CONTENTS JUNE - JULY, 2017
CHRONICLE OF GOVERNANCE IN LAGOS STATE
THE EVOLUTION OF LAGOS IN THE PAST FIVE DECADES By Yinka Oloyede
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT MUST BE OUR UTMOST PRIORITY – Chief Dr. Omojolowo
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DESCRIBES LAGOS STATE AS A TRUE MODEL OF THE VISION OF DOING BUSINESS, ENELAMAH
LAGOS IS LIVING ITS FULL POTENTIALS, SAYS DR. KENNEDY OKONKWO
THE EVOLUTION OF LAGOS IN THE PAST FIVE DECADES BY YINKA OLOYEDE
LAGOS STATE GOVERNMENT SHOULD FOCUS ON NEW CITIES DEVELOPMENT - Dr. Akpo Onduke
LAGOS STATE CAN EXPLOIT ALTERNATIVE SOURCE OF ENERGY TO SOLVE THE PERENNIAL POWER CHALLENGE - Chief Vincent Ajede
TAX PAYERS’ MONEY SPURRED LAGOS’ INFRASTRUCTURE LEAP — AMBODE
THE ORIGIN OF ADAMU ORISHA PLAY (POPULARLY KNOWN AS EYO)
OUR INTEREST IS TO DEVELOP NIGERIA WITHOUT OIL SAYS GANIYU DADA
TWO YEARS OF TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP OF GOVERNOR AKINWUNMI AMBODE
LAGOS @ 50 – THE UNTOLD STORY
ASIWAJU BOLA AHMED TINUBU LAID THE FOUNDATION FOR A NEW LAGOS
June - July, 2017
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Celebrating 50 years of Excellence This is a special edition of Ekocity magazine to commemorate and celebrate Lagos State @50 anniversary. We were excited as the celebration is more or less a celebration of excellence as Lagos has become a model for National development. In a bid to serve you a bumper edition, we had to reach out and talk to reputable corporate organizations and individuals who have contributed positively to the economic transformation of Lagos State as part of this package.
EKOCITY MAGAZINE PUBLISHER Abiodun Fawumi MANAGING EDITOR Nnamdi Nwokolo GLOBAL EDITOR Olorunfemi Bababtunde HEAD GRAPHICS / LAYOUT DESIGNER OlaWale Hammed ON-LINE EDITOR Citizen Odunayo EDITORIAL ADVISER Rotimi Akinbobola, Demola Davies, Idris Alabidun EDITORIAL BOARD Olaleye Olusegun, Alaba Foluso, Ike Okonkwo, Ojo Olorunjunwon CORRESPONDENT Agada Mercy (Lagos), Ademola Aderonke (Ikorodu), Chinwe John (UK) LEGAL ADVISER Phylex Associates COLUMNIST Taiwo Joseph, Dr. Paul Jesuyajolu, Akin Abimbola, Engr. Fakiyesi Oladapo, Prof. Hubert Ramphasaad, Bukola Idowu, Adeyinka Oloyede DISTRIBUTOR Tolbim Marketing Agency Company PHOTOGRAPHER Adegboyega Moses & Tiza Joseph BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Abosede Ikotun, Adeyinka , Nkechi Olunwa, Bolanle Oladipo
As you know, Ekocity Magazine is a 100% Lagos focused portal with combined daily reach of 530,000 on our online and digital platforms. This Anniversary edition of Ekocity Magazine has been packaged as a memoir for Lagosians to serve as guide by presenting a 360 view of Lagos in the last fifty years. Most of our respondents were unanimous that the anniversary is worth celebrating when you aggregate the developments that have taken place in the commercial city of Lagos which has served as the business hub of Africa. There is no gainsaying that Lagos has been blessed with visionary leaders since the return to civil rule in 1999 going by the tremendous developments that has taken place over the years. We believe that kudos should be given to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for the foresight in picking his successors and that is the reason why Lagos is far above its contemporaries in terms of infrastructural development and others.
This edition is rich in content as we present to you the untold story of Lagos @ 50 as well as captivating interviews from great entrepreneurs and business men who have seen it all in Lagos. The history of Eyo and the chronicle of governance in Lagos are in this edition to give a sense of history and culture to ourreaders. Sports and entertainment information are equally included for your reading delight. We congratulate the amiable Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode for relentlessly developing the Lagos of our dreams. We hope that you will enjoy this edition which has been carefully packaged as a memoir and feel free to ask for copies from your vendor and as always, we will like to get feedback from you to help us serve you better. Cheers, Abiodun Fawunmi
LAGOS ADDRESS: Suite 5, Jabita Hotel Plaza, 144 Awolowo Road, Opp. Airport Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos. US ADDRESS: 12610 Rustic Rock Lane, Beltsville MD, 20705. ENQUIRIES: 07015637452, 08023082446 E-MAIL: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org WEBSITE: www.ekocitymagazine.com ekocitymagazine
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Crystabel Goddie: A New Dawn in Nollywood
June - July, 2017
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NOLLYWOOD Talented actress Crystabel Goddie, a Geophysicist turned artist for her passion touches on sundry issues as it affects her career and the future in this interview with Ekocity Magazine. Was your choice of Geophysics by accident? No, it wasn’t by accident at all. I won’t use the word accident as my earlier intention was to study Medicine but you know the challenges we encounter with JAMB as well as school denying you admission for one reason or the other and all of that. My uncle who is a Professor of Geophysics questioned the reason why we all want to study medicine and coaxed me to enroll for Geophysics as he believes that I have all it takes to excel in that discipline. Frankly, I’ve always been an enthusiastic individual and the idea of staying at home for another one year is not in the picture, so, I took up the challenge and registered for the course. But deep down, I knew that one way or the other I’ll end up in the Arts but wanted to do it for the sake of the family. I enjoyed the course as it was very interesting being in the midst of a male dominated environment. Upon graduation, I used the certificate a few times as I worked with a couple of companies before I resigned to follow my passion in acting. In switching from being a Scientist to an Artist, was there opposition from family members? Interestingly, there was none. Ordinarily, one would have thought that my mum being a very conservative person would oppose the idea, but she didn’t, rather she supported the move. I strongly believe that I delved into acting at the due time in that I was more matured in my thoughts and my actions hence the wide acceptance by all. My mum gave me her support knowing full well that my time has come. Was there any challenge adjusting from being a Scientist to acting? I’ll want you to realize that every meaningful venture comes with its peculiar challenges even being a Scientist comes with its own challenges also. I won’t say there were challenges in trying to adjust because while I was in school, I was involved with a lot of auditions, though not for movie. But I was involved in several fashion shows and beauty pageants. The only challenge is that I can recall is that I’m a very shy person, you know, coming from an introverted background. So, meeting a lot of people at the auditions proved a little challenging but overtime I developed myself and built my confidence for the global challenge ahead. Having featured in a couple of movies, how did you break into the mainstream of acting? It is a crazy story and maybe, one day I’m going to make a movie out of it. I’ll get information for auditions knowing nobody and sometimes the crowd might be intimidating. But despite all this, I was get-
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also important to adhere to instructions and be ready. I strongly believe these qualities will help me get far in the industry. What’s your take on stories of sex for roles in the industry? People keep asking me this same question. Honestly there’s sexual harassment in any industry you can think of but I don’t know why the entertainment industry seems to be blown out of proportion. I know that people go through that experience as we speak but I’ve had no such experience. Like I said earlier, I go for my auditions and network as much as I can. For example, I was at the Lagos @ 50 concerts and I was opportune to meet a lot of people that can influence my career positively. I try to be as professional as possible and I do my beat and leave the rest to God. I’ve not had that experience and I pray not to because it is a very ugly and unpleasant experience. ting call backs. My very first audition was for Jenifa’s diary and it was very tedious as they have several stages but I continued to get call backs till it got to the negotiation level. My first job was “Green White Green”. The film has been everywhere around the world including Russia, New York, and Toronto. In fact it is one of the Nigerian films that featured in the Toronto International Film Festival and it has been currently nominated for an award at the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA). Those experiences really helped me in building my confidence and I’m better for it. Any regrets toeing the career path? To the glory of God, there has not been any regret whatsoever. However, I’ve gotten into trouble once and it is really regrettable but I’m here to stay. It is important to let people know that the moment you realize that no path is easy, you tend to persevere as consistency pays. There’s no need hopping around the moment you realize the purpose why you are in a particular vocation as the realization will help build your perseverance and consistency. What makes you different in the industry? I believe that my brand is a work in progress but I believe in my passion. It is only passion that will make you leave your comfort zone and take the risk to a place you do not know anybody. Apart from the ugly experience I had last year, I got special traits in terms of my size and my natural hair and I intend to maintain my size so that it doesn’t affect the roles i can take on. The most important factor for success in this industry is to be teachable as well as having a listening skill. It’s
In the next couple of years: Oh my God, I’m very ambitious and can only hope. There is an adage that says when there’s life, there’s hope and I can only hope for the best, in terms of more movies and awards locally as well as internationally. So far, two of my works have gotten accolades and I think the next step is to look up to personal awards. Every ambitious person looks up to the moment he/she will be recognized for their efforts. I equally hope to produce my own movies as I have a couple of stories. I also intend to get more training in acting to get better for the global challenge ahead. What is your perception of Lagos? Lagos is in a class of its own. To digress a bit, I saw a video clip where a woman said she was leaving Ondo for Nigeria when in actual fact, she was going to Lagos. The city is the entertainment as well as the business hub of Africa, so people look up to coming to Lagos and sincerely, when they come, they don’t get disappointed. Lagos is a bigger market if you know what you are doing because you can achieve anything in Lagos. If you don’t have focus in Lagos, you’ll be easily swayed. Lagos has everything, the good, the bad and the ugly and I’ve had my fair share of it. Is Lagos worth celebrating @ 50? Definitely, I think it’s worth celebrating. I don’t know about other Governors but the leadership in Lagos state has being a bit selfless. They care more about the wellbeing of the people and it is very impressive. I wake up every day to see new developments in the state to improve the living standards of the people. In simple words, there’s hope for Lagos as it challenges you to be better.
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Community Development Must Be Our Utmost Priority – Chief Dr. Omojolowo
Chief Omojolowo is passionate about community development as well as creating a livelihood for people and that led him to the construction of 1.2 km wooden bridge that connect to Ayobo-Ipaja from Igando area of Lagos state. In this interview with this great achiever, Chief Omojolowo bared his mind on the need for citizens to be actively involved in community development as government cannot bear the burden alone. Tell us about Road link venture Nigeria Limited? The story of Road Link Ventures started a long time ago when I came into this community. I will be hearing people talking at the other side and I’ll be asking myself, who are these people? One day, I just find out these people live at Asipa, Ayobo jurisdiction and we cannot get there until we go through Moshalashi in Iyana Ipaja. Having come from the riverine area where we build our houses on top of water using planks, I nursed the idea of erecting a wooden bridge to ease the challenge people of the area go through daily. Upon consultation with the Oba and Baale as well as the local government I decided to use my wisdom and little knowledge God gave me to build this wooden bridge.
curity measures as they are only interested in derailing the development of the community. I have a strong belief that government cannot do everything like have said government cannot do everything but I know that the construction of this bridge has led to the development of both communities within the last four - five years. I thank my God because a lot of people still appreciate what we have done as they keep calling my phone as early as 4a.m expressing their joy. We don't have problems with security. We lock up and open at the appropriate time and there's no way anyone can pass through once it is locked, unless the person wants to pass through the canal. Like I said, some people call me as early as 4.30am and I tell them to wait. They queue up until it is time before they can pass. And that is the level of security I promised and I still stand by my promise. There has never been any incident of robbery or anything like that.
Did you take up the idea because you felt government has abandoned this people? i wouldn’t say so because, believe me government cannot do everything and if we think government should do everything we are deceiving ourselves. There are a thousand and one things the government is engaged in, so we must all be engaged one way or the other in community development. Knowing my ability and realizing the need for this bridge, I quickly consulted relevant stakeholders and constructed this bridge as my contribution to the development of Lagos state. I will never forget Honorable Jimoh Ajao who was the Local government Chairman of Igando -Ikotun then, who give instant approval to the idea despite the fact that some people became obstacles to the development.
bridge and some people alleged that the idea of the bridge is to facilitate armed robbers into the community. They went as far as writing frivolous criminal petitions against me which led to my being arrested severally. But, despite the challenges, I thank almighty God that they are the one enjoying the bridge today. As we speak, we are still going through the same challenges. For example, if a thief visits any house, people will attribute it to the bridge. But, we are strong willed and cannot be intimidated because we know the value we have brought to the community.
Sir, could u share some of the challenges you encountered? Don’t even go there as the challenges are numerous to mention. Initially, people strong resisted the construction of the
There ought to be security measures to check criminal activities... The place is always open by 5am in the morning and the gate is securely locked by 11pm but enemies will not observe this se-
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This bridge must have cost a fortune. How did you source for
the funds? I thank God. Like I said, initially when I wanted to do the initial one, I called one or two people to participate. But later, when they saw it as being capital intensive and they felt it’s not worth it, they withdrew their interest. So I then contacted some of my friends when the community had started accusing me that why did I start it at all. So I sourced for money through friends, microfinance banks and other finance houses. By the time I discovered that people were ready to assist, I thought to myself that instead of just building a pedestrian one, why don't I expand it and that's what happened. I was assisted by these friends and finance houses.
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Federal Government Describes Lagos State As A True Model Of The Vision Of Doing Business, Enelamah
he Federal Government has described Lagos State as a true model of the vision of doing business, saying that the State would turn Nigeria into one of the easiest and most attractive places for investors in the world. Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah, stated this in Lagos after a meeting with Governor Akinwunmi Ambode. The Minister said Lagos being the commercial capital of the country, stands in a vantage position to drive the goal of government to improve World Bank ranking of Nigeria on the ease of doing business. Speaking further, Enelemah said both the Federal Government and the State Government were willing to collaborate on strategic areas to achieve the overall goal of growing the economy. He said: “We basically have been talking about creating enabling environment for investments and ease of doing business and the area where we have strong convergence between Lagos State and the Federal Government. “Governor Ambode and I have been discussing how to collaborate very strongly to make Lagos State a true role model in line with our vision of making Nigeria one of the easiest and most attractive places to do business and you will agree with me that there is no better place to start than Lagos State, particularly when you have a Governor who is committed to it and as he puts it to us, it is like preaching to the converted. “So, what we have done today is to agree on modalities on working together to achieve the targets that we have set for ourselves both in ease of doing business ranking of the World Bank, in terms of some of the areas where we know that we should improve upon like tourism for instance, by making sure that people who want to visit Nigeria come in seamlessly; in terms of making it easy for people in Lagos State who are, as the Governor puts it, paying the taxes by making life easier and better for them.” On his part, Governor Ambode said in the last few months, the State Government had been engaging the business community on ease of doing business, saying that the meeting with officials of the Federal Government was in sync with the vision of his administration to achieve the very best in driving investment.
