– Greater Excellence has just begun! Eko tunbo ma dun si!
To see the deepening of a Lagos that truly works as a Centre of Excellence in all ramifications, and which keeps supporting the purposes and legitimate aspirations of its people to the fullness of their potentials.
To work along with relevant stakeholders and institutions for the continued attainment of a Lagos hinged upon good governance, accountability, effective leadership, service delivery, and the promotion of opportunity for all.
Who we are:
We Stand for Lagos is a coalition of groups and concerned individuals seeking the continuity of purposeful administration and good governance in Africa’s largest megacity. We are a pan-Nigerian collective, comprising professionals from all walks of life, living and supporting our families in Lagos, and interested in the continued development of a thriving Lagos. We are aware of Lagos as Africa’s Rainbow Nation, with a diversity and complexity that should only be entrusted to tested and trusted leadership, which has the sensitivity and competence to keep it flourishing as a Centre for greater Excellence. We stand for a Lagos that has been growing steadily and progressively since the return of democracy to Nigeria in 1999; a Lagos in which a succession of good administrations and leadership has tipped the human development index upwards, promoted an increase in jobs and livelihoods, offered opportunities and rewards for the keen and steadfast; and a Lagos that continues to guarantee the security, peace and well-being of its people, while advancing on their qualities-of-life and safeguarding their continuous prosperity.
We are not only a collective of different ethnicities/nationalities, inclinations, professional and income groups, but our membership is open and encompassing. It includes market associations, artisan groups, civil society bodies, political interest groups and cultural/professional groups.
Why we are speaking up:
As a group, we have chosen to stand for the Lagos that we believe in and which we desire to see thrive as another round of electioneering has come with the wish-making of various parties and political organisations that are offering a motley of promises – from the fairly believable to the downright ridiculous – in the effort to secure our endorsements and then garner our votes. However, we are not only coming into the present with a solid sense of history of how Lagos had just been rescued from an incapacitating rot in the past decade and put on the path of sustainable growth, but with a deep awareness – through comparative information – on how some of the political promise-makers seeking our votes have fared unbearably in other parts of the country.
We have watched with concern how political campaigns have worked up into the desperate frenzies of those who claim to merely want to serve their fellow citizens but are yet taking anxious measures seeking to confuse and misinform the electorate, hence the decision to lend our collective voice as essential stakeholders to ensure that Lagos does not succumb to the emptiness of desperate political wish-making and hollow promises. Our determination is to see that the Excellence, which has been painstakingly built in Lagos over the past decade, is not traded off for insincere political hope, and the progress witnessed so far truncated on the altar of public sector neophytes. The attitude of some political parties to the oncoming gubernatorial election in Lagos seems much more driven by desires other than that of public service, as the extreme passion on which political office is sought appears to be governed by a power lust that could not possibly be about social regeneration.
It is noteworthy that in Lagos, the ruling party, the APC has nominated Akinwunmi Ambode, a truly tested and trusted former public official (the erstwhile Accountant General of the State) to run for the office of Governor. In religious scriptures it is written that, ‘By their fruits are they known’, which is apposite to the situation on ground in Lagos. If merely sixteen years of governance has taken Lagos out of the rot and woods of three decades to become one of the six largest and steadily growing economies on the African continent, with a huge educated and skilled citizenry, one of the highest school completion rates in Nigeria, an expanding mean household income, and a enlarging middle class, etc., the consolidation of this over another progressive governance cycle can only deepen the success story in a fundamental way.
We are a voice of reason that is anchored on evidence and bent on galvanizing support for the deepening of the Lagos success story. We are convinced of the sturdiness of our dreams, livelihoods, security and future with the continuity of the progress at hand.
Standing for Continuity
Our vision is to see the deepening of a Lagos that truly works as a Centre of Excellence in all respects, and which keeps supporting the legitimate aspirations of people and businesses to the fullness of their potentials. And we are prepared to achieve this through partnership with all relevant stakeholders and institutions, for the continuous attainment of a Lagos hinged on good governance, accountability, effective leadership, service delivery, and equal opportunities for all.
While several of us were either born or have been residents of Lagos for decades and have been part of the history of this great State, we would never wish to return to a Lagos noted as the social hallmark of political brigandage, cumulative bad governance, uncontrolled population growth, the heights of an overburdened and decaying infrastructure, intensive slummification, a huge and undocumented informal economy, crime and debilitating dysfunction. Those were in the days when it was an overladen metropolis without any sort of discerning, organised or systematic management.
However, since 1999 – which is still morning yet on re-creation day and barely time enough for consolidation and sustenance of development –Lagos gradually assumed the profile of a city-state that works in numerous ramifications. It evolved into a Centre of Excellence as skilled and effective managers came in to tame the chaos, and reverse decades of misgovernance. Hence forth, hospitals started working, a large expanse of its 5,000 kilometres of roads were fixed and became motorable, metropolitan refuse was tackled and surmounted, the city became cleaner and smelt fresher, public transportation was re-organised, the state economy was fixed and jobs boomed, crimes reduced, schools were rehabilitated and the completion rates increased, and there was a new confidence to doing business and investing in Lagos.
