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Lagos State has mooted the idea of an exchange programme with Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) in the United States of America. Governor Akinwunmi Ambode said this while playing host to students of the institution at the Lagos House, Ikeja.
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Governor Ambode said the partnership became beneficial in order to further bring dynamism into governance in such a way that would improve service delivery to the citizenry.
“I want to thank you for choosing Lagos, most of you will probably not dream of coming to this part of the world; but you must have been able to actually experience or have deeper knowledge of the environment, you are a better person through exchange programmes like this that exposes you to what public policies and governance are all about.”
“Lagos State is the ‘trigger’ that can propel the economy of Africa, it has the largest concentration of the black race in the world, so there is a compelling reason why we must look at Lagos as a case study because the United Nations has estimated that in another 30 years, Nigeria will be the third largest population in the world; currently Lagos has 23 million population despite having a very small space, so if Nigeria is going to be the third largest population in the world, you know what that means for Lagos in the areas of practical challenges of urbanisation and governing a fast growing city like this,” Governor Ambode reiterated.
Governor Ambode with some Harvard Kennedy School delegates.
While answering questions from the visiting students during an interactive session, the Governor affirmed that Lagos as Africa’s 5th largest economy had run on transparency and accountability, noting that the government had not in any way compromised an “open-door policy.”
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According to him, Lagos remains the safest city in Nigeria, considering the huge investment in the security architecture of the State which has been evident in the State’s contribution to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP).
He also answered questions bothering on federalism and the Smart City initiative as he maintained that “there must be devolution of powers to accelerate development”.
On the Smart City Initiative, Governor Ambode said the policy would be largely driven by the private sector against the backdrop of information and communication technology.
Leader of the HKS delegation, Mrs Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji said the team comprised of students from about 17 different countries. She advocated for Lagos to leverage on the pool of human resources.
Mrs Akerele-Ogunsiji added that her exploits at Harvard and the consequent visit of the Harvard students had given different perspectives of Nigeria as against the misconceptions that had held sway beyond the shores of the country.
The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University also known as Harvard Kennedy School is a public policy and public administration school.
Some of the students’ points of call include sites of the on-going Eko Atlantic City Project on the Island of Lagos and other iconic projects as well as Badagry which houses the relics of the infamous slave trade and the ‘point of no return’ being used as departure point for victims of slave trade.
Governor Ambode is also an alumnus of Harvard Kennedy School Boston, US.
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