transformed many aspects of our state and set the ball rolling in other sectors. But there is still a lot more to be done.

“But it is a job not for only the government; it is a responsibility for us all. In Lagos everyone counts and we all have a part to play,” he said.

Just after the state farewell broadcast, the outgoing governor presented handover notes to Sanwo-olu privately ahead of the official inauguration scheduled to take place at the Tafawa Balewa Square Wednesday.

After the handover, Sanwo-Olu addressed journalists, disclosing that the conversation between them “is private and will like to remain like that”.

“We have a very private handing over ceremony with the outgoing governor. We are happy with what he told us. We are excited with the conversation and thought we had with him. We are looking forward to the inauguration scheduled to hold today,” he said.

He added that the conversation “centred on more advice and how his own thoughts were and what we should also be concerned with and whatever he has to offer”.

Sanwo-Olu said he would not want to give further details on the conversation because the governor had demanded that the conversation be left private.

He said: “We should respect that. We do not need to bother on making the conversation public because what we needed to work with are documents. We have the right documents to work with and we will take it up from there.”

Meanwhile, Sanwo-Olu urged residents of the state to cooperate with his administration to achieve and improve the standard of infrastructures in the state, assuring the residents that his administration would commence business of governance immediately after his inauguration.

“We need you to be part of the conversation centred on taking Lagos to a greater height. And from the inception, we want you all to be part of that story. After the inauguration, the governance of the state (under my administration) will start immediately,” he said.

Earlier, the Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola, stressed that the handover ceremony was held privately with documents to symbolise the activities that transpired during his administration.

“He has also handed over a load of documents that symbolises the tenure of his administration. Besides, he has also handed over a document containing activities of the previous administration spanning 12 years,” Olympia said.