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WE WANT A SITUATION WHEREBY CONSTRUCTION PERMIT IS GIVEN TO PEOPLE WITHIN THE SHORTEST POSSIBLE TIME; WE WANT TO ENSURE THAT PEOPLE WHO PAY THEIR TAXES ACTUALLY HAVE THE BENEFIT OF WHAT THEY ARE PAYING FOR AND IN DOING THAT, IF WE GET IN RIGHT IN LAGOS, IT IS VERY CLEAR THAT NIGERIA HAS GOTTEN IT RIGHT AND THAT IS WHY WE ARE MEETING
“What has been happening in the last two years is that on our part, we have tried as much as possible to provide an enabling environment for businesses to thrive in Lagos but again the indices that indicate that we are improving on ease of doing business is not really looking too good and we believe strongly that if 70 per cent of businesses or these indicators are actually coming from Lagos State, there is a need for us to quickly create a convergence between the efforts of the Federal Government and the State Government to make sure that we improve the business environment and that is what we have been discussing in the last few weeks as well as today. “Moving forward, we have also engaged the office of the Vice President to see that there is a convergence in all our efforts to make sure that if possible, people should come to Lagos and start their business the same day. “We want a situation whereby construction permit is given to people within the shortest possible time; we want to ensure that people who pay their taxes actually have the benefit of what they are paying for and in doing that, if we get in right in Lagos, it is very clear that Nigeria has gotten it right and that is why we are meeting,” Governor Ambode said. The Governor expressed optimism that the current efforts would bring about major improvements on the business environment, adding that such would go a long way in growing the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria.
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Community Development Must Be Our Utmost Priority â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Chief Dr. Omojolowo How many people pass through the bridge on a daily basis now? As you know, we have pedestrians, motorcycles, tricycles, cars and other vehicles, so when they are going to work in the morning, we have a high number of people passing and when they're coming back. But in the afternoon like this [it is usually lighter.] Altogether, we are talking of thousands of people.
Looking at Lagos state at 50 years, how would you describe the business environment? At the inception of civilian rule in 1999, Lagos state has been blessed with visionary leaders who are interested in the overall wellbeing of the state. Tinubu tried his best and at the end of his tenure, he brought Fashola who also shone like a star. It is to the Fasholaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s credit that the road from Hotel Bus stop to Omojolowo Street in Igando new town was tarred. But, notwithstanding, Akinwumni Ambode has done a lot that Fashola and Tinubu combined could not do. But government being a continuum, I believe that they are following the roadmap set up June - July, 2017
by Tinubu to make Lagos a mega city for all. It is obvious that Fashola Focussed on Ikoyi and Victoria Island but Ambode is touching every part of Lagos including the new road commissioned at Aboru area.
How do you maintain the bridge? On a daily basis, as soon as the bridge is open, the carpenters are there. As I'm just coming from the bridge now, they've supplied us planks, bolts and nuts and the carpenters are there working. Maintenance is 24 hours. What are your projections in the next five years? I'm still thinking of how to consult the Lagos State government in future on what assistance they can offer so we can sit down and discuss it. In terms of projections, plans are at advanced stage to establish a concrete business in Lagos state as my major business is at Ile-Ife. The reason for this plan is that Roadlink is dedicated to community development as my effort is to contribute to the development of Lagos state.
Finally, what advice will you give to people out there? Well, I will advise that you do not have to wait for the government to do everything. Like I said the other day, some people believe that even when they want to construct a room, they still want government to come and buy them block. I have been advocating for the cleaning of all these gutters now to allow the drainage to flow better, but being Nigerians, we always believe that the government will do everything for us. The year I bought the transformer I donated to the community, some people said that I already have too much money. Whereas, it is not that the money is there. I just felt that money is not so valuable because after passing away it is someone else that will spend it. So the little I know I can do to assist my people, I do it. And if everybody can do that, it is a welcome idea. Some people have the money but they will pack up and go abroad. I thank God today that the road links everywhere. We have almost a hundred staff on our payroll. So we assist people, the government and ourselves.
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LAGOS - MY SUCCESS STORY
Lagos Is Living Its Full Potentials, Says Dr. Kennedy Okonkwo Kennedy Okonkwo, the CEO of NEDCOM Oaks Limited, a property development company, which aims at meeting the housing needs of middle class Nigerians, is a highly motivated and innovative entrepreneur who has attended diverse management courses in Mauritius, USA and the United Kingdom in order to improve himself. From inception, the company made it a policy and priority to build the best properties at affordable prices and this strategy has elevated the company to be one of the leading property development companies in Nigeria. The recipient of diverse honours including Honourary Doctorate from the European American University spoke on sundry issues in this interview with Nnamdi Nwokolo. What has been the role/contribution of Lagos to your success? First and foremost, the environment shapes people. I was born and bred in Lagos and upon graduation from the University of Ibadan, I started my career and business in Lagos, so to a large extent, one can say without equivocation that Lagos contributed in no small measure to my success. Lagos has been the pillar of our foray into other states of the federation. This is our Lagos and I can see the rapid growth and transformation going on in Lagos as successive governments in Lagos have tried to put the state on the lane of transformation. You can see the good job the present administration is doing in changing the face of Lagos. This is exactly what we as businessmen hope to see in the city. Would you say the full potentials of Lagos have been maximized? Lagos state is transforming and changing from the Lagos we used to know. The Lagos we used to know is the Lagos where we had traditional hand pumps around the streets of Ebutte-Metta, but today, the Lagos state water works is providing water all over the state. We now have a Lagos with good road networks as well as robust transportation infrastructures. The state is equally expanding as the Lagos we used to know ended around Maroko, but today, the city has expanded to Epe, Badagry and Ikorodu. These areas have always been part of Lagos but the robust infrastructure and road networks have made these areas easily accessible and inhabitable. This is because successive governments in the state have worked assiduously to ensure the development of the state starting with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to Babatunde Fashola and now, to Akinwunmi Ambodeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s era of transformation. I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know Ibeju-Lekki will be developed in my generation and the Eleko that used to be far away is now a stone throw away. Security has been one area the state has seriously improved upon as the police are being equipped even though there are skirmishes here and there in the swampy riverine areas of the state,
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but in all. They have done excellently well. By the Grace of God, by the time the governor returns for a second term, a lot of things will be put in place to improve the lives of the average Lagosian. So, Lagos is living its full potentials. That suggests you are giving the current administration a pass mark, but what would you say has been the impact of governance on business success? Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll agree with me that the economy of Lagos cannot be isolated from the economy of the country. Lagos is thriving when compared to other parts of the country. For example, while some state are owing backlog of salaries, the internally generated revenue of the state is enough to run the state and from what is being seen and felt in Lagos shows that the government is putting the resources to good use. You can see the bridges and roads the governor has completed within two years of his tenure. What this means is that for business people, the travel time from point A to point B will be greatly short-
ened. Generally, the state has shown they can survive with good governance and for me it is good also for business success. As a player in the real estate sector in Lagos, is there anything the government can do differently to help the industry grow? The present administration is doing tremendously very well but the cost of getting land titles from survey plan to getting the certificate of occupancy is very high in the state. The implication is that it has greatly affected the cost of housing because the cost is being passed on to the buyers. The role of government is to provide easy access to funding as well as partner with genuine Nigerian property developers to grow the sector. They equally need to provide the infrastructures to open up new cities and towns. The land use act is a major impediment to the real estate industry but if the industry must grow, government needs to identify genuine developers and entrust them with land at subsidized rate 13 for property development. They June - July, 2017
eal HABITATS LTD.
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June - July, 2017
THE EVOLUTION OF LAGOS
The Evolution Of Lagos In The Past Five Decades By Yinka Oloyede
Lagos, Èkó is a city in the Nigerian state of Lagos and is the largest in Nigeria, as well as on the African continent. It is one of the fastest growing in the world, and also one of the most populous urban cities. Lagos is a major business hub in Africa; the megacity has the highest GDP, and also houses one of the largest and busiest ports on the continent. Lagos initially emerged as a port city which originated on a collection of islands, which are contained in the present day Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Lagos Island, Eti-Osa, Amuwo-Odofin and Apapa; the islands are separated by creeks, fringing the southwest mouth of Lagos Lagoon, while protected from the Atlantic Ocean by barrier islands and long sand spits such as Bar Beach, which stretch up to 100 km east and west of the mouth.
It is however incredible how Lagos has evolved over the last five decades, right from structures, mode of trading, dressing, vibrancy, look and recreationally like the cinemas and beaches. The advent of a global market through the internet and telecommunications in the mobile phone market has also given a major boost to Nigeria and the world becoming a global Market where easy communication has helped the growth of businesses such as the Fashion Industry which was almost non- existent as most clothes then were imported from other countries to Nigeria. The banking sector introduced ATM cards and POS system for automated, cashless transactions, reducing theft and so many other losses as control measures increased. Cinema Houses are western styled, homes are more modern with manmade islands like Banana Island, Estates like Parkview and Magodo; Galleries, Conservation Centres, Shopping Malls, Children play areas, Privates Estates and Toll gates. BRT buses and bus lanes have replaced wooden Lorries, Molues and Keke Marwa as well as motorbikes called “okadas”. Luxuriously built houses have replaced normal houses and with lovely overhead bridges and bus lanes. These days, conventional taxis have been replaced almost totally by modern cabs like Uber rides that use applications for pricing and Google maps for directions. There is cable satellite Television over international channels that lets the general populace understand global trends. June - July, 2017
The Nigerian property market has evolved extensively with great opportunities for investors, particularly in Lagos with millions of dollars invested daily in the real estate sector, especially in the commercial aspects. Factors like growing interest in the Nigerian Market due to high demand by the Lagos urban population and change in shopping culture among the increasing population. The shopping culture of Lagosians has increased the number of shops and supermarkets, which over time have evolved into Malls and Shopping Centers and all these were absent in the last few decades. Malls like The Palms Shopping Mall Lagos and Shoprite Malls have several outlets. Also, there is a surge on the demand for office spaces for office buildings, particularly in Lagos where developers have focused on the construction of high rise office blocks like Wings Towers, Ikoyi, Heritage Place, Eterna building and so many others. A great alternative to temporary housing in hotels are serviced flats and condominiums in Lagos especially in Victoria Island and Ikoyi. So many units are being built daily to provide that home away from home feeling for solo travelers, leisure and business travelers who need the hassle free accommodation that gives them privacy to work, live and entertain in. Lagos State truly has come of age with this immense development. www.ekocitymagazine.com | 11
Lagos State Government Should Focus On New Cities Development - Dr. Akpo Onduke
Pastor and Mrs. Akpo Onduke of Chapel of Grace, a parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Bradford, United kingdom shared their success story in this interview. Can you share your success story as a couple in Bradford? Success is a journey and a continuum. One thing we have always emphasized is that success is a combination of hard work, faith and grace. Passion is key in attaining success in life. God doesn’t respond to our need but He responds to our faith for without faith no one can please God. Know also that there is a difference between achieving success by the effort of man and by the grace of God. We do what we do with the aim to help people fulfil the purpose for which God created them. Many who have passed through our ministry have moved on to do great things in their various life careers. Indeed, we have a gentleman who was with us and later became a Federal Minister. Success to us is simply to make others succeed in life. Our joy comes from seeing others succeed through us. We came to Bradford some seventeen and sixteen years ago. As you know, we pastor, Chapel of Grace, a parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God. The God of the work so far has been helping us to do His work. I am always reminded by Proverbs 22:29 that if someone is excellent, diligent or skilled in his work, he will sit among important people and not with ordinary people. As long as you are committed and fully dedicated to that assignment, then rest assured that you will shine one day. It’s been fifty years since the creation of Lagos State, what is your perspective on the overall development of the state? Lagos State being 50 years calls for celebration and deep reflections. Developmentally, Lagos State has gone through various phases. I can remember that the creation of the state came in 1967. This was shortly before I was born. I remember spending my service year, I mean the NYSC in Lagos in 1994/1995. Then, I used to attend the Nigeria Christian Corpers’ Fellowship (NCCF). We used to meet somewhere around Sabo, Yaba. We did our orientation in Iyano Ipaja and the State NYSC office was situated somewhere in Yaba also. Lagos then was very busy just as it is even today and I was always extra careful every time I was passing through places like Oshodi but I saw that the place has changed some years ago when I visited. I remember my early encounters with the
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Pastor and Mrs. Akpo Onduke of Chapel of Grace
transport system, once when I boarded a bus, they used to call them Molue, I got to my destination and wanted to get off and I was telling the driver ‘please I want to get off’ politely, but to my surprise he kept on going. I think I may have been taken to two or more stops ahead before someone tutored me to shout ‘owa’. From then on I became a master in it. I think from the Fashola era, things have greatly improved, though when I visit now, I don’t travel much on public transport. Now, I see a bit of decency and law and order in the city, there are the BRT lanes and so forth. The last time I visited with my wife (who is from Northern Ireland, UK) and our three-month old baby, I saw a Lagos that has greatly improved. We were lodged at the Ibis hotel in Ikeja because we wanted to be able to easily get to the Domestic Airport to catch our flight to Osubi Airport in Delta State. The hotel was excel-
lent in their service and to be honest, even better than I have experienced them to be in the UK. One thing I remember in that visit was that the internet speed of the hotel was amazing which enabled us to easily connect online. My wife really loved her short stay in that visit. So, Lagos has developed a lot. Lagos has over the years been touted as a land of great opportunities, do you agree with this assertion? I quite agree that Lagos is a land of great opportunities. I have read about many coming over to Lagos to better their life. People come over most times having no shelter over their heads and have struggled through to earn a living. Some live in motor parks and work as hawkers and have been able to attain education and today have become great in life. Although my time at Lagos was short and just in my Youth Service year, it propelled me to plan my next June - July, 2017
DIASPORA INTERVIEW move in life. By the time I was visiting Lagos after my service year, it was during postgraduate studies when I would always visit the Nigerian Institute for International Affairs (NIIA) in Kofo Abayomi Road in Victoria Island. I did most of my research work there on International politics, law and development. I remember, always coming from University of Benin, Benin City and spending hours at the NIIA. It was from NIIA that I planned the strategy for a career in international security and strategic studies. After Uniben, all my later studies were overseas. I studied later in Austria, the UK and the USA. To me, Lagos is a land of opportunities for the serious minded. What would you say has been the impact of the traditional institution to the overall development of the state? First, what is tradition? Tradition is basically a belief or behaviour passed down within a group or society with symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past. Tradition is the way of thinking, behaving, or doing something that has been used by the people in a particular group. Lagos State is rich in culture. I remember saving some money to acquire the traditional aso oke outfit. But on the serious side, the traditional institution has had a great influence on the overall development of Lagos State. The people are unique in their ways. The language, dressing, food and the entire way of life of the people are unique. I read about the uproar created by certain statements during the 2015 elections and I felt that shouldn’t have been. I respect those that have the responsibility as the custodians of the tradition of the people but my advice would be that we should not be anti-progressive. I am of the opinion that yes, there is a place for tradition but let us be quick to change our ways to accommodate the changing ways of doing things. Life is dynamic and we need to let the people appreciate it as such. Tradition tells a lot about who a people are. It can greatly attract visitors, boost tourism and thereby the economy. This can be a positive contribution to development. On the other hand, if not well practiced, it can easily drive away visitors and potential investors. Over here, there is the English tradition and most of their festivals have been used as avenues to boost tourism and the economy. What do you think Lagos state government can do differently to help in the overall development of the state? I must applaud the state government for the developmental strides so far. I would suggest that the state government should not just focus on new cities like the Eko Atlantic City but make critical efforts to develop the rural areas and the ghettos in the state. This will open up these areas and decongest the main metropolis. The road network too can be improved. There is also the need for an efficient rail network in a densely populated June - July, 2017
city like Lagos. Lagos by this time needs more than one International Airport. In addition, an area of improvement in the airport area would be to remove the multiple touts outside of the airport as this can scare and intimate visitors and tourists who are coming to Lagos for the first time. The public transport in general can be better managed. Housing is critical to human security and therefore, more housing estates could be constructed to cater for the rising housing needs. Of course the issue of power is also critical. Would you say the full potentials of Lagos state has been fully maximized in view of the planned mega-city status of the state? Not at all. There is so much to be gotten from Lagos. I commend the efforts so far on the Eko Atlantic City project. I have seen the architectural design and it is amazing! Being the commercial capital of the nation provides for the citizenry a whole lot of opportunities. Lagos still has a lot to offer to the world. I believe this is what the current Governor is trying to unravel. I read about the proposed international bus Interchange terminus. Not just one, but several of such is needed for a mega-city like Lagos. I think also, the water transport need to be improved. In my days in Lagos, we used to travel across from Apapa to the Island by ferries. I believe this is still in operation. This can be expanded and waterway security
should be enhanced. Recently, waterway kidnapping has been alarming. This is not good for the image of the state. What is your assessment of the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode led administration? I have read so much about the current governor. I think he knows what he is doing. He is not a stranger to the system. He has been around the system for some time and this gives him some advantage. I welcome the way he is supporting the security forces, mostly the police. He provided some aircraft for efficient policing of Lagos State. Whether you believe it or not, the Nigeria Police is far underfunded. Even the size does not measure up to international standards. I want to suggest three critical factors which can also be applied to the overall nation building. These are peace, development and democracy which in this case is good governance. This is referred to as the PDD Interactive triangle. We need peace and security for development. We need peace and security for good governance. You cannot govern a people successfully in a chaotic clime. The three are all interrelated. Without good governance you cannot have development, peace and vice versa. So for a better Lagos, we need these three factors to be frugally pursued. In all, we need to give the nonstate actors a voice and place to participate in the overall development of the state.
