By Bose Adelaja
In the light of the security challenges that recently reared up in Lagos and the intensified efforts by government and relevant security agencies to contain the worrisome trend, it did not come as a surprise when the Lagos State House of Assembly made security the focus of its 2016 stakeholders summit. With the apt theme: “Neighbourhood/Community Policing Starts With Me”, the summit, an initiative of the House Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, and the second edition after the inaugural one was held last year, presented an opportunity to explore various options to address the problem of insecurity in the state.
To underline the importance of the theme, the event was structured to hold simultaneously across the state. The idea was to ensure that more Lagosians are sensitised to become security conscious and in the process assist security agencies to safeguard the state.
For members of the 8th Lagos State House of Assembly, the event which held on Wednesday October 5, 2016 was another opportunity to actualise their promise of making the people of the state the corner stone of government policies through regular interaction. About the same time last year, the first-ever stakeholders summit was held across the length and breadth of the 40 constituencies in the State to seek Lagosians input into the 2016 budget.
Agenda of the Speaker
This was in keeping with the agenda of the Speaker, who had at the inception of his leadership promised to use the platform to interact with the people annually to promote good governance and accountability.
Remarkably this year’s summit attracted an impressive number of attendants. They came from different parts of the state even before 10:00am the event was billed to start. The roll call included artisans, students, activists, traditional rulers, Chiefs, etc, who thronged the various centres to rub minds with their representatives.
Setting the tone for the event in Agege, Speaker Obasa said: “This Constituency stakeholders meeting is aimed at briefing you on the activities of the Assembly in the last one year; our response to the challenges in the state as well as to obtain information from you on the peculiar security system in our constituencies with suggestion on how to combat same.
“I wish to state that it is in our determination to give meaning to good representation and good governance that we have come again with this second edition of the constituency stakeholders’ meeting which will enable us sit together to brief you on our activities in the last one year, to rub minds and obtain first-hand information concerning the state of affairs and assess the level of development and needs of our constituents.
“We submitted the collated complaints and request of our constituencies to His Excellency, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode for Executive Action. I am pleased to inform that the report has been receiving the attention of the Governor, and part of your requests and our recommendations have been implemented across the state.
“Some of the complaints and requests that are being acted upon by the Governor are the Pen Cinema overhead bridge at Agege, two roads in each of the local Government Areas and Local Council Development Areas of the State, the Memorandum of Understanding on the Fourth Mainland Bridge and very many other projects that are being executed across the state between the last constituency stakeholders meeting of Thursday, 12th November 2015 and today. “The Governor had through circular no. MEPB/B/2015/ 10 from the Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget with Ref. No: MEPB/B.2016/774/iv/7 dated 30th August, 2016 stated as follows:
“’In line with the policy of the state Government of inclusive governance, the process leading to Year 2017 budget commenced with the yearly budget consultative forum which provided an avenue for citizens and residents of the State in the three Senatorial Districts to make inputs into the budget. MDAs are enjoined to incorporate these inputs into their budget proposal (Annexure 1). In addition, members of the Lagos State House of Assembly held Constituency Stakeholders’ meeting across the 40 Constituencies of our state and the reports are equally available as inputs into Y2017 budget.
“’This is our testimony to you that your contributions during stakeholders meeting are valuable and that our Governor listens. It is our delight to note that since our last meeting, the first of its kind to hold simultaneously in the state, other agencies of government, both at the Federal and State Level, have also held stakeholders meetings, engaging members of the public on policies and programmes of Government. This is a drive to bring governance closer to the people in order to facilitate participatory governance”.
Giving further account of his stewardship to his people, he disclosed that six major roads have been constructed in the area, while five others are on-going.
This is aside the on-going Abule Egba and Pen Cinema fly over bridges as well as pedestrian bridges at Cement Bus-stop, Dopemu and Iyana Ipaja. The All Progressives Congress, APC, chieftain, however, tasked Lagosians to take good care of government projects in their communities to enjoy their benefits for a long period of time.
Those who did not have the opportunity to speak during the event were assured that their memoranda would be looked into by the lawmakers. One after the other, contributors at the events commended the Obasa- led Assembly for ensuring that some of their demands in 2015 have been executed. They, however, tasked the lawmakers to ensure that they continue in this light to ensure basic infrastructure are provided across the state.
Speaking on the exercise the chairman, House committee on Information and strategy, Hon. Tunde Braimoh assured Lagosians of the lawmakers support. According to him, most of the requests made last year would be taken care in the Medium Term Expenditure Frame work, MTEF, which will last for three years.