By Dipo Olowookere
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has received an award for Best Performing Governor in Nigeria at an event organised by the African Leadership Magazine and held at the Regis Hotel, New York, USA.
Mr Ambode, while speaking at the 2016 International Forum on African Leadership, said since he assumed office on May 29, 2015, efforts have been geared towards creating a conducive and friendly environment for investors and for businesses to thrive.
He noted that the State was gradually emerging as the choice destination for investors, assuring that his administration would continue to work round the clock not only to become a shining example for Africans in Diaspora but retain the State as investors’ haven.
Mr Ambode, who was represented by the Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Mr Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti, apologised for his absence to receive the award, but said that he acknowledged the importance of the event hence his decision to send a powerful delegation including Durosinmi-Etti; the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Steve Ayorinde; his Special Adviser on Overseas Affairs and Investment, Professor Ademola Abass; and his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Habib Aruna, to represent him.
The Governor, in his remarks shortly after receiving the award, said the security and judicial reforms which he initiated at the commencement of his administration and the creation of the Office of Overseas Affairs and Investment were part of efforts to reduce the burden of bureaucracy and security concerns for would-be investors.
While stating that the State is open for business, Governor Ambode assured would-be investors that government would continue to invest in security, job opportunity and infrastructure which are the tripod upon which his administration was built.
He said that Lagos is also playing a leading role in the Nigeria economy, and as such must not shy away in ensuring that it takes the lead as Nigeria re-strategises to restructure its economy for greater prosperity.
“Lagos as the fifth largest economy in Africa is like a country and with the momentum with which the State is moving, it might soon emerge as the biggest economy in Africa. It is home to almost every religion, tribe and colour and accommodates the largest pool of black people all over the world, including Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, who is from Nigeria and has a home in Lagos,” Mr Ambode said.
Earlier, in his opening remarks, Publisher and Chief Executive Officer of African Leadership Magazine, Mr Ken Giami while thanking participants for finding time to honour the occasion, said the focus of the Forum was for good governance and how it could impact on the African continent.
“We have to connect, build bridges and cultivate both intra and inter African interests and connection, continue discussion and conversation on how to move Africa forward.
“A continent that has all the natural resources but still at the lowest ebb in the rank of other continents, needs trade and investment because there are many opportunities that abound in Africa. This is the time for countries all over the world to explore the resources that abound in the continent to make the world a better place for us,” Mr Giami said.
Other recipients of the African Leadership Awards at the event include the President of Malawi, Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika; President of Burkina Faso, Mr Roch Marc Christian Kabore; Vice President of South Sudan, Mr Taban Deng Gai, among others.