By Chukwudi Nweje, Lagos
The Chairman of Oshodi/Isolo Local Government Area of Lagos State, Otunba Kehinde Oloyede-Almaroof, has said that the former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is the best of the 18 presidential candidates to take over from President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.
Almaroof, who spoke at a lecture with the theme: ‘Nigeria: Politics, Economy, Security and Society’ delivered at the University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos stated that Tinubu deserves to be the next Nigerian President based on his track record of achievements as governor of Lagos State between 1999 and 2007.
He noted that though the potential of Lagos for greatness dated back to the pre-independence era, the potential was not tapped into until Tinubu was elected governor of the state in1999, and he tapped into and exploited the dormant potential to actualise the success story that Lagos is today.
He said, “Upon his election as governor of Lagos in 1999. Tinubu, inspired by his avowed vision of transforming Lagos into a megacity initiated reforms in line with his 24-year master plan. This master plan has inspired successive leaders such as Babatunde Raji Fashola and other successors to carry out similar reforms.
“There is no doubt that prior to 1999, Lagos had the potential to be transformed into a megacity which will be the highest contributor to Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP). Lagos had the potential to become one of the biggest commercial cities in the world, a land of hope and opportunity. Nonetheless, one cannot help but argue that these potentials were not properly harnessed, thus, sustainable, and rapid growth was quite slow amidst and despite the evident population explosion.
“The point must be made here that Tinubu’s 24 -year socio-economic and political development plan changed the dynamics of sustainable development in Lagos.”
He noted that Tinubu also introduced a taxation regime in Lagos which ensured effective taxpayers’ compliance.
“This innovation in taxation, Lagos State’s annual internally generated revenue increased from $ 190 million in 1999 to about $ 1 billion in 2011. This revenue has been utilised effectively for the construction of roads, rehabilitation of existing roads, improved security, and modern mass transit/, among other things.
“It is the same development plan, his successors, Babatunde Raji Fashola, and others consolidated on to make Lagos a megacity. The dream is still alive, and work is still in progress. While there is evident, congestion and population explosion, more work needs to be done by the current administration to consolidate on the gains of previous reform-minded administrations.”
According to him, Tinubu created a solid development plan that his successors in the office followed, and which catapulted Lagos to the position of the 9th largest economy in Africa.
“This transformation was engineered by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who laid the foundation for Lagos State.
“As Tinubu did in Lagos, Nigeria needs a leader that would take the bull by the horn and initiate far-reaching reforms.
“Nigeria needs a leader that can take the bull by the horn and initiate far-reaching reforms. At critical times when nations, states, kingdoms, principalities, or chiefdoms desire a foresighted leader, such leader, sometimes emerges by the collective will of the people,” Almaroof said.