Speaking to State House correspondents on a retreat in the state capital at the weekend, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has said the revival of Eyo masquerade festival has the capacity to reflate the Lagos State economy up to the tune of N4billion, the festival could generate employment to thousands of Lagosians associated with the festival.
He said such money would be earned by artisans from sewing of uniforms for about 10,000 masquerades just like other people including drivers, musicians, food vendors, artistes among others during the festival.
Ambode stated: “Just as we reactivate the festival, that’s almost like a N3billion, N4billion economy, not from us but the masquerades.
“There’s almost like 10,000 of them. They are likely to go and sew new regalia; the drivers, the security men, the caps that they wear, some people do it. So, that’s one economy out there.
“At the end of the day, money would have circulated, may be N5billion to almost one billion people that never expected to have the money in their pockets.”
According to him, that was how to make sense of the resuscitation of the Eyo festival.
The governor explained that the resuscitation of the festival was in line with the goal of the state to spend its way out of recession as money would be spread to people across all strata of the state.
The governor added: “So, that’s the kind of thing we tried to do all the time so that in every sector of the economy, there’s something circulating around Lagos.
He also spoke of the relevance of massive infrastructure undertaking by his administration as a way to empower the people of the state.
According to him, “When you go round, you see that we are doing a lot of construction. It’s not because there’s money. It’s because we are looking at that bricklayer in Badagry.
“So, if you put a project in Badagry, that bricklayer will stay there and earn N5,000 a day. So, the family of five will feed. And you do the same in Ipeju Lekki and so the economy is growing.
“That is the strategy to reflate the economy. It doesn’t mean anything. You spend yourself out of recession. You put more money into capital expenditure so that those who don’t have the means, we are able to spread the money around them.
“It doesn’t go out of Lagos. Instead, more people will come in here and do business and you start circulating it round until everything stabilizes.
“That’s why you see that we’ve been able to become the catalyst to take Nigeria out of recession because we are very positive about the kind of things we are doing.”
According to him most of the projects being executed draw skilled and unskilled hands from among locals in the areas where such projects are domiciled, thereby ensuring the employment of such people.
Ambode stressed the need for a good representation by elected leaders for their people saying that they don’t want anything special from such representatives but to be able to solve their challenges.
“They don’t want anything so much. They don’t want us to put money in their pockets. They just want us to make it possible for them to move from one place to the other with ease, leave their lives and some kind of safety for their children,” he said.