ACCEPTANCE SPEECH DELIVERED BY THE SPEAKER DURING INAUGURATION OF THE 9TH ASSEMBLY ON FRIDAY, JUNE 08, 2019
His Excellency, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Executive Governor of Lagos State; our highly esteemed royal fathers here present, Captains of industry, leaders of our pace-setting party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), Community leaders, Chairmen of Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas; members of Diplomatic Corps; market men and women; our energetic youths; members of the 4th Estate of the Realm; all Lagosians; ladies and gentlemen.
1. My distinguished colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, it is with great humility, a deep sense of honour and an unswerving resolve to honour your trust as I accept your gracious decision to elect me as the Speaker of the 9th assembly of the Lagos State House of Assembly.
2. Let us first thank the almighty Allah for making this inauguration of the 9th Assembly a great success. I glorify the holy name of Allah for ensuring you elected me as your Speaker for the next four years.
3. My profound appreciation goes to the Governor of Lagos, His Excellency, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu for his proclamation of this 9th Assembly. May I use this medium also to congratulate him on his inauguration as the 6th democratically elected Governor and 15th Governor of Lagos State.
4. Let me particularly thank our party leadership starting from our Governor Emeritus, Asiwaju of Nigeria, His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a discerning, financially ingenious, reliable and able leader whose brilliance made it possible for us to have a Federal Government that shares same progressive mind with us in this side of the country. I also thank members of the G16, all party leaders and most especially our party chairman, Alhaji Tunde Balogun.
5. My special commendation goes to the good people of Lagos State for the trust reposed in us to have elected us as their representatives for the next four years.
6. I also want to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to my colleagues – the Honourable Members of this great assembly for the confidence you have in me. I am fully aware of not only the honour you bestowed on me but the responsibilities of leading this highly respected institution. I promise you against all odds that I will make you proud; I will not let you down.
7. Dear Colleagues, distinguished guests, to be saddled with the mantle of leadership again as the first among equals of the 9th Assembly no doubt, for me, is a huge responsibility. It goes a long way to demonstrate the level of confidence and trust reposed in me.
8. As such, I appreciate the collective efforts of everyone who has contributed in no small measure towards my ascendance of this noble position yet again. I thank the good people of Agege Constituency 1 for the confidence reposed in me to be their representative, without which I won’t be here today as a Speaker. I am forever grateful to you all.
9. On behalf of other honourable members, I use this medium too, to show our gratitude to all our wives, the Lagos State Legislators Wives Association (LASLEWA). No doubt, the saying, “Behind every successful man is a woman” really applies to our situation. Your backing us has really gone far in contributing to our success story as honourable members. Thank you so much.
10. Dear Colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, as the 9th Assembly has been proclaimed today, our interest is to do everything possible by applying legislative instruments to define our kind of Lagos.
11. Our dear Lagos State over the years has carved a niche for itself in matters of governance, economic importance with its attendant sterling qualities that are rare in any other state of the country. Our proximity to ports and presence of seas gave us the title, “state of aquatic splendour.”
12. Lagos, the most populous black city of the world with the population estimated to be over 21 million people, is widely acclaimed the economic nerve centre of Nigeria. Indeed, with Nigeria’s premier seaport, accounting for over 90 per cent of all maritime trade, with the accrued revenues being delivered into Federal Government’s coffers; busiest airport, and most commercially active land borders, Lagos is Nigeria’s and arguably Africa’s foremost global city and financial centre.
13. Going by the fact that Lagos State exudes a whole lot of economic peculiarities and opportunities that have strategically positioned her as the centre of all visible economic planning and policy processes in Nigeria, such accumulation of resources should have positive impacts in the state.
14. Our Lagos through its population can manage its taxation or plan its tax collection in such manner that it can compete with other developed countries of the world. Like other nations of the world that rely on its revenue instead of natural resources, Lagos should look forward to becoming a state like City of Paris, beautiful and alluring. The Lagos of our future is like that of London with effective and efficient transportation.
15. There is nothing stopping us from breaking the shackle of bondage under this unitary system of government in Nigeria called federalism by placing Lagos in the position of nation on its own in another nation. That is, with well managed physical discipline, eradication of waste in our financial system, blocking of leakages in revenue collection, and encouraging transparency, probity and accountability, Lagos in few years can become what Paris or Tokyo is, clean and smart.
16. Meanwhile, implementation of laws and policies should be taken with drastic efforts. No minor indiscipline should be allowed to go without its consequence. Since discipline makes a nation great and glorious, let us endeavour to ensure the implementation of our traffic, environmental, physical planning and Urban development laws. It is our strong view that Lagos can transform into a place like Tokyo. In achieving all these, we are ready to collaborate with other arms of government, especially the Executive for the success of this administration. Our doors are open to play a prominent role in taking Lagos to the next level.
17. On our own, our legislative agendas for the 9th Assembly are: To promote and strengthen legislative institutions from state level to local government level; to establish a Centre for Democracy and Legislative Studies; to review the old laws with a view to bring them to modern reality, particularly laws that establish agencies, parastatals that are no more viable; to rejig our regular legislative consultation; and to ensure prudent fiscal financial commitment through legislative process.
18. Distinguished colleagues, Lagosians, as we have commenced the 9th Assembly, let me remind my colleagues that we have a huge responsibility before, which is to serve the people and ensure that we perform our constitutional duties without fear or favour in accordance to the Standing Order and Business Rules of the Assembly.
19. To the management and staff, I appeal to you to do everything within your capacity towards the success of this administration. To Lagosians, we remember our promises during the campaign period and you can rest assured that we will protect your interest and make sure that dividends democracy get to everyone. To the media, otherwise known as the 4th Estate of the Realm, we thank you for the past support. Likewise, we seek your collaboration by reporting news that will be of help to the Assembly. The focus should be on the success of this 9th Assembly.
20. Overall, let me remind us that Legislature, as one of the basic structures of any political system and the closest arm of government to the people, must be seen to be independent enough to exercise the powers bestowed on it by the constitution. Any attempt to abridge this constitutionally guaranteed right, therefore, must be seen as an aberration.
21. As such dear colleagues, we must be resolute and ensure that we remove every obstacle put in our collective way to strengthen the Legislature and entrench good governance. We have started this struggle; we must finish it in grand style. I am optimistic, however, that we will not fail.
22. Lastly, let us remain united, and let us do so resolutely, faithfully and uncompromisingly.
It is on this note that I say once again thank you all for this honour.
I thank you all for your listening pleasure.
Igbega ipinle Eko, ajumose gbogbo wa ni.
Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa
Speaker, 9th Lagos House of Assembly