Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State

By Oladipupo Mojeed with agency report

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos state has said that if Nigeria is to occupy its pride of place among the comity of nations, concerted efforts must be made to frontally and comprehensively review cultural and political issues slowing down development.

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According to him for too long, the nation has allowed cultural and political differences to inhibit growth, but that such must stop for development to be fast-tracked in the overall best interest of Nigeria and Nigerians.

Ambode stated this at an international conference put together by the state government as part of activities marking the golden jubilee anniversary of the State with the theme: “Towards A Smart City: Preparing For The Next 50 Years Of Prosperity,”

Governor Ambode said it was pertinent for everybody in the country to unite and agree to put issues relating to development on the front burner and relegate political and cultural considerations.

He said for the state to grow from mega city to smart city, all sectors and individuals must play their part and resolve to be on top of their game in their respective areas.

“For me, the measurement of our development into a smart city should be all encompassing ranging from the quality of service that we render as a government and the service we render from individual to individual and from business to government or from individual to business.

“The totality of that is what we call smart. It is not enough for me to say government will provide the smart city, there should be smart business between for instance the tailor and the designer.

“It is something that is so microscopic but in totality, it is about being smart. So, if a foreigner comes in and moves to a restaurant and gets quality service, he knows that there is something happening in that city, he does not have to come to Alausa to see it.

“Yes, we have been talking about smart government, smart business, smart city but it is a convergence of all the three that can help. Now, in all these, getting smart requires the examination of some critical issues like the cultural management issues, political issues, the needs of the politically economy that frustrates you from doing what you are supposed to do yesterday until next year. Those are the deep issues that must be critically examined and reviewed,” Governor Ambode said.

Transforming Lagos

While alluding to how Dubai which is one of the emirates in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was able to transform into what it is today even still being within a country, Governor Ambode said cultural issues inhibiting growth must be addressed in Nigeria also so as to fast track development.

“Yes, I like to be a Dubai, one of the eight emirates in United Arab Emirates (UAE). Dubai is not a country and what was allowed to happen in Dubai would be difficult in Lagos and so to pull Lagos out of Nigeria like Dubai in UAE, we’ve got to be methodical.

“So, as much I want to run, those cultural impediments, those political impediments are pulling us down but do we have the support of this citizens? So, these are the things we do not necessarily speak about.

“We obviously have those impediments that are limiting us from becoming what we want to be and it is for us to tell ourselves that in the next 50 years, lets break the ice,” he said.