Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN on Friday, 20th February, 2015 held the quarterly interactive session with media correspondents, giving an insight into the performance of his administration in the critical sectors in the last eight years and restating that across all critical sectors, it has been a record of. performances and kept promises.
The Governor, who spoke at Lagos House, Marina added that the administration has touched all sectors, including transportation, education, health, job creation and infrastructural renewal.
Noting that his guiding principle is to add value in all his endeavours, Fashola said as Chief of Staff to former Governor Bola Tinubu, he added value to what he met on ground and that as the Governor he has led a team that built more roads, schools, hospitals, increased revenue and also employed more people.
Giving a rapid overview of the sectors, the Governor said that in the area of transportation, the present administration has been instrumental in introducing the Bus Rapid Transit system since 2007 and it keeps expanding reaching areas like Iyana-Ipaja, Lekki, Epe Expressway and also expanding to Badagry.
According to him, in 2007 there was only one form of taxi cab service in Lagos which has changed today, as different taxis now exist that makes commuting easier for people who can now call up taxis to pick them at various locations.
He added that even in water transportation, his government has done well as the total number of people who moved through waterways in 2007 which was only 150,000 has now grown to over1.6million people on a monthly basis.
The Governor who spoke in reaction to a question from one of the state house correspondents on an assertion by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in Lagos that nothing has changed in the critical sectors stated that each time he listens to the PDP candidate speak on issues of how he intends to govern Lagos, he feels that despite preparing for eight years, Mr Jimi Agbaje still has nothing to offer and lacks content.
The Governor who said in all of such press interviews of Mr Jimi Agbaje, his performance as Lagos State Governor has always been theissue, said he is happy that it is the issue because the has demonstrated ability to add value in all the places he has served unlike the PDP candidate who has not grown his business.
“Everywhere you go, you would see the imprimatur of our government and our party. Despite the fact that the job is not yet finished. The question is what has Jimi Agbaje grown from? If you cannot grow yourself, you cannot grow the community”.
The state, according to Governor Fashola has also created a Lagos State Waterways Authority which has ensured the creation of a safety regime on the waterways through appropriate navigation infrastructure and ensuring that people wear live vests.
He said in 2007, the concept of an intra city rail was just a plan on the drawing board but that today work has reached an advanced stage on the Blue Line of the Light Rail project with four stations already completed and the fifth one coming up rapidly.
“In 2007, in how many of the sectors of the City could you find traffic lights operating? How many of them even had lane marking. Was there a Traffic Radio here then? That is my record!”
Shifting attention to the health sector, Fashola said the present administration has reduced the travel time and distance for pregnant women who often travel several kilometres to Lagos Island ante-natal care by constructing 10 maternal and child care centres with seven already completed and handed over with the eighth undergoing furnishing while the last two are being roofed.
He said this is in addition to the opening of a new School of Nursing, Flagship 24 hours Primary Health Centres, construction of a kidney and cardiac centre which is the largest in West Africa, Cochlear transplant to aid those with hearing impairment, being able to stay Polio free in the last six years as well as managing and defeating Ebola virus Disease outbreak.
Fashola said in the educational sector, his administration has been making steady progress achieving rapid improvement in the results of candidates who sat for public examination which has grown from seven percent to 45 percent.
He added that the state is also building new schools and refurbishing classrooms and that this has led to a situation where more people are sending their children to public schools which has been reflected in the positive World Bank report on the EKO Project in Lagos.
The Governor, who reiterated his assertion that Mr. Agbaje does not have the requisite capacity to lead Lagos, said the PDP Candidate is stuck with his contention that only three percent of the education budget goes to primary education wondering how that is possible when each of the 57 Councils and Council Development Areas have their own separate budgets for primary education which is their constitutional responsibility of that level of government.
He said it was regrettable that Mr. Agbaje does not bother to check some of the figures dished out to him by his Consultants and only end up embarrassing him through wrong assertions which he termed bold ideas.
Fashola said one of the hallmarks of a true leader is to admit being wrong if a mistake has been made but that the PDP candidate never admits errors, adding that he has done the same thing with the issue of tax default by Jaykay Pharmacy Limited which he has earlier claimed was not owing Lagos State but has gone ahead to pay N500,000 out of the outstanding N1.6 million to the coffers of the State.
He said the Peoples Democratic Party which is Mr. Agbaje’s party on the other hand has been dishing out lies to Nigerians on its achievements one of which is its recent disclosure that it has constructed 25,000 kilometres of roads in Nigeria.
The Governor who described the assertion as blatant falsehood says for a Federal Government that sets aside not more than 15 percent of its annual budget on capital expenditure, one wonders where it got the funds to finance such projects in the absence of any clear budgetary provisions for it.
He said what 25,000 kilometers of roads in Nigeria meant was that each of the states would have benefitted from not less than 690 kilometres of roads each of which would have allowed the residents enjoy riding on super highways.
He reiterated that his message to the people of Lagos is that they should vote for continuity by being mindful that what has been achieved in Lagos has been made possible through common service that should not be experimented with.
The interactive session which was attended by the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Lateef Ibirogba; the Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Mr Lateef Raji; and the Special Adviser on Media,
Mr Hakeem Bello; also had all members of the Governor’s Office Press Corps led by their Chairman, Mr Joshua Bassey of Business Day newspaper in attendance.