The CACOL’s Good-Governance, Accountability and Transparency Educators (CGATE) Leader’s Feedback Conference was organized as part of the project on prioritizing Anti-Corruption and Accountability issues during the ongoing 2023 General Elections in Lagos State. Those present at the conference were Leaders from the Various CGATE units in the state and members of the press.

Mr. Tola Oresanwo, CACOL’s Director of Administration and Programmes kicked off the programme with the opening remarks. He narrated how the project which took off in 2021 started with the aim of bolstering support for anti-corruption and social inclusion among critical groups in Lagos state as the state prepares for the gubernatorial and state House of Assembly elections.

In his keynote address, the Chairman of CACOL, Mr Debo Adeniran highlighted the various stakeholders CACOL team had met with in order to achieve the project’s goal. He said at the beginning of the project, his team traversed the five divisions of Lagos State in order to consult with the grassroots people and that a capacity building workshop was also organized for representatives of these people in order build their knowledge, skill and attitudes.

He also said his team met with the representatives of various political parties in the state, some of whom are already implementing the anti-corruption and social inclusion components of the project in their manifestoes.  Some of the leaders of the political parties who participated in the consultative meetings also gave assurances that they are in support of and are ready to implement the affirmative actions not only at the party level but also when voted into power.

Mr, Adeniran also listed some other critical stakeholders they have consulted with to include Faith Based Organizations, Community Based Organisations, Civil Society Organizations, Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria, Lagos State Chapter, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) Lagos Office, Centre for Citizens with Disability (CDD), and that a capacity building workshop was also organized for members of the civil societies and the media.

He also pointed out that the CGATE Leaders Conference was organized to garner feedback from members of the grassroots on how well the goals of the project were met, especially as it relates to the integration of anti-corruption and social inclusion in the manifestoes and campaign promises of political parties and candidates in their respective locations.

After the keynote address by the Chairman of CACOL, the performance of the present administration in Lagos State headed by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu was x-rayed by the CGATE leaders and media executives present at the conference.

A comprehensive list of all the projects the administration claimed it had completed and those that are ongoing in education, health, housing, justice, social/economic and transportation sectors were compiled and projected to participants at the conference for them to verify the government’s claim on the projects.

In the area of Completed/Commissioned Roads the administration claimed that it has carried out 110 palliatives and 361 sectional rehabilitations on roads across the State, 650 inner roads were rehabilitated by the Lagos State Public Works Corporation [LSPWC] and that six major reconstructions are still in progress in different parts of the state. Most of the Completed/Commissioned Roads and those under reconstruction were attested to by the CGATE Leaders present at the conference. The only complain reported during the conference was from CGATE leaders from Agbado/Oke-Odo who complained that most of the inner roads in their area are not tarred.

On Inter-Modal Transportation, the administration claimed that it had acquired 10-Car intra-city metropolitan speed trains for the 37km Lagos Red Line project, compensated 263 residents affected by Red Rail Line project right of way, completed the 380-metre-long sea crossing bridge component of the Lagos Blue Line Rail spanning Mile 2 to Marina among other critical interventions. Some participants at the conference confirmed the authenticity of these projects.

In the area of Construction and Rehabilitation of Public Schools, most of the participants at the conference attested to the various government interventions in public schools in the state. Some of them who have children in these schools confirmed the state government claims though in some cases the exact number or quantities of the items like furniture supplied to these schools may not be confirmed.

Talking about Social/Economic Interventions the administration claimed that 300 youths were trained in aquaculture and poultry farming, 280 youths were trained in solar farm construction and 1,050 rural women received intensive training in boosting outputs in agricultural production and the beneficiaries were given equal access to markets among other critical interventions. Most of these interventions were attested to by the participants. Mrs. Abosede, a CGATE leader from Ikeja, reported that she was trained in fish farming by the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture free of charge and she was helped to start the business by the ministry.

The health, housing and justice sectors also received commendations from participants at the conference. Most of them attested to the fact that the present administration really tried in bringing about noticeable changes in these sectors.

The only gaps reported during the conference were in the area of loans from the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) which some participants claimed that they have applied online for the loan but till now they have not been called upon to come for it.

Although some participants pointed out that some of the completed and commissioned projects compiled by CACOL like the Agege Flyover and the light rail projects were started by the previous administration in the state. But it was explained to them that since government is a continuum, the most important thing is that these projects are completed for the benefit and welfare of Lagosians irrespective of who started it.

Overall, the CGATE leaders from the different Local Government Areas and Local Council Development Areas in the state gave satisfactory remarks about the performance of the state government headed by Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Responding, the Chairman of CACOL, affirmed that the conference was organized not to disparage or endorse the person of the governor and the performance of his administration but to give the people the opportunity to frankly assess the claims of the administration and express their opinions on each of the projects listed.

CACOL’s Campaign and Operations Officer, Bukola Egbinola in her vote of thanks appreciated the participants and the press crew present at the conference for attending and urged them to endeavour to keep their CGATE units alive by communicating with CACOL’s Secretariat from time to time.