The 3Ps and 3Rs of Lagos

Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Steve Ayorinde in this encounter with Brandwise team dissects the essence and the uniqueness of the Lagos Brand. Excerpts:

Q: As a destination brand, what is unique about Lagos?

A : We try to define Lagos with 3 Ps and 3 Rs. The 3Ps stand for people, pulse and passion. Without a doubt, Lagos has the largest concentration of black people in a particular city or city state anywhere in the world. So if you are looking for a number one black city destination spot, that is Lagos State. And that human capital counts for something. That’s the pulse of the black world. And you would see that anybody that describes Lagos will note that with the energy, the pulse, the passion, Lagos is number one. Something that also works in tandem with that is what we call the 3 Rs. Resonance, Resilient and Relentless. Those 3 Rs describe the essence, the uniqueness and the USP of Lagos. And God so good only last year Lagos was formally admitted into that prestigious club of the 100 resilient cities of the world. And we accept that inclusion wholeheartedly because we do not use the word resilient loosely. And again resilient captures the essence of Lagos .That in spite of anything and everything that may be affecting the whole world or the country, the ‘can do’ never give up first of Lagosian is always there. When we say Eko for show or on the one hand’ We say Eko o gba gbere, we are speaking to the rare energy, the resonant and the relentlessness that define an average Lagosian. Somebody that is unputdownable in spirit by any challenge or obstacle. Therefore the whole idea of picking the 3ps and the 3rs to describe Lagos is to use those description in a positive way. It is like electricity you can use it in a positive way to iron your clothes, put on the AC or light up your home or you can use electricity in a negative way. If it is a naked wire and you touch it or hold it, you are dead or terminally wounded. That is the same power, the same pulse and the same resonant you feel with Lagos. When you aggregate all these qualities together you won’t go far to see why only Lagos is excelling, or why Lagos is the centre of excellence, why Lagos is number one in everything. That even though Lagos is the smallest in terms of land mass, it is the most blessed state in the country. Those qualities work positively on one hand in terms of governance and polity of the state. This is the land of continuity. This is the land that determines the fate of the country in terms of political direction. No one becomes the president without bringing Lagos along. Continuity has found a fertile home in Lagos. Also in terms of economy, the I G R of Lagos is bigger than those of 32 other states in Nigeria combined. The GDP of Lagos is bigger than that of Kenya and Ghana combined. So much so that if Lagos were to be a country it would have been the 5th biggest economy in Africa. So it is unique in every aspect. In terms of culture, it is the home of Nollywood. This is where Nollywood started. So, when you say Nollywood is the third biggest movie making industry in the world you are making reference to something that has its roots, flesh and bones in Lagos. A new research has shown that the largest number of standup comedians in the black world lives and make a living in Lagos. Joking and comedy have become serious business. It is booming and thriv- ing in Lagos. Joking has become serious business, thanks to Lagos. When people say ‘Waffi guys’. Guess what they are referring to comedians of Warri extraction who are making a living in Lagos. We see a city state that encapsulates the multiculturalism and unity in diversity. That is cosmopolitan Lagos for you. Of course, Lagos does not and will never forget its south-west, Yoruba roots. And thank God Lagos has joined the league of the Odua Group of companies comprising all the South West Yoruba states. But undeniably also is the fact that Lagos has grown to become the ideal cosmopolitan state that is giving example in governance, business opportunities and brotherliness to other states, Africa and the world. So it is unique in every ramification. These days, people speak glowingly about Lagos as a good example of a state growing politically and economically. And thank God we have a governor that understands what it takes to manage a megacity that is aspiring to become a smart city.

Q. How will you summarize the journey so far for the state?

A. So far so good. The state has demonstrated its leadership position as the centre of excellence in Nigeria. More importantly, the state has made good use of the opportunity of always been blessed with capable and visionary leaders par- ticularly since 1999. This is a state that stopped being the nation’s capital since 1991 but has had more development, arguably, in the last 26 years of not being a capital city. So it has been a great journey of vision and success. It is commendable that this is a state whose IGR accounts for about 70% of its revenue and whose budget performance has always topped 75% to 80% in the last three years. There is always another ladder of progress to climb. But no one would deny that Lagos has been an ideal cosmopolitan city that has given hope and succour to many at a time that the country is experiencing some dire straits together you won’t go far to see why only Lagos is excelling, or why Lagos is the centre of excellence, why Lagos is number one in everything. That even though Lagos is the

Q. What is the future?

A. It is a very bright future for the state and we are grateful that we have a cerebral accountant who understands how to manage men and resources as the governor at these trying times. He has been committed to the Lagos State Development Plan, paying great attention to all the four pillars of development as they affect the economy, security and the environment. Yes, Lagos is now blessed as an oil-producing state, but we are not distracted by it. The aim of the Gover- nor is to ensure that in the next two to three years, the state’s IGR will account for 100% of its revenue, so that we will hardly depend on the allocations from Abuja. In our strategic plan, this feat will provide the basis for our desire to grow the economy of the state to become Af- rica’s third largest in about three to four years. That’s our own Vision: 20-20. The Governor’s sterling first two years in office has become a demonstrable evidence of what to expect in the next two years and beyond. This is an administration that is running a government of inclusiveness, making sure no aspect of the state is neglected in its developmental strides. This is an administration that is convinced that the arts, entertainment and tourism as well as sports are veritable areas for job creation and youth engagement and is investing heavily in those sectors. This is an administration that pays high premium on security and is not only supporting the federal security apparatus but has blazed the trail in community security through the recently launched Neighborhood Safety Corps. Yet, this is an administration that is moving from a mega city to a smart city where technology will drive development, innovations and security. So when you hear the Governor speak about channelizing the waterways and expanding the jetties and our capacity for more ferries; opening a new BRT corridor along Abule Egba and Marina; proposing a 10-lane superhighway from Oshodi to International Airport; working towards 3,000 mega watts of electricity through an embedded power generation and distribution programme for the state and approving the creation of a Smartcity project within the Ibeju-Lekki area with a new airport, because a state with 21 million people that desires to be a tourism hub cannot run on only one international airport, you know that he is speaking about Lagos of the future. And the future that the Governor, like the founding fathers of modern Lagos desires is here already. Thank you.

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