A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) known as the Community Network Initiative (CNI) has commended the Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, over his administration’s reversal of policy on land use charge.
The organisation made the commendation in a press statement signed by its Convener, Otunba Gbenga Abass where it described the governor’s gesture as rare and a proof of exemplary leadership.
Abass observed that it was not in the character of highly placed government official to back down from their lofty offices in deference to the wishes of the masses, whether in the implementation of polices or in just the day-to-day governance process.
He added that for Ambode to have done so, has shown him as a man of compassion, a governor who is concerned about overall impact of governmental policies on the lives of the people than his personal egos and interests.
It would be recalled that the Lagos State Land Use Charge (LUC) was successfully reviewed and then passed into law by the Lagos State House of Assembly on February 8, 2018; however some stakeholders in the state rose in criticism of the said policy, requesting that it be scraped.
CNI observed that not only did the government slash the rates payable on commercial properties by 50 per cent in response to the demands of the people, it also reduced the charges for Owner-occupier properties with third party including industries and manufacturing concerns by 25 per cent, while it gave tax credits for LUC charges already paid. Besides, property owners were given grace of instalment payment.
CNI said this also underscores the fact that the administration’s tradition of inclusive governance and civic engagement, was not a lip service but a sincere article of faith and as a Government that is committed to the welfare of its citizens.
“We also commend the government for the open dialogue with stakeholders including the Organised Private Sector, Nigeria Bar Association, Real estate investors & developers, Landlord & Resident Associations, Community Development Associations, Civil Society Organisations, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industries (LCCI) as well as the Nigeria Institute of Estate Surveyors & Valuers, as it is obvious that this achieved much”.
“As an interested party in the smooth administration of Lagos State, we hereby congratulate the governor, his cabinet as well as the people that raised the objection in a civil manner. This is a way forward for the positive development of the state, we welcome it”, the release added.
In his words: “Obviously, there is no better way for a government to show responsibility and compassion than this one.
This is especially when one realises that the legislation had gone through the normal process before becoming law, and also, given the intense lobbying that goes with this kind of legislation.
To have factored all these and decided to stomach the repercussions is one move the state executive has made that deserves commendation”.
According to CNI, the reversal in the policy demonstrated louder than ever, the state government’s determination to deliver the famed dividends of democracy, while showing the government itself as a pro-people, a listening and humble government.
It observed that many in the position of Governor Ambode in other climes would have perceived a possible reversal of that law as a personal affront and would have mobilised every resources, human and material to thwarting it.
“Ambode did otherwise. Beyond personal ego, he saw a window to an impactful touch on the people’s welfare; he saw an opportunity to demonstrate his humaneness and did not let it pass by”, the release said.
It added: “Long years to come, Lagosians, and indeed other analysts of governmental process would remember this singular gesture of Governor Ambode. They would be able to re-tell the tale that not all those who occupy executive office are driven by inconsideration, but that beyond their official briefs as elected politicians, that they truly feel what the people feel. This is one lesson that Governor Ambode teaches in this magnanimous move.
At the expense of sounding repetitive, it truly deserves commendation by all patriot and positive-minded persons. Kudos to you, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode”, he added.
Community Network Initiative (CNi)