The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Akinwunmi Ambode, in Lagos is running in the February 28, 2015 election on the message of providing L.A.G.O.S- an acronym for Leadership, Accountability, Governance, Opportunity and Service.
Undergirding this memorandum is his refrain (‘Theme’) to ‘Making Lagos Work for All’ by focusing on Security, Economy, Infrastructure, Healthcare, Social Welfare and Good Governance.
With Lagos State catering for an estimated 20 million people that keep swelling by the day, it is no wonder that the Economy takes primacy in Ambode’s programmes, with priority on job creation, galvanised by an Employment Trust Fund, with a commitment of N25billion in four years by the government.
Of this amount, N1 billion will be accessed by each of the five divisions in the state (Ikorodu, Badagry, Ikeja, Lagos and Epe Divisions) for the next four years.
Besides establishing a Small Business Loan Guarantee Scheme, his administration will encourage Corporate Lagos to participate in the Employment Trust Fund and other areas of need that will help take the youths off the streets.
Specifically, Corporate Lagos will, among others, provide adequate security for local and foreign businessmen and women to operate without fear of investment losses; address regulatory matters on a fast-track basis with the aid of effective e-governance solutions for businesses.
It will also implement existing laws and make new ones that promote the interest of all stakeholders in the implementation of Corporate Social Responsibility obligations to the extent that funds are channelled directly to the established Trust Funds; and adhere strictly to the rule of law and quick access to courts for dispute resolution and protection of investment rights and obligations on transactions.
Corporate Lagos will ensure the removal of all multiple taxes/fees from the state’s tax codes as a matter of urgency; and promote legislation that reinforces equal opportunities for all in the labour market.
It will re-invent the ‘Middle Class’ by taking deliberate actions with commensurate political will to propel it into the engine room of the economic prosperity of Lagos; and collaborate with relevant stakeholders to establish a credit system that is a win-win for everyone to boost trade and commerce.
Under Security, Law and Order, an Ambode administration will commit to a safe and attractive community to all residents and visitors alike by continued support and expansion of the role of the Security Trust Fund.
While the government will pursue the Residents’ Identity Scheme and improvement reviews to enable an integrated solution in keeping the streets and homes safe from criminals and terrorists; and commit to the protection of the rights of every citizen and enforcement of all laws that allow peaceful co-existence of all persons in the state; it will also undertake Security and Justice Sector reforms in the state.
On Education, the expected government pledges to continue the current schools renovation programme state-wide, to improve the learning environment; upgrade libraries and create new ones into e-libraries in each LGA/LCDA in the state; and establish IBILE meal scheme in public schools.
It will pay bursary for students in higher institutions and introduce scholarship into the Vocational and Technical Colleges, as well as reposition LASU and Lagos State Polytechnic and other tertiary institutions as global centres of academic excellence.
This shall emerge through massive infrastructural development, corporate engagement and international collaboration and continuation of the current subsidy and tuition-free schooling.
Ambode’s government will continue to improve upon the flagship Primary Health Care Programme of the state, to increase the number and quality of Public Health Centres (PHC) that can offer 24/7 services on outpatient and maternal care.
It will harmonise private and public sector collaboration in secondary health care; establish medic-parks and bio-parks to stave off huge capital flight arising from medical expenses abroad, and reduce doctor-patient ratio and support health institutions with more equipment and infrastructure.
It will pay more attention to the training and capacity-building of practitioners in medical institutions/offices.
The popular Lagos Home Ownership Mortgage Scheme (HOMS) will be expanded to target more people in the areas of need and affordability, thus using alternative technologies that reduce the cost of housing delivery in the state.
It will pursue urban renewal schemes to reduce the menace of slums and enforce housing control laws and other regulations that will make the state attractive for everyone to live in.
The focus of Agriculture will be on job creation by sustaining the 3,000 acres of land in Ogun State and 500 acres in Abuja for agricultural products already in existence.
The administration will promote other agricultural value-chain such as rice processing, with the overall goal of commencing agro-processing business in Lagos, and expand fish production to ensure self-sufficiency in the first two years and export in the last two years of his administration.
An Ambode government promises provision of a clean and safe environment, clean air, and good neighbourhood, to meet international standards suitable enough for visitors and residents to live in comfortably.
It will improve the enforcement of environmental/sanitation laws by expanding personnel, awareness and equipment; promote recycling business and programmes, as a youth-enterprise initiative; and continue the Ejinrin relocation project, to reduce the incidence of slums in the urban centres.
It will expand the Emergency Relief Agency to meet the needs of the people in all ramifications; increase access to clean water by expanding the waterworks networks in the state; and improve on the flood response framework to prevent flooding and its consequences at all times.
