The inaugural address by His Excellency, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, Governor of Lagos State, on Friday, May 29, 2015 at Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos
Today, I have just performed the sacred duty of oath-taking as the Governor of Lagos State. It has pleased GOD through the good people of Lagos State, that my destiny as a little boy, born from a humble background, on the 14th day of JUNE to become the 14th Governor of our great State, Lagos is being realised.
I am eternally grateful to all of you. To all Lagosians,the young and elderly, widows, physically-challenged; girls and boys, and especially, the children; who followed our musical campaign with vigour; God bless you all.
Permit me to acknowledge and appreciate specially all the voters that voted for me; equally appreciate those that did not and also the people that did not exercise their franchise to vote at all. We are all winners. One of the instructive lessons from this last political campaign and election is for all politicians never to take our people for granted again. I would, more than ever before; take you, the good people of Lagos, along with me, in this journey of renewed hope and prosperity at all times.
My appreciation goes to all our elder statesmen and women including all our senior citizens. To all our religious leaders, I say thank you. All our Muslim leaders, Christians leaders and other faiths; your prayers for Lagos State did not go unanswered.
I must not fail to acknowledge all our civil society organisations. The students, civil servants, labour unions, artisans, professionals, corporate Lagos, the business community, thank you very much. To all Lagosians in diaspora, foreign residents and all other stakeholders; thank you for keeping faith in the potential greatness of our State.
From the bottom of my heart, I greet all our traditional rulers, our Royal Fathers, Kings, Chiefs and their wives. I thank you all, most especially, the Chairman; the State Council of Obas and Chiefs, His Royal Majesty, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, Oba of Lagos. We promise to continue to nurture our traditional institutions as part of our heritage.
To our Party Leaders and all members of our great party, The All Progressives Congress (APC); today belongs to you all. Our elected Officers, the three Distinguished Senators, Honourable Members of the House of Representatives and Members of the House of Assembly; congratulations and thank you.
And my Deputy; Dr. Idiat Oluranti Adebule, thank you.
To my family, words are not enough; My mother, who is here today, thank you for being a very caring mother to me. All my uncles, brothers and sisters; I appreciate you. To my lovely wife, Bolanle, thank you so much for your sacrifices and perseverance. God bless you always. My children, friends and loved ones and supporters; I really appreciate the enormity of sacrifices, pain, prayers and efforts. I remain eternally grateful.
Lastly, I speak to the two people that have shaped the history of this State in the last sixteen (16) years.
You are focused, dogged and hard-working, you are a visioner par excellence. You are a bridge-builder. To our leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; you have laid an enduring foundation for what we are all building on today. When the history of the political economy of Nigeria is being written, surely it would be kind to you. Thank you so much.
To our Distinguished Senator, (Mrs.) Oluremi Tinubu; your support and commitment to our State and to me personally during the election is well appreciated.
To the out-going Governor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), you have fought the good fight. You came, you saw, you conquered. I have been at close quarters as a student, you as my teacher and mentor. On behalf of my family and other good people of Lagos; we say thank you. We appreciate you and your family.
As we collectively face the challenge to make Lagos a better place to live in, we must recognize our strength in diversity. A common national identity where everybody counts. I shall run an open government of inclusion that will not leave anyone behind. No matter your age, sex, tribe or any other Status, as long as you reside in Lagos, we will make Lagos work for you.
The Nigerian Dream
Lagosians are hardworking people. Lagos is striving because of its undying entrepreneurial spirit. However we must realise that there are no short-cuts to success. To our youths, we must nurture good family values to succeed in any endeavour. I want our younger ones and children to draw some lessons from my story. Anyone of you can rise up to be the best you want to be. Your background and circumstances cannot be an obstacle to your dreams. In our country, particularly in Lagos, you can always succeed. This is the Nigerian dream where hard-work, courage, perseverance, persistence, merit and rewards pay. We must therefore embrace new thinking and be determined to succeed at all times. I am ready to encourage and nurture that dream in our children, youths and every hard-working Lagosian. We would reward merit, hard-work and loyalty to the State. The future is for those who dare to dream and find courage to pursue their dreams.
The Future is Now
We are all witnesses to the economic downturn and dwindling revenues at the national and state levels. The present economic situation has affected the financial profile of most states in the country.
The state is blessed that the foundation of its financial autonomy was designed and implemented by that visioner and our leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Thus, the state has been partially shielded from the negative trend flowing from the federal level.
For us to sustain the progressive and radical transformation on-going in the state, we have to redouble our efforts on all fronts for our commitment to excellence. While we must be creative and innovative; we are not citizens until we become responsible tax payers. I want to assure all of us that I will make your taxes work for you. You will surely get a transparent and incorruptible government that will give you good value for your taxes paid.
Creativity is the most valuable asset in any public institution. Progressive governments must reward contributors of good ideas. Therefore, wherever practicable, we shall practise government by incentives and not government by enforcement. We shall implement creative ideas and concepts that reduce the cost of running government; ideas that make life simpler and happier for our people.
I, therefore, invite you all, to join hands with me, to offer new ideas that will pull more resources to cater for the poor and needy amongst us. This will be a compassionate government.
Development Plan (2012 – 2025)
In the spirit of continuity, I am committed to the State Development Plan (2012 – 2025). The plan is structured under four pillars; (1) Social Development and Security; (2) Infrastructural Development; (3) Economic Development and (4) Sustainable Environment.
The challenges we face today as a State, are good enough ingredients to bring out the best of all of us. Together, we shall push forward and not look back, with our hands firmly on the plough. We would work hard to tackle poverty, ignorance and social decadence in our State.
Public Sector Reforms
As we all know, the best practices of yesterday may not be good enough for the products of today. In this sense, we shall embark on continuous reforms in the public service. I am determined to demonstrate that the government belongs to the citizens. You have put us here as servants to serve you and not you serving us. Today we are committed to that creed.
Moving forward, the Civil Service will be strengthened and made to respond to the needs of all citizens in the same manner, quality services are rendered in the private sector.
My administration is prepared to take the decisions needed to promote merit and professionalism. To restructure where required, eliminate poor Human Resource practices and accelerate the pace of reforms in the spirit of good governance.
I want to assure the business community and corporate Lagos that the ease of doing business in Lagos will be improved upon earnestly. Lagos is open for greater business; To this end, a new office of Overseas Affairs and Investment (LAGOS GLOBAL) shall be created under the Governor’s Office.
We want you to fly into Lagos, start your business, find your way; live, work and enjoy in Lagos.
As part of our reforms, a new Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment shall be established. This would specifically address the promise I made during the campaign on employment trust fund, labour exchange and entrepreneurship. This goal, we shall pursue vigorously.
Also, the Office of Civic Engagement shall be created under the Deputy Governor’s Office to strengthen and enhance our promise on government of inclusion. Everyone must have a voice in my administration.
I have the political will to engage investors and stakeholders in creating the enabling environment for tourism, entertainment and arts; and iconic infrastructure for the benefit of all.
Once again, I thank the good people of Lagos for the confidence reposed in our party; both at the national and State levels. We shall not disappoint you. God bless you all.
God bless Lagos State
God bless Nigeria
Itesiwaju Ipinle Eko