Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Monday declared opened the first Lagos State Two-day Ministerial Performance Review Retreat at Adeyemi Bero Auditorium in Alausa, where he said his administration was determined to step up the tempo of governance through innovative and inclusive policies.
He assured Lagosians that his administration was committed to fulfilling all his promises despite disruption occasioned by the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and other challenges that were not envisaged.
The governor said fulfilling his promises in line with the T.H.E.M.E.S development agenda for ‘Greater Lagos’ would be delivered by his administration, despite reduction in the budget as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, knowing fully that no excuse would be tenable to the residents of the state.
The T.H.E.M.E.S. agenda is predicated on: Traffic management and transportation; Health and environment; Education and technology; Making Lagos a 21st Century economy; Entertainment and tourism; and Security and governance.
According to him, “I want to assure you that despite disruption occasioned by COVID-19 and other challenges that we did not envisage, we are still committed as a government to fulfilling the promises we made to people knowing fully that no excuse will be tenable to our citizens.
“We must be determined to step forward, heighten the tempo of governance and continue to create opportunities through innovative policies that are not only inclusive but provide sustainable solutions for this present administration and lay foundation for future administrations coming behind us.”
Sanwo-Olu also implored members of the state executive council and other public office holders to be committed to the incumbent administration’s effort to meet the yearnings and aspirations of Lagosians, especially the electorates who elected him to govern the affairs of the state.
“Let me emphasise that our yardstick for performance assessment will not be based majorly on the amount of money expended or budget but the outcome of our various interventions that we have had; what measures the impact that touched the lives of citizens that we swore to serve.
“One of the promises we made at the inception of our administration and in line with the principle of continuity was to ensure the completion of projects that were inherited from the last administration. A significant part of our efforts and resources was devoted towards fulfilling this promise and taking government to another level,” Sanwo-Olu said.
Lagos State Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat, in his address, enumerated the present administration’s achievements in the last one year and four months in line with the T.H.E.M.E.S. agenda.
Hamzat said: “We should understand that our focus should be Lagosians, Lagosians and Lagosians because ultimately, they will define what we do and they will grade us. So, we are like in an examination now and examiners don’t have deep knowledge into the operations of how we actually do things but they only measure it by perception and of course by what they see.
“And as such, our job is to make sure that we set that perception right and then we give quality things in dimension; that at the end of the day our integrity will be intact and then they can say the party has done very well and this government has done very well.”
Also speaking, the Secretary to the State Government, Folashade Jaji, said the COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected governments and institutions globally, bringing in its wake, a new normal, adding that Lagos State, which is not left out, was the epicentre of the virus in Nigeria.
She, therefore, commended Lagos State Chief Incident Commander, Sanwo-Olu, and his deputy, Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Akin Abayomi, as well as the entire health sector family in Lagos State for the outstanding management of the pandemic, which was acknowledged statewide, nationally and internationally.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected not only the health sector, but also the economic sector and how we work. Therefore, our trajectory for implementation of the T.H.E.M.E.S agenda to achieve ‘A Greater Lagos’ is going to change as we operate within the new-normal to deliver the dividends of democracy to the good people of Lagos State.
“I believe in the capability of the Executive Council members, to prolifically deliver as political heads in our various MDAs and of course with the support of all others present for this retreat. I also believe that when objective feedback is given and taken in good faith, it can only lead to improved performance,” she added.
In his address, the Head of Service, Hakeem Muri-Okunola, noted the importance of a harmonious and effective working relationship between Permanent Secretaries who are accounting officers of Ministries and the political heads who are members of the state executive council.
He said: “While the Permanent Secretary has overall responsibility for the day-to-day administration of the ministry as accounting officer and in addition to advising the commissioner on public service processes and procedures, it is critically important that the responsibility of the political head for the implementation of government policies is duly recognised and the right balance and conducive atmosphere for a cordial and productive working relationship is established.”
Okunola also disclosed that “the core objective of this two-day retreat is to conduct a forensic review of the present administration’s scorecard along the six pillars of our strategic development plans in the last one year. We are here to provide a honest and unemotional review of how have we fared sector by sector. Have we achieved our set targets in different sectors? If yes, what are the enabling factors that have been instrumental in the successes recorded? If we have failed to achieve set targets, what have been the factors that militated against attainment of set targets?”
He said the main thrust of the present administration is to make Lagos economy a 21st Century economy.
“In this regard, the state government has invested heavily in infrastructure renewal and roads rehabilitation across the five divisions of Lagos, not forgetting invitation for expression of interest in the 4th Mainland Bridge,” he stated.