Lagos Is Living Its Full Potentials, Says Dr. Kennedy Okonkwo should be wary of fake developers who will acquire land for speculation purposes. Partnership with the private sector will help Lagos achieve its vision of providing affordable housing for Nigerians. My worry is that as the state is expanding, the citizens should be able to enjoy the benefits of that expansion. In the sector, I don’t think the state is doing badly and as more partnerships with the private sector will begin to arise, some undeveloped area of the state will begin to experience development. Projections for the state in the next celebrations: The beauty of globalization is that it has affected positively to the development of the state. My hope is to see a comprehensive and functional transportation system in the state that will be all encompassing including the rail ways and the water ways etc. I hope to also see a more secured Lagos as well as the fourth Mainland Bridge
that has been promised. I hope to see a more digital Lagos as internet penetration begins to increase as Lagos will be moving from a radio based internet system to optic fibre propelled internet access. That is the future and I believe Lagos will catch up faster than expected. When you aggregate the developments in Lagos in the past 50years, do you think it’s worth celebrating? Let me tell you one thing, it is only a man who is alive will understand the grace to see fifty years. Our Lagos is fifty, yeah; we should roll out the drums as it’s worth celebrating big time. The reasons for the celebration is that Lagos is beautiful, it’s taking care of its people, the health care system is working, transportation infrastructure is improving and the government is responsive. There are many more reasons to celebrate as the impact is being felt as the major business hub in Africa.
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Lagos State Can Exploit Alternative Source Of Energy To Solve The Perennial Power Challenge - Chief Vincent Ajede The challenge of meeting the energy consumption demand in Nigeria has been a major thorn in the flesh of successive governments for the past three decades. Solar Energy Advanced Power Systems Limited, a wholly indigenous company is totally committed to providing technologically advanced and environment sensitive power back-up solutions. The organisation has over the years helped many companies to switch from the use of fuel or diesel generators to solar panels and inverters. Chief Vincent Ajede, the Managing Director/CEO of the organization spoke on the Focus of a CEO in this interview with Nnamdi Nwokolo. What informed your choice of business? I had the opportunity of travelling abroad after completing my education and I saw solar panels being used to generate power. I got interested because there was a need to do same in Nigeria considering the perennial power challenge we have in the country. With the recommendation of the Indian High Commissioner in Nigeria, I was introduced to many Indian companies that manufacture inverters, so I registered Solar Energy Advanced Power Systems Limited (SEAPS) with a mission to carry on the business of renewable energy systems and components, solar modules (panels) manufacture, kits, controllers, inverters, general D.C. and A.C. supply, seminars, installation, exhibitions, importers, exporters, manufacturer’s representative, general merchants, solar electricity in all its ramifications. Our products are truly a futuristic concept, a result of internationally acclaimed high technology, which incorporate the fuzzy logic control for error free functioning. Would you say Lagos state has really helped to actualize this vision? To be sincere with you, Lagos state has contributed to the actualization of this vision because the business is domiciled in Lagos state. The story of SEAPSA cannot be complete without mentioning Lagos state. Beyond that, the current state of Apapa end of the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway leaves much to be desired. Rather than promoting enterprise development, a lot of companies have closed their business because of the state of the road. The cost of real estate has gone down considerably in this part of the state and Lagos state is the ultimate loser in all of this. I suggest that the state government should take up the re-construction of the failed section of the road to make doing business in this part of Lagos easier. Lagos is celebrating 50 years of its crea-
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the years has proven to be one of the most reliable efforts at bringing electricity to even the most remote regions of Nigeria and other parts of the world. Unfortunately, the cost of the battery which is the heart of the system is very expensive because of the high import duty paid for batteries. We ask government to reduce the import duty of battery to encourage more people to afford the solar panels. If they are interested in seeking for alternative sources of energy, they should reduce the import duty paid for batteries. This will enable most people to resort to the use of solar panels. The batteries are the major component used to store the energy as the sun is the basis for all life on earth and the main source of energy. This continuous energy flow from the sun to the earth exceeds 15,000 times the energy need of mankind and yet, more than 2 billion people in less developed countries, in most of which solar energy is plentiful, have a severally limited access to any form of energy.
tion; do you think the full potentials of Lagos has been maximized? The full potentials of Lagos has not been fully maximized but in all it’s worth celebrating. My advice is that while we are celebrating Lagos @ 50 it also calls for a sober reflection to identify where we need to make amends for the benefit of the future generations. The target of making Lagos a megacity is a welcome development, but that feat cannot be said to be achieved with an epileptic power supply. Lagos can exploit alternative source of energy to solve the perennial power challenge in the state. What is the cost implication of exploiting alternative sources of energy? SEAPS uses the photovoltaic technology to convert sunlight into electricity and over
How about the possibility of technology transfer? I pioneered alternative source of energy and we’ve been in this business for the past 26 years. There would’ve been a Silicon Valley here in Nigeria, but government bureaucracy made it fail. We intended to bring inverter production plant in Nigeria but the effort failed because of government bureaucracy. We’ve concluded with our partners on how to transfer the technology in line with the change agenda of the present administration but we need government support to be able to succeed. Solar Energy Advanced Power Systems Limited in partnership with our foreign partners has also resolved to maintain the trust of our customers by providing them with reliable product. Since these systems are multifunctional in character, they also prove to be highly utilitarian. Not only do they provide extra-long backup for the IT equipment such as computers, June - July, 2017
OIL AND GAS
Lagos’ Cash For Oil Discovery Ready – Commissioner
rrangement is being concluded for the payment of the first oil derivation cash to Lagos State after being declared an oil producing state by the Federal Government last year, it was learnt. According to the Nation, Lagos State Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Olawale Oluwo, said the money is ready, adding that the state was only waiting for the agencies responsible to do the needful. Oluwo said: “The first oil export has happened. The derivation has been calculated. It is the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) that we are waiting on now to give that certification so it can be paid. But it is ready, and the money is available with the RMAFC.” He said Ibile Oil & Gas Corporation, the business arm of the Lagos State oil and gas operations, has concluded setting up its structures and has gone into marketing of the new oil firm for operation and partnerships, saying the oil firm will play in all the oil and gas value chain. “They are into the downstream, midstream and upstream. They have been mandated to freely invest anywhere in the world and intervene in any area of business. However, the firm has not done any project. The company just started about five months
printers, servers and others, they also function as inverters for homes in times of power failure. What is the cost implication of its maintenance? Initial investment is high but operative cost over the system is low. It is basically a feed and forget system, unlike the dams where you have engineers working day and night thereby incurring bills. It is just the initial investment and after, the solar panels are guaranteed for thirty years. We have done jobs that attracted thunderous recommendation. What I recommend is electrical backup system with solar as this is what is feasible in Nigeria because of the cost implications. But even at that, majority of Nigerians still cannot afford it. Eighty percent of Nigerians are poor. But with N80, 000-N85, 000 you can power your fans, lights and television set, and as soon as PHCN comes you leave it to recharge instead of putting up with generators that are too costly to run in terms of fueling, repairs and maintenance. What has been the greatest leadership June - July, 2017
ago. They have put their structures and strategies in place. “Currently, they are moving into business development, they are marketing. They are doing a front end work and sometime later this year they will go into major projects. On technical partner, the company has the flexibility to partner with anybody or firm. It will not have a single technical partner. The technical partner should be based on project by project,” he added. The energy commissioner also stated that Lagos has many oil fields that have not been allocated. He stated that offshore Lagos we have almost 12 oil fields of which five have been allocated. The five fields include Sunlink, Crownwell, Aje and Optimum Lagos, and they were awarded over the years.
“We still have about nine fields that are yet to be allocated. As you know Lagos State doesn’t have the powers to allocate or offer bidding for the fields. The state government can only continue the advocacy,” he added. Oluwo, who spoke to The Nation on sideline of the inauguration of National Executive Council members of the Oil and Gas Trainers’ Association of Nigeria (OGTAN) in Lagos, where he represented Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, noted that the state places high value on human capital. He said Lagos expects that the discovery of oil would lead to missive investment in the state, adding that discovery confirms the prospectivity of the Dahomey Basin and calls for the need to increase exploration there.
lesson you’ve learnt over the years? Leadership is about service. The CEO is the Chief Servant of the organization. You must know how to allocate resources and know how to motivate your staff to earn their loyalty. Vision is very important because as a leader, you must have a vision in terms of knowing what you want to achieve today, in five, ten and fifteen years and actions have to be applied. You must be unstoppable because there must be obstacles, so you must develop strategy to overcome challenges. You need to continuously brainstorm and network. These will bring solution to diverse challenges. Focus is very important, doing things better, adding and creating unique values as the greater value you create, the greater the profit.
the best in the industry and when the opportunity comes, we send them abroad for training. We believe that attracting and retaining talented employees ensure longterm business sustainability. Great careers do not just happen by accident – they need to be nurtured and carefully supported. We give people the time to learn and we give them the right exposure to ensure their career growth, adopting a flexible approach to each person's skills and personal situations, wherever we can. Underpinning all of this is our commitment to building fair and equal opportunity for all. Our leadership is built on a rich heritage and we employ the best talent in the industry.
How do you attract and retain the best talent in the industry? The survival of any enterprise depends on the quality of human resource at its disposal. You have to depend on your people to deliver on the vision of the organization. We have respect for our people and motivation is our greatest advantage. We retain
What drives you? I am passionate about what I do, it is not the money. Over the years, I’ve taken it upon myself to advice government on the way forward but we have leaders that are not listening to their people. Nigeria is like a huge joke. Don’t our leaders see the burnt out street lights, is that what is obtainable in cities they visit abroad? www.ekocitymagazine.com | 15
Tax Payers’ Money Spurred Lagos’ Infrastructure Leap — Ambode
he Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has appreciated tax payers in the State for performing their civic obligations judiciously ensuring that developmental projects in the State were implemented. Governor Ambode, who, once again on a tour of commissioning more projects on this occasion at Epe and Kosofe Local Government, said tax payers deserve to be commended for their efforts at contributing to the development of the State. “Our government is very grateful to Lagosians for their prayers and support particularly in the discharge of their civic responsibility through payment of taxes. It is my belief therefore, that we will continue to enjoy your unflinching support as we work together in transforming our State to the “Lagos of Our Dream.” On our part, we shall continue to ensure that your taxes are judiciously managed and utilized towards making life more comfortable for everybody,” he said. At Epe, Governor June - July, 2017
OUR GOVERNMENT IS VERY GRATEFUL TO LAGOSIANS FOR THEIR PRAYERS AND SUPPORT PARTICULARLY IN THE DISCHARGE OF THEIR CIVIC RESPONSIBILITY THROUGH PAYMENT OF TAXES Ambode disclosed that his administration will further construct a standard eightlane road from Ikorodu to Epe via Agbowa, Itoikin and Ijebu-Ode. He said the road project would be delivered through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement, while
a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to that effect would be signed next week. Apart from that, the Governor said the ongoing Epe Marina project, when completed, would turn Epe into a world class destination for tourists and adventure seekers. The people of Kosofe Local Government Area also witnessed the presence of the Governor, where he commissioned newly upgraded eights roads in Omotayo Banwo, Kola Iyaomolere, Omotayo Close, Adetunji Adegbite Street, Ogun Street, Goodluck Street and Prince Oyewunmi Streets. Ambode said the rehabilitation of the roads was part of the efforts to further improve road connectivity and reduce travel time in the axis, adding that the efforts of his administration in the axis was already paying off and had resulted in massive improvement in the flow of traffic to and from the Island via the Third Mainland Bridge as a result of the construction of Laybys, Alternative Routes and creation of more spaces for bus stops. www.ekocitymagazine.com | 17
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The Origin Of Adamu Orisha Play (Popularly Known As Eyo) Lagosians in their thousands on Saturday the twentieth day of May 2017 defied the early morning downpour but trooped out to welcome their own â&#x20AC;&#x153;Adamu Orisaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; popularly called Eyo festival. Though the festival is part of the activities to celebrate Lagos @50, it was done in remembrance of the Late Elegushi. The residents who did not open shops described the rainfall as a sign that the gods of the land were pleased with the celebrations and with the present administration of Lagos state led by Gov. Akinwumi Ambode. They emphasized that it was also a sign of peace that greeted the popular Eyo festival and our masqueraders as we used the cultural festival to commemorate Lagos @ 50.
To which tribe or ethnic group does Eyo or Adamu Orisa play belong? In answering the above question, one has to examine the history of Ejilu and Malaki and other related matters in order to come to a fair conclusion. The origin of Malaki and Ejilu is a bit confused, some said Benin, some said Ibefun. Previous writers have advanced different origins to it. Talbars in his book The People of Southern Nigeria described "Eyo as Ijebu Juju." But Rev. J. Olumide Lucas in his book The Religion of The Yorubas stated that the cult of Adamu Orisa is peculiar to the Aworis. Another author Rev. Johnson in his book, The History of the Yorubas deposed that Eyo was an initiation of Egungun seen at Oyo. From a document collected from the National Archives titled Report from Yesufu Agoro, The Head of the Family of Agoro Ogebi Eletu-Iwasha descendent dated November 3, 1937, at page three of the document the following were recorded as Item 10: "Abudu Karimu Docemo and Bakare Jose went to Oba Falolu at Iga-Idunganran to request for their grand-mother father's masquerade, Adimu, from Apena's people to return it to them. Adimu and Esu are brought by Chief Kebo from Benin to Lagos." Abudu Karimu Docemo mentioned above is likely to be a member of the Dosunmu Family at Abegede while Bakare Jose was a former Chief Eletu-Iwase of Lagos. In conJune - July, 2017
sidering the subject matter, it is essential to consider, the principal actors or participants of the Adamu Orisa Play and their origin. The Abegede and Ita Ado group belonged to the Benin class of chieftaincy, the Akarigberes. They belonged to the following: Olorogun Igbeaodi, Olorogun Atebo, Olorun Agan. However, it is necessary to consider the contents of the "Igbe" songs that are used in glorifying the Orisas and Ejilu and Malaki over the years on each Adamu Orisa Day. The Igbe runs thus: Imalaki won ki saiye Ijaiye ejilu sa yato Eyin gbo o , 2ce Iyee, o moo lo si oyo Ajaka Oyo Ajako o, On rohun mu bo si irele O fi akala mawo mesi ikole On lo nse oniko, eleyo Eyin iba gbajo kato, ti ito a ho, E do ri iwo kodo si irele Omo wewe abese lo ma leko A i kowo lo si oja lara agba In the the Igbe song quoted above, the story is related of how, Malaki and Ejilu, were performing wonders and how one of their stock visited Oyo Ajaka (that is, the ancient Oyo where Sango reigned as king) and he brought something back to the 'Irele,' the conclave of Awo-Opa Cult. He thereafter initiated the Akala Court into the secrecy of the new thing brought from Oyo. He was the link or delegate that brought Eyo. Finally, the song says, let all co-operate for the success and all initiates should gather at the Irele conclave of AwoOpa.
From the above, one can see some basis for Rev. Johnson's assertion that Eyo was an imitation of the Egungun made at Oyo. The sticking similarity between the Egungun Baba-lago, and Eyo cannot be over looked. It is pertinent to refer to the history of Elegba at Iddo on the Lagos Mainland as typical example. History has it that Opeoluwa, An Ogalade chief consulted Ifa and suggest to Olofin to worship Elegbara. There is a popular Elegbara shrine at Iworo in Awori area and the Iworo people were contacted and Opeoluwa and Olofina people were initiated into the cult and granted permission to establish an Elegbara shrine and grove at Iddo. As a result of this history, it has become a custom to sing the following Elegba song for the first Elegbara masquerade that would appear at the grove to dance. It is Eko's creation, it has no parallel, anywhere in Yoruba land. There is no trace of Eyo in Ijebuland, not even Ibefun. The Ijebus are noted for Agemo, Oro and Eluku. The main purpose of this writing is to remove the impression created in the mind of many people by past writers and commentators on the subject ascribing the foundation of Eyo to the Ijebus. The Lagos Island Council should resuscitate its special committee on the history of Lagos to examine the aspect relating to Eyo.
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Our Interest Is To Develop Nigeria Without Oil Says Ganiyu Dada Mr. Ganiyu Ademola Dada, the CEO of Kofa international Company is an expert in leveraging financing for EXIM supported businesses between the United States of America and some African countries. Dada started his career as a banker in Nigeria before he travelled to the USA where he obtained a B.Sc in Accounting from the University of Illinois and an MBA from Roosevelt University. The former Chairman of Continental African Chamber of Commerce USA and Nigeria in Diaspora in the Americans spoke on the sundry issues in this interview with Nnamdi Nwokolo.
Is it possible to replicate some of the family sustaining programmes in Nigeria? Yes, why not? We are all a product of the same thing whether you like it or not. There’s nothing special about some of these countries that are succeeding except for political will to create a sustainable solution to established challenges. We must be committed to our development by investing in the programmes that will create family sustaining ventures and taking time to train the beneficiaries. For example, as we sign multi-billion dollar contracts with the Chinese every year without compelling them to explore local content in terms of human capital, we are basically exporting jobs to China. This is because they will take the job to do and come back to assemble but if they do a substantial part of the project in Nigeria, about middle and upper level jobs will be created in the economy. Tell us about Kofa International: Kofa International Company was registered for the sole purpose of promoting US Trade and Investments Abroad whereas International Marketing and Loan Facilitation or Loan Brokerage is the heart of our business. The focal point of what Kofa is doing is building capacity all over Africa and we’ve recorded numerous successes over the years. For example, we’ve been supporting Japaul PLC since 2004 till date and we have different people coming in at different levels. Since 2008, we’ve been leveraging a billion dollars of EXIM Bank Program in Nigeria and every Nigerian bank is participating in the scheme and there is nothing we do through the United States Embassy. Interestingly, Kofa received a commendation letter from the Obama administration for our efforts towards job creation in the United States and we are currently partnering with the Federal government of Nigeria to create 200,000 jobs in the Nigerian economy. This is the focus of what we are doing all over Africa and the overall idea is to train, empower and help every individual to grow in their industry via entrepreneurship or internship.
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You seem to be focusing on agriculture now: Why we are focusing on Agro Allied Production and Processing is to ensure food sufficiency in the country as well as earn from exchange from the industry. For example, a company in Chicago, USA, ADM is doing 54 billion dollars annually processing agricultural products alone and they employ over thirty five thousand people. So, if we go the way of agricultural production and processing, we will be able to create a lot of jobs. The other way out for Nigeria in job creation is in entrepreneurship, financial empowerment and training. We need to develop the country to be the business hub of Africa and not the other way round. I appreciate the government of the day as they’ve shown commitment towards creating jobs in the country. It is very important that the government must also invest in human capital. What forward looking economies are doing now is creating family sustaining businesses to make people self-sufficient in their area of passion rather that the social safety nets the government is doing.
What has been the impact of this support to Nigerian businesses? We were into general trading but at the dawn of the new millennium, we decided to be using US Export Credit Agencies to build capacity across Africa and more importantly Nigeria being 20% of the continent. We have been able to support many people. Our mission, in addition to providing low cost capital to qualified African government entities and entrepreneurs is to change the African economy from cash based to credit based in order to integrate African businesses to the Western Economy. Therefore, we want to be exporting western capital, in terms of technology, equipment and finance, to develop Africa. For example, we have worked with local Nigerian Banks, US Exim Bank and US Commercial Banks in USA, to secure multi-million dollar loans for Nigerian companies like Ibile Holdings Ltd and Japaul Plc to purchase DSC Shark and Marlin Classes of dredges. Kofa represents other manufacturers with products in agro allied industry. We have facilitated the financing of major projects in Nigeria in oil and gas, dredging, construction, and water chemical manufacturing, preservation, telecomJune - July, 2017
munications and agricultural sectors of the economy. We need to create credit worthy companies in Nigeria that can attract more low interest loans from abroad to develop Nigeria without oil. What has been the most challenging experience? There are so many challenges. The qualified users of this money are Nigerian business people with good balance sheets; those who have contract either with governments or with oil and gas companies or anybody who has good banking relationships where Nigerian banks can guarantee them. The challenge is that African Banks do not want to guarantee anybody and the reason being that they will not guarantee you for a loan at 2% fee when they can charge you 25% for the same risk for the loan. Lack of cooperation from Nigerian banks has been our biggest challenge. The second challenge is insincerity on the part of African customers. For example, most people when they get the facility they divert the proceeds from the business to something else. Documenting business operation is also a big challenge for most Nigerian entrepreneurs. We have challenges with the banks as well as customers but through education, we take one company at a time. What can Government do differently to help entrepreneurs to succeed? Government can do a lot and we have been telling them. For example, if the US government did not provide an enabling environment for people like us to thrive; we will not be where we are, as we have no godfather. There are many programmes we have shown to Nigerian government like that of Small Business Administration (SBA) of USA whereby they can guarantee 90% for small business owners and leave 10% risk for the
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local banks. The Nigerian government must find different ways to mitigate risks to the Nigerian Banks so that they can guarantee or support small business owners and help vulnerable unemployed graduates, train them, empower them by guaranteeing loans to them to address the unemployment challenge in the country. The government must invest directly in the Youths and Unemployed Graduates to turn them to Entrepreneurs in their chosen fields which will grow from micro to small and some from small to medium and others from medium to large in future. Do you think the full potentials of Lagos have been maximized? Don’t forget what I told you earlier, Lagos has been at the forefront of this programme and they have used the platform twice. We have to give credit to Tinubu as well as Fashola. Lagos has been blessed with purposeful leaders and Governor Akinwunmi Ambode is not relenting until the full potential of Lagos is maximized. The true reflection of a good leader is to be able to replicate himself in people, so Tinubu must be given credit for that. He actually wants to create a Chicago in Lagos and he has the blueprint well laid out. By the time they finish with the rail and transformation they are doing, Lagos will turn out to be a smart city but there’s still a long way to go in terms of sanitation, environmental issues and opening of new towns even with the constraints of finance, Lagos has done so well when compared with other states of the federation. As we speak, our focus is to develop
Nigeria without oil. I want to use this medium to congratulate Governor Akinwunmi Ambode for creating an Employment Trust Fund as it is the way to go in building robust and sustainable MSMEs. We must be creating jobs the way we are graduating students from the university because there’s a correlation between crime and unemployment. Lagos just celebrated fifty, what’s your take? Lagos is on the right track and it will interest you to know that Lagos has a good credit rating that is very strong which is even better than Nigeria. I implore Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to continue with the good works to be able to make Lagos the business hub, transportation hub, entertainment hub as well as Tourism hub in Africa as this will attract more direct foreign investment. What drives you? Influencing and developing people positively in the driving force and I want Africa to move from abject poverty to affluence. It will interest you to know that we have natural, human, mineral resources and the only thing we lack is finance/capital. Having lived in the US and as a former Chair of Nigeria in Diaspora in the Americans, I believe it is my call to use US technology and funds that are unlimited to develop Nigeria and Africa. How Africa, Nigeria inclusive will wage war against abject poverty through wealth creation from our abundant natural, mineral and human resources is the driving force. Impacting people positively is what gives me life fulfillment. www.ekocitymagazine.com | 21
TWO YEARS OF TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP OF GOVERNOR AKINWUNMI AMBODE Brief on Gov. Ambode Akinwunmi Ambode (born June 14, 1963) is an accountant, an administrator and a public finance management expert and was formerly the Accountant-General of Lagos State, Nigeria, and held many sensitive financial positions in the Lagos State government in a 27-year career in the Lagos State Civil Service. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and a Member of the Nigerian Institute of Management. He is the founder of La Roche Leadership Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on developing the next generation of leaders. He is married to Bolanle Patience Ambode (nee Odukomaiya) and they are blessed with children.
Brief on Lagos State Lagos is the most populous city in Nigeria, the second fastestgrowing city in Africa and the seventh in the world. The population of Lagos according to the Lagos State Government was 17.5 million, a number disputed by the Nigerian Government and judged unreliable by the National Population Commission of Nigeria. The latest reports estimate the population at 21 million, making Lagos the largest city in Africa. It is two years since the emergence of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode as the Executive Governor of Lagos and in chronicling the achievements of failures of the government; we need to first of all look at the main vision of the administration and see how they’ve been able to achieve this vision.. The main vision of the Ambode administration is “to make Lagos a clean, secure, more prosperous state with a robust economy built on service, equity and justice.” This is a welcome vision to have. The administration has also identified 6 key focus areas to achieve its aim of “making Lagos work for all.” These key areas include Security, Economy, Infrastructure, Healthcare, Social Welfare and Good Governance. With the forgoing, it is clear that Akinwunmi Ambode has very big shoes to fill. It is, however, expected that with his experience in public service, he can handle the pressure. Another thing going for him is the fact that he is also a Tinubu protégé, just like Fashola was, and with the Asiwaju’s proven keen eye for an industrious leader, everyone must expect Ambode to be another one. The main task before him is primarily to continue the standard left by the previous government and then find ways to improve on it. Uncompleted projects are being followed through and new, relevant ones have to be developed. So far he has done great in the last two years, however, there are some instances, in which he could have done far better. Here are some of the things he did not do so well in:
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June - July, 2017
1. Security - Commissioning of vehicles for law enforcement Identifying the linkage between traffic gridlock and insecurity on the streets was one of Ambode’s early signs of clear-headedness. Two years down the line, the common challenges of insecurity and gridlock, which often times come handy when rating the performance of an administration in Lagos, have been maximally surmounted. Having identified the nexus between prosperity and security, the security sector was supported with N4.8billion worth of equipment while other interventions in the sector increased the state’s expenses to N6.6 billion. A few months after he resumed office, the governor equipped the law enforcement agencies by acquiring 10 armoured tanks, three helicopters for aerial surveillance and policing, two gun boats, 15 armoured personnel carriers, and dozens of Isuzu trucks.
2. Infrastructural Development
In the area of infrastructural development, one of Governor Ambode's achievements was the massive road construction and reconstruction which was kicked off by his government immediately they were sworn in. The ‘114 Roads’ project where each of the 57 local councils in the state got two good roads was completed by May 2016. Equally, Mr. Ambode’s philosophy that a well-lit Lagos will reduce crime to its barest minimum also saw him light up at least 365 streets across the state. Commitment to urban renewal and development has also manifested in the construction and rehabilitation of more than 500 roads with two flyovers and lay-bys under construction. Interestingly, most of the roads which have been commissioned were identified by their host communities, affirming inclusive approach of Ambode’s administration to governance. Others in this regard, which are long term in nature, like the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with the proposed construction of the Fourth Mainland Bridge, and the multiple redesign and re-construction of roads in some chaotic parts of the state, are quite germane to the mega city project.
3. Food Sufficiency: One of the things that brought joy to the faces of Lagos residents, especially towards the end of last year was the LAKE rice initiative. The partnership with Kebbi State government on rice production is a laudable project that has cushioned the effects of the scarcity of rice in Lagos. It was really gratifying that the administration kept its words with the launch of Lake Rice a few weeks back, in a development that was a boost for food availability in a city with the highest rice consumption rate of 798,000 metric tons per year. As the year drew to an end foodstuff, especially rice experienced a price hike. However, earlier in the year, Lagos had partnered with Kebbi state to produce LAKE rice, which was sold for N12, 000 (50kg bag); N6, 000 (25kg); and N2, 500 (10kg). This made many people quite happy, especially as the recession is hitting hard June - July, 2017
4. Health In line with its belief that a healthy Lagos is a wealthy Lagos, the Ambode administration provided 20 Mobile Intensive Care Unit ambulances deployed in all ambulance Points in the state. It brought the total number to 36 Mobile Intensive Care Unit ambulances. The government created Ambulance Points across Lagos for easy access to the people. The government also provided additional 26 Ambulances at the cost of N257.4m to all General Hospitals in the state. The administration further installed 22 power generating sets ranging from 350 – 500 KVA as additional backup sets across all General Hospitals to ensure 24-hour power supply. That is in addition to 26 Mobile X-Ray machines costing N519.656m installed at all General Hospitals across the state. The impressive results being experienced in these areas affirm Ambode’s vision of a smart city that would be globally competitive in all sectors.
