“We are aiming to have, at least, 100,000 people participating at this summit this year. We said 100,000 participants, but we will be happy to have three million.”
These were the words of the Special Adviser to the Lagos State governor on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Mrs. Solape Hammond, while speaking on the Lagos Economic Summit 2020, tagged Ehingbeti, at a press briefing to unveil its new logo Thursday in Lagos.
According to her, because of the COVID -19 restriction on large gathering, the state decided to go for a virtual summit, which she said “it is not a limitation, but an enabler.”
She explained: “This year, we can have a lot more people involved. We have set bold ambition for ourselves. One of the things we want to see is that we want to use the opportunity to bring together partners of Lagos. And we have received strong support possible from the diplomatic community. There are things that are happening in other places that we can really learn from. And this is a really good platform to get that insight; to bring in those people to participate virtually in places where they couldn’t come physically before. So it is going to be a much larger summit than it has previously been held in Africa. What we are looking for is active participation from all the people who love Lagos: Lagosians here; Lagosians in Diaspora; and people who are not from Lagos but that just love Lagos, like our African neighbours; captains of industries who have their businesses in Lagos; people who just love the idea of Lagos, its progress and what it stands for.”
Talking about the objectives of the Summit, whose theme is ‘For a Greater Lagos: Setting the Tone for the Next Decade,’ the Lagos State Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Sam Egube, said: “We want to really promote strategies on how to achieve this Lagos of our dream and how to operationalise the ideas which we’ll come out with in Ehingbeti; and to ensure we attract global involvement and participation. We believe that it is not only Lagosians that must develop Lagos, but it is a mix of partnerships; locally, nationally and internationally. As long as we have interest in Lagos, we must come together to create what we want out of Lagos. And I think that it is a sense of responsibility that we, who have one thing or another to do with Lagos, must all carry. It is also to be able to design resilient road map to more prosperity for Lagos State; and then to facilitate the spirit of sharing and co-creation that can happen when people work together.”
Shedding more light on the conference, he added:
“The 8th Lagos Economic Summit 2020 is a platform driven by the private sector, backed up by the government to basically show the vibrancy of Lagos State in the way we collaborate and in the way we pursue an inclusive governance mechanism for Lagos State. Ehingbeti, basically, brings together local, foreign private sector, technocrats, government representatives, civil society members, academia, multilateral agencies, development partners to have a conversation as to how the Lagos of our dream should look like. They would help, not only in creating that future; how that future should look like, but they would also participate in defining how to get there. That is what Ehingbeti is. That is what Ehingbeti is all about.”
He added that most of the developments in the states over the years were from ideas and recommendations from the previous editions: “The first three editions were deliberately diagnostic but by the fourth one, we had started to create a blueprint and have started to implement it from the early decisions that had been made. Till date, through seven past Ehingbeti, there have been 206 resolutions that have been made, and out of that, 103 have been implemented. When you see us implementing projects like the blue line, red line rails, all of those were got out of the past resolutions; we see pedestrian walkways, BRT projects, Ikoyi Link Bridge, which is on every Nollywood movie nowadays, they were decisions taken in the past Ehingbeti. I believe this one will be bigger and better and would affect Lagos in many more significant ways as we go forward in the next 10 years.”
Going down memory lane, the Co-chairman of the Summit, whose brain child was the first Ehingbeti Economic Summit, Mr. Olayemi Cardoso, who is also Citibank Nigeria Chairman, said:
“Ehingbeti represents the economic heritage of the Marina and Broad Street areas of Lagos and the earliest Central business district of Nigeria, consisting of the Lagos Harbour, European peers, financial markets among others. So that really is Ehingbeti for Lagos, and in turn for Nigeria. Hence, the development of Lagos State and Nigeria are inextricately bound with Ehingbeti. The building blocks of public-private sector partnerships for development. Thus, the local saying : ‘Bi oju ko ba ti Ehingbeti, oju ko le ti Eko”, meaning that “so long as a means of waterways are available for haulage of men, ideas or goods, so long will Lagos continue to prosper as emporium of Nigeria’s economic activities’.
“Lagos pioneered the concept of economic summit for states in Nigeria, in the year 2000, with the first summit held, on a collaborative basis, with Ikeja Business Club and other private sector stakeholders at, then, a small sleepy part of Lagos called Akodo. The theme of the first summit was “Accelerating Economic Development through Public-Private Partnerships.
“In furtherance of the extant partnership, the second Lagos Economic Summit, Ehingbeti 2001, was held at the same venue, and focused on “Improving Urban Development, Economic Growth and Social Responsibility through Effective Partnership”. This particular one articulated a 17-point resolution, 15 of which were implemented. I have taken pains to talk about these two foundational Lagos summits to drive home the point that Ehingbeti is about the promotion of partnership for improved delivery of public goods and services. And also, to emphasise that Ehingbeti is about outcome delivery. Ehingbeti, additionally, is not about talkshop; it is about outcome delivery. To further illustrate this point, between 2008 and 2017, 78 Communiques were brought out, out of which 72 were met.”