Kebbi State Governor, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu, on Thursday showered accolades on his counterpart in Lagos, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, for the high sense of maturity displayed in the wake of the political developments in the state, saying the latter demonstrated grace which has united the All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the 2019 elections.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the 18th National Women Conference of the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO) held at Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Bagudu said while it was inevitable to offend people in life, Ambode had since moved on and holds no grudges against anybody.
Bagudu, who also commended Ambode for achieving a lot for Lagos State, said history would be kind to him for his great works in the State.
“My friend Ambode doesn’t like to be praised; he is a very very private person and I always see a reflection of him in me that how does private people function in all our public work in politics but gratefully he has done a lot for Lagos; he has continued in the tradition and understandably, he might have offended some people.
“I have done so, many others before us have done so but he (Ambode) has demonstrated grace and being the believers that we are, we believe that history will judge him kindly. He holds no grudge against anybody. He has assured me and he loves the people of Lagos State and he is committed to their will,” Bagudu said.
While lauding the governor for the Lake Rice initiative, Bagudu said apart from rekindling hope in the ability of Nigerians to achieve a lot for the country, the project also led to 90 per cent reduction in rice Importation.
“Governor Ambode spoke about one of the things I believe is a measure of his greatness which is the partnership between Lagos and Kebbi. Ambode and I have worked in farms in Kebbi State and without Ambode, there wouldn’t have been Lake Rice.
“I want to say it again that without Ambode, there wouldn’t have been Lake Rice and the significance of Lake Rice is that it encouraged a revival in the ‘we can do spirit’ and Mr President captured it adequately when he said at least now when we tell the world we are going to do something they better take us seriously.
“Those Nigerians and a lot of Africans and well wishers who saw Mr President when he visited Prime Minister Theresa May and later on President Trump and announced enthusiastically that Nigeria has reduced its rice importation by 90 per cent can humbly say that without Ambode we wouldn’t have achieved that.
“He (Ambode) supported the Nigerian Rice Initiative and in turn without her excellency Mrs Bolanle Ambode and the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials and the great women of Lagos State who encouraged and supported the Lake Rice and the Nigerian Rice project, that wouldn’t have been possible and so I thank you all for what you have done for Nigeria and what we have done to show that it is possible,” Bagudu said.
Corroborating his colleague, Governor Ambode said the Lake Rice initiative had significantly impacted on the economic fortunes of not only Lagos and Kebbi States but also the entire nation, saying Bagudu also deserved commendation for the success of the partnership.
Besides, Ambode congratulated executives and members of COWLSO for another very successful conference, saying it was on record that Mrs Ambode, along with other hardworking and committed members, had succeeded in taking the association and the annual conference to a higher level.
The governor said from testimonies, the conference was yet another rewarding two days of networking, eye-opening, educative and inspiring experiences, adding that it now behooves participants to spread the knowledge gained.
According to him, “The opportunity to be part of a conference such as this is a privilege which also comes with a corresponding responsibility. In the spirit of the theme of this conference: “Strengthening Our Collective Impact”, you all have a responsibility to share this experience with other women and men around you.
“This is the only way that the impact of the knowledge gained at this conference can be widened and deepened. It is a burden each and every one of you have to discharge to the best of your abilities.
“The government, no doubt, also has its own responsibility in terms of giving due and deserving consideration to the recommendations contained in your communiqué. I can assure you of our commitment to do our best in this regard,” Governor Ambode said.
In a communiqué for the conference, COWLSO said it was time for women to rise against the menace of children becoming mothers, especially by putting machinery in place for continuous sensitisation and advocacy to address and eliminate the root-causes and consequences.
According to the communiqué which was read by Professor Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello, wife of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), COWLSO said government must put structures and policies in place to address the issues of children having children.
“The Government at all levels, policy makers in health sector both at State and local levels, family, society, NGO and so on, must all rise and resolve to eliminate the menace by enacting a policy for a reduction in the minimum age in rendering family planning services from 13 to 15 years,” the communiqué read in part.