The Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly has urged the Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to work more on policies to bring more dividends of democracy to the people of the State.
Obasa gave the advice when the governor visited the Assembly on Wednesday to present the 2022 Budget Of Consolidation put at ₦1,388,285,459,990.51.
Speaking after the presentation by the Governor, Obasa who passed a vote of confidence on Mr. Sanwo-Olu for the achievements of the current administration, said the dividends still need to get to the grassroots.
The Speaker also called on the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to rejig the economy of Nigeria to reduce unemployment, insecurity and poverty.
He praised the House of Assembly for its pro-people orientation and for constantly supporting the Governor to meet the yearnings of the people of the State.
He said the support the Governor enjoys from the Assembly had reflected in the successes so far achieved by the government.
While commending the seven-man judicial panel of inquiry into cases of brutality and human rights violations committed by operatives of the disbanded special anti-robbery squad (SARS) in the state, for completing its task, the Speaker urged Lagosians to remain patient and not stoke controversies while a white paper on the report is being expected.
Below is the full speech by the Speaker:
Ladies and gentlemen,
1. On behalf of my colleagues and our highly dedicated staff, it gives me a great pleasure to heartily welcome you all to this occasion of the formal presentation of the Year 2022 budget by Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Executive Governor of Lagos State.
2. Before anything at all, we cannot but give praise and adoration to the Almighty Allah, the giver and taker of life, the One who reverses the irreversible; for giving us the opportunity to witness another budget presentation.
3. Dear Lagosians, without further ado, we have all listened with rapt attention to how the wealth of our state will be utilized for our common good in Y2022 with the presentation of the budget size: ₦1,388,285,459,990.51 themed: BUDGET OF CONSOLIDATION. This will be the last full year budget to be implemented by this administration. Expectedly, the responsibility is now on the members of this Honourable House to do the needful, by meticulously performing our constitutional duty.
4. Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, permit me to commend your astuteness, courage, forthrightness as well as your determined spirit all geared towards a greater Lagos within the period you have been in office. No doubt, you have maintained a track record of resourceful consistency in the state.
5. Distinguished guests, as you all know, our dear state of Lagos, the Centre of Excellence, has continued to be seen both within and outside our country as the very place where good governance is the norm, which readily explains why our state is home to all Nigerians, having attained the enviable status of a mega city.
6. Here in Lagos State, the three tiers of government: the Legislature, Executive and Judiciary have always been striving to put our people first in all that we do. Despite their distinct status, these government institutions have continued to regularly collaborate to deliver the dividends of democracy and the very best for our dear state and the people. For instance, this House of Assembly is evidently endowed with industrious, brilliant and diligent men and women who are making a difference in their various constituencies.
7. It is, however, pertinent to note that the very cordial relationship existing between this Legislative House and the Executive has not stopped us from performing our constitutionally assigned roles of exercising control over the state’s purse. This has obviously resulted in the First Class position that our dear state has attained in our country today, which makes Lagos the symbol of good governance.
8. It is on the record that while the legislative arm of other states of the country fights the executive, here in Lagos, it is the other way round. This has, indeed, paved way for the establishment of LAHASCOM, career advancement among the legislative staff as well the promotion of same staff to the position of permanent secretary in the state.
9. You will all agree with me that the responsiveness and readiness of this honourable House to pass pro-people and pro-development legislations is on the right course in giving Mr. Governor the much needed enabling environment to perform creditably well to the admiration of our people. This, indeed, is the confirmation that behind every performing Governor there is a pro-active, pro-people and pro-development House of Assembly like ours.
10. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, around this time last year, Governor Sanwo-Olu was here to present the Y2021 Budget, itemising his projections for the ongoing year. Today, with the remarkable support of this House, we are all witnesses to the outstanding performance of the budget as regards infrastructural renewal and wealth creation among other things.
11. That Lagos State is working is more or less an understatement. That notwithstanding, we need to look inward and devise more methods of improving our Internally Generated Revenue beyond the sources identified so far. We, at the same time, need to ensure that the revenues collected are promptly accounted for.
12. While the projections of this administration are being guided by its THEME agenda, we need to further strengthen it to touch the lives of the people. Despite the numerous infrastructural developments going on in the state, the impact is not yet fully getting to all and sundry as it should be. For instance, the traffic issue in the state has become intractable such that we cannot but look for a holistic approach for solution. The lawlessness of the road users is so noticeable and daring. Of course, we need to focus more on the implementation of the law that addresses this ugly situation.
13. It is a known fact that Lagos State has the highest foreign debt profile. Of course, this loan has been the secret behind most of the infrastructural developments we all see all over the state. Nevertheless, I will advise the Executive to focus more on intense projects that will be geared towards alleviating poverty in our society with most of these loans.
14. At the same time, our policies must be channelled towards fighting poverty in our society and empowering our people, particularly those below poverty line. In doing this, land has become the sole and natural belonging of the people, which can be used as a source of fund to lift them out of poverty. But as it were, the policy seems not to be helpful when it comes to acquisition. As such, there is the need for the government to readdress the issue of land vis-à-vis landowners in acquisition, excision and compensation.
