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The Governor of Lagos State Promise to Fulfil all Commitment Despite Covid-19 Pandemic

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Sanwo Olu

Sanwo-Olu expresses commitment to fulfilling promises to Lagosians, says COVID-19 won’t be an excuse

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Monday assured Lagosians that his administration is committed to fulfilling all his promises despite disruption occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges that were not envisaged.

The Governor said fulfilling the promises in line with the T.H.E.M.E.S development agenda for ‘Greater Lagos’ would be delivered by the incumbent administration, despite reduction in the budget as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, knowing fully that no excuse will be tenable to the residents of the State.

Speaking during the opening ceremony of the first Lagos State two-day Ministerial Performance Review retreat being held at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, Alausa on Monday, Governor Sanwo-Olu said the State Government is determined to step up the tempo of governance through innovative and inclusive policies.

He said: “I want to assure you that despite disruption occasioned by COVID-19 and other challenges that we did not envisage, we are still committed as a government to fulfilling the promises we made to people knowing fully that no excuse will be tenable to our citizens.

“We must be determined to step forward, heighten the tempo of governance and continue to create opportunities through innovative policies that are not only inclusive but provide sustainable solutions for this present administration and lay foundation for future administrations coming behind us.”

Governor Sanwo-Olu also implored members of the state executive council and other public office holders to be committed to the incumbent administration’s effort to meet the yearnings and aspirations of Lagosians, especially the electorates who elected him to govern the affairs of the state.

He said: “Let me emphasise that our yardstick for performance assessment will not be based majorly on the amount of money expended or Budget but the outcome of our various interventions that we have had; what measures the impact that touched the lives of citizens that we swore to serve.

“One of the promises we made at the inception of our administration and in line with the principle of continuity was to ensure the completion of projects that were inherited from the last administration. A significant part of our efforts and resources was devoted towards fulfilling this promise and taking government to another level.”

The Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat in his address enumerated all the government achievements in the last one year and four months in line with the T.H.E.M.E.S. agenda the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration promised the people of Lagos State.

The THEMES development agenda are; Traffic Management and Transportation, Health and Environment, Education and Technology, Making Lagos a 21st Century Economic, Entertainment and Tourism, and Security and Governance.

Hamzat said: “We should understand that our focus should be Lagosians, Lagosians and Lagosians because ultimately, they will define what we do and they will grade us. So, we are like in an examination now and examiners don’t have deep knowledge into the operations of how we actually do things but they only measure it by perception and of course by what they see.

“And as such, our job is to make sure that we set that perception right and then we give quality things in dimension; that at the end of the day our integrity will be intact and then they can say the party has done very well and this government has done very well,” he advised the participants at the retreat.

Also speaking, the Secretary to the Lagos State Government, Mrs. Folashade Jaji, said the COVID -19 pandemic has adversely affected governments and institutions globally bringing in its wake, a new normal, adding that Lagos State, which is not left out, was the epicentre of cases in Nigeria for a long.

She therefore commended the State Incident Commander, Governor Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, as well as the entire health sector family in Lagos State for the outstanding management of the pandemic, which was acknowledged statewide, nationally and internationally.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected not only the health sector, but also the economic sector and how we work. Therefore, our trajectory for implementation of the THEMES agenda to achieve ‘A Greater Lagos’ is going to change as we operate within the new-normal to deliver the dividends of democracy to the good people of Lagos State.

“I believe in the capability of the Executive Council members, to prolifically deliver as political heads in our various MDAs and of course with the support of all others present for this retreat. I also believe that when objective feedback is given and taken in good faith, it can only lead to improved performance,” she advised.

In his address, the Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola stressed the importance of a harmonious and effective working relationship between Permanent Secretaries who are Accounting Officers of Ministries and the Political Heads who are members of the State Executive Council.

He said: “While the Permanent Secretary has overall responsibility for the day to day administration of the Ministry as Accounting Officer and in addition to advising the Commissioner on public service processes and procedures, it is critically important that the responsibility of the political Head for the implementation of Government policies is duly recognised and the right balance and conducive atmosphere for a cordial and productive working relationship is established.”

The Head of Service also disclosed that “the core objective of this two-day retreat is to conduct a forensic review of the present administration’s scorecard along the five Pillars of our strategic development plans in the last one year. We are here to provide a honest and unemotional review of how have we fared sector by sector. Have we achieved our set targets in different sectors? If yes, what are the enabling factors that have been instrumental in the successes recorded? If we have failed to achieve set targets, what have been the factors that militated against attainment of set targets?”

He said the main thrust of the present administration is to make the Lagos economy a 21st-century economy, adding that “In this regard, the State Government has invested heavily in infrastructure renewal and roads rehabilitation across the five divisions of Lagos, not forgetting invitation for expression of interest in the 4th Mainland Bridge.”

 

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Lagos State Moves to Completely Ban Okada, Keke, Introduces Minibuses

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Minibus - Investors King

The Lagos State Government on Monday announced plans to completely ban the use of motorcycles (okada) and tricycles (Keke) due to rising crime and lawlessness across the state.

The announcement was made after a stakeholders’ meeting held at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, Alausa Secretariat, Ikeja.

In the meeting attended by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa; the Chief Judge, Kazeem Alogba; the Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, traditional and religious leaders and members of the civil society, among others, the governor said the string of lawlessness daily witnessed from the confrontation between commercial motorcyclists and law enforcement agencies required urgent action.

Based on all that we have seen and experienced in the past couple of weeks, as well as the increasing threat posed by the activities of commercial motorcycle operators to the safety and security of lives, we will be announcing further changes to the parameters of motorcycle and tricycle operations in the state in the coming days. No society can make progress amid such a haughty display of lawlessness and criminality,” he added.

