Lagos: Engine room for Nigeria’s growth, development, says Ambode
Speaking at an interactive session with the US delegation at the Lagos House, Marina, where issues bothering on deepening democracy, trade relations and tackling Boko Haram insurgency were discussed, Ambode said the US democratic experience was one that would not only be beneficial to Lagos but also to Nigeria.
While commending the US government for its role in ensuring the peaceful conduct of the 2015 general elections, he said the country has benefitted from the US democratic credentials.
The governor declared: “The parliamentary structure that we have is synonymous with what is obtainable in the US. APC as a party is the first in the history of Nigeria to unseat an incumbent government and we want to imbibe the tenets of democratic values.”
Governor Ambode also told his visitors that the state leverages on its population and cosmopolitan nature and perhaps the most buoyant economy in West Africa.
“I want to let you know that you are in the commercial capital of Nigeria, Lagos represents the future citadel of entrepreneurship in this country. As we speak, the population is nearing 21 million of which four million are actually middle class. We’re the fifth largest economy in Africa and our GDP has hit $131billion, more than 42 African countries put together,” he said.
He said the thrust of his administration is to be able to touch as many lives as possible and make life easier for residents, adding that the state government is committed to pursuing this ideal in the next four years.
To achieve this, he said his administration is ready to entrench moral leadership, adding that it would latch on to the experience of the US to better the lot of its people.
He said: “As we proceed, the party is committed to learning the best ideals of democracy and that’s where I want to take this advantage to learn from you. We want to be transparent, we want to be credible, we want to bring a leadership to the table that is open, we want a government of inclusion, and we don’t want to leave the people behind.
“Lagos is more like New York because it is a cosmopolitan state, where the largest concentration of foreigners lives. So, it’s important that everyone is carried along, we’re committed to that.”
He listed the areas of collaboration the state government was looking at to improve upon to include security and trade relations.
Earlier, Congressman Issa Darelle, a Republican, explained that though America could be viewed as possessing high democratic values, it was also striving towards perfection of democracy. He advised that rather than emulate the American democracy, Nigeria should strive to better the America experience.
He urged the State to, as a matter of urgency, collaborate with the federal government to tackle issues of insecurity in the country, especially the Boko Haram menace.
Notable personalities in the interactive session were members of U.S Congress, Carolyn Manoney, Sheila Jackson Lee and Blake Farenthold, Acting U.S Consul General in Lagos, Ms. Dehab Ghebreab. Others were Chairman, Lagos APC, Otunba Henry Ajomale, Women Leader, South West APC, Mrs. Kemi Nelson and the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello, House of Representatives and State Assembly lawmakers from Lagos, among others.
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