OPENING SPEECH BY THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND CULTURE, ALHAJI LAI MOHAMMED, AT THE SPECIAL TOWN HALL MEETING ON INFRASTRUCTURE HELD IN IBADAN, OYO STATE, 25 OCT 2018
I want to warmly welcome you all to this Special Town Hall Meeting, holding in this historical city of Ibadan. I want to most sincerely thank my colleagues, Honourable Ministers, for taking time off their busy schedule, as they always do when we invite them to these meeting, to be here.
2. Our special gratitude goes to His Excellency, Governor Abiola Ajimobi, and his entire cabinet, for the warm welcome and the hospitality accord us. I am informed that the government has pulled all the stops to make this Town Hall Meeting a success. Your Excellency, thank you most immensely. May I also thank all our guests
as well as the gentlemen of the media for their presence.
3. This Special Town Hall Meeting is dedicated to INFRASTRUCTURE. It is the second in the series of the Special Town Hall Meetings which we will be organizing between now and the 2019 general elections to showcase the achievements of the Buhari Administration. The first edition of the Special Town Hall Meetings was held in Gusau, Zamfara State, on 10 Sept. 2018, to showcase the Administration’s achievements in the area of security, in particular the drastic reduction in the
number of killings in certain parts of the country.
4. Let me digress a little. The Ministry of Information and Culture launched the Town Hall Meetings in Lagos on April 25th 2016. The essence is to provide a platform for the federal government to regularly give account of its stewardship to the people, get a feedback and inputs from them and, overall, to enhance citizens’
participation in governance. Till date, we have held the town hall meetings in all the nation’s six geo-political zones. There is no doubt that the meetings have gone a long way in achieving their objectives.
5. Back to today’s Town Hall Meeting: The format will be exactly like the last one we held in Gusau, Zamfara State. The Honourable Minister of Power, Works and Housing will be the lead presenter of the Administration’s giant strides in the area of infrastructure. The Honourable Ministers of Transportation; Water Resources; and Finance will follow. After the presentations, we will proceed to the question and answer session, so that we can hear directly from the cross section of Nigerians who are represented here. Panellists, comprising the Hon. Ministers seated here, will answer questions and react to comments from the audience. Please note that you are all free to speak your mind, without hindrance, on the topic of today’s Town Hall Meeting. There is NO no-go areas, so everyone should have an open mind
in making their contributions.
6. This Administration, realizing that no nation develops without massive investment in infrastructure, has made such investment a priority, and it is paying off, as you will hear shortly from the Honourable Minister of Power, Works and Housing.
7. Whether in the area of job creation or stimulation of economic growth, investment in infrastructure is a fast route to development. You cannot talk about the developed Western nations without talking about their roads, power, ports and rail system, just to mention a few. This is because these nations have invested massively in infrastructure over the years, realizing that infrastructure spurs economic growth by enhancing productivity and efficiency. The same template has also been adopted by many other countries, including China, Japan and South Korea. We are in no doubt that the solid foundation that we are laying in the area of infrastructure will be a catalyst to the much-needed economic development in our dear country.
8. Your Excellency, Honourable Ministers, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for your kind attention. I will now call on the Honourable Minister of Works, Power and Housing to make his presentation.