Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has thrown his executive weight behind the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s call for devolution of powers and the need to entrench true federalism.
Governor Ambode, who spoke at the Fourth Quarter, 2017 Town Hall Meeting, the 9th in the series, held at the SUBEB Proposed Permanent Site in Kosofe Local Government, said the clamour across the country for restructuring was not out of place as the current political structure was seriously hindering Nigeria’s development.
It will be recalled that Tinubu, at a forum held in Lagos recently, backed the calls for devolution of powers and the need for the nation to truly adopt the practice of true federalism, submitting that it was the surest way to correct the nation’s power imbalance and quell the agitations for secession.
The Governor, while responding to a question raised by a resident on calls for true federalism said, “I support true federalism; I support all the issues raised by Asiwaju; we are on the same page. That is the page of APC; that is where we are and that is what we are committed to. Like I have always said, we need to deal with issues that relate to devolution of powers. Like somebody said, if I have more resources, all these items that you are coming to raise here, once you raise it, I will just say done. I need more money. So, why should somebody be saying they are the ones in charge of inland waterways when the waterways is transporting my own people and my own services and when there is a law about it”.
Governor Ambode also questioned why despite the existence of Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption Law enacted by the Lagos State House of Assembly, there were still attempts from the central government to regulate hotels and entertainment centres in the State, a situation he said was an anomaly that should be addressed accordingly.
“We enact a law and somebody says he wants to do another law that regulates hotels inside Lagos. Is it not because of the roads that they put a hotel there? That is what devolution of power is saying. If these things are on the residual list, let Local Government and States deal with them. That is all that we are asking for. It’s not that we will generate Value Added Tax (VAT) here and somebody will be sharing 50 per cent of the VAT somewhere else.
“So, obviously that is the whole idea behind this agitation for true federalism, devolution of powers and the need to use it to liberate ourselves so that we can get more prosperous; so that our people can be more comfortable and it is all about the welfare of our people. Our people have said that we should do this work and we must be able to speak on your behalf on the things that really matter to all of you,” he said.
He said his administration will not relent in its efforts towards reducing the menace, adding however that concerted efforts from the traditional rulers and community leaders, who are closest to the people, were very pivotal to achieving the desired result.
“We are in October and we are going to December, naturally, when it gets to the ember months, somehow traditionally, crime rate go up but in the last two years, we have been able to reduce crime rate when it is coming to December.
“I want to appeal to all our traditional rulers and other community leaders; there is a need for us to support the Neighborhood Safety Corps. Also our volunteers and the people should now be more vigilant and then cooperate with our security agencies to maintain law and order. I want to reduce the crime rate to the barest minimum and I know that we are going to engage a lot of our youths in end of the year activities to make sure that peace continue to reign in Lagos,” the Governor said.
Besides, Governor Ambode also implored the various Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to increase their awareness campaign on the dangers of drug abuse, saying that there was an urgent need for them to also join the fight against all forms of domestic and sexual violence.
“Like people already know, we are at the forefront of fighting drugs, sexual abuse and violence against women and children, we will not relent in fighting these menace in the society. I believe strongly this is the time to talk to our children; I believe strongly this is the time to talk to our wards and even those who are around us that this time around, the State Government is ready to fight crime in all its ramifications,” he said.
Among dignitaries present at the event include Senator Gbenga Ashafa, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, former Deputy Governor, Prince Abiodun Ogunleye, former Speakers of the House of Assembly, Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, Hon Jokotola Pelumi, APC Chairman in Lagos, Chief Henry Ajomale, Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu I and other major traditional rulers, members of the State Executive Council, among others.