5. Employment Courtesy of the Employment Trust Fund (ETF), Ambode was able to disburse N25 billion in December 2016, which was one of the promises he made during his campaign in 2015. The initiative is aimed at supporting artisans and entrepreneurs in Lagos state as a large part of the money went to carpenters, tailors, hairdressers, vulcanisers, and others who make up the informal sector.
6. Internal Generated Revenue Despite the recession, Lagos state generated one of its highest ever internal revenue in the years under review. Having consolidated its revenue into a single account, the state, which generated N101 billion revenue in the first quarter of 2016 against an expected N29.92bn deficit, curbed corruption in public service. Truly, it is only through a purposeful leadership that the revenue, which was N4.4bn more than that of the comparative period of 2015, that such feat, would be possible. Other landmarks are the reduction of cost of governance by getting the finances of the state back in shape, restructuring of debt exposure from 18 percent interest rate to 12.5 percent thereby saving N3bn monthly. The Governor in one of his speeches said that “the tax payers are the ones giving us the little energy that we have and even though when they say Nigeria is in recession, somehow Lagos has been able to do it and it is because people are paying their taxes."
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Basking in the euphoria of fifty years of its existence, the Lagos state government led by Mr. Akimwunmi Ambode rolled lence in all its ramifications. Recall that Lagos State was one of the 12 states created on 27th May 1967 by General Yakub its 50th anniversary in grand style, being the only one that was never split in subsequent state creation exercises.
HISTORY OF LAGOS
Lagos was formally annexed as the British Lagos Colony in 1861. This had the dual effect of crushing the slave trade and establishing British control over palm and other trades. The remainder of modern-day Nigeria was seized in 1887, and when the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria was established in 1914, Lagos was later declared its capital, continuing as such after the country’s independence from Britain in 1960. Along with migrants from all over Nigeria and other West African nations were the returnee ex-slaves known as Creoles, who came from Freetown, Sierra Leone, Brazil and the West Indies to Lagos. The Creoles contributed to Lagos’ modernisation and their knowledge of Portuguese architecture can still be seen on Lagos Island. Lagos experienced rapid growth throughout the 1960s and 1970s as a result of Nigeria’s economic boom prior to the Nigerian Civil War and was the capital of Nigeria from 1914 up to 1991.The city was stripped of its status when the Federal Capital Territory was established at the purpose-built city of Abuja. On 14 November 1991, the Presidency and other federal government functions finally relocated to the new capital city of Abuja. Much of what Lagos is today in terms of foundational structures owed mainly to its former status as the capital of Nigeria for many years, during which the resources of the nation and the sweat of its people from all across were invested in building up a national commonwealth. Lagos, subsequent to the re-modernization project achieved by the current administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, is gradually becoming a major tourist destination, being one of the largest cities in Africa and in the world and is currently taking steps to become a global smart city. In terms of administration, Lagos is not a single municipality and has therefore no overall city administration. The urban area of Greater Lagos in fact comprises 16 of the 20 separate municipalities which together comprise Lagos State, which entity provides overall government for the metropolitan region. The Municipality of Lagos, which covered Lagos Island, Ikoyi and Victoria Island as well as some mainland territory, was managed by the Lagos City Council (LCC), but it was disbanded in 1976 and divided into several Local Government Areas. The history of Lagos
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is still evidenced in the layout of the LGAs which display the unique identities of the cultures that created them. Even though Lagos is still widely referred to as a city, the present day Lagos, also known as "Metropolitan Lagos", and officially as "Lagos Metropolitan Area" is an urban agglomeration or conurbation, consisting 20 LGAs and 37 Local Council Development Areas.This conurbation makes up 37% of Lagos State's total land area, but houses about a large percentage of the state's total population.
In the Köppen climate classification system, Lagos has a tropical wet and dry climate (Aw) that borders on a tropical monsoon climate (Am). Lagos experiences two rainy seasons, with the heaviest rains falling from April to July and a weaker rainy season in October and November. There is a brief relatively dry spell in August and September and a longer dry season from December to March. Monthly rainfall between May and July averages over 400 mm (16 in), while in August and September it is down to 200 mm (7.9 in) and in December as low as 25 mm (0.98 in). The main dry season is accompanied by harmattan winds from the Sahara Desert, which between December and early February can be quite strong. The highest maximum temperature ever recorded in Lagos was 37.3 ° C (99.1 ° F) and the minimum 13.9 ° C (57.0 ° F).
June - Ju
out the drums to celebrate fifty years of excelbu Gowon, which is why the state is celebrating
CULTURE AND TOURISM:
Lagos is the most populous city in Nigeria, the second fastestgrowing city in Africa and the seventh in the world. The population of Lagos according to the Lagos State Government was 17.5 million, a number disputed by the Nigerian Government and judged unreliable by the National Population Commission of Nigeria. The latest reports estimate the population at 21 million, making Lagos the largest city in Africa. Lagos is a port which originated on islands separated by creeks, such as Lagos Island, fringing the southwest mouth of Lagos Lagoon while protected from the Atlantic Ocean by barrier islands and long sand spits such as Bar Beach, which stretch up to 100 kilometres (62 miles) east and west of the mouth. From the beginning, Lagos has expanded on the mainland west of the lagoon and the conurbation, including Ikeja (which is the capital of Lagos State) and Agege, now reaches more than 40 kilometres (25 miles) north-west of Lagos Island. Some suburbs include Ikorodu, Epe, Ikotun, Lakki and Badagry, and more Local Community Development Areas have recently been created, bringing the total number of local councils in Lagos to 57.
LAGOS - THE BUSINESS HUB:
Lagos is Nigeria’s economic focal point, generating a significant portion of the country’s GDP. Most commercial and financial business is carried out in the central business district situated on the island. This is also where most of the country’s commercial banks, financial institutions, and major corporations are headquartered. Lagos has one of the highest standards of living in Nigeria and in Africa. The Port of Lagos is Nigeria’s leading port and one of the largest and busiest in Africa. The port has seen growing amounts of crude oil exported, with export figures rising between 1997 and 2000. Oil and petroleum products provide 14% of GDP and 90% of foreign exchange earnings in Nigeria as a whole.
Lagos State has so many indigenous traditional festivals and celebrations like the Adamu Orisa (Eyo) festival in Lagos Island, Ebi and kayokayo in Epe, Agemo in Ikorodu, Sangbeto in Badagry and egungun festivals common to the Aworis. The Administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has taken tourism promotion to a higher level with the strategic implementation of his campaign promise to ensure that Lagos becomes the tourism and entertainment hub of Africa. This he hopes to achieve through T.H.E.S.E. which is an acronym for Tourism, Hospitality, Entertainment and Sporting Excellence. With the current economic challenge in the country, the pursuit of T.H.E.S.E. has become an urgent necessity. Hence, Governor Ambode has left no one in doubt about his resolve to grow the Lagos economy through an alternative window of opportunities for youth empowerment via premeditated promotion of tourism, entertainment and sports. The various programmes increased the visibility of the State on global platforms and enhanced the marketing value of Lagos City as a destination for tourists globally.
The Education Sector of Lagos State, currently superintended by Her Excellency, Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Idiat Oluranti Adebule is a very vibrant one with 1100 (One Thousand, One Hundred) public primary schools with about 497,318 pupils; there are estimated 15,000 Private Nursery/Primary and Secondary schools operating in the State and Primary Education is domiciled in the Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board. There are 377 Public Junior Secondary Schools with a population of about 316,419 and 321 Senior Secondary Schools with about 248,339 students population. Lagos State is also home to Post-Secondary Institutions and Vocational Schools, there are 5 Technical and Vocational Schools. To bridge the gap in the teacher/pupils ratio in the state, One thousand, three hundred (1300) teachers were recently appointed for primary schools while another 1000 teachers were recruited for public secondary schools. Several hundreds of classroom blocks have been built or renovated and thousands of students and teachers furniture supplied to various primary and secondary schools. The result of this investment in the education sector has been rewarding in the improved students’ performance outcomes in national and international competitions but the ultimate beneficiary is the future of the state and the nation. 50 years is a significant landmark in the life of any individual, institution or State. For Lagos State, it has been an eventful 50 years which deserves to be fittingly celebrated. The Governor is not relenting as several events have been lined up to celebrate the anniversary. The celebration, which will climax on May 27 began with a special Musical Play “Wakaa”, produced and directed by Bolanle Austen-Peters at the Muson Centre, Onikan Lagos. It is however incredible how Lagos has evolved over the last five decades, right from structures, mode of trading, dressing, vibrancy, look and recreationally like the cinemas and beaches. The advent of a global market through the internet and telecommunications in the mobile phone market has also given a major boost to Nigeria and the world becoming a global Market where easy communication has helped the growth of businesses such as the Fashion Industry which was almost non- existent as most clothes then were imported from other countries to Nigeria. www.ekocitymagazine.com | 25
Bus Reform Initiative Will Redefine Road Transportation In Lagos State, Says Ambode
agos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has allayed fears that the plan by his administration to phase out the yellow commercial buses, popularly known as Danfo would lead to massive job losses, saying that it would instead create more jobs in the transportation sector. The Governor, reiterated this at the May Day Rally held at the Agege Stadium to commemorate the 2017 Workers Day Celebration, said the Bus Reform Initiative, aimed at introducing over 5000 air-conditioned buses to replace the Danfo buses would open new vista of opportunities, while also redefining the means of road transportation in the State. Responding to the fears raised by the Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Lagos Council, Comrade Idowu Adelakun and his Trade Union Congress (TUC) counterpart, Comrade Francis
Ogunremi on the implications of the initiative to drivers, conductors, mechanics and other artisans, Governor Ambode assured that it would benefit all Lagosians on the long run. He said: “If Lagos is to be globally competitive, we need to change the outlook of the way the city runs. What is of paramount interest to this government is to make sure that every Lagosian has a comfortable means of moving from point A to B, but I promise you there will be no job losses. “The Governor is not interested in driving all the new buses. It is the same bus drivers, the technicians, and the mechanics that will still be employed and trained to use these new buses. Instead of job losses, we are going to employ more people for the greater number of the buses and it will make the city more beautiful and more comfortable for all our workers,” Ambode concluded.
Golden Jubilee Of The Centre For Excellence: The Transportation Angle “There can be no doubt that transportation sector is the most critical sector of our economy”… Robert Brady A Brief History Lagos has indeed come a long way, flashing back to the post-colonial era, barely a decade after Nigeria’s independence, Lagos State, which was known as Eko was formed out of the former western region by the regime of General Yakubu Gowon on precisely 27th May 1967 according to the state Creating and Transitional Provisions Decree No. 14 of 1967, which restructured Nigeria into a Federation of 12 states.
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Lagos, which was Nigeria’s political capital until 12th December 1991 when the seat of the Federal Government was moved to Abuja, has Ikeja as her capital and measures 3,345 square kilometers sharing boundaries with the republic of Benin and a stretch of 180 kilometers along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, with 22% of the land containing Lagoons and creeks.
“Nigeria has no business with poverty. With our human and material resources, we shall strive to eradicate poverty from our country”…Olusegun Obasanjo
Potential The presence of Lagos Seaports and vast land containing both fertile soil and massive deposits of clay has truly made it earn the title of center of excellence. Lagos literally brought Nigeria to public attention through exportation of Nigeria’s local products through the Lagos Seaports, industrial revolution and high-end real estate transformation. Lagos is unarguably the major financial center in Africa; The Mega city has the highest GDP, and also houses one of the largest and busiest ports in the continent. Also, the high profile companies that have flooded Lagos has attracted investors, June - July, 2017
SPORT a huge population together with lots of skills that made Lagos State prominent with amassing enormous tax incomes, helping Lagos fund immense infrastructure development, which has made Lagos a true high class business hub and also a tourism core, which is complemented with offshoots of entertainment. “Every City has to deal with problem of cars and public transport”…Jaime Lerner Transportation Perspective The world over, just like the principle of the hierarchy of needs, it is the pride of any nation and city for her citizens and even foreigners to move around from place to conveniently and safely while deriving pleasure in admiring landmarks and aesthetics of the city, and one thing that makes all that possible is effective transportation. The quality infrastructure such as roads, bridges, lighting etc. that Lagos State has productively built and maintained over the decades has been successfully complemented with efficient transportation systems. The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, which was initiated by the Bola Tinubu administration opened on 17th March, 2008 and is operated by LAMATA (Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority), has helped millions of commuters both foreign and domestic, reach their destinations quickly and safely.
“I want to feel that as we move forward, Lagos will be one of the best places anyone can live in”… Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode (Current Governor of Lagos State) The Future The current Governor of Lagos State Akinwunmi Ambode wins the hearts of Lagosians as he moves from one milestone to another, not only improving the functionality of the existing infrastructure, but he astonishingly and also magically sprouts out new ones. He has just successfully reduced the traffic nightmare for Lekki, Ajah residents by eliminating non-performing roundabouts, and he also just recently commissioned bridges on both the Island and Mainland to improve easy flowing movement of people and goods, fostering better commercial activity, even benefitting neighboring states such as Ogun State. He also recently revealed while speaking at the 14th annual Lecture of the Centre For Value and Leadership his plan to transform Lagos into a world-class mega city by eliminating yellow buses also popularly known as ‘Danfo’.
“You can’t understand a city without using its public transportation system”…Erol Ozan Lagos also has future plans for Light rail and cable car transportation services in addition to a collaboration project in the works to partner with the Nigerian Railway Corporation to boost rail services due to availability of a huge and ready market varying from indigenes to tourists. Governor Ambode has also chosen to break the Nigerian jinx of under-utilization of assets and resources given by providence by fully harnessing water transportation. Lagos state is really blazing the trail in Nigeria as several proactive and friendly projects are being executed simultaneously, fast transforming the nations nerve center into a more bigger mega city, which has produced countless successful people and businesses, and also won awards and admiration of the whole world. It is indeed a honour to be a part of the success story of Lagos state as she celebrates her well-deserved and colorful Golden Jubilee. Thank you. Akin Abimbola (akinzogee.blogspot.com (email@example.com) SOURCES: Brainy Quote, Connect Nigeria, Google and Wikipedia June - July, 2017
Victor Moses Wins Premier League With Chelsea
helsea star Victor Moses had lots of feel of the Premier League trophy, his first in his career. Moses was an integral part of the Chelsea team that won the Premier League. Moses made 22 consecutive Premier League starts, 28 league starts and 34 league appearances in total for Chelsea, scoring three goals. A popular maxim goes thus, “It takes 10 years to be an overnight success.” But for Victor Moses, it took four exhausting, frustrating and uncertain years to get here. After three underwhelming loan spells at Liverpool, Stoke City and West Ham, Moses returned to Chelsea short of confidence, iffy, and confused about place at the club. Fast forward to the night of Friday, May 13 he has been drenched with champagne, celebrating a Premier League title with Chelsea. He’s not just celebrating a title that has been won by his club and teammates, he is toasting to the deserved recognition of his talent, the return of his selfbelief, results of his hardwork, perseverance and determination. Initially, just a fringe player, Moses made five substitute appearances for Chelsea before that 3-0 loss at Arsenal in September that brought about a rigorous change. Following that defeat, Conte made a tactical switch to his favourite 3-4-3 set-up, he needed soldiers for his new formation and Moses stepped in. Moses is clearly not blessed with Pedro’s deadly goal instinct; neither does he possess the flair and nimble feet of Eden Hazard. His qualities, Conte exploited to devastating effect. His impressive stamina, strength and fitness made him the perfect fit for the right wing-back position. Harrying that right wing with vim and vigour gave Chelsea a new level of penetration and width that made them so deadly. Moses became so essential for Chelsea that it was difficult for them to maintain shape when the Nigerian was missing. The penetration, width and pace he brings to that right side, brought him so many critical plaudits this season. The 26-year-old had a good feel of the Premier League trophy following the presentation on Sunday, May 21 after playing the full 90 minutes in Chelsea’s 5-1 win over Sunderland. He even brought out his family –his wife and two kids and together with them posed with the Premier League trophy. After the celebration on the pitch, Moses continued in the dressing room with the trophy. With this Premier League win, Moses has joined the elite of Nigerian players to have won the title.
