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Friday, 7 October 2016

Gov Ambode responds to Nigerian Senate’s refusal to grant Lagos State special status

Less than 24 hours after the Nigerian Senate voted against a bill seeking special status and federal grant for Lagos State, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has responded to the decision of the lawmakers.

According to a release signed on Thursday by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, Gov Ambode stated that in spite of the set-back the bill suffered on Wednesday, October 5, 2016,  the fact remains that Lagos State has always played a special role to Nigerians as individuals and to the country as a whole.

The Governor added that Lagos State would continue to be special and will not be deterred in continuing to play the important role of serving as a conducive and secure home for Lagosians as well as local and international visitors where opportunities are limitless and lives and property are safe.

“The truth of the matter is that as the most populous Nigerian state and the commercial heart-beat of the entire West Africa; a state that would have been the fifth largest economy in Africa if it were an independent country, Nigeria needs Lagos in order for other parts of the country to continue to benefit from Lagos.

“A special status and a special grant are fair requests that would have encouraged and rewarded Lagos State for what it contributes to the federal purse. A yes for the bill would have provided an opportunity to truly reflate the economy and empower Lagos State in serving as home to more than 21 million Nigerians and as hub to the largest volume of businesses and foreign direct investments in Nigeria. But clearly, a spectacular opportunity has been missed by ignoring this important bill,” the statement quoted Gov Ambode.

In the same vein, the Lagos State Government praised the Senator representing Lagos Central Constituency, Mrs Oluremi Tinubu, for pushing the need for Lagos State to be recognized and rewarded with a Special Status and Grant into the forefront of national discourse even if the import of that request is lost on a number of her colleagues.

The State Government said that history would remember Senator Tinubu kindly for her thoughtfulness and courage in promoting the bill that sought a special recognition for Lagos State as the commercial capital of Nigeria as well as one per cent of federally generated revenue in view of its socio-economic importance to the entire country.

Governor Ambode was quoted as saying that without prejudice to the decision of the Senate to stand down the bill, Senator’s Tinubu’s informed position and push will remain an important contribution as well as a reference point in the national economic discourse.

He said, “At a time that our country needs courageous voices that seek solutions that can benefit millions of Nigerians irrespective of where they are from, what the distinguished Senator Oluremi Tinubu has done is to draw attention to how Lagos State can provide more succour to Nigerians being the home to the largest assemblage of Nigerians. She has drawn attention to how Lagos deserves to be assisted so that the state can further provide assistance to millions of Nigerians.”

The bill was rejected on Wednesday after failing a voice vote called by Ike Ekweremadu. Consequently, the bill, SB 112, failed to scale second reading for committee stage.

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