15. Having said that, may I use this medium to address some of the recent developments in our dear state especially the building collapses as well as the issue of END SARS panel report, which has been generating some controversy of late.
16. The issues of building collapse, recently, need to be paid full attention to in the state. The executive must ensure constant and close monitoring of all the agencies in charge of building. These agencies must be up and doing in the discharge of their duties regarding the monitoring, supervision and evaluation of building processes from one stage to another. Any government official who decides to collaborate with unscrupulous building engineers or found wanting in any way should be promptly charged for criminal liability.
17. May I use this medium to commend the seven-man judicial panel of inquiry to investigate cases of brutality and human rights violations committed by operatives of the disbanded special anti-robbery squad (SARS) in the state, chaired by retired Justice Doris Okuwobi. No doubt you were chosen to saddle this task based on your pedigree, integrity and creditability. We have utmost trust in you. As such, what you have been able to put together for about a year must not be jeopardised by mere unwarranted statements that can generate controversy. Let’s not forget that Lagos has never been a police state and it will not start now. Our state has always been a free state for all. We have absolute faith and confidence in our Governor that he will not descend so low to incite violence against any member of the panel irrespective of the decision or interest of the members of the Panel.
18. Based on this, I will plead with Lagosians and Nigerians as a whole that, while we await the White Paper of the ENDSARS Panel report, people should remain calm and not rush to judgment. You can rest assured that justice will surely be served based on the outcome of the report. Of course, we are aware that justice is the basis of any democratic government.
19. Likewise, it has come to my notice that in virtually every street in Lagos of today, there is a Baale or Oba parading themselves. This has become so ridiculous and unwholesome that it requires urgent intervention by the government before the institution becomes a laughing stock. I assure you that this honourable house will do everything within its ambit of power to review the chieftaincy law in the state so as to address this before it gets out of hand.
20. Be that as it may, there is need to remind us that to further strengthen democracy and rule of law. Party politics must not be limited to the fun of electing the party leaders. I say this vis-à-vis the upcoming All Progressives Congress (APC) Convention.
21. At the same time, separation of power is pivotal in the system of government that we practice in this clime. As such, this should be accorded its sacrosanct respect. Of recent, we see cases of the Executive going beyond their boundary in respect of recent development in Plateau State where police invaded and locked up the parliament. Same thing happened in Edo State. If we love democracy, we must all fight for it and protect all its democratic institutions.
22. The National Assembly too should be interested in criminalising invasion of the parliament by anybody, by taking the advantage of the ongoing constitutional review. Anybody found wanting be it Governor, irrespective of the immunity attached to the office or honourable members of the state must be sanctioned. At the expiration of such governor’s administration, he should be made to face the law accordingly. Any police officer that colludes with such illegal invasion should likewise face criminal charges. We at the Lagos State House of Assembly are willing to address this frontally by amending our own Administration of Criminal Justice Act to make a provision for the criminalising of parliament invasion or any other action that undermines the parliament institution. It will interest you that such litigation can be initiated by any individual, CSO or agency. So, you don’t have to wait for government to bring such up.
23. Let me also use this medium to call on our President, Muhammed Buhari to do everything within his power in addressing the state of economy. You will all agree with me that the level of unemployment, inflation, insecurity, infrastructural decay in the country is at an alarming rate. As such, I urge Mr President to work towards rejigging the economy. The federal government should at the same time work with the component units, which are the states, to further empower them to develop the natural endowment resources.
This will no doubt boost the economy. Some provisions in the constitution should be reviewed as well such as the railway line and distribution of electricity. For the umpteenth time too, state police should be well considered now as a way of tackling insecurity in the country.
24. Nevertheless, I cannot but salute and commend all Lagosians for their unalloyed support given to us. This can be confirmed in the last Local Government elections in the state where they threw their weight behind us by voting enmasse for our party, the All Progressive Congress, which led to us winning all the Local Governments in the state. It is likewise worthy of note to praise Lagosians for their prompt response to our policies and the payment of their taxes too.
25. It is on this note, however, that I urge those who are still failing in this constitutional obligation of tax payment to make adjustments. Without tax, there will be no Lagos of our dream.
26. All our party leaders and followers in Lagos, particularly our National leader and the GAC members, let us be resolute, determined, focused and stand together in unity. Surely, we will always remain upright on our feet and victorious in every situation and condition.
27. In conclusion, may I use this medium to appreciate and commend all the well wishers who reached out to make 11/11, being my birthday, a colourful day. All the paramount rulers, the ALGON, my people from Agege, Mr Governor who took time to call in the midnight, members of the Executive Council of Lagos State, especially those who attended the party, the Attorney General, Head of Service, members of Permanent Secretary, and all my colleagues at the Lagos State House of Assembly for their love and support, especially for daring the torrential downpour of that day when we were playing football. I also appreciate all my colleagues from my Alma Mater: LASU and Law School for the dance that went viral. At a time in one’s life, you let go your worries and discomfort and be cheerful. Of course, that was a moment I found myself that night. I had no means to exhibit that than engaging in dancing.
Once again, I thank you all for coming and wish us a fruitful Y2022.
Igbega Ipinle Eko, ajumose gbogbo wa ni.
Rt. Hon Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa
Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly