“We Believe Education Is The Bedrock For Any Development” – Folashade Jaji
Mrs. Folashade Sherifat Jaji is the Secretary to the Lagos State Government. She was formerly the Head of Service of Lagos State a post she held after serving as the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Establishments, Training and Pensions. Excerpts.
The Office of the Secretary to the State Government is seen as the heartbeat of the government because it manages the state government policies and coordinates the various agencies and ministries, as the SSG of the state, how have you been able to carry out the various duties?
The Office of the Secretary to the State Government and the Cabinet Office is one office. What we do is to cover the meetings of the Executive Council. By covering the meeting of the Executive Council, we have to write the minutes, develop the Council conclusions which are the decisions that are taken at the meeting. And at the end of each meeting, we come up with extracts to inform the various MDAs on the decisions taken and what actions they need to take. That’s what we do and in order not to lose sight of these decisions that are taken by Government, we make sure that a lot of those issues come up in the matters arising. We have put some staff in place so that they can follow up with the agencies on those decisions of the Council which they are expected to give us feedback on. So that, if there are challenges, we would be able to report back. This system helps with the implementation of projects, programmes and policies of Government and all the MDAs are able to be on top of what they need to do.
Can you share more on the programmes of the state government in the area of Job creations, infrastructure development and security?
Since this administration came in, we happen to hold the “Greater Lagos Agenda” with high commitment and sincerity that’s why we have this acronym called T.H.E.M.E.S. T: Traffic Management and Transportation, H: Health and Environment and the E: Education and Technology; and the M: Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy, then the E: Entertainment and Tourism and the S: Security and Governance. These pillars are very important to the achieving the “Greater Lagos” of this administration. With all hands on deck and the support of all the populace, I want to believe it would be a reality.
The items I have listed have jobs components, providing opportunities for people. Just recently, the State Governor inducted a fresh batch of LASTMA officials in the area of traffic management of the state. And also, the traffic improvement, the roundabouts in various parts of the state are being worked on for easy flow of traffic. There are various job opportunities that are attached to the ongoing projects. And of course, with the fixing of our roads, things are beginning to get better. As far as health is concerned, we are now into the E-Health and also the Health Insurance Scheme which have helped to improve the quality of health of the citizens in the state. Lots of resources have been invested in technology innovation that has helped to iron out some of the problems and have created jobs in the process. And also, there is the 4th mainland bridge we are serious about, which when completed, will reduce the traffic burden in state. We have used the “Greater Lagos” initiative to address lots of the challenges facing the state and better the lives of people of Lagos state.
How feasible is the “Smart City Programme” of the state?
The “Smart City” is real. I didn’t even mention the teachers that were employed and the teachers that we have trained. The focus is not only to fill the vacancies created by exited teachers but to make sure that every subject in the school is taken care of. We believe education is the bedrock for any development to take place. We are now looking at the foundation of education that is why we are starting from the primary school. If we build a solid foundation, it would be easier to build upon. We have the “Eko Excel” programme which is the acronym of what we are doing in the area of education. We are trying to improve the way our teachers teach and to improve the learning of our children. And with that, it involves technology. And for that to be sustainable, that’s where the “Smart City” comes in. The governor wants to make sure that the internet is not a mirage in all our schools. We are already having discussions with experts that will provide the structures that will actualize this vision.