Lagos deserves more than Minister of State, says Fashola

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Decries FG’s claim to Ilubinrin land

BY OLASUNKANMI AKONI & MONSUR OLOWOOPEJO

Ikeja—Governor  Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State yesterday said the state deserved more than a Minister of State position in the cabinet of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Fashola made the assertion in Ikeja while answering questions at a programme to commemorate his administration’s 2500 days in office.

The governor noted that President Jonathan got a substantial number of votes in Lagos during the last general election and, therefore, should have appointed a nominee from the state a full minister.
He said other states who did not give the President as much support were represented by full ministers in his cabinet.

The governor explained that Mr. Segun Aganga, the Minister of Trade and Investment, who was appointed a representative of Lagos in the Federal Executive Cabinet, was not an indigene of the state.
He said Lagos had not been represented in the president’s cabinet until few weeks ago when Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro was appointed.

Fashola said: “Under this presidency, Lagos just had a minister a few weeks ago with the appointment of Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro as Minister of State for Defence.
“The Minister of Trade and Investment does not represent Lagos. I think it is Section 147 of the Constitution that provides that every state is represented by a minister indigenous to that state.

“Aganga is from somewhere in Edo, he is not representing us although he has supported our initiatives well, such as our Free Trade Zone project.
“But more importantly, the President won an election here with about 1.7million votes and all the states got ministers except us, until a few weeks ago.

“That’s the reward for our votes and as if that was not bad enough, what we got was a junior minister.”
On whether Obanikoro would represent the state well, the governor said that was not for him to judge.
He said the people of Lagos were sophisticated and would be able to judge on their own at the appropriate time.

Decry FG’s claim to Ilubinrin land
Fashola decried attempts by the Federal Government to take over reclaimed land at Ilubirin, earmarked for a housing estate by the state government.

He flayed the erection of a signboard on the land by the federal government indicating it owned the property.
The governor said the state had owned the land for long and it was wrong for the federal government to claim ownership only when it had been reclaimed from the lagoon for a project.

On the state borrowing
On concerns that the state was engaging in too much borrowing to finance projects, Fashola said there was no cause for alarm.

He said the state was borrowing to finance projects that would impact on the lives of residents and the various loans had been well serviced.
Fashola said the high rating of the state’s economy by international agencies spoke of the confidence investors had in it.

“Yes we are borrowing, but we are not borrowing senselessly.
“We are borrowing to improve the lives of residents and the continuous high credit rating by international rating organisations tells that our economy is healthy,” he said.

Fashola said his administration was irrevocably committed to the welfare of residents and had done a lot to achieve that.
He said the life-impacting projects embarked upon by the government in the last 100 days were part of efforts to make the state better.

The governor listed some of the projects to include ferry terminals at Ijegun-Egba, 110-bed Maternal and Child Care Centres in Igando and Amuwo Odofin and handing over of homes under the state’s mortgage scheme.
Fashola urged residents to continue to pay their taxes to assist the government to deliver more dividends of democracy.

Former governors of the state, Brig-Gen. Mobolaji Johnson and Alhaji Lateef Jakande, were among prominent personalities at the programme.

Achievements within last 100 days
Fashola who listed a number of projects executed by his government in the last 100 days in office, said the government had brought healthcare delivery to the door steps of the people by building healthcare complexes and offering free medical services to the residents.

The governor said many roads were commissioned in the last 100 days, while the government also intensified efforts at solving the problem of housing by giving out houses built under the Lagos State Home Ownership Mortgage schemes.

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