Lagos PDP governorship candidate, Mr Jimi Agbaje, took a bold step to do what the state has lacked for a while now, which is to present a bold, relevant and clearly audacious vision for the state.
The beauty of a vision is the way it defines aspirations for the future, without which the human soul can be rudderless, let alone a city-state like Lagos. Truly, without vision, man will perish.
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Agbaje, in his second ‘manifesto’ document (Re-anchoring Lagos – THE BIG IDEA), moves beyond his well-presented rhetoric of ‘Freedom’ to explain what Lagos needs to do to be free. Almost like an ‘after freedom, what next?’ response. He has clearly presented what is next.
Not only is Jimi Agbaje saying that Lagos must in the next ten years be set on a path of becoming the second largest economy in Africa, he is going to do so by, anchoring the city State on the platform of Education, by creating an education economy – a knowledge driven economy.
This is not dissimilar to the path that China took for over 20 years or Singapore or even Rwanda in recent times. Agbaje has ‘threatened’ to devote up to 50% of the state’s budget on creating an education economy i.e. an education eco system, an education value chain, creating a knowledge economy and societal physical infrastructure to support it.
But how does Agbaje want to achieve this? That is what has gotten a few people jumpy! Agbaje intends to invest as much as 50% (if necessary) of the State’s budget (and therefore resources) on an education economy ( a knowledge economy), which implies investing in the whole value chain related to education, from the physical infrastructure that facilitates training to skills development, competence building, knowledge management, fit for purpose curriculum as it relates to executing, sustaining and growing our society’s, businesses and economic communities.
Agbaje will challenge every single Ministry, Department and Agency to dedicate as much as 50% of their individual budget, time, effort and focus of their activities to facilitate the upliftment of education in as wide a sense as possible.
For example, Agbaje’s strategy implies that for the Ministry of Works, roads that provide access to schools and educational institutions will be given priority but not to the exclusion of other road projects; it means that the Ministry of Health, will pay more attention to education and training in our health institutions but not to the exclusion other initiatives on health including the provision of subsidised or free primary health care for students as part of its budget reallocation, prioritisation and adjustments; the Ministry of Trade and Investment in the State, will support entrepreneurship initiatives in all the institutions, whilst still pursuing issues about the ease of doing business, ensuring that any education related business or institution is given priority; the Ministry of Tourism and Culture will allocate significantly more of its budget to the training and facilitation of the entertainment communities to participate and promote the creative arts; The Ministry of Transport will commit more of its budget to provide subsidised or even free transport to all students and anyone still learning with no income; The Ministry in charge of Lands, will allocate more affordably priced land to educational institutions, including land to build accommodation for students at the vocational and tertiary level, and the list goes on and on.
Agbaje’s vision, once taken on board by Lagosians can be expanded way beyond his own imagination as experts in each Ministry begin to see how they can make a huge contribution to the State’s Education Economy. Agbaje is simply going to challenge each ministry to devote up to 50% of its time, effort, personnel, planning, funding, execution, innovation, manpower to the creation of an education economy.