Sanwo-Olu said from next week, the state would be inaugurating the First and Last Mile buses next week, which would take the routes the motorcycles were plying.

The state Commissioner of Police, Odumosu, raised the alarm over rising security breaches from the menace of okada operations in the state.

He said between January and early this month, 320 commercial motorcycles were impounded in 218 cases of criminal incidents in which 78 suspects were detained and 480 ammunition recovered.

In the same period, the Lagos police boss said Okada accounted for 83 per cent of 385 cases of avoidable fatal vehicular accidents in Lagos.

At the end of the meeting, a 12-point resolution was reached, among which was a ban on Okada “as a means of transportation in the state.”

 

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2023 Voter’s Registration Will Be Online, Biometric To Be Captured Physically- INEC

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday unfolded plans to allow online filing during the continuous voter registration for the 2023 general election.

The National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, Mr. Festus Okoye, however, said only the biometric would be captured physically by INEC officials.

But the commission suffered another setback yesterday as arsonists torched its office in Ohafia Local Government Area of Abia State.

Okoye, during a stakeholders’ meeting on expanding voter access to polling units in Kano yesterday, said: “On June 28, the voter registration exercise for those above 18 years and those who have not registered before will commence with two new innovations. Those versatile with computer can register online and only visit a registration centre to capture their biometrics.”

Okoye stated that the online registration would be introduced to reduce crowd at registration centres in line with COVID-19 protocols.

The commission called on citizens, especially those willing to contest elections, whose voter cards have been defaced, whose names were wrongly spelt or addresses and locations wrongly captured to present themselves for authentication or correction.

INEC also called for valid data of all those with disabilities or physical challenges to be captured during the continuous registration for proper projections ahead of the 2023 general election.

INEC also warned political parties and politicians who have started campaigning to desist from doing so.

Okoye said: “There is a ban on political campaigns which has not been lifted yet. And I find it necessary to draw your attention for you to understand the legal implication of violating this ban.

“I have listened to comments on radio stations, which are capable of heating the polity. Media organisations should avoid providing platforms for such comments. The media should try to curtail such tensions.

“Political parties, politicians and their supporters should understand there is a legal framework for campaigns and it has not commenced yet.”

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No Plans To Relocate AFRICOM HQ To Nigeria Or Any Part Of Africa- U.S. Replies Buhari

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AFRICOM HQ

The United States has said there is no plan to relocate its Africa Command from its current base in Germany to Nigeria or any other part of Africa despite the worsening state of insecurity in the region.

The US gave the response barely two weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari appealed to the US government to consider relocating AFRICOM to Africa to assist Nigeria and other adjoining countries to combat worsening terrorism, banditry and other security crises.

The President made the plea in a virtual meeting with the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, on April 27.

Germany-based Africa Command (AFRICOM) is the US military headquarters that oversees its operations in Africa.

Buhari’s request followed a series of recent military casualties in Nigeria’s decade-long fight against Boko Haram terrorists, fresh expansion of the insurgents’ bases to Niger and Nasarawa States, and heavy waves of abductions and killings by bandits in the North.

Buhari said, “The security challenges in Nigeria remain of great concern to us and impacted more negatively, by existing complex negative pressures in the Sahel, Central and West Africa, as well as the Lake Chad Region.

“Compounded as the situation remains, Nigeria and her security forces remain resolutely committed to containing them and addressing their root causes.

“The support of important and strategic partners like the United States cannot be overstated as the consequences of insecurity will affect all nations, hence the imperative for concerted cooperation and collaboration of all nations to overcome these challenges.

“In this connection, and considering the growing security challenges in West and Central Africa, Gulf of Guinea, Lake Chad region and the Sahel, weighing heavily on Africa, it underscores the need for the United States to consider relocating AFRICOM headquarters from Stuttgart, Germany to Africa and near the Theatre of Operation.”

However, the US government on Thursday ruled out any plan to relocate AFRICOM from its current base in Germany to Nigeria or any part of Africa.

According to the United States Department of Defence’ Pentagon, previous studies have shown that the cost of relocating AFRICOM from Germany to Africa is very huge.

In an emailed response to The PUNCH, the Pentagon said although it would continue to value Nigeria and other countries in Africa as important partners, the American government would not consider relocating AFRICOM to any part of the African continent at the moment.

This newspaper had asked if the US would consider Nigeria’s request to relocate AFRICOM to the continent.

“It would be inappropriate to speculate on any future actions. However, at this time, moving this headquarters (AFRICOM HQ) to Africa is not part of any plans, but USAFRICOM’s commitment to their mission, our African and other partners, remains as strong today as when we launched this command more than a decade ago,” US Pentagon spokesperson, Ms. Cindi King, said.

King also ruled out any plan to consider Buhari’s request in an ongoing global US defence review.

She said, “Although there is an ongoing Global Posture Review, the relocation of Combatant Command headquarters is outside the scope of its assessment. In the case of AFRICOM, previous studies have concluded that the cost associated with the relocation of this headquarters is significant and likely to incur the expense of other engagement opportunities and activities that more directly benefit our valued African partners.

“We greatly value the partnership with Nigeria and appreciate President Buhari’s recognition of the United States’ positive contribution to African peace and security, as well as other regional partners that have made similar past pronouncements. The United States remains committed to continuing our close partnership with African countries and organisations to promote security and stability.”

It’s ‘near impossible’ for America to accept Buhari’s invitation –Campbell, ex-US ambassador

Meanwhile, a former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, has listed reasons why it is “unlikely or near impossible” for the US government to relocate AFRICOM from Stuttgart in Germany to Nigeria or any part of the continent.

He said aside from the fact that the cost of doing so is very huge, the Nigerian military had proved to be a difficult partner for the US over the years.

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