The Ligali Ayorinde High/Magistrate Court House built by the Lagos State Government and commissioned by the Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN at the Epe Local Government Area, Epe, on Wednesday, January 7, 2015. INSET: Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN (3rd left) and the Oloja of Epe, Oba Kamarudeen Animashaun (middle) jointly cutting the ribbon to commission the Court House. With him are: Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye (2nd left), Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade (3rd right), Aladeshonyin of Odo-Noforija, Oba Babatunde Ogunlaja (left), and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Mr. Lawal Pedro (2nd right).
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, Wednesday, 7th January, 2015, began his working week in the New Year with the commissioning of new projects in Epe and Agbowa urging Lagosians to ensure continuity in the governance of the State as the only viable means to continue to enjoy accelerated development.
Projects commissioned included High and Magistrates Court house and Nigeria’s first solar powered Primary Healthcare Centre in Epe and the first phase of the 10,000 housing unit being undertaken in Agbowa by the Government in partnership with First World Communities Limited (Chois).
In his remarks at the commissioning of the Court House in Epe which he named after a former Chief Judge of the State, Justice Ligali Ayorinde, Governor Fashola emphasized that the only way to ensure continued delivery of dividends of democracy such as have been enjoyed by residents in the last seven and half years was to retain the ruling party in the state in the coming elections.
The Governor told the quality audience, comprising eminent indigenes of Epe, traditional rulers, party chieftains and supporters as well as top government functionaries that the issue at stake was to vote for someone who has the needed experience in the governance of the state and not someone who would experiment with the state.
He told the gathering, “This is the season of elections; this is the season when you have to choose your leaders; my tenure ends in a matter of days and elections are upon us”, urging those who have not collected their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) to do so immediately in preparation for the coming elections.
Noting that it would help them to make the right choices, Governor Fashola declared, “As far as I am concerned, this is a matter of experience; it is not a matter of experiment. For me, when you look at both sides of the divide today, most of the ills that bedevil the nation today are caused by mismanagement by the Federal Government”, pointing out that lack of regular electricity and the insecurity across the country were also as a result of mismanagement by the same government.
“The only way you can change a government that you do not like legally is by the ballot box. What is upon us today is monumental and topical. If we are all agreed that the government is bad, this is the first time in the history of our nation that we will have the right and the opportunity to change that government by ourselves”, the Governor said.
He recalled that in the past there were governments the people said were not good but it was the Military that changed them adding that now that democracy has come, the onus of changing a bad government falls on the civil population who must use this opportunity to exercise their power to install government of their choice.
“This is our biggest opportunity to take the power in our hands and declare with pride that we changed this government. And we will change another government if we elect them and they do not do well; and that is when democracy would have come full circle because then power would be in the hands of the people”,
Governor Fashola said adding that Ghanaians did the same when they had the opportunity which voted to install a government of their choice.
The Governor said the handover of the court house was to bring access to justice closer to the people of Epe, to reduce cost of obtaining justice and also to bring public service employment to the grassroots adding that people have to be employed if the administration and dispensation of justice must take place in the new court house.
Urging the people to continue to pay their taxes as contribution to the commonwealth for a common prosperity, the Governor declared, “This is what we have done with your money. If you must enjoy a common prosperity, you must contribute to the common wealth. This is not oil money or money missing. This is money that you can eye-mark.
“You can see what we have done and we will continue to do it in the tradition that demonstrates how committed we are to matters that concern the people”, Governor Fashola said adding that the court houses in Badagry and Ikeja have been completed and ready for commissioning.
He further added, “In the next few days, this is what we will be doing to demonstrate our commitment to the welfare of our judicial officers; to make conducive the working environment where they spend their longest working hours. This is the place we will focus our attention so that they don’t endanger their wellbeing and their health”.
The Governor also commissioned the first ever Solar Powered Primary Healthcare Centre in Epe where the Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Health, Dr. (Mrs.) Yewande Adeshina said the centre would provide firsthand medical attention to the local communities.
Before commissioning the 480 unit Agbowa Housing Estate, Governor Fashola expressed joy that by dint of careful planning and in strategic partnership between government and a private sector led initiative, First World Communities Limited, a once dense forest has been turned into a modern community.
The visibly elated Governor declared, “Just two years ago, all of this place was forest; a once unapproachable, unmaneuoverable dense forest, but it is today an urban and modern community with well spaced out bungalows, road network, green area, pristine accommodation and it shows the character of what very strategic, people oriented and committed governance can do”, reiterating that all that has happened was done by the peoples’ taxes “in the hands of a government that is accountable and cares for you”.
Noting that the first phase of the project has delivered 480 units, the Governor, who said the total commitment with the First World Communities under the Cooperative Home Ownership Incentives Scheme was 10,000 housing units, added, “This is one of our multi-pronged approaches.
“Our opponents have been credited to say we are selling properties for over N100 million. They are ignorant as they have shown recently when they said people were leaving Lagos. But the truth is that there are many levels of people in our society who need houses. There are people who can even get loans from their places of work but there are no houses to buy. So we have to address that and also those who need support of government and we have to address that through our Lagos Home Ownership Mortgage Scheme”.
Governor Fashola explained further that the government was not only building bungalows in sub-urban communities but also delivering on a promise to initiate a rent-to-own scheme that allows participants to pay less than they would otherwise pay in the Lagos Home Ownership and Mortgage Scheme (Lagos HOMS).
“This is another strategic partnership that enables the private sector to now get involved; and government is running its own. We cannot have a single tunnel approach to the housing problem. The sectors are different, the incomes are different, the cadres are different and the housing needs are also different”, he said.
Thanking the Chairman of the First World Communities Limited for his commitment to the initiative, Governor Fashola, who urged other private sector investors to key into the project, again called on Lagosians to vote for the All Progressives Congress Governorship candidate, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode for continued delivery of such people-oriented dividends.
Earlier in his welcome address at the commissioning of the Ligali Ayorinde Court House, the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye, said the project represents the commitment of the State Governor which he made in 2008 to improve the working environment of judicial officers in the State.
In her remarks, the Chief Judge of the State Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade, commended Governor Fashola for the attention he has paid to the welfare of judicial officers in the State through the building of modern and well equipped courtrooms adding that it has enhanced the prestige of the officers.
At the commissioning of the Agbowa Housing Project, the Commissioner for Housing, Mr. Bosun Jeje, enjoined private sector developers to partner with government to solve the housing problem in the State saying government could not do it alone.
Chairman of First World Communities Limited, Brigadier General P.M.O Reis, in his remarks, said there was need to take a systematic approach to the housing challenge in the State adding the Lagos State has commenced such approach to solve the problem.
Thanking the state Governor for giving him the opportunity to partner in the project, the Chairman, who promised to deliver the rest of the project, also expressed gratitude to the local communities and leaders for their cooperation in making the delivery possible.
Also present at the occasions were members of the state Executive Council including the state Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr. Taofiq Tijani; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mrs. Iyabo Obasa; General Manager, Lagos State Electricity Board, Mrs. Damilola Ogunbiyi; traditional rulers including the Alara of Ilara in Epe, and other prominent indigenes of Epe as well as party chieftains and political stalwarts of the APC and other top government functionaries.