The Lagos State Government has insisted that the state deserves special status in view of its importance to the country.
The government said this on Thursday, a day after a bill sponsored by the Senator representing Lagos Central, Mrs. Oluremi Tinubu, for the state to be recognised and rewarded with a special status and federal grants was rejected by the Senate.
It commended Tinubu for sponsoring the bill saying history would remember her kindly “for her thoughtfulness and courage in promoting the bill”.
The bill sought the recognition of Lagos as the commercial capital of Nigeria, a status which, based on the bill, would make it entitled to one per cent of federally generated revenue in view of its socio-economic importance to the entire country.
Although the bill was rejected by the Senate on Wednesday, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode insisted that the state deserved special status.
In a statement by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, on Thursday, Ambode was quoted as saying the rejection of the bill was a missed opportunity.
He said, “The truth of the matter is that as the most populous Nigerian state and the commercial heart-beat of the entire West Africa; a state that would have been the fifth largest economy in Africa if it were an independent country, Nigeria needs Lagos in order for other parts of the country to continue to benefit from Lagos.
“A special status and a special grant are fair requests that would have encouraged and rewarded Lagos State for what it contributes to the federal purse.
“A yes for the bill would have provided an opportunity to truly reflate the economy and empower Lagos State in serving as home to more than 21 million Nigerians and as hub to the largest volume of businesses and foreign direct investments in Nigeria. But clearly, a spectacular opportunity has been missed by ignoring this important bill.”
Ambode also said that without prejudice to the decision of the Senate to stand down the bill, Senator’s Tinubu’s informed position and push would remain an important contribution as well as a reference point in the national economic discourse.
He said, “At a time that our country needs courageous voices that seek solutions that can benefit millions of Nigerians irrespective of where they are from, what the distinguished Senator Oluremi Tinubu has done is to draw attention to how Lagos State can provide more succour to Nigerians being the home to the largest assemblage of Nigerians.
“She has drawn attention to how Lagos deserves to be assisted so that the state can further provide assistance to millions of Nigerians. It is a pity that this import was not seen from that perspective by the majority of her colleagues.”
The statement added that despite the set-back the bill suffered on Wednesday, the fact remained that Lagos State had always played a special role to Nigerians as individuals and to the country as a whole.Punch