Ambode’s Ikorodu Outing, A Historic Home Coming Indeed | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Ambode’s Ikorodu Outing, A Historic Home Coming Indeed

Ambode Akinwunmi
Posted: Apr 19, 2016 at 4:02 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Ejikeme Omenazu

Lagos – Thursday April 15, 2016 will remain historic for the people of Ikorodu in particular and Lagos East Senatorial District in general. For that day, their son, and the Chief Executive of the state, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, came to his roots. Although Ambode is from Epe, the people of IKorodu and Epe belong to the same Senatorial District and they worked very hard to ensure that he garnered a large number of votes from there during the 2015 general elections.

Thus when on April 15, the governor stormed Ikorodu for a Town Hall Meeting, it was indeed an opportunity for the people from Ikorodu, Epe and the Lagos East in general to empathise with him as ‘the son of the soil’. Thus, they came in large number to receive him at the venue of the event, which was the third of such since Ambode mounted the saddle as the state’s Chief Executive. It was also the First Quarter 2016 Town Hall Meeting.

On that day, thousands of residents from the Ikorodu area and the Lagos East Senatorial District thronged the Town Hall to be part of the event, which attracted several government officials, especially members of his cabinet as well as royal fathers, market men and women, artisans as well as politicians.

Although the event was scheduled to start by 10.am, the hall was already jam-packed as early as 8.am, while a large number of security personnel were there to keep the peace and maintain order in the vicinity.

The crowd  was exhilarated when they sighted the governor and his entourage and the hall exploded with songs and praises as he was ushered into the crowded hall. Many people also stood up to dance to the beat of the music provided at the venue.

However, the Town Hall Meeting provided another opportunity for the governor to explain some of his programmes even as he made vital pronouncements of where his administration was going, his policy direction. He specifically announced that his government planned to sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with investors for the construction of the proposed the 4th Mainland Bridge, ordered the police to enforce the Okada restriction on Mile 12 and appealed the Area Boys to lay down their arms and embrace rehabilitation and empowerment efforts of the government.

On the 4th Mainland Bridge, Ambode maintained when completed, it would go a long way to boost the economy of Lagos East Senatorial District. On this, Ambode said: “Many investors have shown interest in the actualisation of our dream for the 4th Mainland Bridge, which will run from Ajah to Ikorodu to Isawo and berth at Ojodu, Ikeja, back to the Ibadan expressway. By the grace of God, we will sign an MoU and commence action before May 29”.

The governor hinted that investors had also shown interest in the redevelopment of the fish market to an international fish market and the redevelopment of inner roads in Epe and Ibeju-Lekki. He said the intention of his administration was to ensure that no part of the state was left undeveloped, expressing optimism that the Lagos East Senatorial District, which used to be the economic hub of the state in the then Western Region, would regain its position.

He stressed: “Over the years, the economic activities have continually dwindled resulting in urban migration, underdevelopment and unemployment.  It is with a view of revitalising the economic activities of this zone that government has identified the need for urgent intervention.

“To this end, government will be relocating the Mile 12 Market to Imota.  Work on this will commence next week.  Our vision is to make the East Senatorial Zone economically viable and liveable.”

On complaints over the menace of motorcycles, otherwise known as Okada riders in the state, Ambode went political and democratic. He asked the people whether they would support a total ban on such mode of transportation in this age and time and in a city like Lagos. To this question, the people responded in the affirmative as the majority of the stakeholders in the hall raised their hands in support of the ban.

For their affirmation, Ambode stated: “I am encouraged by this very transparent, credible, free and fair affirmation which I just got from the people. From the response, many of the people in this hall are in support of a total ban on Okada and since this is a government of the people, all the security agencies in Lagos, including the Police, Task Force, LASTMA and others, to start with, are hereby directed to fully enforce the ban on Okada between Mile 12 and Ikorodu.

“We will not tolerate Okada on the road and I hereby emphasise that there is no more Okada on Mile 12-Ikorodu Road. Anyone caught flouting this directive will have their Okada impounded and we would prosecute such people as well before the court.”

On the need for the youths in the state to key into the programmes lined up for them by his administration, Ambode urged street urchins  alias Area Boys, and those youths who  involve in social vices, including cultism, to lay down their arms, assuring that they would be empowered to be gainfully and productively engaged.

He said the plan of his administration was that youths, artisans and entrepreneurs in each of the Senatorial districts and divisions in the State would be able to access at least N1billon between now and June, and use same for their greater economic prosperity, and by extension that of the State.

Ambode, who also responded to pleas by Ikorodu residents on the need for the expansion and rehabilitation of the road network, assured that government would explore the Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiative to transform the Ikorodu-Imota-Agbowa-Itokin-Epe Road into a standard eight-lane Road.

He also directed the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources as well as the State Electricity Board to look at the possibilities of providing electricity for Igbo-Olomu community, a suburb in Ikorodu, which had been without light for over 10 years.

Highlighting some of his administration’s strides in the last quarter, Ambode said the state achieved major breakthrough in security, saying that since the launch of the N4.78 billion equipment, the state had won several battles against crime.

He said the quick response in the rescue of the kidnapped girls in Ikorodu and the quelling of the Mile 12 riot were testimonies of the effectiveness of the security system in Lagos. He added that many criminals had been arrested since the launch of the security equipment, saying that he was ready to pay for information given that would lead to the arrest of hardened criminals.

“I am ready to pay monetary compensation for information on hardened criminals as we proceed to make Lagos crime-free. We are happy to report that crime rate has also reduced in the last three months,” he said.

Ambode also appealed to residents to continue to pay their taxes, take ownership of projects in their domain and support the government to achieve the policies and programmes aimed at ensuring a safe and prosperous Lagos.

Also speaking at the occasion, the Senator representing Lagos East Senatorial District, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, added his voice at the occasion. After welcoming Governor Ambode “back home” on behalf of the people of the district, commended him for the decision to engage the people of Lagos state on a district wide basis is very highly commendable as it brings governance closer to the people.

This action, Ashafa said, “gives each Lagosian the requisite sense of belonging and it shows that the government of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode cares to carry each and every one of us along.” Ashafa, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Transport, thanked the governor for continually keeping his campaign promises to the people.

Ashafa stressed: “From the Light up Lagos project to the revamping of the Lagos State Security apparatus, Lagos East has continued to benefit directly from this governments projects and policies. I would allude to three incidents among many others, where Lagos East has benefitted directly from this administration’s efforts.

“First is the electrification project embarked upon by the Lagos State Government through which at least 67 communities in the Ibeju- Lekki area of Lagos East got connected to the National grid. Some of these communities had hitherto now never had electricity for the past six years For this, we once again thank our Dynamic Governor.”

He dwelt on the kidnap of school girls in the Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary in Ikorodu and the disturbances which took place within the Mile 12 market, stressing that but for the investment of the administration in the security and Ambode swift and decisive leadership, those situations could have gone out of control. He thanked God that the school girls were found and returned to their school authorities and normalcy was returned to Mile 12 market.

Ashafa stated that as a lawmaker, he and his colleages at the National Assembly supported the governor to obtain the third tranche of the World Bank $200 million Lagos State Development Policy Operation (DPO), and had been fully committed to doing their part in the continued success of a greater Lagos under Ambode’s leadership.

He thanked the governor for giving Lagos quality leadership and encouraged  him to continue to do more to ensure that the excellent status of Lagos continued to be the standard to beat.