….Lagos crime rate down by 70%
By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Dapo Akinrefon
After months of hush-hush, Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State has said he is interested in being re-elected in 2011.
Fashola, who joined the rest of his counterparts in the country to mark Nigeriaâ€™s Democracy Day, weekend, anchored his quest on the achievements his administration had recorded in the last 36 months and the desire to develop the state.
One of the achievements, according to him, is crime reduction. Lagos state, he said, had recorded drastic drop in violent crime by over 70 per cent.
Fashola made the declaration at a world press conference at the Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja entitled: â€œThird year anniversary of mega transformation,â€ to mark the nationâ€™s 11 years of democracy.
He reeled out the achievements of his administration for the period under review, saying: â€œWith regards to security, Lagos is now safer than many other cities with its population size globally, and violent crime has dropped by over 70 percent and there was no successful bank robbery in the last two years contrary to the belief that Lagos was an irredeemably crime-infested state.
â€œStreet lights now provide safety and a sense of security that has enabled the emergence of a night-time economy contrary to the belief that it would never happen.
â€œWe have operated the Bus Rapid Transit Scheme for almost three years, carrying millions of passengers in comfort and it has now become a continental model contrary to the belief that it was doomed to fail.â€
Lagos is now cleaner
The governor while affirming that the administration has exploded many myths and actualised seeming impossibilities in the areas of environment, job creation, transportation and security, noted that on environment, Lagos was now cleaner, contrary to the belief that it was impossible to manage its waste.
Asked if he would seek re-election next year, Fashola said: â€œIâ€™m interested in the prosperity of Lagos State.â€
Relationship with House, AC leadership
On his relationship with the leadership of the Lagos State House of Assembly and the Action Congress, he said: â€œIâ€™m fine with the party; leaders of the party are here. Iâ€™m also doing very well with the state House of Assembly. Iâ€™m doing well with my predecessor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu because we spent a greater part of yesterday together.â€
Weâ€™ve fulfilled our promises
Taking stock of his administration in the last three years, the governor said: â€œI assure you that we are not tired. We remain committed and hold your trust in our abilities most inviolate. I assert without equivocation that we have fulfilled our promises and, performed our part of the social contract.
â€œWe have shown that democracy can be contentful and successful in Nigeria because in every part of the state that you go, whether in the three senatorial districts, the 24 Federal and 40 State Constituencies or the 57 local governments, you will see the imprimatur of our efforts. No section of our state, whether rural or urban, has been left untouched; even as we acknowledge that there remains a lot ahead to do.â€
â€œThousands of jobs have been created from an increasing PSP participation in waste disposal and opportunities for expansion are still emerging.
â€œWe have successfully combatted flooding in places that it was thought impossible to do so. The Gbagada expressway flooding has been resolved, Dolphin Estate and Obalende flooding has been resolved, Victoria Island and Ikoyi flooding from the Bar Beach is under control. The famous â€œRiver LUTHâ€ in Idi Araba is now history.â€
On land administration
On land administration in the state, Fashola said the procedure could still be better, adding that what used to be done in ledgers for 500,000 people could not be used for 18 million people.
He added that what is needed now is automation of land processing which would also involve scanning records and getting all the departments that has one thing or the other to do with the land so that it can be done electronically.
The governor also advised members of the public to stop circumventing the process by allowing it to work for the people, noting that each time he is asked to intervene in the process of land issues, the people disallow the system from working normally.
He reiterated that the state government is always reviewing the procedure and processes by engaging in a constant examination, stating that this was why the process of issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy (C of Os) was being reviewed to improve on the integrity of the document.
On the waste to wealth programme of the government, Fashola said at the various dumpsites, there is a lot of recycling going on and government was trying to improve the mode and quality of the process.
He revealed that government was also planning to build more mechanized and automated sorting facilities within Olusosun dumpsite but have been hampered by litigation from people who have erected structures on the dumpsites.
Fashola also informed that the state currently has a waste to wealth facility in Odogunyan in Ikorodu which is providing qualitative service to as many as eleven state governments, adding that the dumpsites are also serving ministries like Environment and Agriculture in providing organic waste which is being used to plant flowers.
On Agriculture, he revealed that just as many Lagosians have come to agree that Lagos land is more valuable for real estate than for farming purposes, the state government plans to get arable lands in other states of the Federation where it can set up farms where people can be engaged.
Asked to address what he considers the most important contribution to Lagos residents the governor said rather than the bridges and the water facilities and the roads, the most â€œimpactfulâ€ engagement has been with the people.
â€œI think the people of Lagos have been our most defining infrastructure and that the reward we receive is a replacement of their despair with confidence and their hope that nothing is now impossible in their stateâ€.
Earlier in his welcome address, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Opeyemi Bamidele said as the administration approached the final lap of its mandate, it was giving an assurance that no part of the state would be left untouched in its development efforts.