Lagos deserves more than Minister of State – Fashola

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Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola on Wednesday said the state deserved more than a Minister of State position in the cabinet of President Goodluck Jonathan.

Fashola made the assertion in Ikeja while answering questions at a programme to commemorate his administration’s 2500 days in office.

The governor noted that President Jonathan got a substantial number of votes in Lagos during the last general election and, therefore, should have appointed a nominee from the state a full minister, stressing that other states who did not give the President as much support were represented by full ministers in his cabinet.

The governor explained that Segun Aganga, the Minister of Trade and Investment, who was appointed a representative of Lagos in the Federal Executive Cabinet, was not an indigene of the state, stressing that Lagos had not been represented in the president’s cabinet until few weeks ago when Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro was appointed.

“Under this presidency, Lagos just had a minister a few weeks ago with the appointment of Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro as Minister of State for Defence.

“The Minister of Trade and Investment does not represent Lagos. I think it is Section 147 of the Constitution that provides that every state is represented by a minister indigenous to that state.

“Aganga is from somewhere in Edo, he is not representing us although he has supported our initiatives well, such as our Free Trade Zone project.

“But more importantly, the President won an election here with about 1.7million votes and all the states got ministers except us, until a few weeks ago.

“That’s the reward for our votes and as if that was not bad enough, what we got was a junior minister,” Fashola said.

On whether Obanikoro would represent the state well, the governor said that was not for him to judge, adding that the people of Lagos were sophisticated and would be able to judge on their own at the appropriate time.

Fashola decried attempts by the Federal Government to take over reclaimed land at Ilubirin, earmarked for a housing estate by the state government and flayed the erection of a signboard on the land by the Federal Government indicating it owned the property.

The governor said the state had owned the land for long and it was wrong for the Federal Government to claim ownership only when it had been reclaimed from the lagoon for a project.

On concerns that the state was engaging in too much borrowing to finance projects, Fashola said there was no cause for alarm, stressing that the state was borrowing to finance projects that would impact on the lives of residents and the various loans had been well serviced.

Fashola said the high rating of the state’s economy by international agencies spoke of the confidence investors had in it.

“Yes we are borrowing, but we are not borrowing senselessly. We are borrowing to improve the lives of residents and the continuous high credit rating by international rating organisations tells that our economy is healthy,” he said.

Fashola said his administration was irrevocably committed to the welfare of residents and had done a lot to achieve that, adding that the life-impacting projects embarked upon by the government in the last 100 days were part of efforts to make the state better.

The governor listed some of the projects to include ferry terminals at Ijegun-Egba, 110-bed Maternal and Child Care Centres in Igando and Amuwo Odofin and handing over of homes under the state’s mortgage scheme, urging residents to continue to pay their taxes to assist the government to deliver more dividends of democracy.

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