Also a culture of excellence arose, with the increase in the generation and more efficient use of public resources, undergirded by accountability. A new template of governance evolved in a way responsive to the yearnings and needs of the people as evident in availability of primary healthcare, the security of lives and property, and a general efficacy in service delivery that continues to take on global best practices. Lagos became a city of dreams proclaiming its new status as an efficient mega-city.
Hence, at We Stand for Lagos, we are calling for a deepening of the Lagos success story by voting for continuity in the governance of our city-state. It has been a success story for professionals, as over a decade of purposeful governance has led to the development of physical infrastructure, which is the backbone of modern enterprise. It has also enabled the creation of an improved business environment framework, which reduced the costs of doing business, limited the extent of government regulation of businesses to the essential elements, brought the different parts of government in interface with business and investors, ensured private sector/general public contribution to policy-making on improving the business environment, and guaranteed easier access to markets.
The restructuring of the business environment has led to the consolidation of Lagos’s position as Nigeria’s commercial and industrial hub and a key driver of economic growth in the entire country. The State has over 50% of Nigeria’s industrial capacity, with the variety of manufactured goods produced comprising electronic equipment, machinery, foodstuffs, beverages and chemicals. Equally, Lagos has become Nigeria’s financial nerve centre, with the presence within its territory of the main offices of all the banks and financial institutions in the country, in addition to being home to the Nigerian Stock Exchange. More importantly, the past decade-and-a-half in Lagos has witnessed its governments attaining bold strides in making Lagos State Africa’s Model Megacity and Global Economic and Financial Fulcrum.
The diligence of governments in Lagos State since 1999 has also made it a success story for artisans and market associations/groups, with the development of newer markets infrastructure, the creation of more levels of access to credits and other resources to businesses, and the making of Lagos a more competitive business environment. Entrepreneurship has not only evolved in Lagos through the creation of a basket of incentives that have driven businesses, but the State has embarked on radical, innovative initiatives, such as the identification with the World Economic Forum Africa Competitiveness Report 2011, which recognizes female entrepreneurship as one of Africa’s underutilized resources. As such, the Lagos State government has improved the effectiveness of its dealings with businesses operated by women, who happen to constitute about 50% of the state’s population and over 35% of its entrepreneurs.
Whilst programmes have been created for artisans – such as bus drivers/owners, okada riders, traders, etc. – and the huge informal economy of the State to be mainstreamed into the formal channels of the economy in order to actualize themselves more properly (as in the structure of ownership and management in LAMATA), the civil society has also been engaged through the creation of platforms for equal opportunity, and the establishment of a level playing field for political groups and actors in the State.
We Stand for Lagos and believe that continuity is what is necessary to transform our city-state by the lagoon to a Promised Land, as the paradigm of social and economic engineering unleashed in its space since 1999 has led to a renaissance in which Lagos has become the economic pivot of West Africa, accounting for up to 90% of Nigeria’s foreign trade flows, contributing over 30% to the country’s GDP, accounting for 70% of all industrial investments in Nigeria, while equally generating over 50% of the national port revenues.
About 70% of the State’s revenues are internally generated, while the city grows at about 5% per annum, consumes more than 60% of Nigeria’s energy, has a daily water demand gap of 2.5 billion litres and issues 10,000 metric tonnes of waste daily. While the gaps of the listed challenges can only be closed through continuous social engineering at the pace at which it is going – without distraction to the turning of the wheel – Lagos is primed to Africa’s model megacity in view of a population and labour force that is largely young, a robust e-economy potential evident in the Glo 1 submarine cable system launched in 2010, the expansion of the Lagos-based Nollywood producing about 50 full-length feature films involving a vibrant spin-off economy, and the on-going development of the Lagos-Badagry corridor intended to facilitate International trade and its attendant jobs, etc.
We Stand for Lagos because it is the place of our imagination, which supports our legitimate aspirations and purposes. We believe that greater excellence has only just begun in Lagos, and no more shall we return to the rot that we have left behind in this State. No longer shall we return to the days of rampant insecurity of lives and property in Lagos. No more shall our environment be a sprawling cesspool of sewage and decay. No more to the days when the Human Capital Index in our State revealed nothing but a constantly declining quality of life of the people. Never back to the days of social dysfunction, youth gangs and neighborhood violence. No more return to poor and indecent housing and living conditions.
We shall never go back to the days of the corruption and pillaging of State resources by untrustworthy state actors – our money will keep working for us in Lagos. We Stand for Lagos and shall never see the rot return to our communities because we have decided to vote for stability, continuity and consolidation.
We invite you to use your votes wisely at the next gubernatorial elections by standing for Lagos. Vote for continuity and sustained excellence. This way, Lagos State will also stand for you!