Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode on Wednesday attributed the greatness of the State to its ability to be the melting pot for all cultures, just as he said that the people of the State over the years have distinguished themselves in making others feel home away from home.
Speaking at the Lagos History Lecture held at Eko Hotels and Suites with the theme: “Lagos: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” as part of activities marking Golden Jubilee anniversary of the State, Governor Ambode recalled that since inception, Lagos had effectively transited from an administrative entity to become the melting point of cultures and the socio-political and economic jurisdiction of global significance, rated today, as the fifth largest economy in Africa.
He described the lecture as an opportunity to have an introspection into the past, engage in an objective appraisal of the present and, a realistic prognosis of the future of another fifty years.
He said such necessitated the assemblage of knowledgeable royal fathers, elder statesmen, jurists of distinction and Lagos indigenes of repute to trace the history of the State and proffer insights as to the areas to concentrate on for the future.
Going down memory lane, Governor Ambode said: “It is important for us at this epochal gathering to refresh our memory about the beginning; the journey of how the AWORI played an important role in the evolution of what we call Lagos today:
“The same applies to the evolution of the EKO Royalty with the coming of the Bini from present day Edo State and even the momentous role played by the TAPPA in the making of our dear State.
“Our greatness is in our ability to be the melting pot for all cultures and as at today, there is no tribe in Nigeria that is not represented in Lagos. From the Hausa/Fulani to the Igbo to the Kanuri to the Ibibio, the Nupe, the Berom, the Igala and so on and so forth all have spaces to live and live well in our dear State.
“Lagos is not just national in outlook. It is international. The Americans are here; the British are here; South Africans are in their thousands; the Chinese are not in short supply; and the Indians even have a community in Lagos.
“With all sense of modesty, there is no other State like Lagos in Nigeria. Some may say we owe this to the fact that Lagos used to be a Federal Capital Territory. But I really do not think so. While that may have contributed to our greatness, we are also a unique people ready to make fellow human-beings from other lands feel home away from home,” the Governor said.
While noting the progress which Lagos had witnessed politically, socially and economically, Governor Ambode said he was certain that the progenitors of the State would be happy in their graves with the tremendous progress in all spheres of governance that have elatedly become the lots of the State.
In his keynote lecture, Professor Hakeem Danmole traced the history of Lagos since the inception, saying that it was commendable that the legacy of achievement has been sustained in the State.
Going foward, Danmole, who is the Dean, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin, said the State must strictly adhere to rules and regulations, adding that for Lagos to reach greater heights, developmental plan must be followed.
While calling on the Federal Government to collaborate with the State Government to fast-track development in Lagos, Danmole urged the State Government to fully utilize its God’s given environment especially in area of water transportation.
Responding to a call by Governor Ambode for the notion of Lagos being a no man’s land to be addressed, first Town Clark of the Lagos City Council, Senator Habib Fasinro and former Minister of Works, Alhaji Femi Okunnu (SAN) said those behind such claim were ignorant.
They said such claim was not only misleading but confrontational, as same abused the history of the indiginous people of Lagos such as the Aworis, Egbas, Binis, Ijeshas, Nupes, Brazilian returnees, among others.
On his part, Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu corroborated Fasinro and Okunnu, and urged the National Assembly to reconsider the motion to grant special status to Lagos, saying doing so would be in best interest of Nigeria.