From Temitayo Odunlami, Lagos
The Lagos State governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, yesterday lauded his predecessor in office and Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, for what he called the former Lagos State governor’s achievements during the eight years he spent as governor of the state.
Gov. Ambode, who spoke when he received Fashola and some top officials of the ministry who paid a courtesy to the Lagos House, Ikeja, described the visit as historic, adding that it was gratifying to receive the minister for the first time at the Lagos House, Ikeja, since he left office on May 29, 2015.
Ambode and Fashola are widely believed to be at loggerheads, with the governor recently alleging the Works minister had been frustrating his efforts to rehabilitate the long Murtala Muhammed International Airport-Mile 2 road. Fashola promptly responded, saying Ambode was being economical with the truth.
But in a statement signed by the Chief of Staff to Gov. Ambode, Habib Haruna, the governor expressed joy over the visit.
Gov. Ambode lauded the minister for serving Lagos State “meritoriously”, saying that his own administration has been improving on the template laid down by the Fashola administration.
“We want to say that whatever it is that we have done in the last 22 months is just more or less a fall-out of the great achievements the former governor had already put in place. We have decided we will carry on with a sense of continuity in all the things that had been done.
“The last 18 years have been so dramatic and historic in terms of the growth and development that we have seen in Lagos, commencing from 1999 when Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu came into office and the eight good years spent by you and the two years we have done. So, obviously, there is a remarkable change between 1999 and now,” Ambode said.
The governor pledged to expand the existing collaboration with the federal government, saying that it would not only benefit Lagosians, but Nigerians in general. He assured that the requests made by the minister with regard to the housing projects of the federal government and other road construction would be accelerated, while also expressing optimism that the debts owed Lagos would be refunded.
Fashola, who described the visit as a home-coming for him, said he had come with his team to Lagos as part of a nationwide project monitoring exercise to inspect the job done so far on federal government projects.
He assured that the ministry had made representations to the Federal Executive Council on modalities to pay debts owed state governments, including Lagos State, for rehabilitation of federal roads over the years, saying that the debts would be paid through the bond instrument.