Fashola On His Third Year In Office: We Have Exploded The Myth Of Impossibilities In Lagos
…Says Govt won't respond to allegations not based on facts
May 29, 2010 - Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Saturday addressed a World press conference to render an account of the third year of his stewardship in the State, affirming that the administration has exploded many myths and actualized seeming impossibilities in the areas of the environment, job creation, transportation and security.
Governor Fashola who spoke before a gathering of senior journalists, political, religious and economic leaders at the Banquet Hall of the Lagos House, Ikeja also said in the areas of environment, Lagos is now cleaner, contrary to the belief that it was impossible to manage its waste.
Said he: "Thousands of jobs have been created from an increasing PSP participation in waste disposal and opportunities for expansion are still emerging.
"We have successfully combated flooding in places that it was thought impossible to do so. The Gbagada expressway flooding has been resolved, Dolphin Estate and Obalende flooding has been resolved, Victoria Island and Ikoyi flooding from the Bar Beach is under control. The famous "River LUTH" in Idi Araba is now history".
He added that the administration has shown that impossibilities are excuses for failure and that it is always possible for a people to change whatever they do not accept.
The Governor while responding to a question on why he has not replied the allegations leveled against the executive arm by a group known as the True Face of Lagos said he will not be distracted by allegations that are without substance, adding that at the appropriate time he will respond to the allegations.
Said he: "This is my own True face. At the appropriate time we will respond, but we will not respond to allegations that are not factual when we are confronted with evidence of our impropriety we will respond. We will stand here offering our integrity as our collective collateral that entitles us to govern this state".
"My colleagues and I know very well to defend everything that we have done in the last three years, but we will not be distracted by allegations that have no substance. An arm of the government which has oversight responsibility over our appropriations which is the House of Assembly is already investigating the matter, what else do you want us to do".
"Another arm of Government which is the judicial arm is saying hold on a second. We are reviewing things. I think it is fair and proper to allow the instrument and organs of government to work in the way that they are set out to work".
The Governor also disclosed that the present administration in Lagos has put in place measures that are intended to provide water to the people in the short term, medium term and long term basis.
He said on the short term basis, 15 Mini Water Works each with a capacity for two million gallons of water have been earmarked for Lagos with eight already completed and handed over while the remaining seven are in various stages of completion.
"We have also worked on the power supply to Iju and Adiyan Water Works which hitherto was delivering 40 million gallons of water daily but now giving 105 Million gallons of water daily".
In addition, Governor Fashola informed that each of the 15 Mini Water Works have 5km reticulation attached to it and line with these, the State Government intends to bring Private Sector Participation to take certain segments of the area, enumerate and determine piping and connection for such areas.
Governor Fashola added that part of the measures which has led to improved water supply across the State is acceleration of efforts on phase two of Adiyan water project so that people of Iju and Agege can also have water supply.
He revealed that Government also intends to build Odomola in Epe to serve the people of Victoria Island and Ikoyi who originally were expected to be catered for by the Adiyan Water works but which has not.
On possibilities that the cost of Tejuosho market had gone beyond the reach of average market men and women, Governor Fashola explained that when Government decided to intervene in Tejuosho it had to do so for very vital reasons.
He submitted that there was no way the developer could have approached the business without running at a loss, adding that people should realise that irrespective of the cost at which any modern day market is offered there would still be people who would be unable to afford it.
The Solution, the Lagos State Governor explained lies in the establishment of opined that the only way out is bring in a mortgage scheme which would have at least 15 years tenor and allow the people to pay at their own pace.
In his words: "If I offer Lagos public servant a house for N10Million and I am asking him to pay cash immediately. It means I am encouraging him to engage in unethical means to raise the funds. But if I put processes of instalmental payments in place, I would have been engaging them in a renewal of dedication to duty".
On allegations that government has not mitigated the effects of the trampling on the rights of some people, the Governor said the present administration is one which takes the observation of people's rights very seriously.
He explained that when a few traders decided to turn the Agege Motor Road into a market thereby debarring many people from moving freely on the road and government in pursuance of its philosophy of delivering the greatest good to the greatest number at all times decided to clear the road, it still went ahead to build new markets for the displaced traders.
"Your right to trade ends where my right to free passage starts. It imposes a duty on you not to obstruct me from enforcing my own right. At every point I have been the last person to insist on rights. We are a government that cares but delivers the greatest good to the greatest number of people at all times", he assured.
