King of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu says his support for the Lagos governor-elect, Akinwunmi Ambode, irked his relations who accused him of pocketing Lagos, saying he never regretted supporting Ambode.
Akiolu, who spoke at the Public Policy Lecture of the Institute of Directors Nigeria at the MUSON Centre on Lagos Island, southwest Nigeria, on Wednesday, said many people were against him for supporting Ambode.
“I have no doubt in my mind, with the cooperation and prayers of everyone, he will perform very well. I knew all the waters that have gone under the bridge, even including my own blood relations who, without consulting me, went with others to say that Bola Tinubu, Fashola and Oba Akiolu have pocketed Lagos and that this time around, they will not allow that.
“I told them that Jimi Agbaje will never be the governor. I still maintain it. There is no going back,” he said.The king, who said he would be 12 years on the throne in a few days’ time, said with Governor Fashola’s performance in Lagos, more opportunities would be opened for him.
“I have told you (Fashola) that you have just started. I know when this game started and I always tell people that ordinarily if you tell Fashola to contest for councillor, he will make obvious exclamation to show his fear for public office. This was because he wants to be very private but God said he wants to use him for the state.
“I told many people that Bola Tinubu planted the seed, Fashola came and watered the seed and it started germinating in geometrical progression. We have just started. On May 14, 2014 when I told all residents of Lagos that the next governor of the state will be Ambode, many didn’t believe me. On May 29, 2015 when he will be sworn in as the 14th governor of Lagos State, I believe he will perform,” he stated.
Delivering the keynote lecture, Fashola said though the state is not insulated from the current economic realities that had made it impossible for some state governments in the country to pay workers, they anticipated the challenge and did their homework ahead of time.
The governor said while some states owed workers salaries for several months, Lagos was insulated from such indebtedness because of the dedication and commitment of the team who in the last eight years worked assiduously to deliver to come up with uncommon economic template of running a mega city.
“In contemporary times, Lagos, like all states, is not immune from the current economic realities of dwindling revenues, but by hard work and commitment, she is insulated by some of the consequences such as unpaid salaries of public servants,” he said.
Fashola stated that the monthly Internally Generated Revenue and allocation from the Federation Account was unable to meet the demand of the over 21 million residents, adding that the government maintained a healthy reputation that gained confidence of investors because it has constantly met her financial obligations and debts.
He listed some of those obligations fulfilled to include the payment of the first bond of N15 billion, and the second bond of N50 billion, saying that government would comfortably pay the next bond that would mature in 2017, because monthly provisions were put aside in the consolidated debt service account.
“Another benefit is that Lagos has worked from a budget of under N20 billion in 1999 to a budget of under N300 billion in 2007, and she has grown to a budget of almost half a trillion naira in 2015.
“Her GDP is the largest of any of the 36 states and this is not to be taken for granted as a result of size alone,” he stated.
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