Mr Akinwunmi Ambode has been sworn in as the 14th Governor of Lagos State at an elaborate ceremony held at the Tafawa Balewa Square, TBS, Lagos, Nigeria on Friday.
Chief Judge of Lagos, Justice Funmilayo Atilade performed the swearing in ceremony for Ambode around 11:36am amidst wild jubilation from the thousands of well wishers at the TBS.
In his speech, Ambode said he would run an inclusive government that would embrace the interest of all Lagosians.
“As we collectively face the challenge to make Lagos a better place to live in, we must recognize our strength in diversity, a common national identity where everybody counts. I shall run an open government of inclusion that will not leave anyone behind. No matter your age, sex, tribe or any other Status, as long as you reside in Lagos, we will make Lagos work for you,” he said.
Ambode said Lagosians were hardworking people, which was the reason the state is thriving in the area entrepreneurship, saying that “we must realise that there are no short-cuts to success. To our youths, we must nurture good family values to succeed in any endeavour. I want our younger ones and children to draw some lessons from my story.
“Anyone of you can rise up to be the best you want to be. Your background and circumstances cannot be an obstacle to your dreams. In our country, particularly in Lagos, you can always succeed. This is the Nigerian dream where hard-work, courage, perseverance, persistence, merit and rewards pay.
“We must therefore embrace new thinking and be determined to succeed at all times. I am ready to encourage and nurture that dream in our children, youths and every hard-working Lagosian. We would reward merit, hard-work and loyalty to the State. The future is for those who dare to dream and find courage to pursue their dreams.”
The governor stated that as Nigerians witnessed economic downturn and dwindling revenues at the national and state levels, the present economic situation had affected the financial profile of most states in the country.
He said Lagos is blessed that the foundation of its financial autonomy was designed and implemented by that visioner and leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, which was why the state had been partially shielded from the negative trend flowing from the federal level.
“For us to sustain the progressive and radical transformation on-going in the state, we have to redouble our efforts on all fronts for our commitment to excellence. While we must be creative and innovative; we are not citizens until we become responsible tax payers. I want to assure all of us that I will make your taxes work for you. You will surely get a transparent and incorruptible government that will give you good value for your taxes paid,” he assured.
Stressing that creativity is the most valuable asset in any public institution, Ambode stated that progressive governments must reward contributors of good ideas, adding that “wherever practicable, we shall practise government by incentives and not government by enforcement. We shall implement creative ideas and concepts that reduce the cost of running government; ideas that make life simpler and happier for our people.”
“I, therefore, invite you all, to join hands with me, to offer new ideas that will pull more resources to cater for the poor and needy amongst us. This will be a compassionate government,” he said, adding that he administration shall be committed to the State Development Plan (2012 – 2025), which is structured under four pillars-Social Development and Security; Infrastructural Development; Economic Development and Sustainable Environment.
“The challenges we face today as a State, are good enough ingredients to bring out the best of all of us. Together, we shall push forward and not look back, with our hands firmly on the plough. We would work hard to tackle poverty, ignorance and social decadence in our State,” he said.
In the area of private sector reforms, Ambode said the Civil Service would be strengthened and made to respond to the needs of all citizens in the same manner, quality services were rendered in the private sector, saying that his administration was prepared to take the decisions needed to promote merit and professionalism; to restructure where required, eliminate poor human resource practices and accelerate the pace of reforms in the spirit of good governance.
“I want to assure the business community and corporate Lagos that the ease of doing business in Lagos will be improved upon earnestly. Lagos is open for greater business. To this end, a new office of Overseas Affairs and Investment (LAGOS GLOBAL) shall be created under the Governor’s Office.
“We want you to fly into Lagos, start your business, find your way; live, work and enjoy in Lagos. As part of our reforms, a new Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment shall be established. This would specifically address the promise I made during the campaign on employment trust fund, labour exchange and entrepreneurship. This goal, we shall pursue vigorously.
“Also, the Office of Civic Engagement shall be created under the Deputy Governor’s Office to strengthen and enhance our promise on government of inclusion. Everyone must have a voice in my administration,” he stated.