*Promises massive infrastructure renewal in 2021 transformations
By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu has said that despite COVID-19, EndSARS, amid economic challenges, the as an epi-centre has emerged out of the year 2020, stronger and more confident.
Sanwo-Olu, however, promised residents a better the year 2021 as they will witness the delivery of massive infrastructural developments across the state.
The governor made the remarks at the controlled 2021 hybrid edition of the Lagos State Annual Thanksgiving Service, on Sunday, with the theme: “In Everything Give Thanks,” taken from the Holy Bible, Psalms 50: 23, held at Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja.
Speaking at the minimized but well-attended event, Sanwo-Olu who opened his speech with the quote from the 1st Thessalonians 5:18 where the Apostle Paul admonishes that, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God concerning you,” gave God the glory and honour for the privilege to be alive hale and hearty.
The event with the usual capacity for over 2,000 participants, had about 350 people in attendance including the deputy governor, Dr Femi Hamzat, members of the state Executive Council, state legislators and Judiciary, religious leaders led by Pastor Enoch Adeboye, General Overseer, Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, represented by Pastor Johnson Oluwatomisin (Tomisin) Kalejaiye, chieftains of the All Progressives Congress, APC, led by Chairman of the state party, Tunde Balogun, market leaders, among others.
There were special prayers for Sanwo-Olu and family, deputy governor’s family, the residents and Lagos as a state. Also, prayers were offered for thanksgiving and preservation of lives from COVID-19 in the state.
According to Sanwo-Olu, “There is no doubt that when we cast our minds back and reflect deeply on all that transpired in the just concluded the year 2020, we would see very clearly that our God is indeed faithful and worthy of all our praise and our thanksgiving.
“Indeed, if it had not been for the Lord who was on our side, the waters would have overwhelmed us, the stream would have gone over our soul. Our help is indeed in the name of the Lord, who made Heaven and Earth.
“As a State, we cannot but give unending praise to God, especially considering all the blows dealt with us last year. First, there was the Coronavirus pandemic, of which our dear State has been the national epicentre, and then there was the incalculable violence and destruction we suffered during the course of EndSARS protests hijacked protests in October 2020.
“Either one of these two tragedies could have completely disrupted and crippled our economy and existence, but we survived both of them. And we did not only survive, we triumphed, and we can look back and say that we emerged from 2020 stronger and more confident about the inherent greatness and resilience of our State.”
The governor who described the theme of this year’s thanksgiving service as “apt” said, it was inspired by Psalms 50 verse 23, which says, “Whoever offers praise glorifies Me; And to him who orders his conduct aright I will show the salvation of God.”
He continued, “It is a very pertinent theme and message, as it speaks to the need for us to continually be appreciative of the wondrous works of the Lord. Now even more than ever before, God deserves our fullest gratitude.
“We are grateful not because everything has happened the way we would like it, but because in all things it is our responsibility to show gratitude.
“We have gone through a very difficult year, battled a pandemic, lost loved ones, lost valuable property, been deprived of enormous economic opportunity, but we have come out on the other side, alive and inspired to face the future with faith and positive expectation.
Sanwo-Olu stressed that inspire of the challenges, the state has resolved, as the Psalmist says in Psalm 69 verse 30, to paise the name of God in song and magnify Him with thanksgiving.
“As a government, our driving force is the Vision for a Greater Lagos, hinged on the six strategic pillars of our T.H.E.M.E.S agenda.
“I had the privilege of signing it – the largest Budget in the History of our State – into law on the last day of 2020, and it gladdens my heart that as I speak today, the budget for this year is ready for implementation.”
Sanwo-Olu assured that from January, residents would see the renewed effort going into uplifting their welfare and living standards.
“Over the next few months we have 377 projects slated for Commissioning across the State, in various sectors, all embarked upon to positively impact the lives of every resident of Lagos State.
These projects include The 52 Tonne Per Hour Imota Rice Mill, in Ikorodu, the Pen Cinema Junction Flyover and Ramp in Agege, rhe Restored Glover Memorial Hall, Marina, Lagos Island, the Ariyo (Mile 10) – Ira – Muwo Bridge Phase 1 in Ojo, affordable public housing scheme in Idale, Badagry, comprising 252 units of 2-bedroom bungalows,” among others.
The governor expressed appreciation to all religious organizations, institutions, schools, business ventures, and also individuals who have complied with the COVID-19 guidelines and protocols.
“The effort you have all put in thus far is accountable for the victories we have so far recorded against the virus.
And to the rest, I charge you too, in this new year, borrow a leaf from the compliant organizations. As I have said repeatedly, in this fight against COVID-19, we are only as strong as our weakest links.
“I urge us to strictly follow these guidelines, even as we deal with the challenges of a second wave of the pandemic. Let us continue with the regular washing of hands, the mandatory use of facemasks, maintenance of the required social distance, and avoidance of unnecessary and non-essential gatherings.
“It is my hope and prayer that this time next year we would have fully put the COVID-19 pandemic behind us, and will be able to gather in person for the 2022 Thanksgiving Service.
“I ask you my fellow Lagosians, those of you present here, and all of you who are following us virtually, to continue to pray for the peace, prosperity and continuous growth of our beloved state,” Sanwo-Olu stated.
Kalejaiye, preaching on the theme, quoted from various Bible verses, with emphasis on Luke 18, 22-19, said giving thanks to God is spiritually mandatory with corresponding rewards.