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June - July, 2017
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Lagos Is The Number One Investors’ Destination Globally - Femi Ayinuola Young and vibrant Femi Ayinuola, the Managing Director/CEO of Femi Ayinuola and Co and Nuol Estates Limited is passionate about contributing his quota to real estate development and Entrepreneurship in Nigeria. In the last six years, the serial entrepreneur took the real estate industry by storm developing estates spread all over Lagos. In this interview, Femi who had an academic foundation in Chemical Engineering from the University of Lagos spoke on his passion for the industry and sundry issues. Lagos state will be celebrating fifty years, how has your organisation fared in the state and outlook for year 2017? Recession like they say is a period when most businesses are operating at a loss. What we have done is that having realized that many people are interested in buying properties, but not many will buy at a particular cost, so we scaled down our price to meet the needs and aspirations of everyone. The implication is that we have passed down a large chunk of our profits to the clients to enable them buy properties from us. For example, if we were making a 100% profit, we try to reduce it and give the profit to the clients. The business outlook in the year 2017 is looking very bright and promising considering the many policies being put in place by government to ease the challenges of doing business in Lagos in particular and the country at large. Lagos has been hyped as a land brimming with opportunities, do you agree with that assertion? There is no doubt that Lagos is a land of opportunities and that is the reason why people all over the country are jostling to be in Lagos. It will interest you to know that every family in the country is ably represented in Lagos and that accounts for the huge population of Lagos. Having said that, I believe that whatever you do in Lagos and you do it well, definitely, you will achieve success. Being the commercial capital of Nigeria makes Lagos the number one destination of prospective investors globally. What has been the most challenging experience of doing business in Lagos? Most people will tell you that the most challenging experience is getting funding to execute estate project development plans. In as much as real estate is a capital intensive industry, I started the company in every sense as a small business. The first thing that is needed as an entrepreneur is the desire to do a particular business at a time as vision attracts provision. They should be encouraged to learn skills that will help them excel as entrepreneurs. What is your assessment of the industry? There’s still a lot to be done. Most developers today are focused on the high end of the market which even though is very profitable is becoming overcrowded and limited in market size. The real market is in the middle and low income sector and even in the social housing sector. The future of real estate in this country belongs to the company or companies who can accurately figure out a profitable business model to take advantage of the low to middle income
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housing sectors in Nigeria. That is what we are poised to do in some of our estates. Our ultimate goal is to push and disrupt this market positively in such a manner that as long as you have a job or a business that pays you steady income that’s verifiable, you can become a home owner. From your experience, what are the critical factors for business success? There’s no organisation that is perfect but when people know you as a trust worthy firm, they’ll learn to endure with you when you are going through some challenges. To build a sustainable business, you have to be patient, focused and innovative. I would say that there are many factors that will combine to guarantee business success including integrity, diligence, focus and perseverance. With the benefit of hindsight, don’t try to copy anybody; be yourself. Integrity and excellent service delivery are critical to business success. Passion is equally critical to building a sustainable business. You cannot build a business around what you don’t have passion for. What would you say is the impact of governance to business success in Lagos? To be honest with you, the various policies of successive administrations in Lagos have really impacted positively to the development of business in the state. There are more entrepreneurs and corporate outfits in Lagos than any city in the country and that goes a long way to tell you the impact of governance to business success. For example, I believe that the process which the Lagos state government has started to make it very easy to obtain certificate of occupancy is really commendable. When the process is fully functional, you don’t need to go to Alausa to obtain C of O but at the click of a button. What can government do differently in the New Year to help enterprise development? The government should simply create the enabling environment to awaken the spirit of entrepreneurship among the citizenry. The population of the country is increasing everyday, so also is the population of unemployed and hungry people. It will surprise you that some people find it difficult to raise as little as N500.00. Government should do things that can enhance entrepreneurship. Our school curriculum should be changed to awaken the spirit of entrepreneurship among young people as the current structure is not doing any good to the youths in particular and the nation at large. I recommend that the government should encourage entrepreneurship. June - July, 2017
CHRONICLE OF GOVERNANCE IN LAGOS STATE
Chronicle Of Governance In Lagos State Car owners whose license plates begin with even numbers were not allowed on most streets on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and those with odd numbers on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Brigadier Mobolaji Johnson: Tenure: 28 May 1967 – July 1975 In May 1967, Lagos State was created and Johnson became the first governor of Lagos; the state was now composed of the old Federal Territory of Victoria Island, Ikoyi and Lagos Island plus the additions of Epe, Badagry, Ikorodu and Ikeja divisions. He was involved in developing the civil service in Lagos State. Johnson was initially assisted in running the state with help from some key civil servants such as Administrative Secretary, Adeyemi-Bero, Finance Secretary, Folarin Coker, and the acting secretary to the Military Government, Howson Wright.
Commodore Adekunle Lawal: Tenure: July 1975 – 1977 Adekunle Lawal was appointed governor of Lagos State in 1975. As the governor of the most heavily populated state in Nigeria, one of the major challenges faced by his administration was managing the chaotic traffic problem in the state. During the World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture, he implemented an odd-even rationing traffic system to ease congestion in the state.
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Commodore Ndubuisi Kanu: Tenure: 1977 – July 1978 Rear Admiral (retired) Ndubuisi Godwin Kanu was appointed military governor of Imo State, from where he was transferred to become governor of Lagos State in 1977, leaving office in July 1978.
Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe: Tenure: July 1978 – October 1979 General Olusegun Obasanjo appointed Ukiwe military governor of Niger state in 1977. He was redeployed to Lagos state as governor in July 1978, holding this post until October 1979. He was appointed director, Naval Faculty, Jaji (1981–1984) and Flag Officer, Western Naval Command (1984– 1985). He became the Chief of General Staff in 1985 under General Ibrahim Babangida.
Alhaji Lateef Jakande: Tenure: October 1979 – December 1983 Encouraged by Awolowo, he ran for election as executive governor of Lagos State in 1979, on the Unity Party of Nigeria platform and won. His administration was effective and open and implemented the cardinal policies of his party. He introduced housing and educational programmess targeting the poor, building new neighbourhood primary and secondary schools and providing free primary and secondary education. He established the Lagos State University. Jakande's government constructed over 30,000 housing units. The schools and housing units were built cheaply, but were of great value. Some of the housing units include low cost estates in AmuwoOdofin, Ijaiye, Dolphin, Oke-Afa, Ije, Abesan, Iponri, Ipaja, Abule Nla, Epe, Anikantamo, Surulere, Iba, Ikorodu, Badagry. To fund some of the projects, Jakande increased the tenement rates and price of plots of land in affluent areas of Victoria Island and Lekki Peninsula and the processing fees for lottery, pools and gaming licenses. He also completed the construction of the General Hospital in Gbagada and Ikorodu and built about 20 health centres within the state. As a governor, he established 23 local government councils which were later disbanded by the military. He also started a metroline project to facilitate mass transit. The project was halted and his tenure as Governor ended when the military seized power on 31 December 1983.
Air Commodore Gbolahan Mudasiru - Tenure: January 1984 – 1986 Air Commodore Gbolahan Mudasiru (1945 - 23 September 2003) was a Nigerian Air Force officer who was appointed Governor of Lagos State, Nigeria, holding office between January 1984 and August 1986 during the military regimes of General Muhammadu Buhari and his successor General Ibrahim Babangida. As governor, he continued the work of his predecessor Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande in improving schools infrastructure and the standards of teaching. He also introduced improved measures to keep the streets clean and orderly. He set up committees to review the Lagos Metro line project initiated by Jakande, which recommended going ahead with the project, but it was cancelled on the orders of the Head of state, General Buhari. After a major fire devastated the Oko-Baba area of Ebute Meta, Mudasiru initiated construction of a medium Income Housing Estate.
Navy Captain Mike Akhigbe: Tenure: 1986 – July 1988 Mike Okhai Akhigbe (September 29, 1946 - October 13, 2013)
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CHRONICLE OF GOVERNANCE IN LAGOS STATE served as Military Governor of Lagos State from 1986 to 1988, after which he was appointed Chief of Naval Staff, the highest-ranking officer of the Nigerian Navy, and subsequently the Chief of General Staff, the highest-ranking military officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Armed forces.
Brigadier General Raji Rasaki: Tenure: July 1988 – January 1992 Raji Rasaki was a onetime military governor of the nation's economic nerve center, Lagos State in 1988. Soon after, he embarked on a massive demolition exercise of illegal structures to rid the State of shanties. That singular act resulted in the re-vitalization of Lagos, and a boom in the real estate market. It also earned him the nickname of "acsion governor" (action governor), a mockery of the way in which he referred to himself.
Sir Michael Otedola: Tenure: January 1992 – November 1993 He was elected governor of Lagos State from 1992 to 1993 on the platform of the National Republican Convention (NRC), leaving office when General Sani Abacha came to power. His administration facilitated establishing the Yaba College of Technology campus in Epe, his home town. After leaving office, he continued his career as a writer, a consultant holding positions on the boards of various businesses, and a philanthropist. The Michael Otedola College Of Primary Education was named after him after his demise. June - July, 2017
rol shortages and reduce chronic queuing at petrol stations and in July 1998, Marwa opened a new asphalt plant in Lagos, the largest in Nigeria.
Colonel Olagunsoye Oyinlola: Tenure: 9 December 1993 – 22 August 1996 He was appointed the military administrator of Lagos State from December, 1993 till August 1996, during the subsequent administration of General Sani Abacha. In June 1996, Kudirat Abiola, wife of the acclaimed winner of the 1993 presidential election Chief MKO Abiola, was assassinated on the road between his office and that of the Canadian High Commission.
Colonel Mohammed Buba Marwa: Tenure: 22 Aug 1996 – 29 May 1999 From 1996 to 1999 Marwa was Military Governor of Lagos State. During his administration, he implemented programs such as "Operation 250 Roads" which greatly improved motoring conditions. He revamped public health institutions, and ensured that free malaria treatment was available to all. His administration upgraded infrastructure in poor neighborhoods. Marwa became well respected in Lagos because of "Operation Sweep", a joint police and military venture that helped reduce Lagos' notorious crime rate. In February 1998, Buba Marwa said on Nigerian state radio and television that unknown persons were again trying to assassinate him, and that he and his entourage had been the target of several bomb attacks starting in 1996. In May 1998, Mohammed Buba Marwa imposed fuel rationing in Lagos State in an attempt to tackle pet-
Asiwaju Bola Tinubu: Tenure: 29 May 1999 – 29 May 2007 When he assumed office in May 1999, Bola Ahmed Tinubu promised 10,000 housing units for the poor and during his eightyear period of office, he made large investments in education in the state. He also initiated new road construction, required to meet the needs of the fastgrowing population of the state. The Oloye Tinubu, alongside a new deputy governor, Femi Pedro, won re-election to office as Governor in April 2003. All other states in the South West fell to the People's Democratic Party. He was involved in a struggle with the Federal government over whether Lagos State had the right to create new Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) to meet the needs of its large population. The controversy led to the Federal government seizing funds meant for local councils in the state. Tinubu's tenure as Lagos State Governor ended on 29 May 2007 when Babatunde Fashola of the Action Congress was sworn in. Fashola had been Chief of Staff to Bola Tinubu.
Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN: Tenure: 29 May 2007 – 29 May 2015 Babatunde Raji Fashola commenced a four-year tenure as the Executive Governor of Lagos
State on 29 May 2007. In June 2007, Babatunde Fashola appointed former Inspector General of Police Musiliu Smith head of the Lagos State Security council, a body charged with taking a holistic look at the anatomy of crime in the state. Taxation - One of the main sources of Lagos State government' funds are received as tax payers' money. Education reforms - Babatunde Fashola commissioned a university-style gate for Birch Freeman High School, in Surulere, on 4 February 2010. Babatunde Fashola vowed to rehabilitate the state's public schools, long being neglected with time. Among the schools being habilitated included the governor's alma mater, Birch Freeman High School, which is located at a busy metropolis of Surulere. The biggest task Babatunde Raji Fashola faced in office as Governor of Lagos State is his visionary project to transform Lagos into a mega city, the first of its kind in Lagosian history. Although conceptualised under the former governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in June 2002, the mega city project task accelerated under Fashola's governorship. As part of the project, the Badagry Expressway, which links Lagos directly to the southeastern border of Benin Republic, is currently being rehabilitated by various contractors, with BRT and railway networks being established. Another ambition is to recover lands at Victoria Island, being lost to erosion for decades. This artificial terrain is the location of the proposed Eko Atlantic City. This is also to support housing project that would accommodate up to 25 million Lagosians by 2015, a population growth from 15 million that could turn Lagos into the world's third largest city.
Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode: Tenure: 29 May 2015 – Date Akinwunmi Ambode is the current governor of Lagos State and he is not resting on his oars until Lagos is transformed into a mega city. www.ekocitymagazine.com | 33
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ASIWAJU BOLA AHMED TINUBU LAID THE FOUNDATION FOR A NEW LAGOS
fter being an active member of Nigerian political struggles for almost a decade which led to the return of civil rule in Nigeria, the former Senator, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu returned to the country in 1998 after a short hiatus to be elected as the Executive Governor of Lagos State in 1999 under the then Pan-Yoruba party, Alliance for Democracy, AD, which won most of the governorship seats in the South West. His re-election in the 2003 general elections as the sole AD governor in the South West reveals how strong and effective his government was. Challenges Taking over a largely malfunctioning state was always going to be a daunting task. The streets of Lagos were almost in disarray. Mounds of rubbish had piled up that it was thought an impossible task to rid the city of the stench as the former national capital became one of the dirtiest cities in the world. Crime was on the rise and very regular while area boys ruled supreme. Traffic was extremely problematic and chaotic, roads were very bad almost everywhere, public infrastructure was decaying, large numbers of young people were unemployed and internally generated revenue was at its lowest ebb. On his assumption of office, Gov.Tinubu inherited a state that was practically bankrupt. Lagos needed a drastic surgical makeover and the new government duly obliged. The governor assembled a team of technocrats and drew up a 10-Point Agenda, which it began to systematically implement for the re-vitalization and re-invention of the state. The total budget size of Lagos State at the beginning of the administration in 1999 was just over N14 billion while the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) was about N600 million monthly but the monthly public sector wage bill was N800 million ensuring that the state was totally dependent on allocation from the federal government, which was barely enough to facilitate the re-building of the state after so much neglect and decay. Achievements The eight years Tinubu’s government spent in power enabled Lagos to become financially viable and autonomous of the federal government. There was improved security of lives and property and public infrastructure was aggressively modernized and expanded. There had been a dramatic improvement in the quality and efficiency of public health care, education, the environment, water supply and public transportation and the state attracted new investments in different sectors. With an improved cooperation with the private sector, the 10-point agenda of the government was reviewed to focus on Education, Healthcare, Job creation and poverty alleviation, Power and water supply, Public transportation/Traffic management, Physical Planning and Environmental renewal, Infrastructure renewal, Justice/Law and order, Food security and public sector reforms.