To achieve the above, the APC candidate says his government will launch Project ‘T.H.E.S.E’, which is an integrated solution involving the systematic integration of Tourism, Hospitality, Entertainment/Arts and Sports for Excellence, “which will enable the state to explore, execute and enshrine a new vista of jobs for our youths, our women and vocational artisans,” and improve on revenue sources with visitors and foreigners to Lagos.
Children come first under the Social Welfare Ambode envisioned for Lagos, under which he is guaranteeing the protection and safety of every child, particularly the rights of the vulnerable, such as street children, trafficked children, children with disabilities, and criminalised child labour.
Promising to enforce the Child Abuse Law in the state, while making education free and compulsory for every child up to the secondary school level, Ambode says he will deliberately provide recreational/sports centres and parks for public schools and places, to guarantee the mental balance of every child and promote quality labour force for the future.
He plans to support and empower Women by strengthening the institutional capacity of the Ministry of Women Affairs, to enable greater attention and effectiveness in its coordination of women development matters across ethnic, linguistic, religious or other sectional divides.
While paying special attention and recognition to professional women organisations, and encourage them to reach out to women groups in formal/informal settings for overall participation in the political economy, he is committed to the needs/issues that concern widows, single parents and disadvantaged/challenged women.
In addition, he shall work out a tax-incentive plan for women in business, to encourage greater participation in the economy, and implement a policy of equal opportunity for women and men in the party structure and government.
The Aged are not left out in the social safety nets, as partakers in the overall resources of the state, with the provision of shelter homes/food courts with basic health facilities to be funded through a trust fund and support of the relevant stakeholders; and an agreed tax rebate scheme to cushion the inflationary impact on their benefits/incomes for both retired and non-retired senior people.
An Ambode government will protect and enforce the rights and privileges of all disadvantaged persons, irrespective of age, sex and circumstances, through enforcement of the Disability Law (2011) of Lagos State and establishment of a Disabled Persons Welfare Fund in accordance with the Law.
Youths of between the ages of 10-16 (or JSS1 to SS3 students) will enjoy after-school programmes, such as: Inter school debates, Art competitions, Mathematics and Science competition and Young innovation/inventor competition and encourage a reward system to promote excellence.
They will be provided school re-integration facilities such as off-site schools that enable the youths learn and gradually be re-integrated into the school system.
The government shall create gap year internships (students waiting for admission into universities and other tertiary institutions); and through partnerships with private organisations and State Ministries, students with minimum results could be given internship jobs to keep them busy while they await admission into universities and other tertiary institutions.
There will be entertainment hubs for youths between the ages of 16- 24 (out of school or not gainfully employed) such as LAGMUSIC: an innovative youth development programme, modeled on a youth participation approach.
Ambode also plans to establish a Lagos State Youth Social Enterprise Day, which will allow youths with socially focused ideas an opportunity to pursue and birth these ideas; develop a Youth Employment Agenda (YEA), to offer the youths an opportunity to kick-start their careers with traineeships and apprenticeships within Lagos State Government, to make way for paid employments, work experience and skills development; and introduce Lagos Spark: a community-focused programme, to get youths involved in developing their communities/LGA/Wards.
On Governance, an Ambode government promises to give governance back to the communities by integrating Community Development Associations (CDAs) and Community Development Committees (CDCs) into the participatory network of service delivery and budgetary cycle of government at all levels; and implement reforms to improve on their roles, functions and relationship with their communities.
The Civil Service will be responsive and efficient, with emphasis on service delivery through the implementation of e-governance in operations and promote capacity building within the public service.
On Power and Energy, the Lagos IPP scheme will be expanded to cater for public utilities and industrial zones, and where necessary and possible, explore alternative energy sources to reduce dependence on hydro-energy; and defend the interest of electricity consumers for fair pricing from private franchisees.
The government will provide an integrated solution to road networks that allows for easy movement from the suburbs to urban centres, by building bridges and bypasses where inevitable for decongestion of traffic.
The APC candidate says the 29 bridges in Lagos are inadequate, with seven of them needing expansion urgently.
Rural areas shall enjoy the same standard of roads/bridge network with the urban centres, thereby improving and expanding on all physical infrastructure across communities, as a means of attracting the right set of investors/businesses to the state.
Pursue a fully integrated transport management system that takes into consideration: Roads (Pursue the mono-rail alternative as a means of mobility; complete on-going Blue-Line (CMS-Okokomaiko, while ensuring the delivery of the red line (Ikeja-Agbado); Air (Commit to the Lekki Airport project) and Water (Advance public waterways transportation).
Overhaul and expand the BRT scheme to all the divisions in the state; introduce new bus routes and increase bus fleet; as well as encourage the creation of bicycle lanes in the suburbs
Finance is key to accomplishing these programmes, with Ambode pledging commitment to a proper financial and statistical planning on the needs of Lagos in the next 20 years; and establishment of the Lagos Finance and Development Commission that allows all stakeholders, including the private sector, civil society and government to match the needs of the state with the financial resources to attain our goals. -NgrGuardian