On land administration in the State, Governor Fashola said the procedure could still be better, adding that what used to be done in ledgers for 500,000 cannot be used for 18Million people and still expect to get the desired results.
He added that what is needed now is automation of land processing which would also involve scanning records and getting all the departments that has one thing or the other to do with the land so that it can be done electronically.
He also advised members of the public to stop circumventing the process by allowing it to work for the people, noting that each time he is asked to intervene in the process of land issues, the people disallow the system from working normally.
He reiterated that the State Government is always reviewing the procedure and processes by engaging in a constant examination, stating that this is why the process of issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy (C of Os) is being reviewed to improve on the integrity of the document.
On the waste to wealth programme of the Government, the State Governor said at the various dumpsites, there is a lot of recycling going on and government is trying to improve the mode and quality of the process.
He revealed that Government is also planning to build more mechanized and automated sorting facilities within Olusosun dumpsite but have been hampered by litigation from people who have erected structures on the dumpsites.
Governor Fashola also informed that the State currently has a waste to wealth facility in Odogunyan in Ikorodu which is providing qualitative service to as many as eleven State Governments, adding that the dumpsites are also serving ministries like Environment and Agriculture in providing organic waste which is being used to plant flowers.
On Agriculture, he revealed that just as many Lagosians have come to agree that Lagos land is more valuable for real estate than for farming purposes, the State Government plans to get arable lands in other states of the Federation where it can set up farms where people can be engaged.
Asked to address what he considers the most impactful contribution to Lagosians, the Governor said rather than the bridges and the water facilities and the roads, the most impactful engagement has been with the people.
"I think the people of Lagos have been our most defining infrastructure and that the reward we receive is a replacement of their despair with confidence and their hope that nothing is now impossible in their state".
On how the administration intends to be methodical in its programmes, Governor Fashola said: "Because there is so much to do, we know it would never be finished, even if we live for a hundred years. This is the essence of human challenges. No matter how prosperous the economy is there would always be a need".
"What we are trying to avoid is to respond in a knee jerk manner, one road here in Ikorodu, one road in Epe, one road in Iyana- Ipaja all of which leads nowhere. Roads must connect and open up places and this is what I meant by being methodical.
If you have seen what we did during the last administration taking the CBD, taking Victoria Island, taking the Outer Marina now moving into Funsho Williams and moving through Yaba, you will see the method there, a pattern is emerging that is discernible to see. Everybody does not have to come to the Victoria Island for leisure anymore it is available now in Yaba. That is about being methodical".
He assured that work is still ongoing in other parts in other difficult parts of the State with the government expecting nothing but success.
"Green spaces and beautiful parks have become things that Lagosians take for granted; contrary to the belief that Lagos was a concrete jungle".
"We imploded the partially collapsed Bank of Industry building without damage to any building or loss of any life, the first of its type in West Africa, contrary to the belief that it could not be done", Governor Fashola reiterated.
He stated that with regards to security, Lagos is now safer than many other cities with its population size globally, and violent crime has dropped by over 70percent and there was no successful bank robbery in the last two years contrary to the belief that Lagos was an irredeemably crime infested state.
"Street lights now provide safety and a sense of security that has enabled the emergence of a night-time economy contrary to the belief that it would never happen.
"We have operated the Bus Rapid Transit Scheme for almost 3 years carrying millions of passengers in comfort and it has now become a continental model contrary to the belief that it was doomed to fail, the Lagos State helmsman added.
Governor Fashola also informed that indeed, very recently, the Government received a citation from the Green Crystal Earth Group based in Sydney, Australia for achieving the fastest infrastructure development ever undertaken in Africa.
Earlier in his welcome address, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Opeyemi Bamidele said as the administration approaches the final lap of its mandate, it is giving an assurance that no part of the State will be left untouched in its development efforts.
Said he: "From the opulence of Ikoyi and Victoria Island to the modest communities of Ajegunle and Ijora Badia, we remain unwavering in our commitment to build a new Lagos. This is what you wanted. This is what you voted for. This is what you deserve and this is the minimum you can get from us".
Prominent among those who witnessed the event were Deputy Governor, Princess Sarah Adebisi Sosan, members of the State Executive Council, some members of the State House of Assembly, National Chairman of the Action Congress, Chief Bisi Akande, Chairman of the Lagos Chapter of the party, Chief Henry Ajomale, Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, Chief Imam of Lagos, Alhaji Garba Akinola Ibrahim, media executives and several dignitaries.