Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, on Thursday evening launched a fresh appeal to the the Federal Government to grant the state a Special Status to enable it sustain its position as driver of the nation’s economic growth.
Ambode told President Muhammadu Buhari, who was on a two-day official visit to Lagos, to seriously consider the possibility of granting the request.
The governor spoke at a State Dinner in honour of Buhari at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, as part of activities to commemorate the President’s visit to the state.
He expressed concerns that 26 years after the Federal Capital was relocated from Lagos to Abuja, the state has been left to strive for development without much support from the centre.
The governor said despite the strategic position the Lagos plays in the nation’s economy, there was still much untapped potentials and opportunities for economic, social and cultural growth in the state. Ambode said his administration was doing its best to explore these opportunities by strategically focusing on improving the ease of doing business, entertainment, sports and tourism.
He, however, said for these potentials to be realised, the state requires Federal Support, adding that several attempts by some eminent personalities to push for a Special Status for Lagos as well as a bill seeking to accord the state same was turned down by the Senate. “Lagos State needs more and Lagosians deserve more. Eminent Nigerians have called on the federal government to grant our state a Special Status,” he said. He recalled how a bill seeking to accord it a Special Status was rejected three times in the Senate.
However, he thanked the President for granting the state’s request to reconstruct the Oshodi International Airport Road into a 10-lane world-class road and transform the Presidential Lodge Marina into a monument and cultural legacy.
Ambode also seized the occasion to request the President to cede the ownership and management of the National Stadium, Surulere and the National Arts Theatre, Iganmu, to the state government to enable it revive them for the benefit of all. “These two edifices have been left to decay and our government is in the best position to revive these assets and make them viable again for the benefit of all Nigerians,” he said. And conducting President Buhari round the Eko Atlantic City (EAC) on Friday, the governor described the project as a practical example of how the private sector could partner with government to boost the economy.
The multi-billion dollar project is expected to accommodate over 150,000 people who would reside there and another 250,000 who would work and commute within the city on a daily basis. He said the project conceived and initiated during the tenure of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as governor of the state, had saved the whole of Victoria Island from ocean surge and other threats.
President Buhari commended the initiators of the EAC, saying he was extremely impressed with the potentials of the project, which according to him, would create jobs and boost Nigeria’s economy.