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Economic and Fiscal Growth The Tinubu government created new ministries such as Housing, Physical Planning, Sports and Youth Development and Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation to ensure effective policy implementation resulting in the administration growing the budget size of the state from N14.200 billion in 1999 to N240.866 billion in 2007 with a budget implementation performance not less than 60% throughout his tenure. The annual budgetary ratio also remained at least 60% capital expenditure to 40% recurrent making sure there is rapid infrastructural development. The administration also improved the state’s annual IGR from N14.64 billion in 1999 to N60.31 billion in 2006 and by March 2007, achieved a monthly IGR of N8.2 billion. Smart revenue generation policies were put in place and helped improve the economic viability of the state. Lagos State was the first in Nigeria to raise funds from the capital market for infrastructure development. The state raised a N15 billion Floating Rate Redeemable to execute various development projects. In 2003, the Tinubu administration invested N3.84 billion in Celtel (now Airtel) and by the time the state divested from the company in 2006, there was a profit of N19 billion which was invested in more infrastructural projects.
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FOUNDATION Execution of Major Projects With stronger financial backing as well as extensive public sector reforms for improved service delivery, the Tinubu Administration executed a lot of project between 1999 and 2007. Roads Construction, Dualization And Modernization • Kudiratabiola Road, Oregun; • Awolowo Road, Ikoyi; • Akin Adesola Road, Victoria Island, • Adeola Odeku Road, Victoria Island; • Agege Motor Road; • Ikotun-Igando Road; • Yaba-Itire-Lawanson-Ojuelegba Road; • LASU-Iba Road, Ojo; • Ajah- Badore Road, Eti-Osa; • Oba Sekumade Road, Ikorodu; • Adetokunbo Ademola Road, Victoria Island; • Started the expansion and modernization of the Lekki-Epe Expressway as the largest concession project of its size and complexity in Africa among several others. • Reconstruction and upgrading of the Lagos Island Central Business District including the modernization of 16 roads in the area and the historic Tinubu square.
facilities in Ikorodu • Re-organization, modernization and reequipping of the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA). • Construction of new drainage channels • Creation of Drain Ducks as well as the Emergency Flood Abatement (EFAG) to clear existing drains and respond to flooding. Education • Rehabilitation of primary and secondary schools in all divisions of the state through the Schools Rehabilitation Programme, • Construction of school furniture and equipping of laboratories; • Provision of free education in all public primary and secondary schools including payment of WAEC/NECO fees as well as all internal examination fees to ensure that indigent children do not drop out of school. Housing Construction of 6,000 housing units such as Abraham Adesanya Estate, Ajah, Ibeshe Low Income Housing Scheme, Oba Adeyinka Oyekan Estate, Lekki, Ayangburen Phase II, Ikorodu, Gbagada Medium Housing Scheme, Amuwo-Odofin Housing Scheme, Abraham Adesanya Estate Phase II, Ojokoro Millennium Housing Scheme, Alaagba Low Income Housing Scheme as well as the Oke Eletu and Oko Oba Low Income Housing Schemes among others.
Health • Upgrading of the buildings and facilities at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) to world class standard; • Expansion and rehabilitation of old General Hospitals in Lagos, Gba- Rural Development gada, Epe, Isolo, Ikorodu, Badagry, • Construction of rural roads and rural electrification and water supply schemes; Agege and the Island Maternity; • Construction of micro water works at On• building of new General Hospitals ikan, Ikeja, Iwaya, Igando, Oworonsoki, at Mushin, Shomolu, Ibeju-Lekki and Atan, Bariga, Isolo, Shomolu and Iponri Isheri-Iba as well as upgrading of existamong others to improve water supply ing health centres to full-fledged hospiin Lagos state. tals at Ijede, Ketu, Agbowa and Agege among others. Justice • Provision of free health services for chil- • Construction and equipping of new High dren under 12, the aged above 60 and Courts, free ante-natal care for women; • Computerization of court registries, • Free eye screening, eye treatment, eye • Enhanced welfare for judicial officers to surgery and provision of free eye glasses strengthen the rule of law, popularly known as ‘jigi Bola’, • Establishment of the Office of the Public • Free treatment for malaria, tuberculosis Defender (OPD) to provide free legal serand leprosy, free Limb Deformity Corvices to indigent persons, rective Surgery, free Cleft-Lip Corrective • Establishment of the Citizen Mediation Surgery Centre as an alternative dispute resolu• Introduction of the Quarterly Eko Health tion mechanism. Missions that provides free mediKey Contribution cal services including free heart The re-engineering of the state’s IGR stands out as surgeries to local communities. Waste Management • Introduction of community-based Private Sector Participation (PSP) in refuse collection and disposal to eliminate waste dumps, • Expansion and modernization of land –fill sites, • Construction of Transfer Loading Stations, • Establishment of waste-to-wealth June - July, 2017
Transport • Establishment of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) for enhanced traffic management; • Establishment of the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) to plan and manage an integrated transportation master plan for Lagos; • Initiation of the revolutionary Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) scheme; • Construction of 55 bus stop shelters; • Construction of 25.9km of median barriers to enforce lane discipline and improve travel time on major highways; • Fabrication and installation of 50,000 units various types of traffic signs to improve road safety; • Installation of at least 63 functional traffic lights at major road intersections among others in the transportation sector. Others • Initiation of the first successful Independent Power Project (IPP) by any state government generating 260MW of electricity from Ikorodu to the National Grid, • Completion of abandoned projects like theTeslim Balogun Stadium and the new Government House at Alausa, • Solving the erosion and perennial flooding of the Bar Beach by constructing a shoreline defensive barrier, • Creation of 37 new Local Development Council Areas bringing the total number of Local Government Areas in the state to 57 in order to accelerate grassroots development. Awards • Bola Tinubu received several awards for his outstanding service while in government. These include: • Best Governor in Nigeria for 2000 by the Nigerian-Belgian Chamber of Commerce; • 2002 Best Practices Prize in improving the living environment, awarded by the Federal Ministry of Works and ;the UN Habitat Group; • Citation by the New York based World Trade Association on June 12, 2002, as the symbol of progress in Nigeria. The only other recipient in Africa was President Nelson Mandela of South Africa.
Tinubu’s most telling contribution. Lagos was earning N600 million monthly when he assumed office in 1999 which he eventually turned around to over N8 billion monthly by the time he left office in 2007. However, some still say his most significant impact was in choosing a worthy successor in the recent ex-Governor of the state, Babatunde Fashola. Either way, Tinubu left an enduring legacy behind by the time he was through. He is undoubtedly one of the leading lights of our modern democracy as he is someone who is demonstrating the attributes of a true leader. Some who thought he had everything cut out for him in the South-West and he may not be able to play on a more national platform, got it wrong as they saw how together with some other committed leaders in this country, midwifed a political organization that so many pundits believed it was impossible for them, and in the history of this country, for the first time, an opposition party which was built on some blocks including the great Asiwaju himself succeeded in wrestling power from the hands of the ruling party. www.ekocitymagazine.com | 37
Delivering Value In The Real Estate Industry Is Our Focus - Chief Dr. Frank Okafor BY NNAMDI NWOKOLO
ecent studies have shown that Nigeria has about 17 million housing deficit, so when Marcopolo Group Limited was established about fifteen years ago, the primary focus of the organisation is to help in bridging this gap by providing accommodation for the low, medium and high net worth individuals and corporations. The vision of the organisation is to be among the leading Real Estate development companies globally providing prompt and efficient delivery of cost effective housing for all classes of people in the society. The organisation prides itself as Nigeria's fast emerging Hospitality and Real Estate Development Company to beat in the coming years as the organisation has several offsprings including - Marcopolo Properties Limited and Marcopolo Hotel and Suites, a three star facility located at the highbrow area of Chevron Drive, in the Lekki area of Lagos. One of the remarkable and unique projects of the Marcopolo Properties is the Cruz Garden Estates; an architectural and aesthetic masterpiece located in the high brow area of Lekki in Lagos. The garden provides breathtaking serenity, class and is tastefully designed to give value for money. The organisation believes that their business model revolves around the partnerships they have with their clienteles and doing their utmost best, at every step along the value chain, to create innovative solutions that surpass their expectations. The Cruz Garden Estates is in its Ninth phase in different areas of Lagos State to take care of the increasing accommodation needs of different classes of people in the metropolis. On the other hand, Marcopolo Hotels and Suites is being upgraded to meet international standards and give best in quality service as well as meet customers’ expectation while giving value for money. The hotel recently won an award from Jumia Travels as one of the best hospitality facility in the sub region. An encounter with Chief Dr. Frank Okafor, (Ezeuzu), the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Marcopolo Group reveals a man imbued with deep humility, but beneath the humble disposition is a radiance and depth of knowledge which leaves no one in doubt of his intellectual and business acumen. Dr. Okafor reveals the unique factors that stand the organisation out of the competition. “At the forefront of innovation, we explore and
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THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD WORK WITH SERIOUS MINDED NIGERIANS AS THEY SAY ‘CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME’. THEY SHOULD TRY AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE TO PROVIDE INFRASTRUCTURE LIKE ENERGY, ROADS, WATER AND SECURITY TO ALLOW FOR ROBUST INDIGENOUS PARTICIPATION IN THE ECONOMY uncover new and exciting solutions using technologies to add to our vast portfolios. At Marcopolo Properties we customize orders to suit specific construction requirements from clients”. He reiterated that that to succeed in anything you do, you must first of all articulate your vision. With dedication, trust and perseverance, success is always assured. He however stated that even though he started with importation of sundry goods, a second look at the economy revealed that the best way to make an impact by creating jobs for our teeming youths is through manufacturing as youth empowerment is a cause that is very dear to his heart. On the secrets of the firm’s success, Onwa Ojoto states that “I believe that human capital development is the best strategy for business success. He emphasized that “We constantly train and retrain our human re-
source for the global challenge ahead. It has not been easy but Marcopolo employees are totally committed to be the innovation partner of choice in offering customers superior and sustainable solutions in the industry”. Dr. Okafor believes that for any meaningful economic development to occur in the country the government should look inwards, by partnering with indigenous people to revive the economy of the country rather than spending huge and scarce resources to look for foreign investors. They should believe and work with tested and trusted indigenous professionals who are passionate about developing the country first because nobody can develop our country more than us. He reiterated that when things are working well, you don’t need to look for investors as they will come themselves. “The government should work with serious minded Nigerians as they say ‘charity begins at home’. They should try as much as possible to provide infrastructure like energy, roads, water and security to allow for robust indigenous participation in the economy”. What else can be written about Chief Dr. Frank Okafor, a open-minded man; a professional to the core; an excellent family man; a man with a vision and a philanthropist. These qualities developed over time have been observed and recognised with respect by people who have encountered him. No wonder, different corporate organizations and societies are jumping over themselves to bestow an award on this gentleman. He said “Each time I’m called upon to receive an award or title, I feel so much honoured because it shows that people recognize our hard work and zeal to make the society a better place. These recognitions humble me and make me work harder towards the development of the society” On his driving force, Ikenga Idemili who runs a foundation to empower the youths as well as the widows in Ojoto admits that his inspiration comes from God. “I realized that I came to this world with nothing and I will leave with nothing, hence the desire to give back to the society”. The philanthropist gave account of his success saying that he made it through the dint of hard work, perseverance, vision, honesty and fear of God and urged the youths to imbibe those virtues so that together, we can make Lagos a better place for all. June - July, 2017
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DEVELOPMENT What has been the role and contributions of Lagos to your success? Sincerely speaking, Lagos has been a centre of excellence and my success story. Interestingly, I was born and bred in Lagos. My early education was in Lagos and I equally graduated from the University of Lagos before I proceeded to the UK to study Law. So, all my life has been in Lagos and I would say that Lagos has been the city of my success. Would you say the full potentials of Lagos have been maximized at fifty? I believe that there’ll always be room for improvement. Even in developed cities of the world, they are always looking for means for future development. Lagos has made tremendous success but I don’t think we are there yet. Lagos has done well thus far, but a lot more still needs to be done if we are going to make Lagos a smart city as proposed. Having said that, I foresee a Lagos that will have a functional and fully developed rail system that will make it easy to reduce the number of hours people spend on traffic in the city. I equally see Lagos growing into a smart city in the next couple of years. Impact of governance to business success: Thank you for that beautiful question. Successive governments in Lagos have been business friendly going by the importance they attach to business as they see the private sector as partners in progress. You’ll agree with me that Lagos is the business hub in Africa and it is a reflection of the positive impact of government policies to business success. You’ll agree with me that every family in the country is represented in Lagos and that shows the accommodative nature of the people and government of Lagos. I’d also tell you that the cosmopolitan nature of Lagos contributed to its success.
Ambode is recreating Lagos of our dreams, Chief Dr. Kelly Nwogu Young and vibrant Dr. Kelly Izuwa Nwogu, the Managing Director/CEO of Livelihood Homes (owners of Bluesea Estates International) is passionate about contributing his quota to real estate development and Entrepreneurship in Nigeria. In the last five years the serial entrepreneur took the real estate industry by storm developing over twenty three estates spread across the country. The recipient of the Honourary Doctorate from the European American University spoke on the contributions of Lagos to his success story in this interview with Nnamdi Nwokolo.
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Is there anything you think government can do differently to help enterprise development especially real estate development? My take is that government at all levels should device policies that will encourage youth empowerment/development. I commend the Lagos state government of making soft loans available to the youths to enable them start SME’s and earn a living. It is a wonderful initiative from the government of Lagos and I say a big thank you to the man who made it possible, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode. He is doing well and I appreciate the efforts of his team in recreating Lagos of our dreams and I urge them to see to the full implementation of the programme by making sure the soft loans gets to people that actually need them. As a real estate developer in the state, I advise the government to try and make the process of land documentation easier in the state to enable people have access to land.
