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Lagos: Land Of Freedom, Opportunities -Commissioner

The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso lauded Lagos State as a land of freedom and opportunities which never disappoints. He made this known at the 45th Anniversary of the Association of Friends, popularly called ASSO, Public Lecture held on Wednesday at ASSO HOUSE, Maryland in Lagos.

Omotoso described ASSO as a gathering of intellectuals and great minds in Yoruba land and, indeed, the nation at large. They recognise that the elite must plan for the development of society. 

He commended ASSO for the excellent way it has been making a difference in society, saying “Kudos to the past and present leaders as well as members of the great Association. Posterity will certainly tell good narratives about you”.

On the theme of the public lecture “What Citizens Need to Know about Our Centre of Excellence”, the Commissioner said Lagos is a land of freedom. It is the place where the struggle for the country’s political independence was conceived, fought and won. Lagos is a place where opposing voices against the repressive government are often the loudest. It is the home of great pro-democracy campaigners, including our revered President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

His words, “Lagos is a land of opportunities. It moves with the agility of a tennis champion, imbued with the endurance of a marathoner and the resilience of a skilled boxer. Its seductive beaches, groovy nightlife and remarkable creative industry conquered the music world, closing down concert centres across the globe. It’s a rich culture. Warm people with a strange dynamism, full of action and drama.

“In Nigeria, Lagos remains a bastion of hope for thousands of people to fulfil their dreams. It is our Canaanland, flowing with milk and honey. It is a place where the son of  ‘nobody’ could rise to become somebody whose story everybody is telling – everywhere. Many have arrived at the ‘Centre of Excellence’ without a clear-cut picture of what the future holds. But somehow, they eventually become a reference point in their chosen careers”.

He asserted that providentially, Lagos never disappoints! There is something for almost everyone in the city. No focused man stays in this great city and wallows in hopelessness. A popular cliché in the city says: “It is only a lazy man that stays in Lagos and has nothing to do”.

The Commissioner submitted that traditionally, the hospitable disposition of Lagosians is legendary. The city will always remain a major melting point where everyone can feel at home, irrespective of ethnic and religious differences. There is no other State that has opened its doors widely to accommodate Nigerians of various shades as Lagos does.

On the economy of the State, Omotoso averred that “The remarkable thing about our dear state is that it is the richest, with a population of about 25m, rising 10 times than that of New York and Los Angeles – more than the population of 32 African countries combined. Lagos holds 15.32 % of Nigeria’s GDP and 16.52% of non-oil GDP. We are talking about N26.528 trillion in 2021. This is thrice the GDP of any West African country”.

“Of every 10 black people in the world, six are believed to be Nigerians. Lagos is believed to be home to at least 10% of Nigeria’s estimated 220m population and it has at least one of the six living in Lagos. So, the challenges that our dear state faces are enormous; the responsibility is huge. In other words, the popular thinking is that should Lagos make it – in terms of development in all areas of life – the black man will make it; Nigeria will make it”, Omotoso opined.

Speaking on the Red Rail Line, the Commissioner revealed that the State has taken delivery of new trains from Milwaukee, United States, for that purpose. Recently, Governor Sanwo-Olu inaugurated the Oyingbo and Yaba Flyovers – a key Red Line infrastructure. Each train according to him can carry 1500 passengers and is expected to run on the Red Line Rail from Agbado in Ogun State to Oyingbo, with the journey taking less than 30 minutes.

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