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Lagos Must Support Local Manufacturers To Attain Its Full Potentials, Says Umeofia Erisco Foods Limited, a wholly indigenous food products manufacturer has consistently provided good quality products in the country despite the challenges posed by importers of the same product. Chief Eric Umeofia, the President/Chief Executive Officer of the organization is a quintessential industrialist of global repute. He has over the years contributed his quota positively to the development of this country and made a positive statement as the King of tomato. The restless entrepreneur who has been a senior advocate of Made in Nigeria goods spoke on sundry issues in this interview with Nnamdi Nwokolo. Lagos is celebrating fifty years, what is the impact of governance on business? To be sincere with you, governance over the years in Lagos have really impacted positively in business but there are areas that they need to improve upon. In the area of feeling the impact of government on the people, they’ve done well. They’ve also done well in terms of supporting small businesses. But giving support to local manufacturers in Lagos is nothing to write home about. They must support local manufacturers to attain the full potentials of Lagos state. The issue of taxation is something they need to harmonise to ease the pains manufacturers go through in Lagos state. For me, they need to support companies that operate in the area to make the Lagos a better place as this will go a long way to reduce the incidence of robbery, kidnapping and sundry crimes in the state. You’ve been at forefront of the campaign for made in Nigeria products, what has the response been with Nigerians? The campaign to make Nigerians patronise Made in Nigeria products is a campaign for today and the future. I thank God for the response since we started, as many people felt that the nation will continue to act foolishly. The dwindling oil revenue has restructured our brain to think made in Nigeria which is a good development. The arrival of the present administration also changed the paradigm as President Muhammadu Buhari kept emphasizing that “we should produce what we need and eat what we have” with a view to maximizing what God has deposited in this country. Thank God that today, many people have realized the significance of what we were talking a long time ago as what we are doing is for the overall interest of the nation. Though, some people are practically working against the interest and progress of the nation for their own personal benefit, but with the collective effort of all Nigerians, we can break their wings to move this nation forward. The beauty of patronizing made in Nigeria products are that
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we should produce what we need and eat what we have the local currency will be strengthened and Nigerians will be empowered; a clear case of eating your cake and having it. Patronizing made in Nigeria will strengthen the economy and provide jobs for our youths. What has been the involvement of government in this whole scenario?
Interestingly, government at the center is firing from all barrels but the system is using every available means to stop the efforts of government to industrialise the nation. I’m telling you from experience and experience includes the mistakes and the losses you’ve made in the past. The challenge is that some of our policy makers are more theoretical June - July, 2017
MANUFACTURING than practical, so they lack the requisite experience to understand how to make things happen. They’ll claim to be the drivers of the economy, yet they know less than nothing on how to revive the economy through manufacturing. The challenge lies in not synergizing our experiences to be able to make things work. With better coordination and synergy, the country will be better off. I make bold to say that the real sector is the key to Nigeria’s economic recovery.
into the books of some of the agencies and he will marvel at the discovery. In view of the ban on importation of tomato paste, what’s the plan of Erisco foods limited to meet the tomato needs of the country? I keep telling people that from day one when we started operations that my interest in going into tomato production is to stop wastages of tomato in the Northern states. Unfortunately, since we started we have not operated beyond 20% of our installed capacity as we have not gotten support anywhere, both locally and globally. I thank the President and his Vice for this bold and courageous decision to ban the importation of tomato paste into the country. I call on government to block all the loopholes in our borders to stop completely the importation of the products into the country. If it’s properly done, in 18 months Nigeria will save up to $1B in tomato alone and in three years, we will be exporting the product globally. We have invested heavily to make sure that we meet the tomato needs of the country. Our capacity is more than 450,000 metric tons per annum and with our expansion in Katsina, Amichi and Jigawa, we will be hitting over one million metric tons in the coming year. Back to your question, we have the capacity to produce enough for the country and even for export.
What’s your take on the CBN’s intervention to stem the FOREX... Cuts in.. I stand to be corrected, we have said it in several platforms that most developed countries got to where they are by supporting local manufacturing as it is the only means to stabilize the local currency and grow the economy. The current trend of injecting foreign exchange into the market by the CBN is rather a temporary and short term solution to the stability of the Naira whereas the long term and sustainable solution to the myriad of challenges facing the Naira is to fully support local manufacturing especially in areas we have comparative advantage. It is quite disheartening that the CBN is supporting importation to flourish at the detriment of local manufacturing. I challenge the CBN that their policies are directly killing local manufacturers. Instead of injecting dollar into the market, the CBN ought to use the funds to support indigenous manufacturers because the stability of the real sector will translate to the stability of the local currency. What’s your take on the recent ban of imported tomato paste into the country? Well, it is a step in the right direction and we thank God that the federal government of Nigeria led by President Muhammadu Buhari has listened to our call for the total ban of imported tomato paste into the country. The ban is a welcome development if it is implemented to the latter because so many developmental policies have been inaugurated and yet truncated at the implementation stage. I want to use this medium to thank Mr. President for his good intentions to industrialise the nation but I also want to advise him to keep a tab on the implementation process so that unscrupulous people will not circumvent his good intentions. I believe this new policy direction is aimed at encouraging indigenous manufacturers? Like I said earlier, the ban is a welcome development and it has made Erisco Foods Limited to stop its planned relocation to China. The question to ask is if Nigerians are ready to reject foreign products and patronise made in Nigeria products. Most of Nigerian manufacturers have been starved of FOREX over the years that a lot have been forced to close their operation. In our own case, we have finished goods that are proJune - July, 2017
duced at a high cost because we source our FOREX from the parallel market, how then can we compete with importers of the same goods from China? If our country will ever be great, they need to institute an intervention fund to help local manufacturers to capitalize as that is the only sustainable way to economic recovery. We must take charge of our economy by protecting manufacturers and not the other way round as the CBN is doing. Unfortunately, all the intervention the CBN has given is directed to foreigners and I stand to be corrected. Our economy is simple to amend but people don’t listen to us because we don’t possess Harvard certificates forgetting that I possess practical certificate in manufacturing. The major challenge we are facing as a country is that most government agencies are frustrating the genuine efforts of Mr. President to put Nigeria in the world map of industrialization. I call on the President to urgently look
What drives you? The driving force is to contribute my quota to national development. I have thriving businesses globally and the profits are ploughed back to subsidise the operations of Erisco Foods Limited in Nigeria. This is because of my commitment to make Nigeria a better place for all. I keep wondering how Dubai makes so much money without tax, yet we are subjected to all forms of taxation in this country with little or nothing to show for it. Why I’m on this war path with importers is that apart from the low quality and the health implications of their products as well as the flooding of the market with cheap and deadly alternatives, they stifle indigenous manufacturers thereby forcing them to stop production. The attendant implication is that thousands of Nigerians are thrown into unemployment. Our target is to meet the tomato needs of the country and produce for export also. How do you relax? To be sincere with you, there is no relaxation for me until all the importers of fake and substandard tomato products are chased out of the country. Unfortunately, Nigerians don’t understand that importers of substandard tomato products, or any other product for that matter, don’t mean well for the country. We should realize that if we start patronising Erisco brands and Made in Nigeria products, it will lead to production capacity expansion and creating multiple jobs for the youths.
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Ambode is recreating Lagos of our dreams, Chief Dr. Kelly Nwogu There is no gainsaying that the government needs to support the private sector to move the state to the next level. When you aggregate all the developments in Lagos, would you say it’s worth celebrating fifty? Absolutely yes, we should roll out the drums and celebrate as a Yoruba adage says ‘when you thank God for the little he has done, He will do more’. The essence of what I’m saying is that the little developments we see in Lagos today is worth celebrating but I believe we can do more. I want to commend the government of Akinwunmi Ambode for completing the Ajah flyover; it is one of the fastest projects I’ve seen government embark upon in Nigeria and complete on record time. I can see a lot of development going on in different parts of the state and I want to use this medium to thank all the people working with Governor Ambode for a job well done. My prayer is that as we celebrate fifty years, and with the current developments going on in Lagos, the next fifty years will be better. With your experience, what would you say are the challenge of entrepreneurship in Nigeria? Most people will tell you that the most challenging experience is getting funding to execute estate project development plans. In as much as real estate is a capital intensive industry, I started the company in every sense as a small business. In fact, the first ten acres of land we acquired for development was done without paying a dime. We are the only company that sells a plot of land at #100,000.00 in the whole of the country. Infrastructure is the biggest challenge to enterprise development in Nigeria. Entrepreneurs need to be trained to understand that funding is not the first requirement to start a business. The first thing that is needed as an entrepreneur is the desire to do a particular business at a time as vision attracts provision. They should be encouraged to learn skills that will help them excel as entrepreneurs. Part of what I have done in the last five years is to train people to acquire skills that will help them awaken the spirit of entrepreneurship in them.
pose on earth. It has nothing to do with neither the wealth you have nor the number of houses you own, but on the number of lives you have touched positively. What is the driving force? My mother is crippled and I’m her only child. Having seen the challenges she passed through raising me, I decided to give back to the society by alleviating the challenges that physically challenged people go through every day in our society. I don’t want to be comfortable alone as I want to make as much people as possible to help live the good life. To be a success or a failure depends solely on your mindset, so I advise the youths to have a change of mindset.
Successive governments in Lagos have been business friendly going by the importance they attach to business as they see the private sector as partners in progress. Lagos is the business hub in Africa and it is a reflection of the positive impact of government policies to business success.
From your experience, what are the critical factors for business success? There’s no organisation that is perfect but when people know you as a trust worthy firm, they’ll learn to endure with you when you are going through some challenges. To build a sustainable business, you have to be patient, focused and innovative. I would say that there are many factors that will combine to guarantee business success including integrity, diligence, focus and perseverance. With the benefit of hindsight, don’t try to copy anybody; be yourself. Integrity and excellent service delivery are critical to business success. Passion is equally critical to building a sustainable business. You cannot build a business around what you don’t have passion for. As the entrepreneur, your passion is what is needed to drive the business. With passion, you’ll constantly look for ways to improve the quality of service of your business. You’ve achieved a lot at a relatively young age, what does success mean to you? The true definition of success isn't perceived as how much money you have in your bank account, but on how many people you helped in your lifetime. No one's eulogy will include how many cars they had or how big their homes were. You will be remembered based on your generosity, your kindness, the amount of people you helped in time of need. This is how people want to be remembered as they share their life journey as an example to others. Success to me is not having too much money but the fulfillment of one’s pur-
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INTERVIEW ON LAGOS @ 50
Lagos is a National Model of Good Governance says Bashir Olawale Fakorede The name Aare Bashir Olawale Fakorede may not ring a bell like the famous players in the oil and gas sector of the Nigerian economy, but he is undoubtedly a major player in the industry especially the downstream sector of the industry. In this interview, the Managing Director of Bash Distinct Oil Nigeria Limited who has paid his dues in Lagos speaks on the role of Lagos to his success. working for my uncle was really what gave me the leeway to start my own business, and to the glory of God, I have no regrets towing this business path. We provide services to individuals and corporate organisations globally in furtherance of our vision. What has been the role and contribution of Lagos to your success? As an indigene of the state, I must tell you without mincing words that Lagos contributed immensely to my overall success. Having been born and bred in Lagos, it is only natural that Lagos State will shape my thoughts and actions. It will interest you to know that we are also contributing our quota to the development of this state both individually and communally. Eti-Osa has been very supportive of everyone provided that you are on the right side of the law. Nigeria has a challenging business environment, but opportunities abound in this country, especially in our Lagos. In other words, Lagos has contributed significantly to my success as I was born here, work here and even at the end of my existence I’ll want to remain here.
What influenced your choice of business? The choice of going into oil and gas was borne out of an earlier interest I have for the industry. As a growing young man, I worked with an uncle, who owns a budding oil and gas firm and that rekindled the interest I
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have for the industry. Personally, I have deep passion for the business and that made me to think of establishing my own organization and we are guided by honesty and adherence to standards and ethics in our service delivery. The experience I got while
Could you share some of the initial challenges you encountered? In all spheres of human Endeavour, you will see diverse challenges. The beauty of life is that it comes with diverse situations but in my own case, I don’t acknowledge them as challenges because I use the situation to get to the next level. I don’t dwell on what people term as challenges but I’d rather use the situation to get to the next level. It is important to let you know that every successful person has had one form of challenge or the other but the ability to overcome is the distinct factor between successful people and the rest. For me it has not been a bed of roses but we thank God for the opportunity Lagos has created for us to succeed. You need the Grace of God to survive without power, water, adequate security and the basic infrastructure that will enhance your survival. Would you say the full potentials of Lagos have been fully maximized at fifty?
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INTERVIEW ON LAGOS @ 50 I will say no because as you know, we cheered the immediate past administration for doing so well. But, we can see the fantastic job the present administration is doing in the state. I believe that the future will be better than today. I can’t believe the enormous developments being experienced in Lagos will happen so soon. When you evaluate the state since the emergence of civilian rule in 1999, you’ll agree with me that the state has been truly blessed with visionary leaders over time and I believe that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu laid down a blue print for the development of Lagos which all successive administration are following to the latter. For me there’s still room for improvement and going by the way the present administration is going, the state will have no other option than to return him for a second term to continue with the good work. What would you say has been the impact of governance on business success? Interestingly, the state has been supportive to business development or success if you like. The cosmopolitan nature of the state goes a long way to demonstrate how accommodative the people and government of Lagos state can be. Irrespective of where you come from, the state supports businesses with diverse policies to help in their upliftment. The government has improved on the security apparatchik of the state and it goes a long way to impact on business success. To be a success, one needs to build his enterprise based on the principles of long term values. From inception, our organisation has continued to enjoy exceptional market acceptance and growth, which has enabled the company to establish a profitable niche market, based on its superior service and delivery styles. What can government do differently to help businesses grow? It is important to advise government at this point to harmonise their taxes to reduce the challenges business men go through with taxation. As you can see, there are lots of payments to be made to the Lagos state government but these taxes can be harmonized to ease the stress of doing business in the state. For example, beyond the challenge of taxation, the bulk of our success is centered on the way we handle our customers, as we are guided by values that are very essential to our existence. These values define who we are, what we do, the manner in which we do it, and what we aspire to achieve in our daily endeavours. We apply these values in the relationships we develop with our clients/customers, government regulatory agencies, employees, partners and colleagues. These core values differentiate us from others that render similar services to ours.
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Lagos contributed immensely to my overall success. Having been born and bred in Lagos, it is only natural that Lagos State will shape my thoughts and actions. It will interest you to know that we are also contributing our quota to the development of this state both individually and communally. Eti-Osa has been very supportive of everyone provided that you are on the right side of the law.
Projections for the state: I want to see Lagos that has developed into a mega city like New York or London. It is possible and with the enthusiasm of the government and people of the state towards the actualization of this dream is second to none. This is the only city we have and the task of developing it is a collective responsibility of the people and government. In terms of governance, I think Lagos is a model to other cities in the country. Is it worth celebrating Lagos at fifty? Yes, it is more than worth celebrating. The reason is that the states that were created the same time cannot compare with the state in terms of infrastructural development and even governance.it is better to celebrate what we have so that we can have more. I give kudos to the state government for the giant strides they are making and equally finding it worthy to celebrate our Lagos at fifty.
Advise for young Lagosians: My sincere advice to young people is to stay positive in every situation. They should be focused, hardworking, honest and above all when they are saddled with any responsibility, they should do it with all their might as there is no short cut to achieving success. What drives you? Our core value is very important in whatever we do. Some people complain that things are difficult in the country but opportunities abound in the Lagos in particular and the Nation in general. We are out to make an impact. As much as money is important, we don’t lay emphasis on money. The prosperity and goodwill of those we serve is the foundation of our success. What we do is that we customize our services to suit the different needs of our customers. Our business is driven not by products but by the needs of our customers and we survive by servicing the customer’s need. www.ekocitymagazine.com | 47
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